Single Frame: Interview
Kicking the Nasal Spray
Austin-based trio, Single Frame, has turned out one of the year's best
albums. It's full of about anything a music fan could need. I was anxious to see
how their year has been going for them since the release of Wetheads Come
Running and Burn Radio Airtest, and I also wanted to see where they'd
be going in the next year. With a fall tour in the works, and new material
already in the bag, 2004 promises to be an even bigger year than
2003. Scheduling conflicts (and my lack of desire to board a plane) made it
difficult to sit down with the guys; therefore, we opted for the easy way out:
an email interview. This is what Jason, Adreon, and Brendan had to say.
Amneziak: First of all, thank you for taking time to speak with TinyMixTapes.
It's a great pleasure to have the opportunity to talk to you. Which member(s)
do I have with me today?
Jason Schleter: Thanks for having us.
Adreon Henry: This feels like a Ouija session.
Amneziak: Welcome gentlemen. Are you all in good health? Staying out of the
hellish Texas sun?
Adreon: Claudette stole the sun, but I'm still jumping rope and downing St.
Amneziak: One of the things that initially intrigued me about Wetheads Come
Running is that on first listen it appears to be somewhat messy; yet in
reality it's very melodic and beautiful. Is this something that is important to
you in your work?
Brendan: What's most important to me is just trying to create something
different, fresh, and relevant; whatever the means are to achieve it. Sometimes
you need to paint with a fine needle nose brush to keep yourself on your toes:
sometimes with a firehose.
Amneziak: The song “Comm. Jet (Creepykid Remix)” is probably the most
“user-friendly” track on the album, and one that a lot of people cite as being
their favorite. Is this song really a remix, and if so, who is Creepykid?
SFA: CreepyKid is a pasty, agoraphobic geek that likes pills, cheap beer, and
David Lynch. He also creates some really crazy good artwork and is an evil
genius with electronics. He's collaborated in depth on a project called The
Black Lodge that remixes all sorts of stuff. His world domination
campaign is at:
Amneziak: What is the typical approach for Single Frame when writing a song? Do
you have bits and pieces that somehow come together in the end? Do any of your
songs simply come out of jam sessions? Are there any that have forced you in to
rehab that will never see the light of day because you just couldn't get them
the way you wanted after numerous tries? Elaborate, please.
Jason: I'm sure we're just like anyone else when it comes to writing songs. It's
an architectural process that sometimes takes weeks/months to complete, and then
it ends up only clocking in at 2 and half minutes or something.
Brendan: We try to avoid a formula approach to writing songs.
We've written songs by accident while warming up or by building something around
the rhythm of a washing machine recorded on the four-track. There are definitely
some songs that we've spent days developing and a stack of loot recording just
to decide its total shit. Then again, some of our songs were probably written
and completed in thirty minutes. As for rehab, we're very proud of Adreon for
kicking the nasal spray.
Amneziak: With a full-length album and an EP now under your belt, are you guys
starting to get a little more comfortable with your style and approach to
putting together material? Basically, is it getting easier to vibe off each
Adreon: I think that getting used to each other's personalities and
idiosyncrasies have been more of an issue than getting used to each other's
style and vibes, which actually is an extension of these…
Jason: It has never really been a problem putting together material. It's just
the process of maturing and revamping our sound that becomes tedious. No one
wants to become stale.
Amneziak: I've noticed that you haven't been touring much
outside the state of Texas, but now that your music is starting to slowly make
its way throughout the country, do you see yourselves eventually hitting the
road to support the albums? Are you excited or nervous about getting out
there? Gas is expensive, you know.
Brendan: Touring is our number one priority right now. I can't count the
number of emails asking when we're going to be in LA, Mississippi, Toronto,
Madison, or Italy, or whatever, so we're chomping at the bit to get out there.
Unfortunately, it's just not a quick process to set it up right and make sure
that when we get back that Jason will still be able to afford biscuits and gravy
Adreon: We're trying to avoid the “playing for 12 people in Little Rock” story.
Speaking of your music making its way throughout the country, how hard has it
been to keep up with all the orders for your new album?
