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December 11, 2017

Chills from the Frills

There’s nothing like a heavy dose of irony to kick up punk appreciation. The not-so-frilly group “The Frills” know this well. The group members, all University of Massachusetts students, don’t even really like punk music, but they consider themselves part of the genre.

Video- The Frills “In Pencil”

Guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Lauren Garant, bassist Meagan Day and drummer Isaac Simon do, however, consider themselves influenced by punk music. Finding it hard to shimmy themselves into a musical mold, Garant describes their sound as “punk influenced garage rock.”

“We’re an electric band that tends to play high energy songs,” Day added. Simon, finding even harder to place a label on his music, has a hard time explaining his sound, claiming that his drumming is more like “rolling down a mountain top with fire.”

The Frills- “Don’t You Wish You Were Me?”

All in all, the band agrees that if they hate the way it sounds, they’re not playing it. If they wouldn’t want to listen to it, they’re not going to make the song. Garant explained, “If I’m in the middle of writing a song and I go – ‘God, I wouldn’t listen to this’- then I’m just going to stop writing it.”

Thanks to the Internet, there is so much music open for public consumption. Day summed it up and said, “There is no music shortage. You can afford to not play what isn’t good.” When a band tries to copy a band that already exists, the music loses its soul. The Frills won’t stand for that. Soulless music is and always will be banned from its speakers.

The Frills- “If the Kids Don’t Dance”

To keep its sound full of emotion and energy, the band places the primary writing in Garant’s hands. She, in turn, craps out songs in batches. “I just poop them out. They don’t really develop. I have this idea, and it’s gotta come out now. It all floods me at once, and that’s what it is,” she explains. For this pooping process to begin, she has to be emotionally constipated. Once there is so much build-up that she can’t hold it in anymore – boom – there’s a bowlful of songs to work with.

The band has come accustomed to Garant’s musical explosions. Day describes the song writing process as “insane real life karaoke.” The songs always evolve from the time they make it from Garant’s mind outburst to the time they’re put into bass lines and drum beats. Usually, drums are added last. Day said, “It sounds like one thing when we play it, then we bring it to Isaac and it sounds like something different and 100 percent better.”

The Frills- “Elation Conflagration”

It’s obvious that the girls of the band really appreciate their male counterpart and his “funk bringing.” As the newest edition to the band, Isaac came to the rescue after previous edition of the band was a still-birth. He was added to the team only two months before the band released its seven-song EP in the summer of 2009. “We got spoiled quickly (because of Isaac). It sounds like a sham when we practice without drums,” Garant said.

The creation of the group – including the almost-ska band that was buried due to poor band member gelling – was based on bassist farce. One day while Garant was fuming over her band formation frustration, she stormed out of Baker Hall and yelled, “I need a bassist!” Sitting on a nearby bench, Day answered to Garant’s cry for help with, “I play bass.” Ironically, that wasn’t at all true.

“I totally lied,” admitted Day. “I was like, ‘Well, my bass in St. Louis, which is where I’m from. But somehow, Lauren took this to mean I know how to play it or something. So, shortly thereafter – like in the next half an hour – we were in the room listening to music together and talking about music,” she said. The song Day and Garant wrote that day – “Elation” – served as proof that some musical chemistry was brewing.

That chemistry is still kicking for the band. They even played “Elation” in their set for WMUA’s Sweet Baby Lou and the Reverends of Funk’s live radio show. While staying true to its roots by playing old songs, The Frills are still making new songs from Garant’s brain excrement. The group has recently released an LP entitled “The Fairer Sound,” which is now available online.

The Frills frequent local venues and tour the area weekly. To check out their high-energy and raw music, head to www.myspace.com/nofrillsthrills.

Also, be sure to look out for the imminent birth of the ironically feminist band – Tits and Giggles – a Frills cover band.

Leigh Greaney can be reached for comment at lgreaney@student.umass.edu.

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