Alysse Gafkjen/Courtesy of the artist
The music of Aaron Frazer feels a bit like stepping right into a time machine: It is bought touches of Curtis Mayfield and Carole King, but it surely’s additionally very a lot of this second. The Baltimore native, who’s greatest identified for enjoying drums and singing within the band Durand Jones & the Indications, says he was in the course of making dinner sooner or later when he bought a name from Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys, asking if they might make a file collectively. That solo album, Introducing…, was launched Friday, and Frazer joined NPR’s Lulu Garcia-Navarro to speak about it. Hear the radio model on the audio hyperlink, and browse on for an edited transcript.
This interview has been edited for size and readability.
Lulu Garcia-Navarro: I perceive you and Dan Auerbach wrote the album collectively in the middle of only a few days?
Aaron Frazer: Yeah, that is proper. We wrote the file over the course of 4 days. I believe we got here out with like 16 vocal tracks and 4 extra instrumentals. It was a dash, however I’ve by no means had a writing session so fruitful.
Is that what it is like when one thing simply clicks with somebody? All that artistic vitality simply explodes?
Yeah, I believe that is proper. I believe Dan tried to get me to a spot of accessing my intuitive songwriting as a result of, such as you stated, Carole King, Curtis Mayfield, these are such finely crafted songs. Every one is sort of a watch, or one thing. We each love 45s, these singles that sound uncooked and from the intestine. I believe the concept of this file was to discover a midpoint between one thing that feels good within the mind and one thing that feels good within the intestine and within the ear.
And Durand Jones and the Indications are identified for this very retro-soul form of sound. However on this album, you develop past these roots. Inform me in regards to the tune “Have Mercy.”
I like boleros — I’ve actually fallen in love with them over the previous few years, studying extra about them and their historical past. I wished to place a contact of that within the tune. This one is fairly autobiographical: the story of me assembly my woman and that feeling of being like, ‘Oh my gosh, this individual is so particular.’ And the concern that comes with that, of ‘I do not need to screw it up.’
You introduced in a variety of musicians to file: members of the Memphis Boys, who backed icons like Dusty Springfield and Aretha Franklin, but additionally some youthful artists. Inform me about that dynamic and what they dropped at the album.
I believe all people, each young and old, introduced such sensitivity and empathetic taking part in. Most of it was carried out dwell. A bunch of stuff on the file, musically, you may hear occur on the 2 [beat]: Like, one, increase. That is as a result of you might have people who find themselves listening first and reacting, letting different individuals set the tone and doing what must be carried out in response. I believe that is the working dynamic at Straightforward Eye, Dan Auerbach’s studio — all people working collectively to make issues occur. It is like a barn elevating.
There’s one tune particularly I need to hearken to, which displays a variety of what we have been listening to these days. Are you able to inform me what “Bad News” is about?
“Unhealthy Information” was written two Novembers in the past, however I believe it is solely gotten extra well timed as launch day was approaching. I wrote it to be heard nearly from the attitude of Mom Earth — like, I am on fireplace, I can barely preserve it turning. Nevertheless it’s additionally all of us on this second of relentless, ‘Yo, can I catch a break? Please?’ However we’ve to maintain marching ahead and waking up the following day and going again at it. … “Experience With Me” is one other local weather change tune. It is basic gospel type of imagery — the practice is on the station, you’ll be able to hear the diesel buzzing and we won’t afford to overlook it. It is a problem I believe so much about, and stress out so much about.
On condition that so many artists who’ve come earlier than me, particularly artists of coloration, have given me a lot, I really feel like I’ve a platform and I need to use it. I believe I can convey individuals pleasure and light-weight whereas additionally bringing them some place to really feel mourning or anger, outrage, disappointment. All these issues. That is what my heroes did: They made time to, on their data and of their lives, categorical all the scale of themselves in that approach.
Inform me about this time for you. How has it been not touring, not doing dwell music?
It has not been my favourite yr [laughs]. It is actually onerous to not tour. Having the ability to journey and meet individuals everywhere in the world, I am so grateful to have had that chance as a result of I really feel prefer it’s serving to me develop my perspective and perceive different individuals’s views. Particularly as a result of the form of music I make is [enjoyed] fairly extensively throughout the board: Possibly it is not your primary factor, however typically individuals do not hear soul and soul-adjacent music and go, “Oh my God, I can not stand this.” So yeah, not taking part in exhibits has positively made me really feel disconnected. Nevertheless it’s additionally been a time to take inventory of what the previous couple of years have been.
I ponder about what artwork goes to appear like after this era. Since you’ve been in New York, which has been so affected by the pandemic, do you suppose that is going to make its approach into your music sooner or later?
Durand Jones & the Indications, we’re beginning our subsequent album, this weekend and we positively have a few moments on there that had been born from what all of us shared and went by collectively this yr. I believe that this yr will have an effect on issues to return for some time, as so many previous previous moments of political chaos and different kinds of chaos have been mirrored in folklife, no matter type you outline it. I believe so much about Gill Scott Heron’s “H2Ogate Blues” and the way a lot it maps onto right this moment.
You Might Also Like
We’re all nonetheless coping with the ramifications of 2020, however fortuitously, George Moir has popped out an empathetic, clever, and...