Froth

Published on April 21st, 2014

FROTH

FROTH

The revitalization of vintage-informed psychedelia in America has spawned forth some of the most exciting artists in recent memory. The umbrella of psych, which covers a menagerie of experimental and unique sub-genre and sub-sect, has developed major scenes in Austin, Brooklyn, Atlanta, and particularly Los Angeles, where Froth hails from.

Froth is currently riding the waves of reverb to a place in the hearts of psych fans everywhere, and will be making penultimate psych pilgrimage to perform at Austin Psych Fest in May. Having recently scored a runway show for Saint Laurent, Froth has also found itself in the precarious position of exposure to the high fashion community on an international level in what has to be the most unexpected plot twist ever for a band that started as a joke at a BBQ.

The band will be bringing it’s spaced-out ‘60s sounds to South Florida for the first time on May 8 with Deaf Poets at Respectable Street in West Palm, and we spoke with the band’s bassist and South Florida expatriate, Jeremy Katz, about all things Froth in anticipation of the show.

PH: So, you’re originally from Miami? When was that?
JK: I’m actually from Wellington, Florida. Yeah, I lived there until I was 10 and then I moved to Massachusetts and when I was 21 I moved back and lived in Fort Lauderdale and Miami for a couple of years. I moved back to Fort Lauderdale in 2008 and then I moved to LA in 2010.  It’s funny because another one of my friend’s bands out here is from Wellington also and I never knew them until now! They’re called Strangers Family Band and they’re this crazy psychedelic band from Wellington, but they’re really rad, too! They’ve been out here even longer than me, and I never knew ‘em, but I just met them a couple of years ago and it’s kind of weird because I’ve never met anyone else from Wellington.

PH: Lake Worth and Palm Beach has an interesting scene that seems to develop some bands that occasionally pop off and go national. 
JK: Yeah, that’s cool! I never knew anyone in bands when I lived there. The only band I knew even from around there that was kind of cool to me was Jacuzzi Boys.

PH: What motivated the move to Los Angeles? 
JK: I was actually working in TV and stuff — I went to the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale for film — I started working on TV shows and I just kind of got in my car and moved out here because I was freelance working. I kinda wanted to get out of there, to tell you the truth.

FROTH, RESPECTABLE STREET, PUREHONEYPH: The LA psych scene has picked up in recent years. What’s it like for a band that’s coming up and receiving accolades?
JK: Yeah, totally! It’s really cool, man! Where we live is called Echo Park, and it’s kind of the neighborhood a lot of bands live in. Yeah, it’s funny, three or four years ago, the scene was really psychedelic, there were all these really cool psych bands like the Entrance Band and all of these other crazy psych bands that were really rad. But in the past two years, this label, Lolipop Records, opened here and they kind of transformed the whole scene. There’s a lot more garage rock happening than psych.

PH: The genres are certainly kissing cousins. You’re booked to play Austin Psych Fest. They’ve always had a lot of garage to go with the psych…
JK: There’s still a lot of really good psych stuff, but because of Burger Records and Lolipop Records and the whole garage rock movement, it’s turned more garage rock, and there’s still a lot of really good punk bands playing too. It’s all relative. Garage and psych do go well together. There are so many good bands, there’s always a show to go to and bands to play with, it’s really rad.

PH: Is it a cohesive, communal vibe?
JK: Oh totally, everyone’s friends, man. The street we live on, there’s five bands that live next to each other. Everyone’s friends, it’s really cool. Good community. I think we owe that to Lolipop. They kind of brought everyone together, you know?

PH: So tell me about scoring a major French fashion house’s show.  
JK: Yeah, that was pretty amazing! Hedi Slimane (photographer and fashion designer) kind of just found us. We played this show called Beach Goth, which is a party that the Growlers put on every year, and he happened to be there taking pictures. The thing is, Hedi loves Burger Records, saw us play, liked one of our songs and that was it!

PH: What else has been on the highlight reel since gaining more hype?
JK: We’ve been lucky enough to play Burgerama and Beach Goth and stuff, but I think playing Austin Psych Fest this year is definitely the coolest thing that’s happened to us.

PH: The vibe there last year was damn near perfect. Do you have a short list of bands you’re looking forward to seeing this year?
JK: Oh yeah! Well, Brian Jonestown Massacre is like, my favorite band of all time and they’re playing, so I’m really exciting for that! My others would be Nightbeats, who are a great band we’ve played with before, Holy Wave is another real rad band form Austin that’s playing, Moon Duo is a really cool band — that’s the guy from Wooden Ships — and Cosmonauts, obviously; they’re our friends and a great band and I always look forward to seeing them play.

