(Above): A hand drawn logo Brady worked up for Saint Aubin.
Early in July, we went up to Indianapolis to visit our friends, Fred and Emily, and to hang out some and explore the city. While we were up there, I (Brady) played a show with local band Saint Aubin, and we had time after the show to sit down and talk a bit about the band and where it was going. As I mentioned previously, in the Indy post (Link here), my friend Fred is one of the founding members and one of the frontmen for the band, Saint Aubin. Also, we just so happen to be staying the night over at his place, so getting an interview in seemed to be an easy task. Except it wasn't. As all of us who have iPhones know, they can only record so much in voice memos and they love to die often. So, we happened to experience both these feats with my phone dying, and Nicole's left to record the interview (later even losing the original short voice memo), forcing us to restart the interview again with Garageband, around 1:30 in the morning. Also, we had to get the other questions in via email, so things might look a little different in the interview, but nonetheless, we have the interview up now for your viewing pleasure! (: The members of the Indy band are vocalist, guitarist, and instrument dabbler, Fred Miller. Trevor Saint Aubin, vocalist, guitarist, and current part-time drummer. As well as Blake Miller, who covers bass and guitar. These members form a cohesive bond of bluesy, folky, jazz alternative indie rock. Those are a lot of labels, but they seem to fit into all of them. We had the pleasure of sitting down with Fred and Trevor to get some insight into the band and what they're doing to support and thrive within the Indianapolis music scene. The interview was littered with jokes here and there and references to the prior interview taken place. A few times we had to stop because we were laughing so hard, but they were very gracious and we still got a good interview. (:
How long have you been playing music?
Fred- I've been playing guitar since I was about 11 or 12, basically just goofing off and playing a few chords. Brady's brother, Bryan, actually taught me my first song, "I Can Only Imagine", and from there it was history. I had played violin since 3rd grade, but stopped once I picked up guitar. I've since tried to pick it up a little bit.
Trevor- I started drumming around Jr. High and have played on and off since then. I started guitar at the end of Jr. High, my brother played so I wanted to be like him. However, I really didn’t start playing guitar 'til late high school/early college.
Interior photos taken by Randi Woertz. Find her on Facebook here.
Any preferences on brand of instrument you play?
Fred- I really like telecasters for my guitars. I love the body shape and the sound. I love that twang! For my guitar pedal board, for those random people who actually care, I use a Ernie Ball VP Jr, JHS Superbolt, JHS Prestige, MXR Carbon Copy, Fulltone SupaTrem and a EHX Holy Grail (not really attached to that one). I really want to get the Strymon Bluesky (if you're listening Strymon, send me one for free).
Trevor- With instruments, I am not too picky. If it sounds, looks and plays well I will be into it. I really enjoy the Gretsch Electromatic and my dream guitar is a Reverend buckshot. I am kind of chubby, so the Reverend might look like a ukulele, but they are still awesome. As for drums, I grew up really liking Truth drums. A lot of the aggressive music that I listened to used those kits. Really, if it has a bright vibrant shell I will play it. Drums are cool because you can tune them to sound like almost any kit.
How do you write the music?
Trevor- I generally write music in my bedroom on an acoustic guitar. At my other house, I wrote in the bathroom because my roommates would be sleeping and it was the only place that I wouldn’t be too loud for them. As for writing, I used to write music (lyrics specifically) because they sounded cool, now I try to be honest and raw about what is going through my head. I don’t really know where it comes from, it just happens.
Fred- The way I write music usually varies a little depending on what's happening in my day. Sometimes I start with a guitar chord progression that I really like, other times it's a chorus or verse that I've been singing in my head, other times it's a melody, put into chords and then I write lyrics for that. It just kind of varies. I almost always write alone though. We haven't done many group writing sessions.
What was your inspiration for writing your music?
Trevor- I am inspired by a lot of things; good people, good conversation, a good cup of coffee. Like most writers, I write the best during trial or heartbreak. If it weren’t for heartbreak, music would probably not be as good as it is today. It seems that pain inspires me a lot; I guess writing music is like a journal. I simply put melody to my feelings. Lately, however, I have been inspired by God’s grace. To think that I continually run away and rebel against Him yet He sent his Son to suffer in my place. The hymn Come Thou Fount says it the best, “how his kindness yet pursues me, mortal tongue can never tell.” I have been coming more self-aware of who I am; which leads me to be humbled by his love and grace.
