Don’t invite New Primals to play your bachelorette party.
Sam Frederick is a barbarian on the mic. Their eyes roll back white. Their neck veins swell like elevator cables as they stalk through the crowd, howling anathema. As the band discovered during one precariously booked tour stop in Arkansas, it is a performance that debutantes flee.
“I have never seen a room clear faster,” Frederick says. “But the fun part about it was that there were four or five people who stayed—they were wearing dresses and tuxes—who connected with it for some reason.”
New Primals were born in a fervor. Frederick’s old band Burn Fetish called it quits in August 2017, and less than a month later, New Primals dropped their seething debut EP, Wraith. Frederick’s vision of the band was an eruption of catharsis—get in, explode, get out. The longest song on Wraith is 2:19 and contains a total of 26 words.
Their confrontational sound and Frederick’s deranged performance make for a festival of the id, a madcap display of what would happen if you demolished your inhibitions and gave yourself to the animal sleeping in your brain.
And New Primals don’t allow the audience to simply observe. Drummer Lars Oslund frequently pops out from behind his drum kit, making dramatic, full-bodied cymbal strikes. Bassist Ali Terveen stomps the monitors in a bizarre state of hypnosis. At an August gig at Memory Lanes, Frederick kicked off a breakdown by stepping down from the stage and pressing their forehead to the face of an audience member while a trail of foam fell from their lips.
“I don’t want there to be a curtain between what I’m doing and what the audience is feeling,” Frederick says. “We spend so much time around other people, but we never know what each other are feeling. There isn’t a raw connection happening. I’m just trying to push against passivity.”
The madness is only deepening as the band moves toward the release of next year’s debut LP, Horse Girl Energy. Frederick is writing more conceptual lyrics, and Terveen has been contributing more vocals. The songs are getting longer, with more elaborate sampling. Each progression is an invitation for the audience to descend into the subconscious.
“You get what you put into it,” Oslund says. “Anybody could do this, that’s the fucking truth, but it’s also maybe the most unrelatable thing about this band.”