1. So for anyone unfamiliar with The FRST, tell us a little bit about your backstory and how you ended up here.
Before The Frst I spent about a decade behind the scenes as a musician and writer, perhaps best known for my experiences on the Vans Warped Tour, Grand Ole Opry, and sharing stages with artists like Portugal. The Man, Sublime with Rome, The Village People, Steve Miller, and many more. As for this project, I wanted to create something that was unapologetic and uncompromising in vision, and to record songs for the right reasons. I recorded 3 singles myself (Another One, Cycles, Seven-Eleven) with the help of James Paul Wisner (Paramore, Dashboard Confessional) before our fourth single (Rules) which saw the beginning of the “all-star lineup” as it’s now been called (laughs).
2. What’s Happening Now: Tell us about what you are currently up to, Here you can put in a press release to plug your latest offering.
“Prelude” our debut LP dropped a few weeks ago and we were graced with our initial taste of success at US FM Radio with over two dozen station adds. “Tarantino” climbed to #19 on legendary KXFM in Laguna Beach, CA, earning us favorable reviews from American Songwriter, Alternative Press, and of course Rock N Load, which was a big win for us (laughs)! Our new studio is almost completed, and we couldn’t be more ready to move in there and start making some noise!
3. How was your lockdown experience, did you take time to reset or get creative, write, and throw yourself into your craft?
It’s been pretty hectic, we had to move half a dozen times because the tornadoes put the finishing touches on our house, but ultimately incredibly blessed to have survived all this madness, especially with so much activity. That being said, we’ve got about 30 tunes on the chopping block for the next record, and a little less than half of them have completed pre-production. If you can’t tell, I’m pretty excited about it! (laughs)
4. How do you see the music industry adapting coming out off the back of COVID-19?
Well, for one thing, I think anybody who appreciates music now has a deeper appreciation of live music! That being said, I also think touring is more of a novelty now, we’ve seen a lot of new artists breakout online during the quarantine. It’s certainly helped level the playing field a little bit, as well as progress the live streaming technology forward. I don’t see it as purely negative.
5. The way we all consume music these days is constantly evolving, do you feel you have to approach releasing new music differently now and what challenges does that pose?
Well when I started The Frst, I said we’d release one single at a time, with a music video for each track. We managed to accomplish that, although Simulation was released with the Augmented Reality app, and Slow was released with the album as a bonus track; but it certainly wasn’t an easy feat on a small independent label (Missing i Records). That being said, the upcoming second album has more of an overarching theme to it, and is intended for consumption that way, but we will certainly chop it up into singles, it’s just the world we live in at the moment. It’s back to the 50’s format – all about the singles. I’m sure in a few years we’ll see a popular return of concept albums, after all everything in this business goes in cycles! (laughs)
6. Do these same challenges mean you have to manage your expectations differently as to what it means to be successful in this constantly challenging industry?
Absolutely. The days of luxury are over for the majority of musicians, particularly rockers. John Mayer once said, “You have to celebrate the small milestones,” so we try to follow that principle, which isn’t always easy. Comparison is the thief of joy.
7. What do you think is needed to support up-and-coming bands like yourselves to ensure longevity in the industry and creatives alike?
By asking that question you’re already on the right track! (laughs) Features like these always help, actually buying some merchandise, and of course saving the songs to playlists ensures streams for years to come. We’ve expanded our merch line to include Covid-19 face masks (https://www.thefrst.com/
store/the-frst-face-mask- covid-19) that are fully scannable with our Augmented Reality App (thefrst.com/app).
8. What can we expect from The FRST moving into 2021?
Our sophomore full length, “This Never Happened”, along with over half a dozen new singles and music videos. Some of the videos will be more performance based, because on songs like “Tarantino” for example, fans are usually more impressed when they find out one guy made all of that noise alone. I think they’ll appreciate what it looks like in studio, running around between each instrument (laughs). Having said that, you can expect the return of the “All Star Band” along with several new guest features. Grammy winner Steve Hardy will be mixing the whole record this time, instead of just a few tracks like “Prelude”.
Give Us A Hint Of Your Influences & Inspiration
Nine Inch Nails has been a massive inspiration of mine from my formative years onward. While The Downward Spiral is probably my overall top pick, Pretty Hate Machine’s “Head Like A Hole” was such an influence on what I do now with The Frst. Trent Reznor played all the instruments himself, despite his insecurities of playing guitar, and that was a major reason I decided to release our debut single “Another One”. The fact that it was self-produced in spare studio time gave me even more inspiration because it didn’t matter whether it was a technically perfect record or not – the raw, unsurpassed emotion was there, and that’s what fans and critics connected with. Of course, in retrospect, there are sharper, cleaner, more popular NIN albums and songs, but if it weren’t for “Head Like A Hole”, there wouldn’t BE a Nine Inch Nails.
To me, Nine Inch Nails embodies everything a good record should have, loud instruments, a dynamic vocal range, hard-hitting lyrics, and even more you can dance to it despite its apparent heaviness. Trent Reznor helped push the boundaries of music forward, and we’re still feeling the ripple effect today.