Fred- It sounds silly to say, but I write because I have to. There's a strange itch, as if I must write. I go through seasons where I write more or less, but that itch is always there. I know. It's a bit odd.
Will there be an album in the future? If so, when?
Trevor- We're recording an EP on Sunday and hope to have an EP in the Fall. I think in the beginning we just want to get our CD online and do it for free.
Fred- Well, we may have CD's at shows, but we'll probably give them away with a donation.
Trevor- We don't want to charge.
Fred- Yeah, we kind of look at it as like, we're a band more for the fans than we are for making tons of money. (Fred jokes) We're organic, fair trade, all of our people get paid a living wage, which is really low because we don't have a lot of money…
Will you be touring in the future?
Fred- Right now we're trying to stay in Indianapolis mostly. Maybe someday we'll tour. But right now it's not really on the horizon for us. We'd like to stay and better the Indy scene.
Why the Indy scene, and what does the Indy music scene look like right now?
Trevor begins to answer and then breaks with a laugh saying, "I'm just laughing because this happened already… it's like Groundhog Day."
Trevor- What's really popular here is the Heavy metal scene, punk rock. A big band came out from Carmel Indiana, called Haste the Day, and they're a pretty big band.
Fred- There are a lot of great bands coming along like this guy named Jesse Lee from his band "Pravada." They're fantastic. There's some really great music still happening in Indianapolis.
Trevor- A lot of people are leaving Indy, though. If you want to make it in music, you've got to get out of Indy, go to Chicago or Nashville, but you know, we want to support the scene and be here.
Who or what inspires you?
Fred- I really love Sufjan Stevens. His songwriting is just fantastic. Johnny Cash, (Fred Jokes) Nickelback- every time I hear that song photograph by Nickelback, I just laugh. haha
Trevor- Oh, that's funny.
Fred- I like Bifrost Arts. Sojourn from Louisville… Mike Cosper's guitar tone makes me sleep well at night, just dreaming about it. It is actually what I model my guitar tone off of. I need to talk with him more in depth.
Trevor- My favorite band is a band called "The Chariot," it's like a hardcore/punk rock band. "The Appleseed Cast," which actually came through Indy not too long ago. And "This will destroy you." And really just relationships. Relationships are a big thing. Just lost ones, new ones. Recently a lot of the songs I wrote were mostly about God and my relationship with God and how I felt like he was far away. So that was a big inspiration with kind of where I was in life. It seemed like everything was kind of falling apart. Grace is a big inspiration for me. If you ever listen to any of our songs, you will notice they have grace in them.
Fred- (Fred jokes) You know what inspires me too? Good typography. There's this blog… called the Anchored Soul Blog, you can check all of their stuff out, it's pretty awesome.
Trevor- Is that Oprah's new thing?
Fred- Yeah, I think so, I think it's actually part of the Oprah book club.
Trevor- Okay, well, since you interrupted me, let me pick up again. Musical mistakes are a big inspiration, like if I try to play a song and I can't play it and I keep messing up, and then all of the sudden "Oh, that sounds cool," and then it just leads to a song. Sounds, random sounds [inspire me].
Fred- (Fred jokes) The only problem is we've been sued like six times, because his musical mistakes are so close to the original that he actually rewrote "Mmmbop" six times. haha
Trevor- …Yeah, but [I get inspiration] from anything really. Food, peanut butter and jelly. A triple decker toasted peanut butter & jelly with bananas is my favorite food of all time. Every time I bite in to that thing, it's just like, "BAM!"
Didn't you say something about Hot Pockets (the last time through)?
Trevor- Yeah, haha, it's really weird. There are things that like will inspire me, sometimes randomly. Like, you be cookin' a hot pocket and it's like "DING," and "ooh that sound good, ahhh, brilliant!" You know, like I walk into Starbucks and I get something different [I hear this sound] "BRRRT," and I'm like "wow!" It's really random. I don't really know how it happens.
How has your music grown over the years to where you are now?
Fred- Well for me, I started playing music when I was in Middle School, playing worship music. I was also in what I would like to call a "happy hardcore band."
