Tuesday, January 24, 2012

In The Spotlight--Chris Frasco

Brooklyn NY's Chris Frasco plays the Galaxy Monday Jan 30th
Sometimes being in the right place at the right time pays off.  That's our feeling about booking Chris Frasco to play next Monday, January 30th at the Galaxy.  We had just canceled a show for that date that didn't appear to be working out, when Chris emailed us asking if we could put together a show for him to help him work his way back home.  In fact, the entire tour came about in much the same way.  "I had planned to tour in early 2012, but booking is such a gigantic process when you’re trying to cover large distances … and, truthfully, I’m an all-star procrastinator. A couple colleges in the Midwest ended up getting in touch to book me, so it seemed like the prime opportunity to make a tour out of it," he says.

He cautions against regularly putting a tour together this way however. "Unfortunately, I only had 20 days to put the whole thing together. All things considered, the result has been incredible. I have a solid run of shows, but I don’t advise last-minute booking… between the calling, e-mailing, and stressing, you lose a lot of sleep."  When not pulling a last minute Mid-Western US tour out of the bag, Frasco has also had the opportunity to play in Europe.  He relates to us that, "The Germans get me, man. Playing in Europe was really gratifying. I think the pedestal that American pop culture gets put on is a huge help to any artist trying to play over there. I felt like people really listened, and really appreciated my guitar-nonsense. I was warming up one morning at the hostel in Prague, and the 10 or so other people who were staying instantly became an audience. That was a really unique moment."  While we're clearly not a hostel, artists that have played here have regularly commented about how attentive our audiences have been, so we're hoping for a good turnout to make him feel right at home.

In addition to the impromptu gig in Prague, Frasco points to both of his cd release shows as particularly memorable moments.  "In Light and Shadow felt like a coming-of-age thing, even though I was 25. I played solo-acoustic, despite the album being very electric. I really tried to give them the Chris Frasco: VH1 Storytellers experience. I could finally present myself as a real artist, not just another guy writing songs in his spare time. I had a physical product.  Releasing Damage was like childbirth. The show was at The Bitter End, one of NYC’s most historically relevant music venues, with my full band. I was extremely tired, emotionally drained, and nervous. I had just finished mastering the album about 36 hours before we took the stage. The album is so personal and I felt really self-conscious about making that music public property. When we played “In My Veins” that night, I felt like I screamed out every ounce of pain that inspired the album," he says.

While comfortable playing with a full band, or in a solo acoustic environment, Frasco admits to being a solitary figure when writing.  He says, "I’m a jerk; nobody would want to write with me. Most of my process is self-loathingly self-critiquing every little aspect of everything until I don’t completely hate it.  But, really there’s no set process. The guitar part generally serves as the soapbox. Once I’ve come up with that, I just sing about whatever is on my mind until something either sounds good or seems relevant.  I’m not one of those singer/songwriters who sits down to write every day. I wish I could do that, but I don’t ever intentionally write. I let it come naturally because every time I’ve tried to take an assembly line approach to it, it’s a disaster. My songs all come from real-life inspiration." His songs have been called "A fresh departure from the typical singer/songwriter formula" and he's been recognized for his "manic fretwork" on the guitar. We can't wait!
 Give Chris Frasco A Listen
In spite of this desire to write alone, Frasco finds great pleasure in working with others as a producer.  Producing "gives me distance and perspective. When I produce my own music, I’m anything but objective. Every little decision feels so critical. Truthfully, I don’t even enjoy it, but I don’t trust anyone else to do it. Producing other artists allows me to make music in a positive, realistic state-of-mind. I love the process of tracking, arranging, and mixing… and when it’s someone else’s music, I get to take pleasure in it. There’s nothing like the experience of seeing an artist’s face when you’ve really nailed the mix of their song."

He adds that he "produced/mixed the debut album of the singer/songwriter known as yellowbirddd. That was really special. We’re close friends and I’ve always been such an admirer of his songwriting. I think him and I have learned a lot from each other, lyrically." 

When discussing the music industry at large with us, Frasco sounds like my long lost twin brother.  "I could rattle off a bunch of bitter, critical crap about the music industry … but the honest truth is that I really just don’t understand it. I see incredible artists who get continuously ignored. I see indisputably awful artists who are unstoppably successful.  In a perfect world, artistic value and talent would be the only things that mattered. But that’s certainly not the case. Labels or not, Internet or not … the world is a skewed place, and I think the music industry will always be a reflection of that"

Chris Frasco joins us Monday January 30th in a great lineup of singer-songwriters.  WolfCryer, Somebody's Something, and Kate Haralson & The Martins will also be performing, making for an outstanding evening of live music.  Our show begins at 7pm, and is just $5.00, all ages welcome.  Please come support this amazing lineup, and help us get Chris the gas money to get home!  Thanks to Chris for taking the time to talk with us, and we'll see you at the show!

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