Frog are one of those bands you don't just like, if you're into them, then the chances are you've really fallen for them. If you say their name to people outside of your twee little circle of friends they'll probably straight face you, but when someone smiles back in recognition, you know you've found a friend for life. When we found out that Audio Antihero were reissuing their self-titled debut EP we figured it was a good excuse to ask Daniel Bateman to talk us through it. Which, being the perfect gentleman, he did...

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"Frog" by frog was the first record I did totally by myself: Wrote it all, played it all (obviously except Tom's parts), recorded it all, and mixed it all. I was still learning how to use plugins, still learning how to mix. This is why the bass drum is sometimes in the left speaker for some reason, this is why the last song has a high frequency pitch that runs through the whole thing, this is why most of the sonic information present is only in one frequency range. I had no idea what I was doing. To be honest, I still don't.

I always thought it was a lost classic, but then again I think that about every record I've ever made. Tom didn't really know how to play the drums yet, we didn't really know how to record anything, we didn't really know how to play in time (still don't), but we did know how to make a lot of noise. This band basically started because we felt pent up in our other projects and we just wanted to have fun destroying our hearing. Which we did! Cue the tinnitus in my right ear kicking it into a higher gear. With Kind of Blah, we had a label behind us, we had a few fans in some blogs, so there was a little more oomph behind our pr and release efforts; when I first put FBF on Bandcamp, I just sent 50 blogs the same email with a few names/blurb details subbed in depending on the audience. With ~ 50% of these emails, I subbed in the wrong name, forgot to change the 'Hi ___ ' part, and basically embarrassed myself completely. It's a good thing none of these blogs actually open their emails! Otherwise I'd be a total failure. Wait... darn. Probably why I'm a total failure.

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Ichabod Crane

Wrote this on an acoustic, with a fingerpicking, stomping, backwoods redneck vibe, and then translated it to the band with the help of lots of delay. Honestly, I really had no idea how to use any of these plugins at this point. You can hear how this style of song evolved if you listen to Knocking on the Door from the next record! They're basically the same song, so we can't play them in the same set together or else everyone will figure that out.


Arkansas

This song is about WWI. I've loved the first world war since I first read a novelization of the Young Indiana Jones TV series that was on in the early 90s. I was 6 years old. I recently went back and actually watched the show the novels were based on; turns out it wasn't actually that good :/ This was the first song I wrote from start to finish with Tom in the room, and it basically came together in 5 minutes, words and music. At this point, a frog song had to have 1) a sick riff, probably fingerpicked, 2) intensely thought out entrances and exits of drums and/or keyboards, a real must considering our personnel limitations, and 3) a part where I start screaming in this high-pitched squawk. All of the climaxes of all these songs feature this big squawk, and honestly doing this for the year we were playing these songs a lot completely robbed me of that register of my voice. You guys are actually listening to the last time I could sing like this! Heh heh.


Jesus Song

Jesus reimagined in Florida with a suburban upbringing. The events in the song all actually happened, the first half to me, and the second half to my good friend Will, with a pillow barricade underneath a blanket. Suburban kids do strange things together when they're 12; I grew up in one of the most heavily populated Jewish enclaves in the world, so it's conceivable that if Jesus was born today, he'd be a New Rochelle-ian! Take THAT, Mt. Vernon.


Nancy Kerrigan

The first frog song ever. Man, this brings me back. Put your lighters up. Careful! They get hot. Just an open D tuning and a couple of boys in a basement trying to make each other laugh by rhyming 'Oregon' with 'Kerrigan'. Little did they know then that nothing would ever happen with their music and that four years later, they'd still be working the same exact jobs they had when they started the band.


Space Jam

Welcome to the...

This is probably my most McCartney moment on the record; take away all the reverb and mix it with a bit more intelligence, and its a pretty straightforward pop ballad, albeit with a long droney dirge at the end. I did 3 separate mixes of this, all much clearer than the one on the record, but it turned out that if you brushed aside the all the delay and the cobwebs, the song wasn't that good. So! Ended up turning in the first version I did, in which most of the parts are inaudible and lyrics unintelligible. Yay! Still totally dig the siren sound effect in the background.


Rubbernecking

This should've been the single! Maybe it's too long though. In the first verse, you rubberneck a car accident, in the second verse you rubberneck a loser trying to talk to a girl. In the chorus, you rubberneck your own failure! Somehow it all made sense to me at the time.


Nowhere Band

Lots of people said they didn't like this song, but they've probably just never been in a band in NYC. This is real life. College kids from the suburbs in cargo shorts live-action-roleplaying as their favorite artist from the 70s, playing sloppily to their moms and girlfriends in exchange for grumpy bartenders giving them two drink tickets for black-and-tans. Its just kind of pitiful if you spend enough years doing it. Pulled this bad boy off in a couple hours, acoustic into a sm57 doubled. Those little things are incredible!


Thats it guys, 7 songs, 32 minutes. Wasn't a bad go at it if I do say so myself. All I had to do was destroy my hearing, permanently disfigure my vocal chords, and watch all of Eden of the East on Netflix while mixing. Pretty good show! Our first live sets after making this were playing 10-second intros for different acts at a comedy variety show at the PIT in Manhattan. We got to play one full song at the end. For some reason, comedy shows never pay anything, so we'd end up spending hundreds of dollars on beer every time. This experience now feels like a good microcosm for the way the rest of our career has gone.

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If any of that has tickled your fancy you can buy the EP by clicking here. Have a great day.