Lost At Sea - 1998/2001
Interview with S. Cinca
Interview by Martin Heroin
Just off the top I kind of wanted to address the Tooth & Nail / Frodus thing. I know you were sketchy about signing with them because of the whole Christian thing and I must say that I was a bit surprised that you eventually did. But things have seemed to work out pleasingly for all parties thus far. What was it about T&N that outshined your reservations about the Christian rock stuff?
I had heard all kinds of rumors that we not true. We did a split with Roadside Monument w/ T&N to see if we liked them. Everyone that works there is really nice and on the ball. They really push their bands and I have no complaints.
In reference to the new album your website alludes to some special surprises. Care to elaborate at all (of course within the bounds of the Conglomerate's code of conduct)?
The FCI will not let me disclose any information on new sound experiments. I am at liberty to state that I am corresponding from the sound laboratory right now. We are 5 days deep with 25 to go. We are not permitted to know our current location. It is a lonely place.
Frodus has been around for quite a while now but there never seems to be a dull moment along the way. What kinds of things inspire you to maintain a creative flow and to not get tired and settle into the same old routine?
We are not inspired. We are told what to play and how to act from the Conglomerate. I have heard Led Zeppelin and Guns and Roses playing in the elevator at the offices.
How was the trip to Japan for you? How would you relate it to the United States or Europe?
Japan was a great investment. The people were very compliant. The band we toured with, Atomic Fireball, were great. They sound like Unsane meets Helmet. Far superior to any Anglo territory.
I think it would be safe to say that the Frodus voyage has been an eventful one. You never played at your first show due to a fire alarm that went off before you played. The Frodbus died while you were on tour out in California. You've been to Japan and Europe. Out of all the files in the Frodus folder, which ones stands out the most?
There are so many files and so many many incidents it is hard to recollect just one. One of the more memorable moments was when I was almost destroyed by Bandios Rick, leader of the Bandios bike gang for the North West. There is a picture of us with him on our website [http://www.artmonk.com/frodus]. It was November and we were playing Jay's Upstairs in Missoula, Montana. The other guys were upstairs and I was down stairs. There were some biker guys playing pool and I need to know how far we were from Seattle. I walked up to them and asked how far it was to Seattle. They started talking to me and then a different biker guy started yelling at from the bar. He walked up to me and started threatening to beat the hell out of me. That was the scariest moment of my life. This is really long story and I must make it short due to my assistance in a sound experiment. Over the next hour and a half we talked about what it was like to be the leader of a biker gang and what he does to keep peace in the North West between gangs. We talked about why he went jail and why he would kill someone. He was the scariest person I have ever met.
I am wondering when Frodus begin working with the Conglomerate? Have you been under their instruction since the beginning or were you recruited at some point?
We were told 6 years ago to follow some instructions or else. We followed, as should the listening public.
I'm thinking that the dawn of a new century must be an exciting time for the Conglomerate. With the possibility for computer failure induced chaos looming there must be a plethora of opportunities for subversive mind control.
What are the plans of Frodus for the famed night of December 31st, 1999?
We plan to fist fight people by the masses.
In 2001 Lost At Sea reinterviewed Frodus as an addendum to their previous interview.
Frodus : Conclusion
Since the first time their angular guitars and chaotic, churning, driving rhythm section rang in my ears, Frodus have burrowed themselves deeper and deeper into my perception of what rock and roll music is all about. Inside my mind, you see, there is a little room with white walls, a table with a few chairs and a bare light bulb suspended from the ceiling on a frayed electrical cord. The room looks not too much unlike those that you see used for Police interrogation in so many films and television programs. Above the door is a crooked sign reading, in red stenciled letters, ROCK. This is where great bands come to play inside my head, churning out set after set of music that is, at the moment, my perception of perfection. Some times this perception is based on aesthetic, at other times it is based simply in sound. For much of my post-discovery life (Discovery being those few months when you first discover a new wave of punk rock and fresh sounds come crawling out of the woodwork) Frodus has occupied that room, rocking out for hours on end in sync with my stereo or a memory or a dream. They can and do rock harder, longer and better than anyone who has entered that room.
