Cathartic, Dynamic, & Joyful: Chicago’s Friko Debut With a Visceral Fire in ‘Where we’ve been, Where we go from here’

Friko © Pooneh Ghana
Friko consists of vocalist/guitarist Niko Kapetan and drummer Bailey Minzenberger © Pooneh Ghana
Chicago band Friko channel inner tension and turmoil into breathtakingly bold indie rock songs on their debut album ‘Where we’ve been, Where we go from here,’ a charming and churning debut that aches with the weight of being alive.
Stream: “Where We’ve Been” – Friko




Where we’ve been, where we go from here, I let it all slip away. It’s 2 AM in the morning, running ’til the dawn, it takes the breath out of me…

Friko’s debut album is a cathartic explosion, inside and out.

It’s the culmination of a couple best friends baring their souls in song; of a band capturing their best and worst nights into a half hour’s worth of reveries and reckonings, soaring upheavals and soul-stirring confessionals. It’s beautiful and brutal; raw, volatile, and unapologetic in every sense.

And perhaps best of all, it’s all utterly exposed: Nakedly human – unfiltered and unabridged, vulnerable and visceral to the bone. Friko channel inner tension and turmoil into breathtakingly bold indie rock songs on Where we’ve been, Where we go from here, a charming and churning debut that aches with the weight of being alive.

It’s a feverish and impassioned seduction – one that rages and roars with irresistible charisma and hair-raising fragility as the band unpack the ebbs and tides of their lives.

Where we’ve been, Where we go from here - Friko
Where we’ve been, Where we go from here – Friko
And your teeth hurt more than,
than thе day before

It’s time to get another job
Four feet between a wall and window
Will make your wife a widow
So throw your arms around me
The truth is hard to bear
So we’ll be waiting here ’til sundown
Seems it only comes now
When we’re staring away from it
– “Where We’ve Been,” Friko

Released February 16 via ATO Records, Where we’ve been, Where we go from here is an unforgettable introduction. Comprised of vocalist/guitarist Niko Kapetan and drummer Bailey Minzenberger, Friko first introduced themselves in 2019 and have been steadily establishing themselves in Chicago’s DIY/indie rock scene ever since.

Their self-released debut EP Whenever Forever (2022), full of catchy melodies and emotionally charged overhauls, set the tone for the full record that would come less than two years later.

Where we’ve been, Where we go from here dives deeper and hits harder than ever as Friko plunder their own innermost depths, bringing those thoughts and feelings we too often bury inside to the surface with rugged finesse.

Friko consists of vocalist/guitarist Niko Kapetan and drummer Bailey Minzenberger © Pooneh Ghana
Friko consists of vocalist/guitarist Niko Kapetan and drummer Bailey Minzenberger © Pooneh Ghana



“This record came from the three years prior to finishing the record of playing and living together, and also being on the Chicago scene during that time,” Niko Kapetan tells Atwood Magazine. “We were recording another group of songs at our friend Scott Tallarida’s studio. After a session one day, I played him a few new ones we were working on. Those songs were ‘Crimson to Chrome,’ ‘For Ella,’ and ‘Cardinal.’ After that night, he texted me saying that we HAVE to start recording those songs and move on from the ones we were doing then.”

“So Scott helped us record along with our friend Jack Henry at his studio Trigger, completely pro bono. He and Jack both believed in the band so much that when we were recording this record it just had that homegrown, natural, yet important feeling to it. Writing, recording, and mixing this record all together is a pivotal part of my life that I know I’ll never forget and will always be incredibly important to me.”

“As a band, our goal for this record was to have it feel like our live show as much as possible, but also build the tracks in the studio enough so that they feel huge and important,” he continues. “We wanted the album to be super dynamic since all the songs we had were so different, and I feel like we were able to stick to that through the end.”

“We feel like we really put something for everyone on this record, whether they like ballads, bangers, or mid-tempo songs. We wanted the album to begin with ‘Where We’ve Been’ to immediately establish that ‘This could go anywhere’ mentality for the rest of the record.”

Heads down, we were left out alone
Stretched out, laying pressed upon the lawn
Time comes, we’ll arise from the freeze
And we’ll be face down
When the suns out
Turning crimson into chrome
I’m sitting here writing the same sad song
With the cogs on fire, spinning on and on
Til I’m old and tired, even then I’m on fire
We’re either too old, too bold
or stupid to move I guess we’re

Caught on the wrong side of the shoe again




Kapetan lovingly describes the album as cathartic, dynamic, and playful.

“The title came from that same lyric in the song ‘Where We’ve Been,’” he explains. “After I wrote that song, that line just felt like it encapsulated what this record was – so many years of work and practice and shows, bubbled up into 30 minutes of music.”

