A couple of years back, Columbus drummer Jack Lynch saw Carly Fratianne casually playing guitar with a band at a local art show.
“She’s just shredding,” Lynch recalls. So he talked to the drummer and sat in for a few songs.
After a second chance meeting half-a-year later, the two jam again – this time with bassist Alex Randall, Lynch’s acquaintance and recent recruit, at Fratianne’s house. She texts the guys the next day, saying her brother’s band is performing the following week at O’Sheckey’s Live, a small (and now-closed) local venue. And they need an opener.
They had clicked as a group, and Fratianne already had some songs written.
“So, quite literally, we played a show after only having known each other for 10 days, Randall says. “And we played for, like, 35 minutes.”
It was also Fratianne’s first time performing her original work at a show and with a band. She’d mostly stuck to acoustic open-mics before.
“But it was, like, a bunch of peoples’ moms – there was no real audience. I was still just terrified,” she says, laughing. “And I saw video some not too long ago of that night, and I was nowhere near the microphone the entire time. Like, I had no idea what was going on. I closed my eyes before the show, and I didn’t open them until the very last song.”
Fast forward a year, and Columbus guitarist Vinny Valentino is such a big fan of the band – named Souther – he successfully makes his case for joining Fratianne on guitar. Another year, and the band’s now working on its fourth recording and first full-length album.
Souther recently stopped by the Broad & High studios to share local radio hit “Golden Hour,” plus two brand-new tracks. We sat down with them afterward for a conversation about influences old and new, lyrical inspiration and living in Columbus.
Meet the Musicians
Fave local venues: Brothers Drake, Rumba Cafe
Singer-songwriter influences: Jason Isbell, Noah Gunderson, Frank Ocean
Guitar influences: Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix, Derek Trucks, Julian Lage, John Scofield, D’Angelo
Fave local acts: “I love Counterfeit Madison. Mistar Anderson is a great jazz band – jazz and soul conglomerate. There are more, I’m sure.”
Influences: Ringo Starr, Frank Zappa, Yes
Fave local acts: Bobby Floyd, Derek DiCenzo, Montezuma
Fave local act: Pale Grey Lore
Fave local place to perform: “We’ve played a lot of outdoor shows in Columbus. It is always a blast to play outside.”
Influences: “I’ve always been drawn to music where the bass-playing is very expressive and melodic and where it axes another instrument, another layer to the music. So bands like The Cure, The Smiths and, of course, the first band I really got in to is Green Day.”
Influences: Radiohead, Spoon, Bahamas
Fave local acts: Bummers, Saintseneca, Fables, Small Songs, Mungbean, Parker Lewis
Fill in the Blank
If you like ___, you’ll like Souther.
Vinny: Tom Petty.
We’re we’re not performing, we’re ___.
Alex: When we’re not playing music, we’re thinking about what we need to do so we can only play music.
Vinny: And reading.
Jack: Carly makes T-shirts. She made all of our merch. That’s kind of cool.
Do you make it in the screen-printing shop where you work?
Carly: I actually haven’t made any of it there. I have a press in my house, a little one, that I’ve been doing our merch on. But the next round, I’m definitely going to take the cop-out and do it on the auto 12-arm press just for the sake of time and consistency of the project.
At this point, my attention to detail surpasses what I’m able to create. Well, and also my imagination surpasses what I’m able to create with my own facilities.
___ is Central Ohio’s best hidden gem.
Carly: Olde Towne Tavern.
Alex: I was going to say all the bike trails. The bike trails and paths are awesome in Columbus. You ride places, and you’re like, wait, I’m still in Columbus?
The best food in Columbus is ___?
Alex: Katalina’s breakfast food.
Jack: For Downtown lunch, I’m going to rep Broad Street Bagels & Deli.
Vinny: I’ll say Brassica.
Pineapple on pizza is ___?
Vinny: Yes, 100 percent.
Alex: I would pick it off.
Carly, On Sources of Inspiration
I get a lot of inspiration from, like, introspection is a big thing, but also observing the way that people move through the world and the way that I move through the world. And noticing patterns and behaviors in people and a lot of reframing things – anything – like, situations and spaces.
I try to work as much adventure into my life as possible. I really like being on the road, and I really like touring ’cause it gives you a lot of perspective. I spent a lot of time just traveling alone when I was younger, and I had a lot of weird experiences via that.
And so a lot of the stories that I write about are derivative from some of those experiences. And given time and space to reflect on them, I’ve been able to work them into some more palatable things. And trying just to understand life in general. I guess that’s more songwriting.
But musically, I’m really inspired by so many things … the timbre of peoples’ voices when they sing certain lines or, like, the way someone picks a guitar part. I’m really into anything visceral. I’m a pretty reactionary player and a singer, so I’m drawn to things that I feel are inherently emotive.
I grew up on a lot of country from the family, but then I sort of moved into blues and the folk, singer-songwriter kind of stuff. And just anything that I feel is really raw is inspiring to me. Because I feel like that’s the only true music that exists, is that which is very expressive. I definitely have a lot of respect and admiration for, like, thoroughly produced work, as well. But I think what I’m truly inspired by in my soul is pure emotion captured, honesty in whatever it is. I like to hear honesty.