Fratmouth is a noise rock band. That much is clear. But the other operations and capabilities of one of Columbia’s newer music groups remain mysterious. With of Gabe Crawford on guitar, Connor Brunson on drums and Derry Child, formerly known as Pedro Lopez DeVictoria, on vocals, the trio played one of their first official shows at Conundrum Music Hall Saturday night.
Fratmouth likes to consider themselves a collective rather than a band, as much of their sound transcends even into their lifestyles.
“Fratmouth is both a noun and a verb,” said Child.
Child explained that the band’s name comes from his estranged father’s company of the same name, a fraternity lifestyle company.
“After he passed, he was never a fan of loud music or anything,” said Child. “By naming it Fratmouth, I’m sticking it to him.”
However, the name’s origin has been wiped clean from its present condition.
“It doesn’t matter what it was in the past, it is what we say it is now,” said Child.
Born in a garage, Fratmouth is the product of many jam sessions between Brunson and Crawford during the summer. Child is the coup de grâce, deciding his vocals and the song names at the beginning of each set.
“Connor and I only know the songs based on their sounds,” said Crawford.
Fratmouth’s musical style is noise punk, a distinct face in the crowd of the local Columbia music scene. Some songs start out slow, but most are loud and cathartic, depicted by Child’s raw and provocative vocals, supported by upbeat, steadfast percussion and constant guitar riffs.
During the show, Fratmouth yell and berate each other on stage.
“We aren’t friends. I wouldn’t call us colleagues or even business associates,” said Child. “But they are the only ones that understand anger and raw emotion.”
The members’ childhoods are integral to understanding their sound objective. It is an expression of the noise they grew up in. Brunson explains that his passion for noise rock is deeply rooted in childhood.
“I worked at a sausage lining factory when I was 12, and a lot of what I heard at that age were industrial sounds and noise,” said Brunson.
Crawford had a similar upbringing.
“I grew up near an airport — just weird, whooshing noises all the time,” Crawford said.
Fratmouth’s concerts aren’t just about the music. Rather, they are more like performance artists. They like to connect with their audience as if they were just playing in their garage. Their performance at Conundrum ended with all of the band members sprawled on top of each other on the floor.
Nevertheless, an evening with Fratmouth is guaranteed entertainment. Potential attendees be warned: expect the unexpected.