Donavon Frankenreiter || The Waves to the Studio

Scrimshaw recently got a chance to chat with Donavon Frankenreiter, a man who embodies all things creative. Discussing and shooting the breeze on everything from surfing to music to favorite breakfast foods, Donavon solidified himself as effervescently cool. Between his newest album "The Heart", which is at the focus of his upcoming Solo tour, to his collaborative project, Jamtown Band, Donavon's music and style is an ode to what he finds true and dear in this world. Ahead of his upcoming shows at the Belly Up on June 19th & 20th for his solo tour, as well as his Jamtown performances, we encourage you to read along, turn up his tunes, and see the depth and fluidity to Donavon's music and surf style.

Scrimshaw (Bold): Trying to get a sense of where it all started for you, where did you grow up and how did you get involved in the music and surfing scene?

Donavon: So I grew up in Southern California, surfing and living the San Clemente and San Diego scenes. I was just kind of everywhere in Socal and watching all the surfers always inspired me. Watching them all do their thing in the water just incredible.

Yea, the talent in the water was probably insane.

It really was and it was such a cool thing to be a part of.

So between surfing and your music it seems like you always have these creative collaborative projects. Recently you have been working on Jamtown Band. Can you explain what that project is and how it started?

It’s funny, for the past 15 years I have been talking to G. Love about making this acoustic BBQ-esque record.  Two of us, sitting around one mic and create something amazing that fits our vibe. So we started this idea, working with Cisco Adler, and he was like, how about you just make all new songs and see how that sounds. Fast forward to recent months and within 10 days, the whole record was done with 10 new songs and Cisco ended up producing as well as playing on it. We ended with this album and were like…shit, we should make a band with this. Through this happenstance it just became a beautiful coincidence.  Never truly planned; just natural.

That’s so awesome, so creating new music, especially in a collaborative place…do you have a preference of recording in a studio or playing the live experience? Where do you find you get your creativity flowing best?

I really just like to keep it fresh. Creativity flows when you play live. But on the other side, I feel like a song that you write was never really written until you record it. You have the birth of these songs but they never become anything until you actually put them down and record them. There are just so many processes and so many different ways to make a record and each one is different and unique and can generate something so beautiful.  But, when you play live, you adapt to what you did in the studio, so they really build off each other. But this is a great question because to me, they both are forever changing.  Like I can never go into a studio or a concert and be like…yup I’ve done everything I can do here. That’s what I love about music.

Yea it's so true! Your music is held near and dear to us (Wes and Will || Scrimshaw Co-Founders) because some of your original tracks from your first record are on our first surf mix CD (Summer Surf Jamzzz), which I still have in my car!

Haha that’s so great!

Ha but between then and your most recent solo album, the Heart, how has your inspiration and how you write music, changed?

Every record is completely different. That’s just the thing, you are always just growing as a person, a musician and a songwriter.  The songwriting process is just such a beautiful mystery. It’s like this unknown letter that you receive and when you open it, you never know what it’s going to say. In music, you never get to a place, or never want to get to a place, where you feel like you’ve arrived. You just keep evolving in music. You never really master the instrument to a point where you can’t learn anymore. It’s the same with surfing, no matter what age you are, you are always learning something about boards and fins and waves. It’s an exciting thing, and I never get bored with it. If it wasn’t for that element or factor, I don’t know if I would as enthralled with this process as I am with surfing and music.  But because they have that factor, I am addicted.  It truly is an addiction. They are just forever changing fueled by your emotion and feeling.

As a listener, we are always interested in seeing what's next in people’s style and production so we can hear the “new”. It goes for surfing also, you feel like you never know what to expect.  Some days are rad and some days you feel a little worse, but its exciting to experience an unknown in something that is consistent in your life.