Brady- Haha, Wonloss (the name of the band I was also in).
Fred- Yeah, haha, Wonloss. I did that for a little while. Then I was in a Punk/Indie Rock band. I've done a lot of stuff. It's grown a lot. It's moved more towards like a folk thing coming from Louisville. It's a lot like me and the type of music I like. I've just kind of fallen in love with a little more of the Folk.
Trevor- So, I started playing in Church. I was the drummer in church, then I was in a worship band in Junior High. High school, I played the hardcore aggressive scene. College, I played in a Blues rock band. Then I started this thing. So, I've really bounced all over. The biggest progression, I think, is lyrically. I wrote a song called, "Broken Bottle," and that was the first time I actually took a song and wrote it about something important to me, as like a journal for me. When I wrote that, I started to try to be more intentional of the words I say, instead of just saying cool phrases.
Fred, how have your lyrics changed over the years?
Fred- Well, it used to just be about girls…
Trevor- And now it's just about girl.
Fred- No, I remember it used to just be kind of childish and I used to make up a lot of stuff. I still feel like I still kind of do. Like, I make up stories and ideas in my songwriting or just base them off of other things. But recently, I have tried to try to take a really good look at growing up and what really happened in my life and write from those perspectives, because I had never really done it well in the past. I kind of hid behind fake stories to tell true ones. Maybe I'll write a line like, "this is fact not fiction, for the first time in years" haha (Death Cab for Cutie reference).
Is there a record label that you would hope to be on in the future or would you like to try the Indie route?
Fred- Joyful Noise is a local record company and that'd be cool. I don't know if we'd really fit, but I feel like at this point I don't feel like we really want to put our time and energy into trying to be on a record label. Maybe at some point.
Trevor- I don't really know a lot of record labels, except for the big ones. Right now I don't really think I'm concerned with a record label, because there are all these things like the Internet. I think the record label is going to become obsolete in however many years.
Fred- At least as it's done now. Maybe places like a Joyful Noise will start becoming more popular. Ones that are more independent and a little lower scale than like Columbia Records.
Could you ever see yourself being on a big label like that?
Fred- I think the biggest thing is, it would have to be a good deal. I mean, we write the music because we really like making music and we love people. So, I don't think at any point would we want it to become a job, so we're disconnected from people who like our music and from other musicians. So, I mean, it would really come down to what the label offers and what they would want us to do for their label. If they want us to be another talking head… No.
Trevor- I'd do it, haha. Yeah, I mean, come on. We've covered Eminem man, "if you got one shot, one opportunity"…
Fred- I mean, we have other priorities in life than just being in a band. It's not like, we've got to be in a band until the day we die. And if we don't make it, we're going to die.
Trevor- This is the simplest way I could answer it. If a record label offered me something and allowed me to pay the bills and play music… I'd do it.
Fred- (Jokingly) I wouldn't sell my soul, I wouldn't sell my wife to a record label. But yeah, absolutely.
Where do you see the band going?
Fred- Going to sleep, haha.
Trevor- I don't know. We're starting to [see it as a serious project]. It's fun and people like it. I think we're going to go as long as we want. I think we're all on the same page, Fred, Blake, and I. We want to push it as far as we can.
Fred- I think another thing is the fact that we want to be serious about our craft. It comes back to the fact that we're Christians and so if we're making music, it's not just making music music because we want to pick up chicks, or we're making music because it's cool to be in a band. We want to make good music, good art. Art that contributes to other art in the city. We don't want to be another band that is doing it because we think we're cool, or we want to talk about how much we partied the night before.
Any last remarks, inspiring quotes, anything cool you want to add?
Fred- "Worship is the continuous outpouring of all that I am, all that I do, and all that I could ever become in light of a chosen and choosing God." -Harold M. Best, Unceasing Worship.
Trevor- Doing this [interview] makes me feel like literally the coolest person in the world… like, "John Mayer, who?" That's how I feel right now. I wish I had like a sweet quote. Hmmm, "Let's rock, let's rock- today." (As he motions the "School of Rock" gesture)
So even though we stayed up 'til about 3 in the morning, we all had fun and got to learned a lot more about the thriving local Indy Indie band. To check out Saint Aubin's music and stay up to date with them, check them out here on Facebook.
Brady + Nicole