Biography Mahogany Frog is an instrumental electronic rock band from Winnipeg. The group is currently comprised of four multi-instrumentalists: Graham Epp (guitar/keyboards/trumpet), Jesse Warkentin (guitar/keyboards), Scott Ellenberger (bass/keyboards/trumpet) and Andy Rudolph (drums/electronics). The music draws influence from '60s psychedelia, electronica, '70s progressive/kraut-rock, jazz, 50's "ultra" lounge and ambient/experimentalism.
Mahogany Frog is an instrumental electronic rock band from Winnipeg. The group is currently comprised of four multi-instrumentalists: Graham Epp (guitar/keyboards/trumpet), Jesse Warkentin (guitar/keyboards), Scott Ellenberger (bass/keyboards/trumpet) and Andy Rudolph (drums/electronics). The music draws influence from '60s psychedelia, electronica, '70s progressive/kraut-rock, jazz, 50's "ultra" lounge and ambient/experimentalism. Using an arsenal of keyboards (Moog/ARP/Farfisa/Korg/Rhodes/Nord), cacophonous, feedback-ridden guitars, fuzz-bass and walls of electronics, the group creates dynamic, multi-layered songs which explore tone, mood and composition. Although Mahogany Frog's unorthodox sounds and complex arrangements can challenge the ear, their haunting progressions and playful melodies are immediately catchy and satisfying. Onstage the band performs furiously and at massive volumes, often connecting multiple songs together with interludes consisting of ambient noise. Over the past decade Mahogany Frog has recorded five LPs, delivered high-profile performances at Pop Montreal, Winnipeg Jazz Festival, Prog Day in Chapel Hill, NC and SESC in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and shared the stage with notable artists such as Caribou, Deerhoof, The Besnard Lakes and Eric's Trip. Their upcoming LP "SENNA" is scheduled for a summer 2012 release.
Mahogany Frog began in 1998 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan when Graham Epp and Jesse Warkentin, who had been honing their own sound of fuzz-laden psychedelia, joined forces with the percussionist/electronic musician Jean-Paul Perron and bassist Nathan Loewen. The band began to coordinate functions at venues throughout Saskatchewan, creating a mesmerizing atmosphere utilizing projections, performance art, and a broad spectrum of exploratory sounds. As a result of these performances local promoters began to recognize Mahogany Frog's increasing audience, and between 2000 and 2002 they headlined regularly, opened for Canadian touring acts such as Eric's Trip and Projektor, and released their first LP ?Mahogany Frog Plays the Blues". In late 2002 they formed a six-piece, with singer-songwriter Shaun Mason (founder of Montreal's Dumb Angel) replacing Loewen on bass, Jordan Perry (co-founder of Saskatoon's Linus Hemmingway/Blood Music and Montreal's Derelict) on organs and synths and Mike Spindloe on saxophone. With this lineup Mahogany Frog performed and recorded an hour-long instrumental concept which became their second album "The Living Sounds of Mahogany Frog".
Relocating to Winnipeg, Mahogany Frog minimized to a four-piece, introducing Scott Ellenberger on bass/trumpet. With the release of ?The Living Sounds...? came recognition from the Winnipeg art community, and the band became involved with an eclectic group of musicians, performers and film-makers. They embarked on numerous prairie tours, collaborating with the newly launched indie label/collective Teargas Recording Tree in Saskatoon to organize multi-media events in Saskatoon and Winnipeg. The group commenced work on their third record. Teaming up with musician/recording technician Mike Petkau (founder of Les Jupes/Head in the Sand Productions/Record of the Week Club) they spent the summer months of 2003 creating ?Mahogany Frog Vs Mabus?. Released in early 2004, this collection demonstrates the increasingly complex compositional aspect of the group, as well as the expanded use of synthesizers and analog keyboards. The band began to tour ruthlessly, and "...Vs Mabus" charted on campus/community radio throughout Canada.
In spring of 2005 Petkau recorded the band's fourth LP ?Mahogany Frog on Blue?. Released on CD and vinyl, the album takes cues from the sounds and textures of ??Vs Mabus? but the compositions are short and focused, displaying a challenging array of melodies and sounds projected with a raw, forceful energy. The album's intensity reflects the recording method: feedback-ridden guitars indicate sheer volume, and driving, feverish drumming imparts a sense of urgency. The songs translate effectively onstage, and while touring "...on Blue" the group began to develop a reputation for being one of the country's most fierce and inventive live acts. The album garnered favorable reviews throughout North America, and became available through Vancouver's Scratch Distribution in Canada and Cuneiform/Wayside in the USA.
In autumn 2006 the band began recording what would become their most cohesive and adventurous effort to date, "Mahogany Frog DO5". Recorded by Mike Petkau at Winnipeg's MCM Studios between October 2006 and May 2007, the record features atmospheric soundscapes, catchy melodies and saturated, explosive noise. Buzzing, harmonized leads slice through walls of tube-driven organs and synths. Snarling guitars riff with punchy, fuzzed-out bass. Glitchy electronic samples melt into frantic drumming. "Mahogany Frog DO5" was immediately picked up by New York City-based label MoonJune Records (home to avant-garde/progressive/fusion artists such as Soft Machine and Allan Holdsworth) and re-pressed with international distribution. With help of Moon June founder Leonardo Pavkovic's promotional efforts "...DO5" won the band international acclaim; the record received glowing reviews in publications throughout North/South America, Europe and Asia. Following the album's release the band embarked on numerous tours throughout Canada/USA, sharing the stage with notable artists such as Caribou, Deerhoof and The Besnard Lakes.
In autumn 2008 Perron was replaced by drummer/electronic composer/performance artist Andy Rudolph. As a long-time collaborator, Rudolph was familiar with the band's work: he had filled in on drums during a tour in 2005, and the group had interpreted one of his compositions and released it as the closing track on "...DO5". Rudolph's electronic proficiency, as well as his tendency toward jazz/R&B-style drumming, resulted in a gradual musical shift: new material began to display layers of MIDI-controlled sequencers, razor-crisp glitch-beats, moody tonal washes and infectious, hip-hop-esque grooves. In spring 2010 the band performed a live score to the film "CAS'L", an eccentric work-in-progress created by animator Bruce Bickford (best known for his work in the seventies with Frank Zappa). Since 2010 Mahogany Frog has delivered high-profile performances at Pop Montreal, Winnipeg Jazz Festival, Prog Day in Chapel Hill, NC and SESC in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Mahogany Frog recently recorded new material with John Paul Peters at Winnipeg's Private Ear Recordings. Their upcoming LP "SENNA" is scheduled for a summer 2012 release.