SchrÃ¶der. Â From Left: Â Aaron Trigg, Keith Townsend, Justin Herigstad, and Adam Ashe. Â Not pictured: Â Nick Welsh.
By David Moore
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â The first time I heard SchrÃ¶der, I was playing a battle of the bands in Medford.Â 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.Â I was a little skepticalâ€”no guitars and five teenagers?Â Just a viola, violin, keys, bass, drums, and vocals.Â Oh boy.
SchrÃ¶der so thoroughly spanked all the competition that day, I almost turned my own band t-shirt inside out.Â
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â The Beatles and Counting Crowsâ€”sans guitarsâ€”are a handy comparison for their sound, considering all the lush orchestras and vocal harmonies.Â Surprising, syncopated drum beats and vintage keyboard sounds keep the tunes interesting every time I listen.
I recently spent an hour with SchrÃ¶der at AmberVu Studios in Central Point.Â The guys are recording a new album, which they were gracious enough to share with me.Â
The oldest member in the band is 21, and everyone else is underage.Â I guess that explains why you donâ€™t play many bars around the Rogue Valley.
Aaron Trigg (bass):Â The last tour we went on, we played in bars.Â As soon as we got done playing, theyâ€™d kick us out.
Adam Ashe (keys, vocals):Â It was kind of like, â€˜You guys are all 18, right?Â Just donâ€™t tell me.â€™
Aaron:Â I wasnâ€™t eighteen at the time.
Justin Herigstad (violin):Â Neither was I.
Aaron:Â We went on tour with a band named The Parson Red Heads.Â They were always in the bar hanging out.Â We had them sell our merch a couple of times because they wouldnâ€™t even allow our merch-girl into the shows.Â She was too young at the time, too.
Tell me about the tour.
Adam:Â It was 2006.Â We went down to LA, and then up to Seattle, and then back down to LA.Â Â We played a bunch of places in between.
Justin:Â There were eleven people in a fifteen-passenger van, without air conditioning.Â
Adam:Â Middle of Augustâ€”that was awesome.
Aaron:Â Three people to a seat.Â Sticky, nakedâ€¦
Adam:Â (Pointing at Justin) Â They did!Â They got naked.Â They did.Â Sort of.
Justin:Â I didnâ€™t get naked.Â I got in my underwear.
Adam: Â We played at The Plush CafÃ© in Fullerton, and we sold like three hundred dollars worth of merch.Â But they didnâ€™t pay us because nobody was there to see us.
Aaron:Â The deal was, they had to tally up who came to the show.Â You know, whoâ€™d you come to see?Â Apparently, nobody came to see us, but we sold the most merch.
Adam:Â The thing that was rigged was they had a spot for people who said, â€˜just came for the show.â€™Â Then they had a spot that said, â€˜The Plush CafÃ©.â€™Â Oh, you just came to the Plush CafÃ© to come to the Plush CafÃ©?Â Check.
Adam:Â Â Check.Â So they got all the money.
Letâ€™s talk about the new record.
Aaron:Â Most of these songs weâ€™ve been writing over the past three years, and we finally have enough tracks to put on a full-length record.
Adam:Â Itâ€™s not like a normal band where you say, â€œWe have ten songs, letâ€™s do a CD.â€Â We came up with some definite songs we wanted to record, then we filled in the gaps and made it one experience.Â A lot of the tracks just roll right into the next.
Aaron:Â Itâ€™s an album.Â Itâ€™s put together like an album.
Adam:Â People donâ€™t make albums much anymore.Â They make collections of songs.
Why is everybody passing a legal document around and trying to decipher it, if you donâ€™t mind my asking?
Aaron:Â We made it on to a compilation CD for Guitar Center.Â Weâ€™re signing them permission to put our music on it.Â They canâ€™t take any money for it.
Adam:Â Theyâ€™re just giving the CDâ€™s away.
Aaron:Â Whatâ€™s really cool is that The Smashing Pumpkins judged it.Â They liked us, apparently.
Justin:Â Iâ€™m ready to sign.
Aaron:Â It looks legit.Â They use the word â€˜whereas.â€™Â A lot.
Nick Welsh (drums, having just entered with said document, and through a mouthful of taco):Â Whoa.Â That means it is high tech.
Aaron:Â It says â€˜whereof,â€™ also.
Tell me about playing without guitars.
Adam:Â Guitar is such a format.
Nick:Â Itâ€™s easy to fall into other styles of music when you use a guitar.Â Itâ€™s easy to sound like everyone else.
Aaron:Â Thereâ€™s a box, and the guitar is in it.Â We donâ€™t like that box.
Adam:Â All of us, except for Justin, play guitar.Â Our main lead instrument is a viola.Â Keith (Townsend, viola, who showed up late and did more playing than talking) writes the most guitar-ish leads, I guess you could say.Â But when you transfer them to guitar, it doesnâ€™t work.Â Itâ€™s just a way different approach to writing music.
Justin:Â We play the fretless guitar.
Adam:Â With a bow.Â I think guitars thin out a mix.Â Most guitar bands will put a string section in their song.Â We have one song where we decided that instead of a string sectionâ€”since every one uses strings but theyâ€™re our lead instrumentâ€”weâ€™d put woodwinds in it.
Justin:Â Weâ€™ve been playing without a guitar since we started, so weâ€™re all used to it.
Adam:Â Weâ€™re not a guitar band trying to make a record without guitars.Â Weâ€™re a band without guitars thatâ€™s recording.Â Itâ€™s nothing special to us, really.Â