"That was when we met and started having jam sessions," singer and guitarist Yucky Poor tells New Times. "We all loved Midwest emo and '90s indie-rock like American Football, Brand New, and the Dismemberment Plan."
"When we started playing, it reminded me of the emo stylings I strived for all the way back in middle school, but we had other influences," drummer Javier Nin adds. "I tried to add hip-hop infrastructures to the beats. I think we all love hip-hop. I might be the only one who likes the Grateful Dead, but I think we all like how they made each show its own experience."
Another major influence for the quartet was shoegaze, the late '80s/early '90s British scene that relied on effects pedals to bring a distorted sound to music, exemplified by bands like My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive.
"We're all massive pedal heads, The gear has become an addiction," Poor jokes.
With the hodgepodge of musical influences, it only makes sense that their band name came out of an online name generator.
"I was wearing a shirt with a frog on it," Poor says. "Our old guitarist said we should name ourselves after something with frogs. We put frogs in a random name generator, and it gave us all these sad names like Frogs of Shame. We wanted something less sad, and we came up with Frogs Show Mercy. Now after each show, we let the audience decide if frogs have mercy."
The band is proud to be a part of what they say is a thriving Kendall music scene.
"All of us grew up in South Florida, but now we're all in Kendall," Nin says. "There's something going on we like to call the Kendallian scene. There's all that hip-hop coming out of Liberty City, but Kendall also has something special brewing."
"There's a lot of eyebrow-raising bands," Poor adds. "There's a new wave of groups, like Bloom Dream, the Old Youth, Her New Knife. It's like when a bunch of turtles fell into a vat and became Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. That's what Kendall is doing to all these bands."
Frogs Show Mercy's newest contribution to the Kendallian scene is the band's latest single, "Love Witch." Poor says the song was inspired by and titled after a 2016 movie by the same name.
"The movie satirically plays on the corniness of '70s movies, and it was shot with actual film," he explains. "I wanted to make a warm song from that era before computers were the primary way of recording."
Poor came to the rest of the band with lyrics and a chord progression. Then Nin went to work on creating a beat. Bassist Karl Martinez built the bass breakdown while Laz Matus contributed with guitars. The song was then recorded and mixed at Ionit Studios where Poor works. It's the band's fourth single, which will ultimately lead to an album next year.
Local audiences will get the chance to see Frogs Show Mercy live when the band performs as part of the Backroom Sessions activation at the Miami-Dade County Youth Fair on Sunday, November 21. As chatty as the members are during the interview, they say they don't talk a lot on stage. They prefer to let the music do the talking.
"The flow is very connective," Nin explains. "It's calculated to create an experience of feeling the sound. It takes you places you might have suppressed, so we can all feel in one place together."
"We encourage crying at our shows — and dancing," Poor puts in. "That's the best of both worlds."
Frogs Show Mercy. 8 p.m. Sunday, November 21, at the Holiday Park Stage at the Miami-Dade County Youth Fair, 10901 Coral Way, Miami; thefair.me. Tickets cost $5 to $35.