Frodus is gone now - indeed they have been for some time - and the ROCK room in my head is the only place that they still play live. In my head. There are few things, especially in music, that really remind me that these ideals and these dreams and these rock and roll ambitions that we all have are valid. Few bands really remind us that few things are more powerful than creativity. Frodus was, and is, one of things. Although myself and certainly many others will long lament their departure from the stage, I am eternally thankful for the brilliant documentation of their sonic legacy, so that they may play on for others who do not visit the ROCK room. As a point of closure for myself, for other fans and hopefully for the band, I asked for and received an explanation of the end of Frodus.
-- CONCLUSION : Shelby Cinca speaks below --
Many things went into Frodus ending. We were at it for almost 7 years, always going through different labels for each album, which was hard considering we didn't have a steady 'home'. We were playing the hardcore/punk scene and being somewhat misunderstood since we weren't hardcore, and we weren't indie. We were something in between. People like to know where to place you and we couldn't be placed, so rock n' roll became our war.
We were also wearing thin on each other from touring so much and struggling as a band.
When we signed to Tooth & Nail it was in a period of the label branching out and expanding their roster along with gaining more indie distribution. The bands being signed were more interesting and they were really having a go at expanding beyond being a 'Christian label'. Eventually, the plan wasn't really happening to their idealistic vision and the people who worked and stood behind us left Tooth & Nail over the subsequent years. So basically when we were getting ready to record "Weapons" Tooth & Nail was a different label than the one we signed with in 1997. Definitely more focused on being a Christian label again with limited distribution avenues and limited exposure in the 'secular' market. We had a talk with the owner and we both decided that it would be best for us to leave; they couldn't work us how we should be worked. They offered to release us from our 3 record deal for the cost of our last record and publishing, which was amazing considering they would eat all the debts we incurred for the label like them buying us a van, plane tickets, et cetera. They really handled it like true giving Christians, which I thought was right on.
With this settled, we were now in label limbo. putting the finishing touches on our album and talking with a few labels about releasing our music. However, after a lot of thought and unhappiness with doing Frodus, we decided to call it quits. We were being pulled in different directions and time had simply had it's way with us. Frodus simply wasn't fun anymore and we had a lot of stresses in our lives, with our drummer's girlfriend being diagnosed with cancer and my father having a stroke in the same week in 6/99 (hence the song). After a few months, we spoke with our friend Jack who worked at M.I.A. Records (from NYC) and he said they would be interested in putting out our record. They offered us an amazing deal for being a defunct band. However, it was too good be true... the label was owned by a multi-million dollar oil tycoon and he decided to shut it down since it was one of his endeavors that wasn't making a lot of money. Our record didn't come out on M.I.A. and the masters were returned.
It was now the middle of the year 2000 and our record was yet again in limbo. Our drummer made some calls and we stumbled upon our friend Tony, who was an old Frodus fan that worked at Fueled By Ramen. Tony loved the record and decided they would put it out. He stepped in, bought the record from Tooth & Nail, and the rest is history.
With the time away from the band we all settled into new routines and new endeavors. Our bassist, Nathan, went back to school and was working on his own material, I was writing songs for a pop side-project started in 1999 called 'The Cassettes' along with starting to play in Blue Bird in the latter part of the year. Jason was gone for many months that year since his girlfriend and our friend, Alanna, passed away. He went to South America and traveled around the continent to temples and exotic places to clear his mind. There he came up with the plan to begin writing a book about the whole experience he went through with her getting cancer. We got together later in the year to jam... it was kind of fun but the vibe wasn't there so we really didn't pursue it. Time passed, things changed... it was a new era in our lives and time for us to go our different paths.
In the end of it all, what matters to us is that we are all still friends and we have grown with our experiences. We let out a lot of different feelings on our last record, from the despair of '6.99', the frustration of touring in 'Red Bull of Juarez', and the state of the world in 'The Earth Isn't Humming' along with many other similar themes. We experienced death, sickness, love, and life. I like to think that our final record will be a good companion to those in similar situations, those who have similar views on the world and life, and those who simply like music.
With the musical entity of Frodus breaking up after recording something we put so much of our hearts into - I feel it makes it more powerful than any show could ever be. It's honest and it lasts forever. You can always put the record on again. It's the perfect portrait to end with and bow out respectfully.
The machines never died.