SFA: Who's keeping up? Actually, we're caught up now. But, they were going so
fast we were backordered for weeks for a while there. It was pretty stressful,
but thankfully everyone was super patient about their orders. I can definitely
think of worse problems to have. Anyway, we're used to the volume now, and have
made adjustments business-wise to keep up with the demand.
Amneziak: I noticed on your site (and when I got mine in the mail) that you made
the Burn Radio Airtest cd cases yourselves. I personally think it's a
nice touch. How important was this DIY approach for you? Was it just
Brendan: I'm not sure it was out of necessity. Adreon just had this idea for
cover art that we didn't think any companies would be willing to undertake for a
reasonable price. We knew we could do it just as well if not better. We also
like the idea of giving people something with a little personal touch that
wasn't exactly the same as the one their cousin got. Plus, it was a great excuse
to sniff some serious paint fumes for a few days.
Adreon: We decided to use the tools we had available to us in a unique (I think)
manner…sort of like Harmony Korine's use of digital cameras/ filming in
Jason: It's just a sharper look. You have more pride in your work after you do
it by hand. It becomes harder to sell it for only 10 bucks.
Amneziak: After you've released an album, what is the one
thing you want people to take with them once they've heard it and the disc
Brendan: Actually, we purposely try to design our albums so that they flow
well on repeat.
Adreon: I'd want them to feel that with more listens the album would have more
to offer – the idea that it will grow on you, while at the same time, possessing
riffs and structures that are instantly familiar and liked – hopefully a perfect
combination of these two elements.
Amneziak: It seems most bands today are always compared to someone else. When
people come to you and say you sound like this band, or that band, how is that
received? Also, what is the lamest comparison you've heard? Did it make you
want to pack up and quit? Laugh? Fight?
Jason: I just nod my head and smile. Everyone is influenced by something, and
that will eventually come out in their writing. People will always associate
bands with others and name drop this and that just to show of their
vocabulary...I know, I'm just as guilty. I haven't really heard any comparisons
that were too bad, but there's always tomorrow.
Adreon: It is always interesting to get perspectives of fresh
ears. It helps us get an idea of where people are coming from (what musical
backgrounds people have). A majority of the time you don't see the comparison
until someone brings it to light and then you sit back and go, “Okay, I can see
that,” or “Hmmm, where did they get that?”
Brendan: I suppose everything in life is relative in one way or another. I'm
sure that anytime anyone listens to anything, they try to reference it to as
much or as little as they know. Add this to the fact that everyone has a
different motivation for voicing their opinion whether it be flattery, jealousy,
pity, self-importance or self deprecation, and you really can't read too much
into it, good or bad. Although, I admit I pay more attention to the good
Amneziak: I have a love for the arts. Has there been anyone in your
lives, outside the music industry, that has really moved you to create? How has
this person helped you conceptualize your music?
Brendan: I'll let Adreon answer this while I go get a beer.
Adreon: David Lynch is the first person that comes to mind, also Man Ray,
Duchamp, Harry Houdini, Brett Easton Ellis, Sylvia Plath, Tom Wolfe, Maya Deren,
Ram Daas, Neil Blender, Heather Brondy, Guy Maddin and National Geographic.
Jason: I am my own idol.
Amneziak: I read that you were going to be working on a new album soon. How is
that going and when is a rough date of release?
Brendan: We've got all sorts of stuff in the works. Unfortunately, we're
swamped with arranging booking, managing distribution, advertising, living at
the post office, organizing represses and the like. We're waiting for our fairy
godmother to come down and help us handle the business end, so we can spend more
time writing and playing. Our goal has been to have a new full-length ready for
the fall, but realistically it'd be more like the beginning of next year.
Amneziak: I imagine since you're in Austin, you pretty much have the freedom to
see just about any band you want live. Do you get involved in the scene there
when you're not playing? Any shows lately that have just blown your mind? Or
any bands that you feel should have more attention?
Brendan: For some reason, we don't really get involved in the scene as a
social thing. I'm not against it or anything. I've met a lot of cool people
amongst the Austin band scene, but we're all really caught up in the various
things we're doing. Beer is not cheap downtown, either. I can't say I've seen
all that much lately. I'm sure I've missed a ton of incredible shows. I dig the
Adreon: I got a great feeling when I saw Kaito. The Fall still lays it down. The
Oranges Band deserves more attention, but so do Broken Social Scene, Firewater,
The Octopus Project, Flin Flon, Love As Laughter and many others.