Best listened to from start to finish, Where we’ve been, Where we go from here is packed with highlights and instantly memorable moments. The record is bookended by two of the band’s finest moments: The spellbinding, dramatic opener “Where We’ve Been” is a heated unraveling that faithfully sets the to for all that’s to come, while the enchantingly warm finale “Cardinal” finds closure through rich, gentle instrumental work and equally tender lyricism. Within these two captivating tracks lie the rip-roaring “Crimson to Chrome,” the soft and sweet serenade “For Ella,” and searing barn burners like “Crashing Through,” “Get Numb to It!” and “Chemical.”

Friko consists of vocalist/guitarist Niko Kapetan and drummer Bailey Minzenberger © Pooneh Ghana
Friko © Pooneh Ghana



“My fave has to be ‘Where We’ve Been,’ just because of how when we sing that group vocal together at the end of the song it always feels so beautiful, and after we recorded that one in the studio we were all sobbing,” Kapetan confides. “It’s so rare to feel like you got the best performance of a song on a recording, and that take we got for the record is definitely the best performance of that song we’ve ever done.”

“Some lyrical faves are ‘We’re either too old, too bold, or stupid to move, I guess we’re caught on the wrong side of the shoe again,’ from ‘Crimson to Chrome,’ and ‘Four feet between a wall and window, will make a wife a widow, so throw your arms around me’ from ‘Where We’ve Been’!”




Friko © Pooneh Ghana
Friko © Pooneh Ghana

More true to its name than it even lets on, Where we’ve been, Where we go from here is truly a sign of the times – specifically, Friko’s life and times.

The band aren’t just letting off steam; they’ve poured their full selves into these nine catchy and cathartic songs, each an intimate portrayal of our often turbulent comings and goings. Unrelenting and all-consuming, this debut record is a sonic and emotional rollercoaster ride we’ll be taking time and again, for years and years to come.

“I really hope people get a deep sense of joy and hope from it,” Kapetan shares. “This record taught me how to fight against that feeling of apathy you get when you feel beaten down, and I hope it can do the same for others!”

“I hope that our music helps everyone feel more deeply, but in a way that goes beyond just reacting to the song. I want it to pick people up, so that they can actually go out and do something with whatever they’re feeling.”

Experience the full record via our below stream, and peek inside Friko’s Where we’ve been, Where we go from here with Atwood Magazine as Niko Kapetan goes track-by-track through the music and lyrics of the band’s debut album!

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:: stream/purchase Where we’ve been… here ::
:: connect with Friko here ::
‘Where we’ve been, where we go from here’ – Friko



:: Inside Where we’ve been, Where we go from here ::

Where we’ve been, Where we go from here - Friko

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Where We’ve Been

This song lyrically and musically encapsulates our time as friends for the past few years before the record and up to the point of writing and recording it. Lyrically it references my one year at college before dropping out, infected wisdom teeth and working dead end job after dead end job. After we recorded this song in the studio, we were all sobbing and that live drum, bass, guitar and vocal are what you hear on the record.

Crimson to Chrome

This was the first song we had for this record that, when we finished it, felt like we had come in to our own unique sound. The group vocal idea for the record started with this song and how cathartic it felt to all be singing the outro harmonies together in one room when recording it. Lyrically it also has one of my favorite lines on the record which is, “We’re either too old, too bold, or stupid to move, I guess we’re caught on the wrong side of the shoe again.” it’s a metaphor for being crushed like a small bug, something I felt daily while in the time period of making this record.

Crashing Through

This one started from an idea for a riff I got when I was reversing classical string lines. I reversed a line from a Revel piece and it sounded a lot like the main guitar riff. We played with it a little and ended up going the shoegaze route for it, which felt like a really cool transition from a classical piece.

For Ella

For Ella started out as an instrumental piano piece and stayed that way for a while until I had the idea of what the story would be lyrically. I like letting people think it’s just a love song but it’s sadly much darker than that.

Chemical

This was the one song on the record that we fully wrote as a band top to bottom. The middle part where I’m saying “Chemical” was our chance to write something for the music heads with really complicated time signatures and wild frenetic energy. This is one of our faves to play live.

Statues

Statues came from a demo that I made using my plug-in version of the classic drum machine VProm and layering that with a simple song idea I had. “Heaven is out there, middle of nowhere, hiding away until it’s time” comes from the idea of having patience for yourself, even when things get really dark and complicated.

Until I’m With You Again

This one was meant to be a song that a kindergartener could play on piano. Lyrically being just as simple as the piano part, a song about missing a friend and all the things you would do to see them again.

Get Numb To It!

Get numb to it started as a demo, as well and it was out for a long time and became a live favorite for folks at our Chicago shows. It started with me singing over a Broadcast song in the car after a particularly bad day at work.

Cardinal

Cardinal is the backbone for this record, It’s where the imagery and color palette comes from. It kind of puts a cap on everything before it by saying “Where’s your fight now?” which is meant to say, “Here’s everything that has happened so far, good or bad, now what are you going to do with that?”

— —

:: stream/purchase Where we’ve been… here ::
:: connect with Friko here ::

— — — —

Where we’ve been, Where we go from here - Friko

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? © Pooneh Ghana

:: Stream Friko ::



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