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Fraidycat caught my attention at a show we played together Oct. 21 of 2016. It was a Louisiana flood benefit show hosted by Sunnyvale on Grand and Morgan in Brooklyn. The headline included my band, Fruit and Flowers, Fraidycat, Lost Boy?, Sharkmuffin, and Dan Francia.
The show had yet to begin, but already it was a great crowd and the energy was just right. Everyone was socializing and ready to dance. I was sitting at the bar as Fraidycat set up on stage. When they began to play the sounds and rhythms they created lured me to the front and center of the stage. I studied each musician and how they played their instruments, their vibe and energy with the crowd, and song structure. This band truly lit my fire. Self proclaimed “slop pop,” their infectious melodies are reminiscent of the The Vaselines. It was head-bobbing, hip-shaking, feel-good music about “things that came up in therapy.”
I was dancing and snapping photos and video so I couldn’t forget them. This relatively new group formed in 2016 and consists of Andy Kinsey on bass and lead vocals, Charlotte Khan on drums and backup vocals, and Daniel de Juan on guitar.
Kinsey dances around the frets of his bass with a catchy leading melody and fuzzy punk rock tone. De Juan interplays with rhythmic jabs and riffs on guitar, and Charlotte keeps it all together with her drumming that hits in all the right places and with impactful backup vocals to boot. BTRtoday got in touch with the group to discuss their influences, creative process, and things to become in 2017.
BTRtoday (BTR): Tell me about where you all come from… geography, people, your idea of what fun was.
Andy Kinsey (AK): Danny’s from Atlanta, Charlotte’s from New York City, and I’m from Los Angeles. We must’ve all been into nerd stuff at some point cause we have fun trying to do complicated stuff all the time.
BTR: What were local haunts or bands you looked up to?
AK: I used to go to Mr. T’s Bowl all the time when I lived in LA. Kim Deal showed up one night and tried to get us to do drugs in the parking lot. She’ll always be a hero no matter what.
DJ: I went to school in Athens where I got into lots of the local early 2000s math rock scene, band like We Versus the Shark, Cinemechanica, and Maserati, which was my idea of fun.
CK: I grew up playing in a band at venues in the lower east side–the Knitting Factory, Sullivan Hall… Back when the LES was cool, or at least it seemed cool when I was in high school. We were pretty much a Strokes cover band.
BTR: What or who influenced you creatively?
CK: My drum teacher showed me Jeff Buckley when I was 13, which started my love affair with sadboi music.
DJ: Alternative time signatures.
AK: My older and younger cousins have always somewhat successfully played in bands that I’ve admired, so I guess they set the bar I continually try to beat.
BTR: What was the first instrument you fell in love with?
CK: I tried violin, flute, and handbells before I realized I have an aggression issue only abated by smashing on drums.
DJ: Those little white plastic recorders were the first instruments I ever played, but the guitar is the only one I’ve ever loved.
AK: Bass, cause it had less strings than guitar and I wanted to learn how to play “Longview.”
BTR: What was your first favorite song or one that affected you the most?
DJ: “I Wanna Sex You Up” by Color Me Bad. It didn’t rock very hard, but I did get to hide it from my parents.
AK: I used to get blackout drunk and cry listening to Abba but that was a long time ago and things have gotten better.
CK: Ace of Base.
BTR: When did you come to NYC? What attracted you? What repelled you?
DJ: I was afraid of becoming another Athens townie, so I came to Brooklyn and was pleased to find it’s a place where you can have an adult job and a band and there’s nothing too sad about either.
CK: Moved here when I was three years-old. The rest is history.
AK: I’ve lived here for 10 years and I never wanted to stay but things seem to keep working out.
BTR: When was Fraidycat born? Why? How?
AK: We met at an orgy, figured we’d probably be pretty good at music too.
BTR: Tell me about your writing and recording process.
AK: I wrote most of the tunes while in Shark?, but they’ve all changed and become our own as we’ve played them. We’re kinda new so we’re still trying new things and figuring it out as we go. I find writing helps me digest things emotionally, so I usually have to wait until some bad stuff happens so that I’m driven to write about it to get it out of my head.
BTR: Talk a bit about your released and upcoming songs/albums.
AK: We recorded an album at Silent Barn last year and a song from that is coming out on a Gimme Tinnitus/Mirror Universe sometime soon. Not sure when the whole thing will come out, but it will be released through GP Stripes and we’ve started working on new stuff. Danny’s got this thing in 11 that we’ve been messing around with.
BTR: Who inspires the music today?
AK: Our friends inspire us, bands we get to see over and over again like Sic Tic, Haybaby, Fruit & Flowers, and Thick. Pretty much every band on that Oh My Rockness list that came out [laughs]. It’s fun to see them try new stuff, do old stuff in new ways, to see what works and what doesn’t. Also depression inspires, I wouldn’t have anything to write about if I wasn’t confused and making mistakes all the time.
BTR: What’s the point?
AK: Keep writing, keep playing… duh. One day you won’t get to do this anymore.
BTR: What’s next?
AK: More shows and better songs.