PH: So you’ve never played in Florida with Froth before, have you? That must be an interesting homecoming! 
JK: Yeah, it’s going to be cool, man! It’s funny, our booking agent — when she was booking the tour — was like “Florida never gets any love. Let’s do like, Froth does Florida, and we’ll make a separate flier for it and stuff.” And it’s cool for me because I still have friends down there and stuff! It’s going to be awesome, I’m pretty interested to see what the turnouts are going to be because I never really knew about the music scenes there. I’m excited to jump in the ocean!

PH: What was your path into psych music, and how did the band come together? 
JK: Our drummer, Cameron, we got like, a year after we started, but at least the original three, me, Joojoo, who’s our singer, and Jeff, who plays omnichord, none of us had played in bands before. I started playing bass maybe like a month before I joined the band. And it was kind of like a joke; they’re a little younger and they used like tell people they had a band called Froth, but they never actually played music together. Like, Joojoo played guitar for like a year maybe. So, it started as a joke.

Jeff used to throw this thing called RBQ, and he would basically have a barbecue in his mom’s backyard and have bands play. One of the bands dropped out and they were like “Oh, we should play” and they had a few songs and that’s kind of how it started. So, I met them like a week later and they needed a bass player and I joined and, yeah — we sucked really bad in the beginning.

They were into psych music just because they grew up in El Segundo, which is on the West side of LA, and growing up out here, Ty Segall is huge and Thee Oh Sees and all of these bands, so they were exposed to it. But for me, because I grew up in Massachusetts where there was like no music scene at all, just through skateboarding videos, I found Brian Jonestown Massacre and they were the band that got me into psych. Then when I moved out here, there’s all these bands playing and I met all these people and I started listening to Nuggets and a lot of ‘60s music, and it’s just everywhere, you know?

PH: I find the bands that start off not being super proficient on their instruments fight a little harder to say something with whatever skills they may have. 
JK: Totally, yeah! It’s funny because we never really expected anything and we were kind of just like “Whoa, people actually like what we’re doing!” We were jamming so much in the beginning, every day, I had this lockout space and we would just go in there and jam for hours. Once we got our drummer, that’s what really legitimized us because he’s been playing in bands since middle school, and he kind of brought it all together, and then all this cool shit started happening and we’re still all surprised by it, you know?

PH: The production aesthetic used in psych recordings plays such an important role in how a band is perceived. Do you feel there is a defining line for Froth in what is written that transcends all of the echo and delay?
JK: I mean, the thing is, because we play a lot of shows — especially in the last year — and we’re so used to the live sound that that’s what we prefer. So for our record, we went in and recorded that whole thing live except for the vocals, and I feel like that’s how a lot of psychedelic bands are out here. There are bands that don’t play a lot and they’ll go in the studio and experiment — which is really awesome — but as far as our band and a lot of the other bands we play with, you just go in the studio and record it live because we work so hard on dialing in our live sound that that’s the only way we want it to sound.

We just love playing shows and we’re lucky enough to get a lot of offers with cool bands. We’re going to record on the 21st and we’re just going to go in and play all of our songs live and that’s how it’s going to sound.

PH: Tell me about how the omnichord found its way into the band’s sound.
JK: So Jeff, who plays the omnichord, at that time had never played an instrument. But he always went to shows and shot photos and was just a huge music fan. He saw the band Guards play and they had an omnichord and he asked them what it was and he just bought one on Ebay. I think he was just bored and had some extra money lying around and bought one. He didn’t even play it for like, six months, and then when Joojoo was like “Hey, let’s start this band” he started playing it! I mean, it’s really easy to play, too, but not a lot of people have them and it’s definitely responsible for our sound — between that and JuJu plays a twelve string guitar. But it’s kind of funny, he just started playing it for the band and now he’s got all kinds of crazy pedals and stuff and he’s getting more experimental with it. He has another omnichord and he circuit bent it and he’s definitely tripping out on that thing!

PH: It’s like your version of the 13th Floor Elevators electric jug! 
JK: It’s worked out for us. It’s cool, every show people come up to us after and ask “What the fuck is that thing?”

Listen/Download Froth on Bandcamp

Froth also play:
5/7 Will’s Pub, Orlando FL
5/8 Respectable Street, West Palm Beach, FL with Deaf Poets
5/9 RadioActive Records, FT Lauderdale, FL (Early Show)
5/9 Gramps, Miami, FL
5/10 Nobby’s, St Augustine, FL

~ David Von Bader

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