The Bewitching Cacophony Of FNGRNLS



“I use a lot of aggressive sounds, and at one point was using a lot of dissonance and it reminded me of nails on a chalkboard,” explains Zach Shrout, the creative force behind FNGRNLS. “Which is where I kind of got the name from. I just got rid of all the vowels and capitalized cuz it looks cool!”

A fitting description and glimpse into the sound of FNGRNLS, an act characterized by its sprawling exploration of electronic music. With a few releases under his belt over the past few years, he has methodically cemented his dark and challenging sound and is set to bring us another epic dose of it in the form of his upcoming release.

“The title is Ritual Sacrifice, and it refers to the sacrifices any creative makes,” describes Shrout. “Like, it’s a really isolating lifestyle, you know? It takes a lot of your time and takes a lot of time away from family and friends and relationships. So, it’s about the sacrifices we make in pursuit of our craft.”

A labor of love culminating from years of work, much of it has been influenced by his musical development. “I’ve been playing guitar and always been a metalhead my whole life,” he expounds. “I started playing guitar when I was fifteen or sixteen and was roughly eighteen or nineteen when I started messing with Fruity Loops. I was writing a bunch of metal songs and writing my own music and looking for a way to program my own drums and also record my own stuff.

“I found Fruity Loops, although didn’t know what it was; I had read somewhere that it was something I could use to program my own drums. I opened it up and found I could do so much more with it so started making shitty techno music (laughs). It was really bad, my early stuff. But that’s how I got into it. I messed around with it for a while and ended up taking a long break from it, then got back into it and started the FNGRNLS project and taking it all more seriously.”

One listen to the album and his desire to keep things interesting becomes readily apparent, from the tempo shifts in “Redlining” or the mutating melodies “Odyssey” possesses. “I’m a big fan of variety, I just like to keep it interesting. I get really bored making the same kind of stuff over and over,” Shrout remarks. “And I get bored listening to the same kind of stuff too. So, I try to make whatever it is that I want to hear, whatever I’m interested in listening to. And always ends up being a big variety.

“Originally it was going to be a three or four song EP with like trap,” reveals the producer. “But I just kept getting ideas and just ran with it, kept going with it until I didn’t have anymore ideas. That’s the thing, once I start making stuff, I just open a floodgate and just can’t stop. So that’s where it turned into an album. It wasn’t a conscious decision, it just happened.”

The number of tracks alone signify this – but as you journey through it, the music itself reveals a wide variety of creative impulses as well. The downtempo pace of “Quench” employs a myriad of layers to create a unique atmosphere where each listen reveals something you didn’t notice before. For those desiring something to bang their heads to and fill their ears with glitchy noises, look no further than “The Temple Void.” Things get weird in the best possible way on “Double Dose (ft. VENMC),” a track that deftly blends trap with the of sound of deep dub and tops it off with some twisted vocals that make it.

“I feel that I leveled up on this album in just about every way,” says Shrout. “I feel like I’m finally at the point in production where I can make the sounds that I’m hearing in my head. So, what I’m proud of is being able to achieve what I wanted to with most of the tracks. They really capture the mood I was trying to create. “Guiding Light” or “Bloodletting” are two favorites of mine from this album.

“Guiding Light is a track I’ve been wanting to make for years. It’s kind of about loved ones who have passed on and how we keep them alive in our memories, we still remember the lessons they taught us and how they have helped us through our lives even though they aren’t here anymore. That’s kind of what the song is about and is one that I put off for a long time because I didn’t think I was a good enough musician or producer to do the idea justice. But I decided to just go with it and see if I could make it happen, and I’m really happy with the way that it turned out.”



One of the biggest challenges about electronic music is the tension between working in the studio and performing live, especially as every musician makes music for vastly different reasons. “I prefer being in the studio because it’s more relaxed and I can go at my own pace, there’s not as much pressure. I do love performing live too, but it’s just really nerve-wracking at the same time. I’d like to do more shows and have done radio shows and have talked to people about doing more of those as well.”

The production on the album is top notch, and it quickly comes across how at home Shrout is in the studio. The DnB influenced track “Doomshape,” uses the space that can be achieved in the studio to build a heavy vibe and create its dynamic sound. The subterranean bass which drives “Occultation” is another great example of his expertise, as each layer is thick and full, yet blends perfectly together without clashing.

“My whole philosophy in regard to electronic music is…like I said, I’m a big metalhead and that’s always been at the core of who I am musically. I feel that heaviness isn’t really exclusive to metal, so I’m trying to make music that is heavy without relying on guitars and insane drums and stuff. That’s a big driving force behind the sound of FNGRNLS, trying to capture and make darker textures and atmospheres and stuff to make music that’s aggressive and angry without being metal. These days I’m mostly into metal, the more extreme the better. But I still listen to it all.”

This is a lofty ambition, yet one he seems to effortlessly achieve. There is something for everyone on this album, whether you crave the heaviest of the heavy or something for dancing. Ritual Sacrifice is due for release November 20. It’s a release you do not want to pass up!