So true, it’s amazing! You can get one good wave and it keeps you coming back for more. It’s just like a great song. When you make that one song that like totally clicks, you are like…I need more of that. It seems like it can be an easy thing, thinking to yourself, all I need to do is write 10 songs and I can make a record? But the process is never easy. You look at the prolific songwriters and it’s like where the fuck did it all come from? Sometimes you get this spark where it just keeps coming out of you and coming out of you. But, when you don’t have those moments, there is this real complexity in your craft. To me, it’s like looking at a piece of art. Like a Jackson Pollock and you hear someone go “Oh, it just looks like splattered paint on a canvas” and that’s CRAZY to me because I want to say, well, why don’t YOU go try. You hear and see things that seem simple but when you really try and dial in and hone your craft its like, holy shit.  You learn to love and really appreciate the process.

Well said man. As we come to a close here we have to this world of uncertainty, we all know for certain that breakfast is always incredible. But, for breakfast what would you rather have…a breakfast burrito or an acai bowl?

Ha, that depends on what happened the night before! If I could do it…I would be healthy and have that acai bowl every single day. But, some days you have to be like, screw it, I need a breakfast burrito.  But if I’m anywhere in San Diego… a breakfast burrito is a must.

Rad!!  Keep a look out for our upcoming photo gallery on Donavon's Belly Up Concert on June 19th and 20th!  Get your tickets for his solo shows (here) and Jamtown shows (here).  We promise that you will be jamming with a smile on your face all night long!

Kaleo || Way Down We Go

Little things that make you smile, dancing barefoot in the dark. If only I had strength to change your mind, Oh for what you need, you will not seek. Choose your words before you speak. Can you see that all you’ve got is time?
— Kaleo

There is true beauty in a band that can layer a southern rock sound with a rich Icelandic heritage, over silky guitar riffs and smooth (sometimes falsetto) vocals.  Scrimshaw recently got the opportunity to photograph the band, Kaleo, in all their rock and roll glory at their recent concert between Coachella performances. Outside of the fact that Kaleo, as a whole, embodies the true masculine handsomeness of a modern day rock band, it is their crisp sound and talent range that makes them truly impressive.

Kaleo is made up of front man JJ Julius Son, drummer David Antonsson, bassist Daniel Kristjansson, and lead guitarist Rubin Pollock.  They hail from Iceland and draw inspiration from American blues and classic southern rock.  This may be why their recent studio album, A/B, is such a creative ode to the band’s style. 

When listening closely, their first half of the album has a heavier rock influence (which they absolutely ripped in concert) where the second half of the album is more acoustic oriented.  This plays into the title, A/B, and how it’s meant to be listened to on vinyl, where each side has a different feel. 

Besides the fact that Kaleo is the PERFECT spring/summer outdoors music, they are a must see in concert.  They were full of electricity and left everything they had on stage.  If the fact that the front row was filled with gorgeous women singing along to every single song doesn’t get you to this concert, then take comfort in the band’s ability to seamlessly transition between rocking blues and lyrically gorgeous acoustic songs.  Kaleo is the real deal, so go plug in those headphones, crank the volume up high and join us…oh Way Down we Go.

SHAED || Colorful Music

Have you ever gotten that feeling like time is slowing down just to allow you to soak up and enjoy that exact moment?  It’s almost as if the setting has to be perfect while your senses acknowledge that something truly special is happening. 

Imagine this…vibrant blue lighting over a dimly lit stage. My hands are lightly gripping the lens of my camera while the beautifully raw smell of whiskey and anticipation fills the crowd.  A slow crescendo of the synthesizer hovers around the stage. Then it happens. The combination of layered sounds, a bass that energizes my heart, all mixed with this incredible vocal purity.  This is that moment.  This is colorful music.  This is SHAED.

SHAED is a creative collaboration of musical ingenuity and raw vocals.  This electro-pop band hails from DC and is bringing their unique sound on tour.  The band’s strength in sound comes from the silky beats and mixing of Spencer and Max Ernst.  If these brothers are the strength, then the beauty, style, and energy come from leading vocalist, Chelsea Lee. Together, with their genre-bending sounds, they form the trio, SHAED.

As spring and summer music is upon us, we suggest you add SHAED to your “must see” list. Songs like "Running Through the Fields" and "Perfume" are instant forms of musical addiction and binge listening.

