'We were just going to jam and then ideas started flowing:' No Fret releases debut single

What started out as two friends jamming together for fun has grown into No Fret, a new band featuring two local rising musicians.

Rory Alexzander and Jonny Moadel have just released their debut single, “There I Am,” an introspective song with an alt/indie feel that questions the need to get bogged down in the minutiae of day-to-day life in favor of life’s bigger picture. The single dropped on streaming platforms Feb. 26.

Moadel grew up in Monroe and now calls Easton home, while Alexzander grew up in Ridgefield and after graduating from law school returned home when the pandemic hit.

The two met a few years ago while working as production assistants on Alexzander’s older brother’s first feature film.

“We just forged a friendship and, in a weird coincidence, as we got to know each other better, we found out this interesting little detail that my older brother gave Rory drum lessons when he was a kid,” Moadel said.

After jamming together for a few years and backing other musicians in live shows, Alexzander said they decided to record their own music and “see if we can make our own kind of groove.”

Inspired by Neil Young, Tom Waits, David Bowie and Radiohead, to name a few, the two began meeting in Alexzander’s basement studio a few times a week, starting in January 2020.

Fortunately, both worked at home and kept their inner circles small so they felt safe working together once the pandemic lockdown hit. In the past year they have not only found their sound but now have a repertoire of 12 songs, which they are planning to release as singles.

What started out as fun has evolved into a full-scale passion project.

“I had been writing a lot of pop music, not for myself, and I really wanted to make something that was my own,” Alexzander said. “I called Jonny and we didn’t really have any expectations going in. We were just going to jam and then ideas started flowing.

“ ‘There I Am’ is out, and we have started on the next single. We are trying to record and write as much we can, build an online presence and go from there. Hopefully, when things open back up, we can play shows.”

The inspiration behind the name No Fret stems from their time making music for other artists and now being able to be authentic.

“We spent so many years making music for other people … not that we didn’t enjoy it, but it wasn’t really honest to us,” Alexzander said.

“I feel like No Fret is sort of a mindset where we are creating something honest and we are not necessarily worried about what other people think — we’re doing it for us. We are really focusing on the broad picture of why we make music in the first place.”

Making music today is 180 degrees different than it was10 or 20 years ago when bands would release an album and then tour in support of it. Many artists now release singles and a steady stream of content to keep in the public eye, as well as cater to audiences’ busy and distracted lives.

“I think we are planning to do more singles so we can keep the content coming out continually,” Alexzander said when asked if an album was on the horizon.

“I think putting out an album is a big ask of people’s time. A lot of people don’t have time to sit down and listen to a whole album.”

Taking the digital approach also has its advantages and offers some creative opportunities.

“We also had this idea because we have a lot of music. We have longer songs and then we have these short and interesting little songs that were inspired by the Beatles on their ‘White Album’ or ‘Abbey Road,’ where they have a big song and then they have a one-minute little fun, interesting song,” he added.

“We might put songs out with a long song and a short song to have sort of a digital B-side.”

Being open to possibilities and experimentation is nothing new for No Fret. Their first single began from Alexzander playing around with an analog pocket beatmaker and a guitar loop.

“As soon as I heard it, my ears perked up,” Moadel said. “It sort of began as an homage to Radiohead to some degree in the beginning and then evolved,” he said.

“The whole process was just a natural organic thing. What we are doing is so honest and natural and we are just doing what we like, just having a good time.”

No Fret is living up to its name, not worrying what other people think.

For more information about the band, visit nofret.band.

This story has been updated to clarify how the bandmembers met.

Andrea Valluzzo is a freelance writer.