The fright-filled origin story & new EP of film-inspired Freddy VS

The fright-filled origin story & new EP of film-inspired Freddy VS

During those hauntingly isolating days of the deadly pandemic in the heart of St. Louis, a group of friends found solace in their shared love for music and film. Gathering in a dimly lit basement, they jammed for hours and enjoyed movie after movie, finding refuge in the frequencies that filled the airwaves. One fateful night, as they strummed their guitars and beat on worn out drum heads, they stumbled upon an eerie old book hidden amongst the clutter of the basement. Without even thinking, they decided to break it open and try out some of the bizarre incantations written on its frail, dusty pages. Unbeknownst to them, their little makeshift seance began to stir something up, something ancient, something dark. 

As they went back to playing their music, the vibrations seemed to resonate with an otherworldly energy.

Their music had somehow summoned a mysterious being from the depths of the netherworld and, suddenly, a demon appeared before them. His existence was so daunting, casting an imposing shadow across the room. With a voice that resonated like thunder, in a language only the friends seemed to be able to understand, the demon offered them boundless amounts of creativity and skill, but only if they would heed his guidance. Intrigued and captivated by the offer, and craving an escape from the monotony of their pandemic-stricken lives, the friends accepted the demon’s proposition. Against the backdrop of uncertainty, they formed a rock band under the evil spirit’s counsel, naming it Freddy VS and, with the demon’s dark influence, their music began to take on a haunting allure, bewitching all who listened for eternity. 

Consisting of Katie Garner singing vocals, Robbie Marstiller playing drums, T.J. Schaeffer on bass, and Andrew Apprill with Mason Caratachea teaming up on guitars, Freddy VS has used this new dark energy to conjure up more than just a demon; they have called forth a fusion of somber melodies and macabre storytelling inspired by horror films of all kinds.

Along with a wide array of other influences ranging from emo band icons like My Chemical Romance and Paramore to The Dirty Nil and Salem (the band that pioneered the witch house genre), as well as poetry from Poe and Frost, to the body movement of Doug Jones and Andy Serkis, this new band is working hard at carving out a niche for themselves in the dark realms of horror-themed music.

With their sinister sounds and gripping narratives, they are all set to captivate audiences with their latest creation, Freddy VS The Cryptids, an entertaining and unique self-produced four-song EP that was recorded and mixed by local St. Louis engineer Carl Nappa — just released everywhere on April 19th. Including song titles like “Mothman” and “Jersey Devil”, this EP gives you just a taste of how Freddy VS operates. 

The true origins of this band aren’t all that dissimilar to the lore of Freddy VS.

During the last stages of COVID, this group of friends who found solace in playing music and watching movies together had fair amount of pent-up energy with a desire to create something not exactly ‘normal’. Katie had studied classical music and wanted to do something totally opposite of that, which is what allowed her musical theatre experience to flourish. Robbie, T.J., and Andrew were all audio majors in college together, which helps to keep the technical side of things in perspective, and adding in experienced local guitar player Mason Caratachea to help give a fuller sound to the guitar section rounded out the main lineup.

The demon, who the band chooses to keep nameless, also contributes a fair amount to the band’s lyrical content as well as stage performance. With everyone for the most part being either fans of — or open to — the horror genre, it seemed to make sense to just embrace that domain of music. Purposefully pointing the project in that direction opened up a treasure trove. Endless reels depicting interpretations of the human psyche was what the band eagerly started exploring with a deeper intentionality, pulling references and commentaries from all sorts of sources. “You can be as campy or as direct as you want,” states Robbie. “You can take human aspects and change the language to be spooky and it hits. It’s open to be written about truly whatever you want. But it leads to watching old movies and finding connections that make writing songs a fun challenge.”

“The main goal is to have this music be listened to all year, not just on Halloween,” Marstiller says. “Horror movies are released all year, why can’t this music be the same?”

One of the other primary goals Freddy VS had upon their inception was to have concert-goers leave the venue having experienced something fresh and distinct. “I’m not just going to another show that I’ve seen a million times. I’m going to see something new,” says lead vocalist Katie Garner, referencing the people who come to their shows. “I think it’s exciting for people to see something different.” That unabashed difference has benefitted the band on more than one occasion, however their personal highlight came one night at Blueberry Hill on the Delmar Loop. A family eating dinner heard the ruckus being caused and came downstairs to the Duck Room to see the band that was playing. The little daughters were absolutely enchanted with Freddy VS, enjoying the spooky makeup and overall ghastly experience. The family had a blast, creating a great core memory for everyone involved. Moments like that have reminded the band that they appeal to more than just the smelly punks who like skulls and the color black. 

Freddy VS is its own unique monster, summoning darkness and the unknown to create a massively thrilling sound. With the Freddy VS The Cryptids EP release finally reaching fruition and a full album hopefully in the works this year, the band is gearing up and getting excited to take its terrifying tunes on the road. Their first multi-state tour around the Midwest promises to leave a trail of chaos and destruction in its wake, hitting venues near you in late May to early June. In fact, last night commemorated the band’s Halfway to Halloween show at Off Broadway in St. Louis, an epic and spine-tingling album release party celebrating the new EP!

If you didn’t happen to make the occasion, make sure to check out the tour dates above in a town near you, for this is a band that is not to be missed. As they unleash their demonic energy and unforgettable sound upon the world, get ready to face your fears and be thrilled by Freddy VS! 

Stream ‘Freddy VS The Cryptids’ EP:

Photography by Thomas Semonco

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