I saw the Ex Models a few weeks
(maybe months?) ago and I think they should be receiving more attention than
what they got that night, they're live shows are insane. As for getting
involved with this scene...I don't know... sometimes it just looks like high
What have you been listening to lately? More specifically, what do you listen
to when you want to escape the genres that have influenced you most?
Adreon: Lately, I have been listening to the above bands as well as Nothing
Painted Blue, The Walk-era Cure, Kriedler, Chrome, A Certain Ratio, and
Space Needle. When I want a break from it all: Tom Waits, Angelo Badalamenti,
Miles Davis, Pell Mell, Johnny Horton, Art Blakey and Clarence Carter.
Jason: I've been listening to Pere Ubu and the Plastics lately, as for my
escape, I'll tune into the classical station.
Brendan: My favorites of late are Broken Social Scene and
Kaito. More than anything else, I probably listen to classical. Not snotty,
intellectual, sprock classical, but “this or I'll kill you” classical.
Amneziak: What musical artist do you like that maybe people would laugh about if
Adreon: Midnight Star, Whoudini, Clarence Carter, The Boogie Boys, Motley Crue
Brendan: I have to say I have a strange affinity for really bad local radio
jingles like Henna Chevrolet, Mr. Gatti's, and Second Looks Apparel.
Jason: Carlo Gesualdo.
Amneziak: I know you haven't made it to Cribs status yet, but have your friends
and family asked to borrow any money from you now that you're selling records?
Jason: I still owe my dad a
few hundred dollars. Maybe next week I'll cut that check.
Brendan: Maybe not.
Amneziak: Which do you prefer?
Delta Blues or Avant-Garde Jazz? I live in Austin. I'd rather stick burning pine needles in my eye than listen to blues.
Mexican or Italian Food? Italian
Blondes or Brunettes? Blondes
Dreams or Nightmares? Dreams where I realize I'm dreaming and can control the dream. You know what happens then. Seriously.
Beaches or Mountains? Beaches
The Beatles or Elvis? Beatles
Rolling Stone or Wire Magazine? Wire
Dukes of Hazzard or A-Team? Dukes
Cartoons or Reality TV? Cartoons. For reality TV, see burning "pine needles.”
Bus or Airplane? Bus
Houston Texans or Dallas Cowboys? Cowboys
Delta Blues or Avant-Garde Jazz? AGJ
Mexican or Italian Food? Mex
Blondes or Brunettes? Blondes
Dreams or Nightmares? Aren't these the same?
Beaches or Mountains? Beaches over Mountains, Deserts over Beaches.
The Beatles or Elvis? Costello and the Attractions
Rolling Stone or Wire Magazine? Anything but RollingStone.
Dukes of Hazzard or A-Team? The Dukes.
Cartoons or Reality TV? Cartoons, any day.
Bus or Airplane? Airplane
Houston Texans or Dallas Cowboys? What happened to the Oilers?
Delta Blues or Avant-Garde Jazz?Avant garde jazz
Mexican or Italian Food? definitely Italian
Blondes or Brunettes? either is fine
Dreams or Nightmares? no more nightmares
please......(we all know what brenden's going to put)
Beaches or Mountains? ugh
The Beatles or Elvis? I'm starting to dig Elvis a lot
more these days
Rolling Stone or Wire Magazine? Wire.
Dukes of Hazzard or A-Team? The A-Team!
Cartoons or Reality TV? maybe cartoons..?
Bus or Airplane? Airplane, without a doubt
Houston Texans or Dallas Cowboys? oh no.
Amneziak: In your opinion, who's the hottest looking actress in Hollywood?
Adreon: Melanie Griffith
Jason: Probably the blonde
in Muholland Dr., even though I can't remember her name.
Amneziak: And finally, any last comments? Feel free to share any pictures/album
covers/poems/short stories/websites here that have made you laugh, cry, kill,
etc… This is your time to be creative!
Jason: I shoot cans.
Brendan: My friend Reagan found the thong man. I think that's pretty crazy.
Adreon: mysticball.com, Matthew Barney's Cremaster Cycle, random photos.