Like a good stew, Frendo combines the scraps of different musicians and styles, which culminates in a satisfying experience that leaves a nice warm feeling. The year-old band is still perfecting its recipe for an instrumental pop-rock band that could almost be described as Radiohead with a trumpet.
“We’re just kind of weird,” said bassist Zack Teran. “There’s not a lot of instrumental bands trying to be poppy.”
Along with Teran, the band is comprised of keyboardist Kevin Lum, drummer Jon Hall and trumpeter Ruben Garcia. All of Frendo’s members come from the University of Nevada, Reno’s music program, except for Garcia, who is in graduate school for social work.
The Frendo band mates also play with some of Reno’s musical staples. Lum, Hall and Garcia all play in Keyser Soze, Teran plays with The Novelists, Lum also plays with My Flag is on Fire. However, the four aren’t original members of their other bands, limiting the four musicians’ control over those groups’ sounds. Though the Frendo members all enjoy playing with their other bands, they said the extra freedom is refreshing. The band members share a small bit of common ground but draw strength from their diverse musical tastes.
“We have a small shared musical background by being in school for four years together, but then everything that happened before that we all brought to the table,” said Hall. “We have all different bands that we listened to from different towns, different states, different people, different countries, so even though we share this amount of time together, there is a lot beyond that we can bring.”
The members of Frendo cite musical influences from Miles Davis to Death Cab for Cutie, Beethoven and the Descendents. This melting pot boils down to a creamy broth of catchy jams with the trumpet providing the brassy meatiness to round out the group’s sound.
The band has played house parties, bars and art events, but they haven’t been playing many gigs lately. The band is concentrating more on writing and trying to zero in on how it wants to represent itself.
“Along with writing, there goes a great deal of figuring out what we want to sound like,” said Hall. “The four of us can go in a room and jam for however long we want and come up with cool ideas and cool groves and stuff that sounds cool, but we have to figure out stuff that we want to be our sound.”
Lum is the lead explorer in the band’s quest for Frendo’s unique sound, providing the foundation for most of the band’s tunes. He’ll come in with a riff or a melody he wants to present to the band. But Lum thinks sometimes his new creations will sound a little too similar to the music he is currently listening to.
“I think that is when other band members come in,” said Teran. “Usually [Lum] brings in an idea, and we don’t know what the preconceptions of what that was, so we come in with whatever we have been listening to, whatever has been going on in our day, our lives, if we’re fucking pissed off, and we add something different to that part.”
Over the next year, Frendo wants to play a few more gigs and maybe even go on tour, but the band doesn’t know what is in its future. All the members are at different stages in their university careers and don’t really know where they will end up in a year’s time.
“I don’t know if there is too much of a point of trying to say, ‘This is where we are going to be,’” said Teran. “We’re all enjoying the music as it comes.”