January 12, 2016

Premiere: Freind - "Chemtrails"

Listen to a new track from Brooklyn's Freind.

As a young-ish person, it's hard to be chill about the future. It seems like every year the streets of New York are somehow more crowded and you could feel everyone's uneasiness about December's unseasonably warm winter. With all of the problems in the world rapidly creeping up, how can we imagine another generation taking our place? Musician Alex Daud muses on these anxieties on the song "Chemtrails", which first appeared online in 2014 under the name Hi Priestess. The synth-focused track is minimal but has a subtle tone of chaos as Alex practically chants "Fattened compensation blatant operation radiant vacation / Take it away, please". Her fears of bringing new life into this world are mirrored in the frantic nature of the song.

Since then, Alex has expanded her talents into the band Freind (yes, spelled correctly) with actual friends and self-taught musicians Gus Callahan, Vanessa Castro, Andrew Emge, and Eli Guterman. Their first EP as the group will be out out later this month, and we're excited to premiere the second song off of it, which is a fleshed out update of "Chemtrails". Alex's growth is audible within the first chords of the song as it takes on a much more psychedelic and psychotic tone. The Freind version of the song shows how far Alex has come in the last two years, and how much the full band has to offer as a five-piece. Check out "Chemtrails" below and don't miss Freind at their EP release show at Baby's All Right on January 21st.

Alex Daud on "Chemtrails":

"The writing process for “Chemtrails,” as with most of my songs, started within the recording process. I begin every song by opening up a session in Logic and recording myself playing, which usually starts with improvisation. In this case, I started with a guitar riff and wrote a drum part on my drum machine next. As the recording process continued, everything else fell into place easily. Lyrics, however, are always the hardest and last part of my process. I don’t really consider myself to be a songwriter, poet, or lyricist — or a “front woman” for that matter. I feel like more of a composer/producer, and in general I care more about musicality in songs I like rather than lyricism. But essentially, the song expresses my power in being able to create new life on this planet, but also my overwhelming fear and hesitance to do so. We wanted the production to reflect the meaning clearly, if not clearer than the lyrics. 

I actually wrote this song and released it under my solo moniker Hi Priestess way before Freind was even a thought in any of our heads, so while I wrote all the parts for 'Chemtrails', the band elaborated on their parts. And then the mixing process — which Andrew, our drummer, did the majority of — brought a new sound to it. If you listen to my home recording of the song (which you can find at fetalexcretion.bandcamp.com), you can tell I was going for a chaotic sound: the guitar feeds back, the synth is noisy, the meter alternates, and I wanted everything to be too loud. But it’s hard to get distortion to cut through in a crisp way in a lo-fi recording. So, our new recording represents the same ideas but in a more controlled and polished way: we still wanted my voice to be almost swallowed by the noisey synth (that Gus, our synth player, geniusly blended radio commercials into), the drums are live and crunchy, and I literally demanded that Andrew put a ridiculous auto-wah on one of the bass tracks to get a warbly swallowing sound in the low end."


Listen to Freind on bandcamp.

Written by Emily Thompson