Article on Frodus from HM


Legends turn up in the most unlikely places. It could be at an obscure bed and breakfast somewhere in Eastern Pennsylvania, where it's rumored that George Washington spent more than a few evenings. Or at a tollbooth in New York where Francis Ford Coppola shot the famous "execution" scene from The Godfather. It could even turn up in a mixing board.

It did for Frodus, a 3-piece Virginia emo outfit comprised of Shelby Cinca, Jason Hamacher and Nathan Burke. "We just finished recording at Sterling Productions," says Hamacher "The board we recorded on has recorded over 100 gold records. It used to be the board from Sunset Sound from California. Some of the more memorable bands are The Eagles, Toto, Janis Joplin, Aretha Franklin...and the first two Helmet records." Frodus would no doubt like to score similar success, and Tooth and Nail is taking no chances. In addition to working with producer Jonathan Kreinik, who has produced the band in the past, Frodus is in cahoots with engineer Bruce Kane, who served as Rick James' personal engineer for five years. "Basically," Hamacher says "Bruce knew what was going on."

It is unlikely, however, that the influences of Kane's former clientele will spill over into the forthcoming Conglomerate International. Frodus' brand of emo-core is blistering and relentless, Hamacher's machine-gun percussion locking in with Burke's staccato bass hammering and Cinca's frenetic guitar work to create an intense, aggressive and thoroughly adrenalized final product. "I guess we classify ourselves as spazzy punk," muses Hamacher. "It's hard because I feel we're pretty original...the bottom line is [Tooth & Nail A&R man] James Morelos hurt his neck from headbanging so hard to the new rock."

Despite Tooth & Nail's long-standing Frodus enthusiasm, the band (who have made several records for Virginia indie label Art Monk) was initially wary of signing a deal. "Frodus is not a Christian band, and did not want to be on a Christian label. On tour [with side-project band Battery] I read an interview with [Tooth & Nail CEO] Brandon [Ebel] in Rust fanzine that would change my mind about T&N. Brandon had a lot of cool things to say that I agreed with. I talked to Shelby about the idea. We decided that if we could, we would be on Tooth & Nail. They were cool with the fact that we were not a Christian band, and that was our main concern. So now we're on the label."

Contractual issues resolved, Frodus quickly got down to business, releasing a split EP with labelmates Roadside Monument that served to introduce not only the band's music, but also a bit of their mantra. "Lights on For Safety", for example, includes the biting lyric: "Content as long as they have laptops and lattes/now they want to sleep so tomorrow may begin...identity lost to a sterile utopia."

"I don't think it's a general despising of yuppies," responds Hamacher when asked about the band's forthrightness. "It is just an outlook on the future. It is very inspired by Brave New World, 1984, Blade Runner type thoughts. I don't think the world will end up like that, but it could happen." Which leads to a natural question about the full-length. With a title as ominous as Conglomerate International, is it likely that similar themes will emerge throughout the forthcoming record? Hamacher is dodgy. "The whole deal is that we, Frodus, work for The Conglomerate. We have been given our orders and we have to perform them," and then, ever so slightly tongue-in-cheek, he adds "We have started using mind-control tactics on the CD and during the live show. We did this with special lights and subliminal messages. We know what out job is and we do it." With methods like this, Frodus may not need a lucky mixing board or a veteran engineer to sell records. "The fact is that you can, and will, headbang harder, faster and heavier than you ever have to Frodus Conglomerate International," concludes Hamacher. Not because you want to, but because we made you."