A typical day for Fresh and Onlys guitarist Shayde Sartin would be violent sensory overload for most people. His walk from work at Amoeba Music in the Haight District of San Fran apparently involves an onslaught of deranged bums, frantic streetwalkers and dead pigeons. And that’s just lunch break. After work, it’s to the garage to make coursing, lo-fi melodies. Perhaps it’s daily stimulation like bird bodies and the homeless that give the Fresh and Onlys’ lyrics a quirky, poetic flow, and their vocals a diverse menu of frantic then steady then serene flavors. Whatever it is, it’s not predictable —just like real life. Just like lunch break. —Rory Aaberg
SURFING MAGAZINE: Let’s start at the beginning.
SHAYDE SARTIN: We’ve only been together for three months or something. It was just a home recording project that evolved into a live band pretty quickly. Tim Cohen, our lead singer, and I have been drinking buddies for about nine years and since he’d been holding on to a bunch of songs, we just decided to go to his house one day and start recording. At the time, I had a couple of riffs that I’d been bouncing around in the privacy of my bedroom, so I played them and Tim instantly had words for them.
HOW SOON AFTER THAT DID YOU START PLAYING SHOWS?
We wanted to play right away, but we had to put a band together. Wymond [Miles] —who’s a better musician than we are —took the reins on lead guitar. We went through a few drummers until we found Kyle [Gibson]. At that point, we knew we had a good crew.
DO ALL OF you GUYS PULL FROM THE SAME INFLUENCES?
As a whole, it’s impossible to avoid being influenced by San Francisco if you live and play music here. The music scene is incredibly vibrant and there are a lot of amazing bands to see and play with —bands like The Sick Alps and Thee Oh Sees, to be specific. Individually, our inspirations are very broad. I think, lyrically, we draw from the Violent Femmes a lot. Also, Chrome, a San Francisco punk band from the late ’70s and ’80s, is a huge inspiration.
EXPLAIN YOUR CREATIVE AND SONGWRITING PROCESS.
We’ll go through spurts of being really productive and end up churning out a bunch of songs in a day. Other times we get together, nothing comes out. So far, songs have come pretty easily to us. For Tim, I don’t think he’ll ever run out of songs to write. Hopefully, we never stop.