We are in for a treat this time around…
On the 25th of March, Mahogany Frog’s new album “Faust” will be released.
These guys don’t just make music to listen to and enjoy, they tell stories…with music, if you see their videos (which you absolutely should!) you will understand the visual aspect of their awesome work.
Let’s get into our little chat…
Q1) How about you guys introduce yourselves to the world and let us know more about you!
Hello! We’re Mahogany Frog, an instrumental electronic rock band from Winnipeg. The group is comprised of Graham Epp (guitar/keyboards/electronics/trumpet), Jesse Warkentin (guitar/keyboards/electronics), Andy Rudolph (drums/keyboards/electronics) and Dan Russell (bass/keyboards/electronics). The music draws influences from 60s psychedelia, 70s progressive/fusion, jazz, 50s exotica, electronica, and ambient/experimentalism. Utilizing analogue/digital keyboards, feedback-ridden guitars, fuzz-bass, and electronics, the group creates dynamic, multi-layered songs that explore tone, mood, and composition. Mahogany Frog’s unorthodox sounds and complex arrangements can challenge the ear, yet the haunting progressions and playful melodies are immediately approachable. Onstage we perform furiously and at massive volumes, often connecting multiple songs together with interludes consisting of textured ambiance.
Q2) What were your musical and visual influences growing up?
We grew up in the 80s and early 90s, with our folks’ vinyl, limited cable television, and VHS tapes. There were piano lessons and a choir. I loved bluegrass, classical, all the 60s folk, and rock. Andy (our drummer) was being fed liquid Zappa out of his mother’s nipple. As we navigated adolescence in the early 90s we were dazzled like everyone else by the counterculture. Nirvana and early Pumpkins remain huge. Jimi Hendrix is still the best of modern times.
Q3) How important is the visual aspect in relation to your music? And how involved are you in the making of the visuals for your music?
We have worked often with visual artists throughout the years. Our music seems to draw the attention of freaks and weirdos, and from the early days, we have collaborated with obsessive video people and projectionists. Faust by Mahogany Frog is our first full-length score, but we have contributed music to independent films, animation events, performances, art openings, and a video game… Many of our first shows were multi-sensory extravaganzas that incorporated theatre, dance, and projections. While on tour we don’t
typically incorporate a visual setup, people often offer to project crazy shit while we play. The music seems to lend itself to a cinematic experience. We organize and produce most of our videos, but it’s important to allow the music to inspire other artists to interpret what they are hearing.
Q4) Do you perform live? What were some of the notable live gigs that you did?
Live performances have always been the most important aspect of what we do, although we kinda dropped the ball during the plague. We’ve played hundreds of crazy shows over the years. The best ones are generally indescribable… some kind of unique scenario that doesn’t translate into typed words. Here’s a few crazy ones that look decent on paper:
June 24, 2018, Winnipeg, MB @ Burton Cummings Theatre with Flaming Lips
June 22, 2018, Calgary, AB @ No. 1 Legion with Deerhoof, Prissy Whip & Whoop Szo
June 25, 2017, Winnipeg, MB @ The Good Will with MONO
June 18, 2015, Winnipeg, MB @ The Good Will with SUUNS and Jerusalem in my Heart
Sept 18, 2014, Hamburg, Germany @ Reeperbahn Festival
August 6, 2014, Winnipeg, MB @ Union Sound Hall with BADBADNOTGOOD
Sept 22, 2012, Montreal, PQ @ Il Motore Pop Montreal Festival with Change Of Heart
Feb 26, 2012 Sao Paulo, Brazil @ SESC Belenzinho Theatre
June 28, 2010, Winnipeg, MB @ the Pyramid: Winnipeg Jazz Festival with Deerhoof
Oct 6, 2007, Winnipeg, MB @ The West End Cultural Centre with The Besnard Lakes & Hylozoists
Dec 7, 2005, Winnipeg, MB @ The Pyramid w/ Caribou
Aug 16, 2001, Saskatoon, SK @ Amigo’s with Eric’s Trip, Moneen & Projektor
Q5) A part of our readers are also musicians and gearheads; can you share with us your live gigging setup?
We use the following instruments live, set depending:
Gibson Flying V
Fender Precision Bass
Fender Jazz Bass
Farfisa VIP 345
Moog Little Phatty
Moog Sub Phatty
ARP Solina String Ensemble
Fender Rhodes Stage 73
Nord Electro 2
Traynor Voice Master X2
Garnet Session Man
Q6) Are there any artists/bands that you would like to share the stage with? Why?
We had always hoped to share the stage with The Sadies, it seemed like we were always just on the other side of town from those guys. Brilliant players, and integral to the Canadian Psychedelic Old Guard, along with Rick White of Elevator/Eric’s Trip. Stereolab, Tortoise, and Air have always been massive influences on us at various points over the years. I think Kanye is making some decent waves these days, which is a pretty weird stance. Wand and Fuzz are both rippin’, I think the psych garage-folk might be ready for a different take but at a similar volume.
Q7) Are you now full-time focusing on music? Does anyone have a morning job?
We all have day jobs:
Graham – clothing & accessory designer, contract seamstress
Jesse – graphic designer, architectural communications & marketing, screen printer
Andy – film sound designer, installation artist & coordinator, audio engineer
Dan – upholstery, not quite sure what else, he’s new.
Q8) So I saw an interview that you did and you said you had a delicious burger at burger king…how delicious was it?
The question asked during that interview was “what is the wildest thing that’s ever happened to you on the road”. Context aside, I feel that the Whopper is a decent sandwich. It’s saucy and relatively stacked, and the signature “flame-broiled” flavoring crystals that they sprinkle on top really come through. But analyzing burgers, and most other historic iconic foods necessitates a myriad of contextual breakdowns. One must consider regional variations and histories, and function (in both a practical and economic sense). I used to believe the Whopper to be on the upper side of the bad franchise spectrum, although there’s certainly better out there, such as the Five Guys Little Bacon Cheese “All the Way”. Winnipeg is unique in our “Fat Boy” burger, a sandwich of Greek immigrant origin that incorporates a spicy and dense patty, cheese, a Cincinnati-style chili sauce, finely shredded iceberg, fat tomato and pickle slices, raw onions, mayo, and mustard, typically in a large-format kaiser.
Q9) What do you see the future holding for Mahogany Frog?
We are currently reconfiguring and preparing for a post-plague era. I think we may strip things down a bit, and get into some symphonic orchestras for the punk crowd. One thing is certain: Kanye is the future.
Q10) Ok, so wrapping up this awesome little chat, give us your elevator pitch on why and who should listen to Mahogany Frog?
Everyone should listen to Mahogany Frog.
Well, I gotta say, thank you for pushing the boundaries and exploring uncharted musical seas.
We will be cheering you on!
Take care and stay awesome.
Follow Mahogany Frog on