q and also a :: Fred Thomas
Fred Thomas (of Saturday Looks Good to Me, City Center, Flashpapr, Boundless/Countless, Lovesick, Chore, His Name Is Alive) sent us these answers to our questions in this next installment of q and also a.
q: What is the last song you (really) heard?
a: I have a slightly messed up playlist that I listen to at the gym. It’s messed up in that there’s no real consistent vibe to it, the energy goes all over the place and it’s not super conducive to working out, but it still manages to work, and it’s the songs I listen to the most over and over. The songs from that collection that stick out as the ones I really, really heard the most are “Boys” by Charli XCX and “Tiny Baby”, which is the first song on the new Joan of Arc record.
q: What is the first album you remember purchasing?
a: Aerosmith “Permanent Vacation” (1987) on cassette. The Aerosmith logo was printed in yellow on the actual cassette case.
q: What is the last album that you purchased?
a: There’s a thing where you can vote between two different records to get pressed on vinyl for the first time and they press the winner in an edition of however many people order it. I voted in one of them for this collection of Judee Sill demos and live recordings and it won. As far as newer artists, I played a show with the band Dehd from Chicago and bought their record after their set blew me away.
q: What is your favorite memory of experiencing music in a live setting?
a: For a little while the Michigan noise scene was really tight-knit and groups of friends would have what was almost like private concerts for each other. Like maybe 10, 12 people in a really mellow, low-key party environment happening in these super normal cheap apartment complexes, but the music was way fucked. It felt so outside of commerce, status, anything really. It was just friends sharing their art in a really open and vulnerable way that drew everyone closer. When Clay Rendering started in 2012 or so, their first gigs were a string of shows in Italy. To warm up for the tour they set up in my basement and played with full on energy for me and my three other roommates. It was a gig, for sure, and felt like one, but it was so off any possible radar. Those kind of shows feel really special and rare to me, and hold some of my favorite memories of seeing music played.
q: What are the best and worst things about being a musician circa 2018?
a: The best thing for me is seeing other musicians take their sounds to places I would have never imagined, and getting so much energy and inspiration from that. Making music has never had any rules, but it seems to hold the same kind of success disparity as the rest of America. Just like the middle class is barely a thing anymore, there’s no middling indie bands, you’re either playing for 10 people or you’re selling places out. There’s a freedom in that and seeing people run with that freedom is really exciting.
Conversely, the worst thing for me about being a musician in 2018 is interacting with that same disparity of either being completely unknown or having some kind of commodifiable buzz. Even five or six years ago the press campaign for a new record from someone at my level was like “Record’s out today, check it out y’all!!!” The world of independent music press/hype/manufactured excitement seems really crowded now and you really have to push around to not have your work be swallowed by it.
q: What piece(s) of culture are you really really excited about right now (if any)?
Regional dances and a d.i.y. dancing culture in general seems to be happening in a big way right now, and that’s super exciting. People filming themselves doing dance challenges in their front yards and the videos have hundreds of millions of views because they’re really creating a new language with movement that’s informed by their friends, surroundings, the weather, what’s cool in their zone, etc. I love that it’s not at a place yet where corporate interests can even begin figuring out how to understand it, let alone package it and attempt to sell it back. Seems like the same agency exists in making up a dance that you know is incredible as does in starting a band you love. No one needs to approve of it or tell you it’s good, you know it’s good.
q: What should we know about Aftering?
Aftering is the third solo record I’ve made in the last five years, and it ties together with the two that came before it. There’s a whole twisting map of interlocking concepts, threads, counter-references and sonic notes that run throughout the non-linear trilogy, and this is the final chapter. Taken on its own, the album is a series of observations and memories made from the dead of winter, shuffled thoughts from a long, frozen walk. It starts with a short prelude, has four loud and aggressive rock songs and then falls off a cliff into four slower-burning and darkly reflective quieter jams. It ends abruptly.
Preorder Aftering @ https://fredthomasmusic.bandcamp.com/album/aftering
Fred Thomas is on tour this fall!
09/16 – Austin, TX @ The Mohawk – Indoor #
09/17 – Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall – Upstairs #
10/10 – Cincinnati, OH @ MOTR +
10/11 – Atlanta, GA @ The Earl +
10/13 – Asheville, NC @ Grey Eagle +
10/14 – Raleigh, NC @ Kings +
10/16 – Norfolk, VA @ Charlie’s Cafe +
10/17 – Washington DC @ Songbyrd +
10/19 – Philadelphia, PA @ Boot & Saddle +
10/20 – Brooklyn, NY @ Baby’s All Right +
10/21 – Portsmouth, NH @ Book & Bar +
10/23 – Montreal, QC @ Vitrola +
10/24 – Toronto, ON @ Baby G +
10/25 – Ann Arbor, MI @ Blind Pig +
10/26 – Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle +
11/30 – Seattle, WA @ Barboza #
12/01 – Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios #
# w/ Owen
+ w/ Anna Burch & Common Holly