Their music has us bumping down the PCH and dancing in the sun on the rooftops of NYC where the #SandMeetsTheStreet. Here at Scrimshaw we can’t get enough of SHAED and will be turning our volume louder, listening to their colorful music.

Maggie Rogers || Authentic Vibes on the West Coast

Palpable electricity.  We could all feel it.  The crowd inched forward, bound together by jittery anticipation; ready to hear the lyrically raw and naturally addicting sounds of Maggie Rogers. Fresh off the release of her first album, Now That The Light Is Fading, the stage had been set for Maggie’s debut concert, allowing her to blaze a path of musical identity and genre-bending sounds.

As Maggie dove deep into her set, moving seamlessly between slower cosmic acapella sounds to her famous folky pop song, “Alaska”; it was easy to see the genuine comfort in her style.  While she says at 22 years old she is still “figuring out” her sound, to us, it’s undoubtedly already something of a marvel.  Between the beautifully bright and retro outfit, to her love of banjos, to her carefree yet uniquely choreographed dancing, Maggie embodies something so refreshing.

Anyone with a good idea can come in and change the entire industry
— Maggie Rogers

While Maggie’s meteoric rise came from a viral video of Pharrell rendered speechless after listening to her “drug” of a song, “Alaska”; it is her true visceral talent that will bring her into musical stardom.  Reminding me of a young, new-era version of Janis Joplin, Maggie explains that her authentic sound and style is “to make pop music feel as human as possible.”

Here at Scrimshaw, we only fully endorse and create content on people and ideas that we believe in.  We have been following Maggie since her release of “Alaska” through her EP, Now That The Light Is Fading, and cannot wait to see what she will produce in years to come.  If you do anything this year, go see her live, (if you can get tickets) so you can fully embrace the beautiful electricity that is, Maggie Rogers.

Oh and check out our Scrimshaw Sessions ➳ Top 10 of 2016 where we featured "Dog Years" by Maggie Rogers!

Wet: Ever-Cool Aspirational Pop

Every once in a while I feel that if a person is in the right physical place and state of mind, they can reach a truly unique and heightened sense of outward perspective. This feeling of slight euphoria seems like an out of body experience.  It allows you to immerse yourself in the surroundings and full heartedly enjoy that specific moment.  To us at Scrimshaw, this is the catching lightning in a bottle feeling we are searching with every story and experience.  This unique feeling of softness and visceral comfort was felt recently as we watched, listened and photographed the beauty that is the band, Wet.

Wet || The Irenic 2016

Wet, is an “aspirational pop” band, who originated in Brooklyn, NY but has taken over the indie airwaves.  The band’s melodically clean beats combined with beautiful electric riffs and a front woman who’s voice makes you feel all the feels, is something that everyone needs to experience at least once. 

The band consists of Kelly Zutrau, Joe Valle and Marty Sulkow, and together they can actually create more than just music, they can create an experience.  Not only does this experience bring about beautiful music, but lyrically, Wet can bring you to your knees, with an emotional magnitude only comparable to your first kiss. 

Wet || The Irenic 2016

Our viewing, listening, and photographing experience was intimate as Wet connected everyone in the audience through their music.  The benefit of any artist engaging on that level with fans is that there is a tendency for the listeners to reciprocate.  Wet, releasing two songs, “The Middle” and “Turn Away”, only a week before this concert, was met with the crowd singing every word, leaving the band stunned and ecstatic. Connecting on that level is something most bands dream of, but Wet is not any normal band. Some musicians gather this kind of connection and energy through movement and activity on stage, but Wet fits their ever-cool personality with gorgeous lighting and powerfully comfortable stances, losing themselves in their music. 

Here at Scrimshaw we pride ourselves on cultivating a vibe and creating a collective of experiences that people can enjoy.  We fully hope that you go out of your way to listen and experience Wet in the fullest.  Do yourself a favor and take a moment out of your day to really just clear your mind and immerse yourself in their music and we guarantee you will get something special back in return. 

