Life in 24 Frames is a Sacramento, California based band founded in 2008 by guitarist/lead vocalist Kris Adams. Over the years the band has evolved into a 6 piece (Adams, Richie Smith – Guitar/Backing vocals, Andrew Bernhardt – Keyboard/Backing vocals, Malory Wheeler – Organ/Backing vocals, Jason Brown – Bass/Backing vocals, and Joe Strouth – Drums) and built a large local following via their brand of folk based indie rock. Following the release their second full length album, Bitter End, on March 25, 2014, I chatted with Kris Adams via e-mail about storytelling through music, the difficulty of the label based music business, and Sacramento as a music town.
MiG: How would you describe Life in 24 Frames’ sound, and who are some of the band’s influences?
Kris Adams: It’s not easy to understand Life in 24 Frames, but it’s hard not to get trapped while trying. Stylistically speaking they appear to be all over the map. The band sounds like a comfortable blend of Pink Floyd’s The Wall, and the Beach Boys Smile records while effortlessly sprinkling in influences from modern indie rock contemporaries such as My Morning Jacket and Local Natives. Singers Kris Adams and Geoffry Knect architect deep and thoughtful vocal arrangements on top of beautifully crafted hooky, yet complex musical arrangements. The band is mature, and the sound is as diverse as the audiences who have already embraced the group as an independent artist.
(Sorry if that sounds funky. It was taken from a bio.)
MiG: It sounds like the current lineup formed organically with people joining at different times and from other bands. What is it about the band and/or the Sacramento scene that allowed the group to come together in that manner?
KA: I started this band 5 years ago, and not one member beside myself is still playing in it. I personally really like the idea of introducing fresh new ideas and personalities into the project to keep things fresh and interesting. Would I like to solidify the line up? ABSOLUTELY. But it seems the stars haven’t aligned until now allowing us to do so. I am very happy with the current line up.
MiG: When I think of Sacramento music I tend to start with Death Grips and Trash Talk, a couple bands who will certainly never be mistaken for L24F, but the area has also produced artists like Chelsea Wolfe and Sister Crayon. What’s the local scene like and how does L24F fit into it?
KA: Sacramento is quite the trip. Everything from Deftones to Cake. the phrase “I just wasn’t made for these times”, is slightly fitting for this band if you were to change “times” to “region”. I honestly think this band was meant to form in the north west. Seattle…Portland maybe. That being said, Sacramento is a pretty rad, diverse place. There are tons of great artists here, and some pretty killer clubs as well. All the artists support each other really well. In fact, in May we are taking part in a Radiohead tribute show here with 15 other local musicians. In short, we have NO plans on ever relocating. We are proud to call it our home.
MiG: You have a background in film. How does that background influence the music of L24F?
KA: My film background HEAVILY influences my writing. Everything I write has to have some sort of story arc lyrically, and has to tell a story. It just doesn’t make sense to me if it doesn’t. So some of the tunes I will actually lay out like a storyboard of sorts. In fact both our LPs tell a complete story from opening track to closing track.
MiG: What’s the story of Bitter End?
KA: In short, the theme of Bitter End is love lost. The footsteps that lead the record in symbolize walking into a problem not knowing how to produce a resolution (hence the sound of the desolate road) just as the similar noises that close the record out indicate maybe a resolution was never found. Everything in-between contains some pretty deeply personal subject matter that I always like to leave up to the listener to translate and relate.
MiG: Bitter End sat on the shelf for quite awhile due to label issues. Can you tell us about that experience?
KA: Without falling too far down the rabbit hole that is label negotiations…I didn’t have a great experience. I found that labels are not very timely and actually don’t really offer you much that you can’t do on your own with some work. In fact, most of them won’t even listen to you unless another label is already listening to you…who won’t listening to you unless another label is listening to you. So starting off trying to get any form of attention is difficult. After sitting on the completed record for close to 8 months we came to the realization that we spent all that time and effort and heart making this so people can hear it. It just sitting on our computers, no one was getting to hear it.
MiG: I take it then that L24F will be continuing without a label at least for the near future? Any chance you’ll revisit the issue or did the experience completely sour you on the whole business?
KA: Things could always change. I would never say never. I certainly won’t be spending any more of my time and effort chasing something like that again. If it comes our way, I think we would always be willing to entertain the idea.
MiG: What’s next for Life in 24 Frames?
KA: We plan on playing quite a bit this year in support of this record, but honestly the next thing on my mind is what’s next. I’ve been plugging away on new material and I think we will be back in the studio this spring/summer recording a series of EPs.
MiG: What 5 albums or films have most influenced you personally?
KA: Hmm. Good question…
1) Beach Boys / Smile
2) Neil Young / Harvest
3) Pink Floyd / Dark Side of the Moon/The Wall
4) The Shins / Wincing the night away
5) Local Natives / Gorilla Manor
Bitter End is available now via iTunes, or you can snag it for free by going to the band’s website and entering promo code CTRL+Z. Thanks to Kris and Joe Strouth for taking the time to chat.
An author and editor at MiG, Craig lives in Minnesota with his wife and son and is an attorney in his real life. Once upon a time Craig played the trumpet and spent four years in the Hawkeye Marching Band and pep band. These days Craig finds himself most often listening to experimental rock, hip hop, and post punk, but you can see everything he's listening to at: www.last.fm/user/cafreema Craig is not ashamed to admit the first concert he ever attended was New Kids on the Block.
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