ACL Interview: Soul Drummer with a Tender Falsetto, Aaron Frazer Pulls Double Duty at the Fest

Dan Auerbach collaborator will drum for Durand Jones & the Indications before taking the mic for a solo set

Photo by Allyse Gafkjen

Durand Jones & the Indications’ “Witchoo” should’ve been the song of the hot-vax summer. With an oscillating MIDI keyboard riff and enough background chatter to segue to or from Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up,” the slinky R&B burner finds Jones and drummer/vocalist Aaron Frazer trading high-low verses like a Stockton and Malone pick-and-roll. It’s all but guaranteed to move you.

The contrast to the circumstances in which it was written – hunkered down alone in the early days of the lockdown – couldn’t be more jarring.

“This was definitely an aspirational party song,” recalls Frazer from his apartment in Brooklyn, on a rare day off from tour. “I kinda poked my head in on my partner, who was in a Zoom dance party at one point [in the pandemic], and I could see the screen in gallery view, and it was all of these little squares of people dancing in their bedroom: with their partners, with their stuffed animals, by themselves. Some people had little disco lights on. It looked like something out of The Matrix. It was so weird, so trippy, but I do think that we need that right now.

“Sometimes you have to just get lost in something to get through a day.”

The Indications’ latest, Private Space, offers a welcome respite. Released on Dead Oceans, the band’s third LP expands their civic-minded funk and classic soul with the sounds of the rare 45s they picked up touring Europe: “Italian disco, Eurogroove, and Dutch synthwave stuff,” Frazer says.

While his name might not be on the marquee, Frazer’s stature has grown with each release. His lo-fi ballad “Is It Any Wonder?” became the surprise breakout of the Indications’ self-titled debut in 2018, he penned the powerful “Morning in America” on 2019’s American Love Call, and his flawless falsetto dazzles throughout Private Space. Earlier this year, Frazer stepped out from behind the drum kit for his solo debut, Introducing..., which was produced by Dan Auerbach and features the Black Keys guitarist on every track, alongside the Daptones’ Nick Movshon and a hit list of Nashville studio veterans.

At ACL, he’s performing solo and with the Indications. Think of it as a crossover episode.

“Our vision is kinda like Marvel and the Avengers,” says Frazer, whose personal MCU includes drumming on the latest Yola record, Stand for Myself, another Auerbach production. “You have the main storyline, but you can pick your own favorites and follow them on their own adventures.”

Durand Jones & the Indications, Friday, 3:15pm, T-mobile stage
Aaron Frazer, Saturday, 1:35pm, T-mobile stage

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Durand Jones & the Indications
ACL Fest Interview: Durand Jones & the Indications
ACL Fest Interview: Durand Jones & the Indications
Soul quintet blesses the fest

Thomas Fawcett, Oct. 5, 2018

Future R&B and Old Soul Acts at SXSW Music
Future R&B and Old Soul Acts at SXSW Music
Lee Fields & the Expressions, Oshun, and 9 more soul sets to catch

Thomas Fawcett, March 16, 2018

More by Austin Powell
Watch This: Balmorhea’s Gorgeous Concert Film, Free for Three Days Only
Watch This: Balmorhea’s Gorgeous Concert Film, Free for Three Days Only
Live in Marfa breathes new life into The Wind

Dec. 1, 2022

SXSW Music Spotlight: Ural Thomas & the Pain
SXSW Music Spotlight: Ural Thomas & the Pain
Portland soul singer gets his second act

March 11, 2022


Aaron Frazer, Durand Jones & the Indications, Durand Jones, Dan Auerbach, Yola

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle