Fretts: A shot of slanted indie rock

by Hayden Eller

photo by Valerie Fife

When Fretts began the initial tracking session earlier this year for their debut full length (release date TBA), they had one simple rule: one night of recording, you get what you get. “We wanted dirty, raw, abrasive, energetic, blemished. We wanted this record to feel live and urgent; we decided that the best way to do that was to record all of the instruments in one night. That was the one rule, get all drums, bass and guitars in one sitting, if you didn’t get the “perfect” take, you might have to live with some mistakes,” singer/guitarist Jake Werrion said. Entering the studio at 5 p.m. on a Saturday night, the band began recording around 8.30 and didn’t stop until 6 a.m. the following morning.

While the recording process alone was far from routine, the evolution of Fretts as a group has been quite similar.  The group’s first release, The Goat EP (June 2015), was written/recorded entirely by Werrion. “I’m very proud of the EP, and I think it holds its own, but I wrote the whole thing with this Elliott Smith angle where I write and perform everything… it’s an exhausting process when you’re trying to write a rock album,” he said. After finishing the recording process, Joe Douglas (the project’s engineer) offered to play drums so the material could be transitioned into the live setting. Bassist Steven Arbuckle was added shortly thereafter.

Since the release of that initial EP a little over a year ago, the trio have been steadily gaining momentum within the local music scene, gaining a reputation for their solid song writing and their impressive live performances. “We’ve been able to play a show about once a month or so, and it’s been awesome getting to know the bands we’re sharing the stage with. We’d love to start playing some house shows, because that is a large part of the scene that we’ve yet to experience – it looks like so much fun,” Werrion said. When asked about their progress over the past year, the trio is quick to note the support they’ve received from the local community. “We’ve had a lot of support from venues like the Swillery and the Shakedown, as well as from What’s Up! and Brent Cole. The people who we’ve played for, they’re awesome and always friendly, they come up and approach us and share what they liked about our sets and that’s been one of the coolest part for me,” Werrion added.

Those who have already been exposed to Frett’s previous discography would surely agree that their music is a solid illustration of Werrion’s songwriting, which many have compared to Pavement and other alternative acts of the mid-90s. “The bouncer at the Underground said we sounded like Modest Mouse. I like that compliment a lot, though I’d put a $2 bill on Isaac Brock not caring too much for that,” Werrion laughed. The group has plans to tour the same route of many of those same bands, as they look to head down the I-5 corridor later this year.

“My plan is I-5: Olympia, Portland, etc. Steven is trying to see if there’s a way to fold the map so we can make four day trips happen over a weekend – we’d like to get as far as Missoula without losing our jobs,” Werrion said.

Fretts are not only a band to keep an eye on, they are a band to actively involve yourself in. They’re a great group of individuals, playing music that they believe in and care about wholly. And it’s damn good.

LIVE SHOW: See the Fretts on Sept. 7 at The Shakedown for the What’s Up! Local Showcase. Follow their Facebook page for updates.