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The Freezing Scene: No Computers Necessary
By Sean Smith
Fort Wayne Reader
Brothers Jason and Adam Bodnar have been playing music together for a year now and in that time they have come to be known as The Freezing Scene. While you might not believe it when you hear it, their music is completely concocted without the aid of any computers. Every note is created using a few simple instruments. Simple, but unique instruments.
Jason, 27, who has been playing piano since he was 5 and took lessons, plays keyboard and sings. Adam, 22, is self taught and has been playing drums since he was 17 and the mandolin for the past three years. The warm tones of the mandolin are a nice juxtaposition against the cold sound of the keyboard. Intentional? "It wasn't intentional but we became aware of it as we wrote more songs," shares Adam.
So far they have at least a half dozen songs which you can hear on their recently released 6 song E.P. It Gets Better. The Freezing Scene played an in-store performance at Wooden Nickel on N. Anthony to serve as a release show. They’ve only been playing live since the beginning of the year and they feel the Wooden Nickel show went well. If their playing seems more dialed in than other duos, chalk it up the synergy that comes only with being siblings. "Being brothers makes it very easy to honestly communicate our thoughts," confides Jason, "We also share many of the same philosophies when it comes to writing music."
The songs on the E.P. took six months to write and the recording took one day. The recording took place in Jason's apartment and was handled by Michael Skeeters and Jason Bohan. Skeeters and Bohan also did the mixing and mastering for the project. It was a choice made out of a musical friendship but the reasons ran deeper than that. "I played bass in a band called Romans with the two of them not too long ago," recalls Adam, "Throughout that experience Mike and Jason both seemed to possess a good understanding of the recording process. I probably wouldn't have asked them to help us if I wasn't good friends with them, but more importantly, I wouldn't have asked them if I didn't trust them to do a good job. The experience of making the album was an overall positive one. They were patient and it was clear that the two of them wanted our album to sound good as much as we did."
When it comes to writing the songs, both have a say and also feel that the best approach is to not have any rules about it. "Everything is collaborative. We offer suggestions to each other and sometimes we listen," says Jason. "Either one of us might write the majority of the lyrics for any song. However, what I ultimately sing or say in any song is almost always derived from both of us. More specifically, the process of completing 'Any County Fair' was notable. I had written the opening riff, not really thinking it had much potential. Adam persuaded me that a song could be built around it. Finally, I became inspired by the annual Free Fall Fair in Auburn and the rest of the song fell into place."
"If it sounds good to us, we figure we should probably play it," declares Adam, "We've pretty much tried to base our whole collection of songs on the notion that we shouldn't be scared to try something new, with regards to us or everyone. We would like to let songs be what they will. The length of songs seems as natural of an occurrence for us as their lyrical content or lack thereof. A lot of our music is biographical, often dealing with those closest to us."
This sort of approach lends the songs a very D.I.Y. feel and a style reminiscent of Beat Happening or early punk. But that wasn't necessarily what they had in mind. "We're not even cool enough to know what Beat Happening is and neither of us are really influenced by punk," concedes Jason, "However, we strive to create music that can be duplicated live without the aid of any computers. There’s a certain charm in going to see a band and knowing that everything you're hearing, they are physically playing. Seeing a live band and realizing that much of what you're hearing is pre-recorded can be disappointing on some level, at least to us. We do like a lot of electronic music and we realize that we might be able to do a lot of cool stuff with computers, but incorporating them would be timely, costly and potentially unbeneficial."
The interest in electronic music suggests that Kraftwerk, Neu! or even bands such as Joy Division or Bauhaus may have had an influence. Not so. "Bands that we've been told we sound like we usually have yet to hear, at least sufficiently enough to claim as an influence,” Adam says. “We can honestly say that we try to write music unlike any we've heard before. We both listen to a wide variety of music, a good deal of which is not radio-friendly. We listen to what we think sounds good. A lot of the time, we imagine that includes heavy use of computers. Even though we might be somewhat disappointed to learn that a band relies on a backing track when they play live, that won't be enough reason to prevent us from buying their album if we wanted to."
The Freezing Scene are making it possible for you to hear them quite often in the next few months. "We're looking forward to our upcoming shows and hope to continue to sell our E.P." says Adam, "By this summer we hope to play outside of Fort Wayne fairly regularly."
To find out where to buy their E.P. or see them perform live, check out: www.myspace.com/thefreezingscene