Revisit interviews with Sam Craighead, Carried By Six, Girl Fox and more in advance of Saturday's daylong concert at CD102.5 in the Brewery District
Frontstage Fest returns to CD102.5 in the Brewery District on Saturday, Aug. 10, with two stages of indoor and outdoor entertainment. (The current forecast calls for partly sunny skies and high temperatures in the mid-80s.) In advance of the daylong affair, revisit interviews with a half-dozen of this year's performers that Alive spoke with over the past year or so.
There’s an element of humor inherent to Sam Craighead’s songwriting that has, on occasion, bled into his approach to music promotion.
For his 2017 record, Tuesday Night Music Club, Craighead invented an inept fake manager, Jason Sandalwood, aka Management by Jason, whom he “employed” to communicate information about the album — complete with active Gmail and Twitter accounts. In one email originating “from the desk of Jason” and passed on to Alive by Craighead, Sandalwood struggled with simple tasks (“hey i can’t figure out how to do the attachment can you help”), quickly earning the musician’s ire. “My manager is an idiot (see below),” Craighead wrote above the forwarded message. In the same email, Craighead promised a new music video starring Kevin Federline (the video never materialized).
So when Craighead emailed in late February, writing that he had “recorded an EP with half of the Fray and it sounds like what you would expect, but a little less than the Counting Crows like that,” the instinct was to dismiss this news as yet another elaborate in-joke — an urge that dissipated when Fray guitarist David Welsh joined Craighead for a Downtown interview in late March.
Carried By Six
On a chilly night in early January, on the ground floor of Vaughan Music Studios in Upper Arlington, a couple dozen people gathered for a listening party for the debut EP from Carried By Six — a newborn hip-hop collective that includes producers Soop and Snow, along with rappers Joey Aich, Dom Deshawn, Sarob and Trek Manifest.
The mood was familial, with the six artists cracking jokes — Aich’s announcement that he initially proposed calling the group Joey Aich and the Pips was met with expected groans — and generally carrying on with an exuberance that belied the pallbearer-inspired name eventually selected for the project. In fact, the only thing funereal about the evening was a growing corpse-like stench that attendees quickly pinpointed to a spoiled veggie tray, which was quickly ushered from the room. (“We have... chips,” Soop deadpanned, editing his description of the shrinking spread.)
But even in this crowded setting, under a condensed timeline, the various big personalities making up Carried By Six started to reveal themselves. By the second song, the exuberant Aich was the first person dancing, something he later said he hoped to avoid, and which ultimately proved impossible. Snow, no fan of the spotlight, remained seated off to the side, responding to any questions with a bowed head and a few deflective words. Sarob, meanwhile, instinctually cut Instagram-able poses as cameras snapped, which quickly earned playful jabs from his cohorts. “It’s a reflex, I’ll say that,” Sarob offered half-heartedly in his own defense, which carried over into a group interview weeks later. “I didn’t pose!” he said to laughter. “I’m just a pretty man.”
As a high school kid coming of age in Marion, Ohio, Ryder Delavern struggled with social anxiety. When his friends wanted him to come hang out, he’d make up excuses to stay in. He felt like something was wrong with him.
It’s a feeling Delavern explores on “Flawed by Design,” one of five tracks on Really Girl Fox, the new EP from Columbus-via-Marion four-piece Girl Fox. “My head hurts, it’s betrayed me once again,” Delavern sings in a head-turning croon that recalls the heyday of aughts-era rock acts like the Strokes and the Walkmen.
About halfway through the song, the distorted, down-strummed guitars pause ever-so-briefly to signal a change of direction. “Then I caught my second wind and I saw the way things were,” Delavern sings, sounding audibly relieved.
Kashis Keyz is keenly perceptive of his weaknesses — an awareness he traces to the first time he rapped for someone in the music industry at age 14.
“He was like, ‘Show me what you got,’” at which point Keyz, 27, emptied himself of material, rapping all 15 songs he had written. “When I was done, he threw on a beat and was like, ‘OK, now what else you got?’”
The answer, which still mortifies Keyz, was nothing.
Keyz entered into music foremost as a writer. But over time he’s worked to sharpen his abilities as a freestyler — a skillset that proves handy particularly when he performs more-improvised live sets with his backing band, the Seedz, which will be supporting him during Bands to Watch at Ace of Cups on Saturday, Jan. 26.
Early this year, the three musicians in Son of Dribble sat down with fellow local trio Wharm to hammer out details for releasing a split cassette with three songs from each band. The meetup happened to fall near the birthdays of Son of Dribble singer Andy Clager and guitarist Darren Latanick.
Drummer Vicky Mahnke, who joined Son of Dribble in the fall of 2017, surprised her two bandmates with a cake emblazoned with both of their faces. After the planning was done, the two bands headed into Latanick’s kitchen to celebrate. “We all stuck our hands in the cake and ate it,” Clager said, and the moment was captured for posterity; a photo of multiple hands smooshed into white and pink cake graces the inside cover of the Son of Dribble/Wharm split cassette. ”[Mahnke] made these pink brains on the inside, and we ate the brains. It was some voodoo stuff.”
By day, Jeff Meyers, Jr. is an insurance adjuster, and at a certain point in his career, he worked 12-hour shifts for six months straight. To cope with the stress, he hit the bars after work.
“I was going out every night, getting off at nine o’clock and just being like, ‘How do I forget that I’m a claims adjuster? How do I erase from my mind that I do this?’” Meyers said.
At the same time, Meyers was dealing with trauma at home. “I had someone living with me, and I wasn’t [previously] aware that they had a drug problem, and then there were threats of them killing themselves,” he said. “It was eight months of that. ... There are things there that I won’t be able to erase from my mind — images.”