Wet || The Irenic 2016

Wet|| The Irenic 2016

The Powers of Lostboycrow

Lostboycrow is expanding the defined lines of genres with his pop minded vocals and his dark love affair with the world of modern R&B.  Scrimshaw recently had the absolute pleasure of speaking with Lostboycrow right before his EP Sigh for Me was released into the music stratosphere.  The album is pure genius with Lostboycrow drawing inspiration from all aspects of his life to create silky beats and lyrics that evoke emotional electricity.  Listen to the album below and check out the interview to get to know the man behind the music. 

Scrimshaw Collective (SC): Hey Lostboycrow, thank you so much for getting back in touch with us! We’re super stoked to be chatting with you!

Lostboycrow (LBC): Thank you guys, I appreciate you reaching out. It really means a lot what you guys have to say about my music; I appreciate your enthusiasm about the music!

We’re big music geeks, and are truly excited about the year ahead in music, especially yours! We first heard your single “Love Won’t Sleep” featured on Spotify’s New Music Friday playlist, and initially, thought… who the hell is this guy? The beat is sick! The fact you were on that is epic.

Thank you so much - Yeah, Spotify has been awesome!

We can only imagine Spotify has been a good outlet for you, or are you more of a SoundCloud guy?

Its hard to say if its me, or if its just the way things are shifting in how people discover music. It seems like most people are very SoundCloud heavy, especially for a lot of music blogs, and it’s been huge for me this year.  Whereas with my new EP coming out, Spotify has really come into the picture the past couple of months, and has become a huge resource for people finding my music.

Ah absolutely, both platforms are huge for discovering music nowadays. And it seems like you’ve got a big week with the release of your EP “Sigh For Me.”

That’s right - everything is finally coming out on Wednesday January 13th, apart from the three singles that you may have heard already, including “Powers,” “Talk Back to Me,” and “Love Won’t Sleep” plus two new ones, which I was able to feature some artists on!

Picture by: Lostboycrow

We were actually just looking up your featured artists, Jon Waltz & Skizzy Mars, are these close friends of yours in the industry, or are these new collaborations?

It was amazing working with the incredibly talented artist and writer Jon Waltz, who I didn’t really get to know until we were collaborating on the song, but got to know him a bit more while recording eventually stemming a strong friendship from there. Art is all about connecting, and so when you’re working with people, you obviously want to be connected and into what they’re doing, so I’ve been able to form a friendship with Jon through that. And Skizzy Mars is another feature, of whom I’m a huge fan. He was super into the song, and it was cool to kind of start a relationship out of this song as well. Plus the song itself is kind of about becoming an artist, finding the inspiration within yourself, the dynamic of “ok, now I’m an artist” not just a person that people have told me I am my whole life. It was cool to bring Skizzy in on that one, who’s such an interesting artist & human being.

It’s really cool that you’re collaborating with artists that you not only respect, but you ones that can push your boundaries as an artist. You’re creating something new, and its essential to have new ideas. There’s a lot of places where you have to break the mold in this day and age, and a lot of your music seems to be doing that. In one of your descriptions online, you’re “creating a dark love affair with modern R&B,” so do feel that you connect to a specific genre overall, or are you experimenting to see what comes next?

I mean its kind of experimenting, as its a culmination of everything that I’ve been into. With music, you have it be sincere, and obviously there are different levels of talent but at the end of the day, people just want to hear something sincere; something that strikes a chord within themselves, that they can’t quite put a finger on, but it makes you feel a certain type of way.  And I’ve felt that way with a lot of different genres. I’ve been in punk and metal bands, but have gotten really heavy into R&B over the years. So its just kind of like a culmination of always chasing that feeling of what exactly it is that makes you feel alive. And I think music is immortal in that way. I think we each experience immortality when we listen to a really special song and I’m just so chasing that feeling with each song I put out.

