Are you excited for some brand new music from The Frst? The answer to that question is so obvious that you’re probably responding with a collective “Duh” right now. “Duh” also happens to be the brand new single and music video from the band’s debut album, Prelude (find it on Spotify and Apple Music), which is seeing its official release today. The song is a riff-rocking, supercharged, headbanging good time that also makes a clear and focused statement on the current political climate of the good old United States of America. Rather than attach some self-righteous purpose to Prelude as a piece of music, the primary goal behind the writing and recording of the album was to seek both freedom and fun, while perhaps giving you a thing or two to think about while you’re listening. There’s a reason that the I is missing from The Frst; because there is no I in The Frst as a band and as a unit of musicians.
Already a highly decorated musician, singer and guitarist Mikei Gray put The Frst together in late 2017 so that he could truly express himself musically in the way that he wanted and wasn’t able to in his previous musical endeavours. Such endeavours included a decade as a highly respected touring guitarist, sharing the stage with bands such as Portugal. The Man, Sublime With Rome, and The Florida-Georgia Line. Musically, The Frst is defined by their driving guitars, pinpoint melodies, and honest to a fault lyrics, seeking to blend the best of hard rock, pop and hip-hop.
Along with our exclusive premiere of the “Duh” video, we also caught up with Gray to help hype up the release of Prelude today with a special track-by-track rundown where he gets into the details behind the writing and recording of each song on the album.
“Released at the height of the Black Lives Matter movement and mixed by Grammy winner Steve Hardy (Jay Z, Alicia Keys), ‘Tarantino’ nods sporadically to the cult-film director, whilst tackling the timely and pertinent topics of isolation and loneliness. A follow-up to the single ‘Simulation’ which was featured on Alternative Press, Loudwire, in the Top 5 on Soundcloud’s USA Rock Chart, and was accompanied by an augmented reality app, the first of its kind for a band, ‘Tarantino’ was available as a direct to vinyl performance with personalized greetings, during the Covid-19 pandemic before finding success with over 20+ USA FM radio station adds including KXRN, Laguna Beach, California and even internationally at Toronto’s 102.1 The Edge.”
“‘Ammo,’ The Frst’s fifth studio single and first to reach #1 on Soundcloud’s USA Rock chart, the song found favourable reviews among critics, calling it a ‘cool, relaxing soundscape blessed with plenty of atmosphere and grace.’ (Sean Gonzalez, New Noise). Featuring their most comedic music video to date, ‘Ammo saw the return of Rules’ All Star Cast in a retro dodge-ball game.”
3. “Pawn Shop”
“Debuted in the beginning of January 2020 alongside a Top 10 Cannabis List and The Frst’s most popular music video to date, featuring a reality T.V. style portrayal of Mikei Gray, Justin Smith (Them Vibes, Lindsey Ell), and Jeffrey ‘Cashmere’ Hutchins (Insane Clown Posse, Bubba Sparxxx) smashing their pawn shop instruments before attempting to return them.”
“Recorded in support of the blackout movement and protest against racial injustice, ‘Duh’ is an energetic and anthemic head banger filled with riffs, guitar licks, and a political assessment summed up in one word simple enough for a child to understand, ‘Duh.’ Championed to be the follow up single to ‘Tarantino’ by Grammy winning mixer Steve Hardy, while the new accompanying music video delivers a sequel to where the ‘Rules’ story line left off. ‘Duh peaked at #3 on Soundcloud’s USA Rock Chart, initially beating Post Malone & Tyla Yaweh, ‘Tommy Lee’ despite the same release date.”
“When critics wrote, ‘Mikei Gray Breaks All The Rules With All Star Band’ they weren’t kidding. Joined by Andrew Leahey, Nathan Cogan (Taking Back Sunday), Jeff Hutchins (Insane Clown Posse) and Justin Smith (Eliot Root). The video features the cast in hysterics, paving the way for more comedic videos in the near future. Mixing doo wop and punk to land near surf rock territory, ‘Rules’ was the last of the four singles mixed by producer James Paul Wisner (Dashboard Confessional, Paramore).”
“Taking a break from what Alt Press describes as ‘angst ridden vocals and heavy guitar riffs’ to embrace their softer romantic side, our tenth single is an acoustic sing along that evokes a warm and tranquil feeling. The third song mixed by Steve Hardy, and incorporating a sitar (Roger Jaeger) to help set the band apart from their punk peers, ‘Slow’ sees The Frst at the most stripped down and vulnerable.”
7. “Seven Eleven”
“Introducing The Frst’s signature hubcap guitar, ‘Seven Eleven’ marked the group’s debut on Loudwire’s Weekly Wire next to Iggy Pop and some of the biggest names in rock after reaching #2 on Soundcloud’s USA Rock Chart (New & Hot), being beaten only by Blink 182’s Travis Barker, who embraced the group on Twitter shortly thereafter.”
“The second single and follow up to ‘Another One,’ ‘Cycles’ marked The Frst’s Top 10 debut on Soundcloud’s USA Rock Chart (New & Hot) and found support from Anti Music, among others thanks to the psychedelic accompanying music video.”
9. “Another One”
“The song that started it all, a passionate protest against distracted driving before state’s ‘hands free’ laws, ‘Another One’ caught the attention of the press, including Toronto’s Alan Cross (102.1 FM The Edge), who titled it, ‘The Best Road Rage song since The Offspring,’ while UK influencer Lucy McCourt touted the single as a new generations anthem.”
“Released at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, ‘Simulation’ earned The Frst a breakout moment in Alternative Press saying, ‘full of angst-ridden vocals and heavy guitar riffs that are keeping grunge very much alive.’ Behind the scenes, the single was inspired by comedian Joe Rogan’s interview with tech mogul Elon Musk, who discussed how humans rely too much on technology. Along with the song release, the band made history as the first rock band to release an augmented reality app, where fans can see bloopers, behind the scenes and other exclusive content.”