Written by Charles “Bones” Frank
Hailing from Portland, Oregon, Fruition has always struck me, more than anything else, as a top shelf band of writers. Their music is reminiscent of mountain sounds that a Southern gentleman like myself find familiar, but it is washed in a calmness derived from their harmony and rhythm. Their writing though is just so real. It speaks to their experiences but also allows listeners to connect and adapt their own lives to their words. I find comfort with them even amongst chaos. Pairing their late 2019 release entitled Wild as the Night comes this album, Broken At The Break Of Day. Indicative of the two titles the albums are foils of one another; the ladder released on all platforms just a handful of days ago on January 17, 2020. I had the pleasure of briefly discussing the newest piece with Fruition’s Mimi Naja, the group’s beautiful vocalist, mandolin and guitar guru.
Bones: Mimi- This new album follows the release from November, just a couple months ago. Before I get into a little content, I wonder if you can enlighten some of our readers about the process of recording two bodies of work in such close proximity to one another?
Mimi: We came up with the Night and Day concept, knowing that these two sessions were close in conjunction, hoping they could stand alone and also be symbiotic, which totally worked!
Bones: The new album is warm, some songs about transition and relationships but it is a very inviting sound. It reminds me in some cases of a storybook, a collection of experiences of life on the road and as a unit. What was the writing process like for both you individually and the band with this record?
Mimi: As usual for our band, the writing processes ran the gamut of possibility and approach. It really just depends on the song. Some were revisits of several year old demos. Some were written days before the session. We don’t limit our processes; we just try to fine-tune the final products in a cohesive manner.
Bones: I love the video for “Dawn,” (view above) and actually want to touch on music videos as a tool in today’s click friendly climate. The video is simple in its’ content, adorable dogs traverse a landscape. The song is probably the most positive “push forward” one on the record. How does simplicity in a music video today work towards your advantage? Also, are those dogs yours?
Mimi: Hmm. I guess it works to your advantage in more ways than one. Firstly, I come from the generation where high budget music videos on MTV and VH1 were everything to my friends and me. We were pop culture junkies at the height of budget for those things. It was quite a time to be a young kid. Nowadays, not only do we not have that kind of budget to do complicated intricate videos, (I don’t think even much bigger bands do), I think simplicity also lends a hand because it’s refreshing in such a fast paced, busy, content driven, action packed go, go, go, society. Those are Jeff Leonard’s dogs, and it is his brilliant video and editing work.
Bones: I love Jeff’s playing. I remember when he joined some years back. What an asset with the camera work too. You guys are going to hit the road in support of the release in just a couple of days from now, what are some stops on this run that you are looking forward to the most and why?
Mimi: I’m personally looking forward to a few shows with Lindsay Lou, specifically The Brooklyn Bowl, one of my favorite places in the country. We’ve been friends and musical compatriots over the years, and now we are neighbors in Nashville, so we are excited to join forces.
Bones: So as a music journalist in the south (writing you from Greensboro, NC- please come back here we miss you) I rarely get the chance to talk in a professional capacity to female artists. This is a luxury to me in that regard. Can you speak for a second on your experience as a woman in this industry, being the only female in Fruition? Maybe any antidotes you could lend in relation to Broken At The Break Of Day and how your role, voice and experiences help write the story of music in your life, your group, and these songs?
Mimi: I appreciate folks like you that want to highlight women living in the patriarchy, but I also struggle with these sorts of questions. I can’t speak on what it’s like, because I don’t have anything to compare it to. It’s like being a woman in the world. Find your community, or you’re doomed. I’ve found my family and community that all respects each other for our character and contribution, regardless of demographic. Do I run into music industry men, and boys, that don’t treat me with the respect I deserve, or assume I’m a band member’s girlfriend? Absolutely. Are they usually kissing my ass after our performance? Absolutely. My experience as a female in the music industry would be the same as in any other industry. We live in the patriarchy. I have found some sisters and brothers along the way that also want to smash it, and that’s what we will do.
Bones: I must admit that question was a loaded one; I posed it hoping you would give an answer almost exactly to that sentiment. Artists can wield their voices and stages as vessels of change and with your communities’ help the walls will indeed one day be smashed as you intend.
Mimi: Absolutely. Find your community. Shine your light. Believe in your value. If you love what you are doing and believe it contributes positively to the world, don’t let that get shaken. Find your like-minded people. Work together. Stay up.
Bones: I loved your duets with Holly Bowling from a year (maybe two?) ago. Can we expect any more collaboration between the two of you any time soon?
Mimi: I certainly hope so! I feel so blessed any time our schedules collide and I get to watch Holly perform. Getting to join is just icing on the cake.
Bones: Lastly, what goals has Fruition set for this year, the sound has evolved, it has matured while staying true to its’ origin. I wonder where you all envision this record taking you?
Mimi: We always just want more ears on our sounds if possible. Not for fame, for sustainability. We believe in our craft, and we’ve seen it touch many lives. We can only continue to provide our songs and performances and sacrifice our personal lives if it is sustainable, so if each Fruition fan shows us to one friend, we might have a shot at it 🙂
Bones: That is very humbling to hear and I think I speak for all your listeners, new and old when I say thank you. It has been my pleasure to catch up with you as you embark out in support of Broken At The Break Of Day. I hope I see you down the road soon my friend.
Mimi: Until then!
You can find information about all of Fruition’s dates and new music can be found anytime on their social media, streamed on major platforms, or at www.FruitonBand.com. Again, the official video for “Dawn” can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OStNjwHRjh4. Keep supporting us at The Jamwich by continuing to come back for more content! We appreciate you as we appreciate Mimi and her time on this piece. I’ll see you all soon hopefully during a wild night or in the serene moments of day’s break.