Machineheads: Brain Fruit Talks Squelchy Sounds and The Perils of Fondue

Emily Pothast
The Situation I'm at Pike Place Market's Alibi Room with the psychedelic electronic trio Brain Fruit--Jon Carr, Chris Davis, and Garrett Moore. Earlier, we caught the tail end of the Can Can's Monster Planet Monday, in which a video DJ plays clips of sci-fi and horror films to the accompaniment of live, improvised electronic music. Davis played his suitcase-sized custom modular synthesizer, which he assembled out of 30 modules and which resembles a rectangular R2D2. Some people affectionately name their cars or their guns, but "I don't name my synthesizers," says Davis.

"Although," says Carr, "Chris' girlfriend was talking to me earlier tonight, and she was like, 'Oh, he talks about it every day.' So really, the modular is a big part of Chris' life."

How They Got Here Moore is a San Diego native who now works at Capitol Hill's Downtown Dog Lounge. He likes big, shaggy dogs like Bernese Mountain Dogs, which is also the breed he--heavily bearded, cheerful--most resembles. Davis hails from Iowa; he came to Washington to study music and math at Evergreen and then ended up sharing a house in Seattle with Carr's now-ex-girlfriend. "It was like, 'Whoa, there's this guy upstairs always making weird noises in his room. We should hang out!' " recalls Carr.

Shop Talk All three members had very musical upbringings--Moore's father is a professional jazz drummer, Carr started playing classical piano at 5--but "Brain Fruit is the story of us learning how to play electronic music," says Davis. The songs are predominately instrumental, with Carr and Davis' meandering keyboard and synth sounds offset by Moore's energetic live drums.

"It's complex," says Carr, "but it's also goofy. Some of the sounds, some of them are really squelchy, juicy, wet, so there's always a little bit of humor to the music." They have a couple of big plans for 2013: playing L.A.'s Psych Fest (Brain Fruit's first show outside Seattle) and recording a full-length with revered producer Randall Dunn. "We really want it to be high-spec," says Carr. "Now that we have these powerful instruments, it would be a shame for us to do anything that's less than incredible quality."

BTW: The band's worst show experience was at the Vera Project. "Chris' then-girlfriend worked at a fondue restaurant," Moore says, "and before the show we all ate way too much fondue. I felt awful the entire set." Carr tries to blame a bad microphone cable. "I didn't even know there was gear failure," says Moore. "I attribute it all to fondue."

Brain Fruit plays the Crocodile with Rose Windows and Master Musicians of Bukkake on Monday, November 26. The show starts at 8 p.m. and the cover is $8.

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