Before Joo-Joo Ashworth (vocals, guitar) and Jeff Fribourg (omnichord) had written a real song, they had a fake band called Froth, and were making a fake record - a blank one that would spin for 20 minutes without making a sound.
In 2011, Froth was more of a concept, a joke, even. Nothing either Ashworth or Fribourg took seriously. After all, half of the group didn't even know how to play an instrument. Fribourg designed the cover art for the silent debut before he even learned to play the omnichord, an impulsive eBay purchase that had been sitting in his room for months.
They never put out the blank record, but in 2012, they did actually form the band - as an accident. When the Abigails dropped out from playing Ourbq, a mini-festival held in Fribourg's backyard, duty called for Froth. They scrambled to put together some songs, and for the very first time, actually played.
"It was a disaster," says Fribourg. But with this unexpected start came some unexpectedly good music. For a band that began as a joke, the dreamy neo-psychedelic rock Froth produced was not.
Jeremy Katz was added on bass after picking one up for the first time only a month earlier. Cameron Allen joined in on drums after a steady career with local favorites Wyatt Blair and Keepers of the Sun. "He was a real musician while we were fake ones," jokes Ashworth.
With this new dose of "real" musicianship, Froth finally materialized as a "real" band. Wyatt Blair and Tomas Dolas, founders of Echo Park based indie label Lolipop Records - the "day care for Echo Park bands," Fribourg puts it - pledged support to the amateur group. "They're pretty much our dads," Ashworth says of the label that motivated Froth to keep going.
Lolipop Records wasn't alone, though. After Froth's self-released EP, Gas Money, sold out in late 2012, Burger Records hopped on the Froth bandwagon to release their first full-length, Patterns, in July 2013 (the album was re-releaed on Lolipop Records January 2014).
After joining the prolific Burger Records' family, they were noticed by Hedi Slimane, the creative director of Parisian high-fashion brand Saint Laurent.
Slimane scouted the group at The Growlers' Beach Goth Party to record an extended version of their track "General Education" for the Saint Laurent Men's Fall 2014 line. The song was originally less than four minutes long. Slimane asked for 20.
"We'd send him something and he would say, 'No, it's not right yet,'" says Katz. "He pushes you to live up to his standard of professionalism."
"He has a vision for shit," adds Fribourg. "He's a genius."
Don't get the wrong idea, though. Froth still don't take themselvestoo
seriously. When asked what inspires their music, Ashworth quickly responds, "Girls."
"I'm not political. I don't pay attention to important things." He's mostly joking, but that's not uncommon for the guys in Froth. Heck, the band started as a joke.
Aside from touring the U.S. and a few members being involved with running Lolipop Records, the guys also spend their time arguing about whether or not they actually saw a UFO while touring through New Mexico.
"I don't believe in fucking anything but I'm 100% sure it was a UFO," says Ashworth.
Katz responds, "I'm pretty sure it was a parachute with a light on it."
"I think what Jeremy's overlooking is that we actually time travelled at that moment," adds Fribourg.
Allen didn't say much.
Katz also tells about the band's continuing "science project" - they placed two orange slices on their van's dashboard weeks ago and have been watching them rot ever since.
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"We're still figuring out who's going to eat them."
Catch Froth Thursday, April 24 at the Echo and Saturday, April 26 at Desert Daze.