Hailing from the opposite end of the spectrum in Portland, Oregon—Fruition, a five-piece, wildly eccentric, harmonizing folk-grass group brings eclectically arranged “grass-rock” to the east coast. During my interview with the vocalist/guitarist/pianist/everyman, Kellen Asebroek, we discussed the awkward spelling and pronunciation of the town name, Schuylkill, to the current hip happenings with the band who recently played the finishing set at Schuylkill Haven’s Some Kind of Jam 8 along with ALO, Animal Liberation Orchestra. You can read about the band’s background, their Kickstarter campaign in which fans funded their upcoming album and other fun facts HERE
TSI: Since you are all from Portland, is this your first time touring out here on the east coast? How are you liking it?
Asebroek: Yeah this is the first time we’ve come out to this wonderful side of the country here. We’ve all been super pumped to see all the new territory. I really like Pittsburgh.
(They just performed at the Rex Theatre the night before Some Kind of Jam).
We were all really blown away. It was a really badass city; definitely gonna try and get back there soon.
TSI: That’s funny, not everyone says that about Pittsburgh.
Asebroek: [Laughs] Maybe it was just for the first timers. It seemed pretty sweet.
TSI: Well, I’m from Philly so I have to support my side. I’m a little biased. [Laughing]
So, when you initially created your Kickstarter page, did you all think that you’d reach your goal of $20,000, let alone beat your goal?
Asebroek: Yeah, we felt pretty good about it—we were pretty confident. Only because in the four years before that, we had such awesome support from family and friends. But we were blown away by how quickly it took off. It really was a sign that good things were happening.
TSI: Yes, you’re obviously well liked…
Asebroek: [Laughing] Yeah man and it’s been shown to us over and over again. This tour for instance, we had so many mishaps with the band, but we really have such a great web of family, even out here on the east coast.
TSI: That’s really great for you guys. How many months did it take to reach your goal?
Asebroek: Our deadline was a month.
TSI: It took only a month?! (They received a total of $21,944 from fans). That’s impressive, that’s really awesome.
Asebroek: Yeah, they let you pick a time frame so you really have to push it to people and it worked out. It’s amazing.
TSI: Awesome. For the show tonight (Some Kind of Jam 8), are you guys going to leak out any new songs or are you waiting for your release show? (CD Pre-Release show is set June 8th in Portland)
Asebroek: Yeah, we have a few songs on it that we’ve already been playing live—some we’ve been playing for years. I mean if you’re a fan, you’ll probably already know a lot of familiar Fruition music on there. Some songs we’re not playing or releasing until the CD comes out, so that’s also pretty exciting to get to drop a bunch of new songs on people.
TSI: Yes, great anticipation.
(While I was speaking of their new album, I, of course, had to question what the title of this up and coming compilation of songs was to be, however I made a promise to not say a word until the members themselves pick their opportune moment.)
I unfortunately was not able to make the Some Kind of Jam festival so I had to ask about their general structure/style when playing live for a crowd:
Asebroek: We like to consider most of our songs to be pretty “songy songs” versus jammy songs. Like, there is a little roadside instruction some of the time. The songs definitely never sound the same; we’re not one of those bands that you come out and you basically catch the same show every night. It’s very organic…there is a lot of improvising. We have two soloists in the band who are total shredders on mandolin and electric guitar. We try and stop to showcase that. There is usually a loose structure to all of the songs.
TSI: When you are creating music, who does most of the songwriting?
Asebroek: We have 3 songwriters in the band so there are a lot of songs on the table at all times. For the most part our songwriters will write a song on their own and then kind of bring it to the table. It can vary from there. Sometimes they’ll have a pretty specific vision for how they want the instrumentation to be and sometimes we’ll just bring a song to the table and be like ‘lets make this into a song!’ That’s kind of the Fruition method of creating songs from the get-go…Bringing a rock song to the table and then adding everyone’s little flavor to it. It’s real sweet.
TSI: I was reading one of the reviews on your website and a girl said something like ‘you’re definitely not bluegrass’…and it kind of sounded like you being termed as bluegrass is negative…so, is that something that you all would be against? Being labeled bluegrass?
Asebroek: No, no not at all. [Laughs] People from the past may come out and maybe expect to see some more straight up traditional grass and we instead just kind of give our own spin on it. But usually it works out and people love it anyways. Sometimes there are some discrepancies there, but we just kind of roll with whatever people feel like calling us because that’s kind of how it goes. It really depends on whether you like it or not.
TSI: It’s interesting to hear different band members’ prior music experience if they’ve had music theory, etc. So did you all go to school for music or did you teach yourself?
Asebroek: That’s funny you say that—we all went to school in one way or another. I think Mimi had the most college education. We all definitely did music and have all been playing since we’ve been old enough to hold instruments, but definitely no music degrees. Mostly just through playing all the time, especially now, being in this band and other bands before, just nonstop playing whether it’s on the road or at home—you’re rehearsing and playing all the time. You’re also seeing all the music and picking up new tricks and getting new tips from people you respect on the road, which is a really cool way of learning.
TSI: Yeah, that’s the best education out there.
Asebroek: Yeah, so we kind of have School of the Road goin’ on these last few years for sure.
Closing down the main stage before Fruition at the Schuylkill Haven Fest, good friends of the band, ALO performed until about midnight and then Fruition came on to play their late night set.
Asebroek mentioned playing a Boston show with ALO at the Brighton Music Hall (4/28), commenting that “hopefully we can help bring up some good vibes.” I’m sure the love was definitely felt there.
TSI: So you’re a definite for All Good’s Lineup, eh?
(What a perfect fest for the rowdy, foot-stompin’ country band!)
Asebroek: Yes we are. We’re one of the tiny names at the bottom of the flyer but we are so stoked to be on it at all. We were really surprised to get on the bill for that. Everyone’s pulling for us. It should be really crazy actually because we’re playing All Good the first set of the day on Saturday and then we’re getting on a plane and flying back to Oregon to play the late night set at the Northwest String Summit Festival on that same day. So, it should be really something, I tell you what.
Asebroek and the remaining Fruition crew are bummed they can’t make it to Philly, so I suppose they’ll just have to make it back out on the east coast sooner rather than later. We anxiously anticipate an expedited return!
Upcoming Tour/Festival Schedule for Future Fruition Fun:
May 24: Shine – Boulder, CO
May 25: State Bridge Riverside – Bond, CO
May 31: Emerald of Siam – Richland, WA
Jun 1: Sunset Tavern – Ballard , WA
Jun 8: Aladdin Theater – Portland, OR
Jul 3: Brick & Mortar Music Hall – San Francisco, CA
Jul 4: Plumas County Fairgrounds – Quincy, CA
Jul 5: Plumas County Fairgrounds – Quincy, CA
Jul 20: Legend Valley – Thornville, OH
Northwest String Summit
All Good Music Festival
High Sierra and Campout for the Cause