Official music video for “Kids”
The Frights may have started out as a joke but there’s nothing funny about the unexpected rise they’ve experienced over the past three years. It all started when this group of high school friends—guitarist/vocalist Mikey Carnevale, drummer Marc Finn and bassist Richard Dotson—put together a six-song, 30-minute set and booked a show for fun. What they didn’t bank on was the fact that someone in the audience would enjoy it so much that they would want to release music immediately. “We kind of became a band by mistake,” Carnevale admits. Over the next few years the group released two well-received EPs and a full-length before teaming up with Dangerbird Records who are proud to be releasing the fuzz-drenched rock act’s second full length, You’re Are Going To Hate This, an album that shows that the group have evolved not only into a legitimate act but one that seems to have no limit to their potential.
In order to fully realize these songs, the group essentially harassed FIDLAR frontman Zac Carper until he finally came up with the idea to produce a few songs for The Frights. “We had played a couple of shows with FIDLAR and Mike would persistently email the band asking to take us on tour and Zac eventually responded and said he had listened to our songs and wanted to see if we would be open to having him produce some recordings,” Dotson explains. “At first we thought it would be a few songs or a demo but we somehow convinced him to do the whole record,” he adds with a laugh. “It was really just a case of annoying him until he had no other choice.” Finn could only spend a limited amount of time in the studio so after he flew out and tracked his drums the remaining members had months to go into the studio and add their own parts to these songs, which slowly began to come alive as they transitioned from sonic blueprints into something more tangible.
The group had four months to make You Are Going To Hate This, far more time than they had ever had in the past so Carper had them strip these songs down and build them up again by having them rehearse together with no reverb or effects in order to make sure they could stand on their own. “At first we were nervous when he would turn all of our knobs down while we were practicing but I think it really helped with the end result,” Carnevale says. He also adds that Carper would get make him think about intense experience such as, say, breaking up with his girlfriend in order to capture authentically emotional performances. “Zac really flipped these songs and made them something totally different than what they were in the practice space and that was really cool,” he continues. “We never really had a producer before so he changed the whole perspective of how we recorded these songs.”
This spirit of exploration and excitement is evident on all ten songs on You Are Going To Hate This from the upbeat exuberance of “All I Need” to the fuzzed-out blur of “Puppy Knuckles” and tender vulnerability of “Growing Up.” In fact even when Carnevale sings about depression and angst via lines like “everybody wants me dead but I just want to be left alone,” on “Kids” it’s relayed in such a catchy context that it’s far more uplifting than upsetting. “This album is super personal and it’s definitely about everything that was happening in my life at the time,” Carnevale says. “Most of the lyrics were written over the past year before we went into the studio but Zac really made me get introspective and in touch with a lot of feelings that I hadn’t really internalized and I think that really came out in the lyrics of these songs for the first time in a lot of ways. It’s relatable but not vague.”
Admittedly the material on You Are Going To Hate This is far different than what they’ve done in the past but it still retains the carefree nature of a band writing music for the pure joy of it without any lofty expectations. “Releasing this album is both nerve-racking and exciting,” Doston admits. “I think when people hear the entire record some of them will be taken by surprise but I mean that in a totally positive way. It’s been a long process writing, recording and releasing this album, so we’re just ready for everyone to finally be able to hear it see where we’re at now.” In the same way the title track is rooted in Doo-wop’s past but slides toward punk’s future, the album seems to largely exist outside of time and is more focused on finding that perfect hook than fitting in with a specific genre.
“I’ve always felt like we’ve been outsiders when it comes to any scene and this album is going to reaffirm our status as black sheep for sure,” Doston says, adding that he’s incredibly proud of how You Are Going To Hate This turned out. “There’s so many more instruments and tones on this album: the guitar sounds like it’s breaking in some songs and super harmonic in other tracks and now we can’t go back,” Carnevale, who literally stares adulthood in the face on the song “Of Age” admits. “We’ve set a new bar for ourselves to pass up with this record and I don’t know where we’ll go from here because this experience has definitely changed the way we look at writing and recording,” he summarizes. “We just can’t wait play these songs live and see where we go from here.”