When I first started, I wanted to get into electronic music (not necessarily in the EDM sense), but create that driving beat that really grooves, that people can not only think and appreciate the intellect behind, but also have a good time to, and dance! It’s a combination of all of those things. I want people to resonate with the work, relate my songs to their own stories, and I want it to feel good when they listen to it whether you’re in the club or you’re blasting it in your homies’ car going 80 down the freeway - it doesn’t matter. I will say that R&B has meant a lot to me over the past few years, and there is that R&B/hip-hop element especially in my features. I don’t think these artists I worked with are bound by any genre, but they definitely have more of a hip-hop/R&B leaning, and it’s something that I appreciate, and will always try to bring in on my collabs.

Picture by: Lostboycrow

I think that your music, 100% makes people feel good.  And as we’re not always driving down the freeway at 80 MPH, your music always triggers a foot tap on the early morning subway commute.

Haha, that’s awesome. So are you guys in New York?

We’re actually between New York City & San Diego. A bicoastal collective exploring both coasts and everything in between. Looking to get up to the Pacific Northwest sometime soon.

Yeah definitely, I’m from Portland, so I got you there. Oregon is one of the best places to explore! It’s probably good now for Scrimshaw that you’re in separate locations, so you can cover more ground.

Totally! We’re able to reach similar audiences in very different locations, which has been really awesome. So you said you were from Portland, but are now in California?

Yeah I was born in Portland, and moved down to LA about a year and a half ago. LA is what I call home. It’s been so welcoming and rejuvenating as an artist.  

So can we assume that LA has influenced your work, from the weather to the people, to the vibe down there?

Definitely, I would say that without question the people and the vibe in and of itself have been such a positive experience thus far. Working with other incredible musicians and producers! I’ve lived all over the city, and have been able to experience truly every part of LA. A huge influence in the music I make is from the people I’ve met and the way they've inspired me. Portland is a very culturally rich place, but it’s just not quite the same, especially in what I’ve wanted to do.  LA has been the perfect setting for me to do what I want.

Photo by: Lostboycrow

In talking about different cities, are you keeping your shows in the California area this year, or are you going to be heading around the country a little bit?

Honestly, everything’s pretty open right now, but I’m planning on traveling quite a bit as I think we’re at that point now. I’ve been playing LA for a decent time now, and we’ve this big EP release show Wednesday January 13, which is going to huge! Then after that, it looks like we’ve got a couple gigs out of town, and hopefully a proper tour this spring or summer.

That’s great news, and good to hear you’ll be traveling – make your way to NYC! For us when we listen to your music it’s almost like a story, so to follow you along a potential tour, we’re curious to see what kind of music would come out of that trip.

Me too, and thank you for that! That really resonates with me and means a lot. I was just reminded yesterday with the misfortune of David Bowie’s passing, of what an amazing storyteller he was and what a lost art that’s become. I say it all the time when I talk to people about my music, I really can’t stress storytelling enough, because that’s what it’s all about at the end of the day. I think as artists, whether you’re a painter or whomever, you have a really special opportunity to tell stories in ways that history books really could never do justice, or quite capture the truth however factual they may be.  So that means a lot to hear.

Well said, and very true! As we’ve all been thinking about Mr. Bowie’s unfortunate passing, was he a strong influence for you, and if so, are there any other artists that’ve been influential in your work?

Oh man, of course Bowie was a huge influence! I think artists are confined by mediums sometimes you know, you’re an singer, you’re an actor, whatever, but I think David Bowie was a true artist across the board, which is something that I’m trying to draw from as well. But yeah, I think the biggest influences of the lyrics and sounds that you hear now are with my love for the Arctic Monkeys and Alex Turner specifically, who’s an incredible - INCREDIBLE - lyricist and writer. And then Frank Ocean; Frank’s music has done things to me I can’t even begin to describe. I think when I heard Channel Orange, and then went backwards into his catalogue from there, that was a huge turning point for me as a singer and a way to sing stories. Although these artists are a little bit more modern, they’ve had a timeless effect on the music that I’m creating now, and will probably always be creating. But also Brian Wilson, and the Beach Boys - which I grew up listening to with my parents, so I think those are the big ones!

