DozenQ – Froskull

This entry is part 8 of 19 in the series DozenQ 4

Froskull – Blazing A Trail For Progressive Rock In Music City! “It’s a very inclusive genre… You can use your imagination on a much broader scale and draw from all sorts of influences that you might have as a musician.” – Brett Hammond, Froskull

Previously named Stephen Rockford Hammond Band, Froskull is the new moniker for Hammond’s current lineup featuring Jason Schond, Brett Hammond, and Adam Dennis.

Born and raised in Nashville, Stephen grew up at the very intersection of American musical culture. The spell of Music City ascended nascent childhood interest to wizardry as a performer, composer, and producer. In 2008, Stephen released his first full-length album, Flux Punch, named for the dissolved band in which he wrote the material.

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Shortly after the album release, Stephen recruited bass guitarist Jason Schond and founded the Stephen Rockford Hammond Band. While the group began performing songs from the critically acclaimed Flux Punch, Stephen brought a new and even higher level of sophistication to his songwriting. His newer amazing material subsequently transformed the band’s set lists into complex mosaics of electrifying fantasia.

In 2011 Stephen recruited his brother, guitarist Brett Hammond. Adam Dennis took over drums in 2012, and Stephen renamed the band Froskull.

As the band’s new image spread to the Internet community, music lovers worldwide engaged with Froskull’s first recordings. Froskull’s holistic musical style placed them in the spotlight of Jazz, Fusion, and Rock talk shows. They shared the stage with a spectrum of artists: from Nashville country stars Chris Young and Lee Brice to Rock and Roll legend Derek St. Holmes. A 2013 episode of 6minor Films’ Songwriter was dedicated to a glimpse inside the band’s process for writing, rehearsing, and performing.

A long-anticipated tour de force, Froskull’s 2014 full-length album is a shining dose of captivating euphony. A self-titled release, Froskull hallmarks the band’s technical eloquence, dynamic caprice, and aggressively cosmopolitan style.

Though nothing short of a fastidious progressive rock band, Froskull defies easy classification. Froskull’s wild expressiveness and “pan-genre” feel emote with average listeners while provoking more particular music lovers to lend an ear.

01. How did your band get together?

We were all living in Nashville looking for each other. We live in a town dominated by country music and really wanted to meet other musicians that were interested in creative, smart, progressive music. Stephen met Jason in 2008 shortly after Jason moved to Nashville. Stephen and Brett are brothers, but had never played in a band together before Brett joined Froskull in 2010. Stephen, Jason, and Brett met Adam through a craigslist ad.

02. Where did your name come from?

The band was first called Stephen Rockford Hammond Band years ago. The name was really long and uninteresting, no real potential for “branding.” Stephen has thick, curly hair and used to wear a big afro on his head. Friends still call him “Fro.” He named his recording studio “Castle Froskull.” That’s where the band name comes from. It’s named after Stephen’s studio which in turn is named after Stephen’s old hairstyle.

03. Who were your major influences and inspirations?

We have different backgrounds, but our common threads include music from many genres. We talk about Stone Temple Pilots a lot though it may not be obvious in the music we play. We were all really into the old prog rock that existed on the fringes of commercial music like Rush and Yes. We also like the sound and production quality of more modern bands like STP and Soundgarden. Nowadays it’s difficult to pinpoint an outside influence because we are really finding better ways to express ourselves and explore our own sound.

04. What drove you to make music together?

Honestly, in a way we are REQUIRED to make music together. The kind of music we play can be technically demanding at times. Frankly, it’s tough to find the kind of musician in Nashville who is capable and willing to rehearse this kind of music. We get along well and have chemistry, but we have to stick together because there aren’t many in Nashville who want to do it the way we want do it.

05. What can someone who has never seen you live before expect from your shows?

For starters, we don’t like to run our mouths between songs. It’s one song after the next. Boom boom boom. We do very dynamic and capricious sets, and unlike most prog rock bands, we don’t write songs over four minutes long. It’s always a very up and down, stop and go set. It’s interesting to say the least. We keep attention and hate staying at one tempo or volume for very long.

06. Who writes your songs? What types of themes and subjects do you deal with?

Stephen writes everything. The lyrics are usually weird prog rock stuff like exploring outer space, the significance of human lives and human relationships, existentialism, abstract points of view, religion and philosophy. Much of the music is heavily instrumental. Sometimes he writes about women, though.

07. How has your music evolved since you first began playing together?

We first began playing music from Stephen’s 2008 release called Flux Punch. That material was a little progressive but closer to the kind of Rock music you hear on the radio. When he returned to writing, things became way more sophisticated and technically challenging. The newer music is also more fun to play. The Froskull album is really out of this world compared to Flux Punch.

08. What has been your biggest challenge as a band? How were you able to overcome this?

Nashville is full of resources for musicians, but many of the resources are out of reach for small-time indie bands like Froskull. It can be difficult to find capable people who are willing to help you (even in music city). We continue to develop our brand pretty much by ourselves. We aren’t just musicians anymore. We have had to develop our skills as communicators, video producers, graphic artists, web designers, etc. We learned to wear all the hats needed to get things done the way we want them done. It’s funny because we often meet other musicians who have seen our online content and believe we are “connected” to someone in the “industry.” Truth is we aren’t connected to anyone at all. We make the sacrifices and do it all ourselves.

09. Does the band play covers? If so, do you argue over the choice of songs? Who usually gets his own way?

Sometimes we play a cover. Stephen used to like playing Zeppelin’s “Good Times, Bad Times.” Believe it or not, we often play our version of an old Bobby Brown song called “On Our Own.” We don’t argue over choice of songs. Stephen is the primary writer and the only one willing to do an arrangement of a cover for Froskull. Stephen always gets his way.

10. What do you love and hate outside of music?

We all really love women and beer. Some of us like Star Trek. We might all hate driving in Nashville.

11. Who would you most like to record with?

We especially like producer Brendan O’Brien. It’s a fairy tale idea, but we like the records he makes. We think a Froskull album produced by O’Brien would be a most fascinating marvel.

12. What should we be expecting from the band in the near future?

6minor Films has just released their first season of “Songwriter.” One episode was dedicated to a glimpse inside the band’s process for writing, rehearsing, and performing. Songwriter is now available on Amazon. We are doing a workshop for the Nashville Songwriters’ Association International next month to help promote the 6minor Films release. The Froskull album release is April 10. Stephen wants to get back to writing as soon as possible, but first we expect to play shows in our neck of the woods and promote this album as best we can. Prog rock isn’t in high demand in a country town, but we have the attention of the Internet community. So although we will enjoy getting back into the clubs and doing what we love, our promotion efforts will be focused on the web.

Web Links:

Tour dates 2014:
April 10 @ The East Room in Nashville (CD release)
May 22 @ The Rutledge in Nashville
(Nashville Songwriters Association International Workshop)

Link to buy current single:

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