SASSIN FRAS: rock is not dead

Rock is dead – an argument that has been circulating between music geeks for some years now. Perhaps the Triple J sound does exist and Australia is being fed a claustrophobic taste of music. But in the depths of Bandcamp and on the sunny side of the Gold Coast, rock lives. It goes by the name of Sassin Fras. Jake Wilton talks to drummer Adam Adams and guitarist Robert Cosgrove about their new single.

The band, being only a little over a year old, jam out grunge classics that reminisce all the good albums from Silverchair. Robert Cosgrove [guitar/vox] and Adam Adams [drums] sat down with Jake Wilton to talk about their new single, their infatuation with Daniel Johns and a new show with some incredibly special international guests.

They’re only a year old, they jam out grunge classics that hark back to Silverchair and they think that sound is making a comeback.

“We’ve got a heavy sound, a more 90s grunge sound, which I think is coming back and which I think people will resonate with,” Robert said.

“I used to play songs by myself using augmented chords that would be really complex and at the time, I’d think it was the best. But I’d listen back the next day and think, ‘If I didn’t make this, would I actually listen to it?’ We’ve based our band around playing music that we really like, not what other people like. The simplicity of the early ‘90s, with Nirvana and Silverchair, that’s what we really love.”

Madeline, the band’s latest offering continues Sassin Fras’ grunge attitude – both in the song’s composition and the story behind it. Nirvana, in a closely sealed nutshell, prided themselves on not caring what people thought of them and Robert and Adam seem to feel the same. Whether they’re Israel’s Son or the new descendants of Nirvana, Sassin Fras are rock’s revival.

“The song made so much sense – about not giving in to doing exactly what you’re told and Madeline is the scapegoat of someone who’s the opposite of that. Yet the next morning, when we weren’t in the same mind frame, the song meant something different to us. It’s the first time we’ve put proper effort into lyrics – we’ve always been about the melody and the song’s groove but this time we put extra effort into both and I think it’s payed off,” said Robert.

“Howie Weinberg, who mastered Nevermind and Blood Sugar Sex Magik, mastered the song. Howie was in LA, he listened to the song and straight away he agreed to work with us. It was only the single so it was a taster to see if we had the sound and the impact. We wanted to take that next level in production and stand out beside all the other bands like us,” continued Adam.

“[Howie] doesn’t take everything that’s sent to him, he only works with something that he likes. So when he did accept to work with us it was a real positive.” added Robert.

Beside having that direct relationship with arguably the world’s most influential grunge album by working with Howie Weinberg, everything about Sassin Fras’ music is pure 90s grunge – Robert’s vocals capture the sound and naivety of a young Daniel Johns as well as the passion of Kurt Cobain. Adam and Robert discussed their influences and how they developed their sound, drawing from Queens of the Stone to Audioslave, but always leading to the apex of Silverchair.

“Daniel Johns influences me so much… I don’t even think it’s in the songwritting, I’m in total awe just listening to his songs from Silverchair and everything beyond that,” boasted Robert.

The boys have put pen to paper and planned a quick tour of the east coast in support of Madeline. With exact dates yet to be announced, you can expect to see Sassin Fras in mid to late March. But before that tour, Robert and Adam recently played shows with Perth lads the Love Junkies.

“That tour was awesome! It was basically just one night with them but we got to know them really well – to get along with a bunch of guys from the other side of the country and play music with them is just the sickest feeling,” said Robert.

“That’s what I love about touring! You meet so many new people and become friends for life, really. We hit it off with them so easily and hopefully we get to do it again sometime soon,” reminisced Adam.

Sassin Fras have also announced that they are opening for Queens Of The Stone Age who are DJing at Frankie’s in Sydney. After QOTSA’s show, the band will spin tracks from midnight, while Sassin Fras and Sydney dudes the Owls will open from 10pm.

“Queens of the Stone Age are my favourite band in the whole entire world! I’ve been listening to them since I was thirteen. Songs for the Deaf is a life-changing record for me – it changed my whole view on music. That was the first album I heard, from start to finish, where every single song is a hit,” said Robert.

“It’s ridiculous, it could set off a whole bunch of really cool things for the band. Maybe we’re being a little optimistic about it but they are one of the biggest rock bands in the world at the moment so all we can do is stay optimistic,” interjected Adam.

With their minds excitedly set on playing before QOTSA, and dreams of one day playing a big name festival, Adam and Robert discussed how over-playing the Gold Coast could potentially make-or-break a band.

“A lot of bands play in their hometown too much and it becomes over saturated. They’ll play the same clubs, maybe two or three times a month and people get bored of that, and, to be honest, the Gold Coast isn’t big enough to support that. We love music but we even get bored when you start to see the same band every second week,” Robert said.

“We think it’s important that we take the time and money and travel north, south, west, wherever, and then come back home and play a show. We love the Gold Coast, this is where we live, we just don’t want to play here so much that it becomes routine. We think that’s important; there’s a formula to it and it works. We’ve seen bands fail from it and we’ve seen bands become huge successes from it,” said Adam.

After the band out-stage Queens of the Stone Age in Sydney, you can catch Sassin Fras at Swingin’ Safari in Surfers Paradise on Sunday 23 March.

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