Photo by: Lostboycrow

The quote on your SoundCloud bio reads “an idea that pays homage to new beginnings and a poignant heritage,” and Frank Ocean is a perfect example of that, who’s such a cool new twist on a classic sound that a lot of people can get behind. 

Yeah, totally agree, and he’s been such a huge inspiration for that reason. He’s been a great 21st century version of the great R&B signers of past times. He’s so traditional yet forward thinking at the same time, which is the most inspiring thing about him. He draws from those familiarities, and those classic/timeless sounds and feels, in the way that singers just used to really fucking sing! And today, I think unfortunately that can get lost in a lot of the production. That’s what great about Frank is that you can understand what he’s singing about, even if you didn’t understand any of the words.  He’s just so powerful in that way.

Speaking of production, we noticed the label “Sexy Electric” on your Instagram. Is that the label your EP is going to be on?

No actually, but they are very dear friends of mine, that I met in the beginning of last summer through another fantastic artist Alma. We started working together as more of a collective, but this new EP is actually independent. However, I couldn’t have made this without the help of my friends there at Sexy Electric; it’s been really nice to have that collective friendship sonically.

So they helped more on the production side then?

Yep! Brian Child and Marø who produced the EP, we did everything together! They are co-founders of Sexy Electric, along with help from DJ Kill Paris.

Didn’t we see Kill Paris do a remix of one of your songs Spotify?

Yeah, he did, he remixed my first song “Powers,” which was awesome because he’s incredibly talented. We’ve since become really good friends!

Ok, so speaking of remixes, do you like being in the studio or being on stage more?

Oooh, that’s a great question!  I don’t even know if I could ever answer that! I guess off the top of my head, I enjoy being on stage more because it’s more enjoyable, whereas the studio has this beautiful labor-of-love. The studio is a very magical place, but I think I have to say stage because that’s where it all comes together! Reliving the triumphs and pains, your highs and lows; the stage is pretty hard to beat!

For us, going to concerts is the best, but then again listening to that one song in your head phones can be just what the doctor ordered. As we’re not performers, it’s fascinating to hear your take on it. As we’ve noticed on your Instagram page, there are a lot of wings in your photos + blue stripes over your eyes, and we were wondering if these allude to your name and if you could talk a little bit about that.

Yeah, to put it simply, the name has a lot to do with storytelling and dreaming actually. The roots are actually from the Native American culture first nation, from a tribe called the Crow in Montana. I grew up loving their culture so much and wanted the name to pay homage to that. The Crow are an amazing culture that revolves around dreaming and seeing a visions for your tribe and those around you. There’s not a more beautiful image to be an artist, and help dream for those around you, which gives a quick synopsis of the name. The wings though in the pictures, obviously represent the wings of crow, but I’ve added these wings to remind everyone that there’s a bigger better version of yourself - and that we all have that. Then the blue streak over my eyes, represents that we all see our worlds through different lenses, sharing and experiencing perspectives as we do. LostBoyCrow is as real as it gets for me. Some people call me LostBoy, some LBC!

Wow, that’s an awesome reason! Now, we’ve got a question for you, which three words would you choose to describe how you’re feeling for the release of this new EP and 2016 as a year in general? We’re just so excited for 2016 in music, especially to see how you develop as an artist!

I’ve got to say 1) Thankful, because of all the people who helped me create what I did; obviously 2) Excited, because in my mind the possibilities for this year are endless; and I think all at the same time, 3) Ready, as I think I’m really just ready. Everything from this past year has taught me to be ready, and get this on the road!

Yeah, ready to spread those wings!

Yeah, haha, ready to spread those wings!

Well thank you so much for everything and we really appreciate your time and excitement to chat.  We’re looking forward for the EP and everything else that’s to come!

Definitely, thank you guys so much for reaching out.  I’ve enjoyed talking with you and you’ve asked some amazing questions; I’m excited to have a feature with you!

Photo by: Lostboycrow