An Evening With Schröder

Left to Right: Aaron Trigg, Keith Townsend, Justin Herigstad, and Adam Ashe. Photo by Andy Orsow.

Schröder.  From Left:  Aaron Trigg, Keith Townsend, Justin Herigstad, and Adam Ashe.  Not pictured:  Nick Welsh.


By David Moore


            The first time I heard Schröder, I was playing a battle of the bands in Medford.  After I was done knocking over microphones, forgetting lyrics, and generally embarrassing myself, a group of guys fresh out of high school got on stage.  I was a little skeptical—no guitars and five teenagers?  Just a viola, violin, keys, bass, drums, and vocals.  Oh boy.

Schröder so thoroughly spanked all the competition that day, I almost turned my own band t-shirt inside out. 

            The Beatles and Counting Crows—sans guitars—are a handy comparison for their sound, considering all the lush orchestras and vocal harmonies.  Surprising, syncopated drum beats and vintage keyboard sounds keep the tunes interesting every time I listen.

I recently spent an hour with Schröder at AmberVu Studios in Central Point.  The guys are recording a new album, which they were gracious enough to share with me. 


The oldest member in the band is 21, and everyone else is underage.  I guess that explains why you don’t play many bars around the Rogue Valley.

Aaron Trigg (bass): The last tour we went on, we played in bars.  As soon as we got done playing, they’d kick us out.

Adam Ashe (keys, vocals):  It was kind of like, ‘You guys are all 18, right?  Just don’t tell me.’

Aaron:  I wasn’t eighteen at the time.

Justin Herigstad (violin):  Neither was I.

Aaron:  We went on tour with a band named The Parson Red Heads.  They were always in the bar hanging out.  We had them sell our merch a couple of times because they wouldn’t even allow our merch-girl into the shows.  She was too young at the time, too.

Tell me about the tour.

Adam:  It was 2006.  We went down to LA, and then up to Seattle, and then back down to LA.  We played a bunch of places in between.

Justin:  There were eleven people in a fifteen-passenger van, without air conditioning. 

Adam:  Middle of August—that was awesome.

Aaron:  Three people to a seat.  Sticky, naked…

Adam:  (Pointing at Justin)  They did!  They got naked.  They did.  Sort of.

Justin:  I didn’t get naked.  I got in my underwear.

Adam:  We played at The Plush Café in Fullerton, and we sold like three hundred dollars worth of merch.  But they didn’t pay us because nobody was there to see us.

Aaron:  The deal was, they had to tally up who came to the show.  You know, who’d you come to see?  Apparently, nobody came to see us, but we sold the most merch.

Adam:  The thing that was rigged was they had a spot for people who said, ‘just came for the show.’  Then they had a spot that said, ‘The Plush Café.’  Oh, you just came to the Plush Café to come to the Plush Café?  Check.

Aaron:  Check.

Adam:  Check.  So they got all the money.

Let’s talk about the new record.

Aaron:  Most of these songs we’ve been writing over the past three years, and we finally have enough tracks to put on a full-length record.

Adam:  It’s not like a normal band where you say, “We have ten songs, let’s do a CD.”  We came up with some definite songs we wanted to record, then we filled in the gaps and made it one experience.  A lot of the tracks just roll right into the next.

Aaron:  It’s an album.  It’s put together like an album.

Adam:  People don’t make albums much anymore. They make collections of songs.

Why is everybody passing a legal document around and trying to decipher it, if you don’t mind my asking?

Aaron:  We made it on to a compilation CD for Guitar Center.  We’re signing them permission to put our music on it.  They can’t take any money for it.

Adam:  They’re just giving the CD’s away.

Aaron:  What’s really cool is that The Smashing Pumpkins judged it.  They liked us, apparently.

Justin:  I’m ready to sign.

Aaron:  It looks legit.  They use the word ‘whereas.’  A lot.

Nick Welsh (drums, having just entered with said document, and through a mouthful of taco): Whoa.  That means it is high tech.

Aaron:  It says ‘whereof,’ also.

Tell me about playing without guitars.

Adam:  Guitar is such a format.

Nick:  It’s easy to fall into other styles of music when you use a guitar.  It’s easy to sound like everyone else.

Aaron:  There’s a box, and the guitar is in it.  We don’t like that box.

Adam:  All of us, except for Justin, play guitar. Our main lead instrument is a viola.  Keith (Townsend, viola, who showed up late and did more playing than talking) writes the most guitar-ish leads, I guess you could say.  But when you transfer them to guitar, it doesn’t work.  It’s just a way different approach to writing music.

Justin:  We play the fretless guitar.

Adam:  With a bow.  I think guitars thin out a mix.  Most guitar bands will put a string section in their song.  We have one song where we decided that instead of a string section—since every one uses strings but they’re our lead instrument—we’d put woodwinds in it.

Justin:  We’ve been playing without a guitar since we started, so we’re all used to it.

Adam:  We’re not a guitar band trying to make a record without guitars.  We’re a band without guitars that’s recording.  It’s nothing special to us, really. 

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I am a musician, a journalist, and a music fan. Life is awesome. I play music, write about music, photograph music, listen to music, and ride my big bad motorcycle. I also cook and wash dishes for rent money.

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