Jenni Cochran is an ESL classroom assistant/tutor by day, and wicked singer/keyboardist for Frederick the Younger by night (unless otherwise asked to perform during the day, such as last week at the mayor’s music & arts series). In such a short time, the band managed to catch the attention and ears of the anyone close enough to tune into their vintage pop moves. And with a new EP, full-lenth album, and debut GonzoFest performance on the way, timing couldn’t be more hot for Frederick the Younger. Yes, this year marks the band’s first appearance at Gonzo Fest, which goes down this Saturday, April 16th, at the Big Four Lawn at Waterfront Park.
In this event, I had to get Cochran on the phone and find out what she thinks about the gonzo ways. She replied: “I like the Gonzo approach. In college I studied Anthropology, and that is very much gonzoesque, the idea of submerging myself in a community and living it, and writing about it. That’s what [Hunter Thompson] did. I really respect that. It takes a lot for someone to do that and write as well as he did, and be able to blend this fact and fiction narrative. It takes a lot of skill. … It’s just an exciting form of journalism.”
Born in the summer of 2014 between Cochran and singer/guitarist Aaron Craker, the FTY sound lives by the good grace of solid melodies and fluid textures. Although the two have written and performed songs together since 2012, Frederick the Younger, the band, wasn’t truly complete until fall of last year. This live take of new song, “Tell Me,” recorded at TNT Productions just last month, indicates it is coming beautifully into form.
When musicians Dave Givan (drums) John Barrera (guitar), and Matt Kohorst (bass) joined the band, “it just felt right,” she said. “We all worked really well together.” Up until then, the founding duo worked magic in Craker’s solo band, Dr. Vitamin, but that, too, eventually ran its course. “You know what I mean? It just felt like it was coming to an end,” she said. “We just felt like starting a fresh project.”
They only needed a couple months to regroup and think about a new direction before Frederick the Younger took off for good. “The form that it’s in now is new to us, so it’s really exciting.”
“You know what I love about Louisville?” she said nearing the end of our conversation. “It’s such an open community. People really support each other and not many cities are like that.”
Please welcome Frederick the Younger this Saturday, April 16th to the main stage at 2 p.m. And don’t forget to scope out the remaining artists with our ongoing previews leading up to the festival!