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Friday, January 22, 2016

Do It 'Til It Hurts: How to "Scream-Sing" With Frameworks Vocalist, Luke Pate

Posted By on Fri, Jan 22, 2016 at 1:36 PM

click to enlarge screaming2.jpg

Luke Pate knows a lot about screaming. Not only does he do it on the regular for the Gainesville, Florida band Frameworks, but he's even taken a screaming lesson from a vocal coach in New York. Pate, who is 24, (i.e. too young to care / young enough to NOT know better)  was first introduced to the notion of "scream-singing" around the age of 15 when his friend, and current band member, Cory Fischer, asked him to fill-in as the screamer for a metal band he was in at the time. Apparently, the band's original screamer quit a week before they were scheduled to record an EP and they needed a new vocalist stat. "I didn't have the slightest clue about what to do or how to do it, but I said yes for some reason," says Pate. After they recorded the "shitty, shitty EP," they started booking shows, later evolving into their current iteration as the post-hardcore screamo band, Frameworks. "I just kind of fell into it," he says, "and that's how it started." 

In advance of their Saturday show at Slim's, we chatted with Pate about scream-singing, how to do it, and what newbies should know before trying it out. It's a fine art, one that requires lots of practice, preparation, and after-care, so be forewarned before trying it out. And, keep in mind, that this is merely Pate's standpoint on how to do it and by no means an official, doctor-approved guide. In fact, there's probably a lot of damage inherent with long-term and ill-prepared scream-singing that both All Shook Down and Pate know nothing about, so practice with caution and perhaps consult a doctor if you're really serious about doing this. 

The Goal: 
"The way that I’m aggressively yelling, it irritates the vocal chords and they rub together to the point where, overtime, it creates calluses. The calluses are just building up the endurance that I can hold out with the yells. And through the classes with Melissa Cross I learned that the idea is to build those calluses so that you don’t lose your voice after screaming. It’s really natural for your voice to go out because your vocal chords are swollen. I go through this process before a tour where I’ll purposely try to lose my voice so that when it comes back with the calluses, it's really strong. It's like when you lose your voice from intensely yelling at a sports game or a concert. I just think most people never go through the second step where their voice is recovered and then they try yelling again. If they did, they'd realize it's a lot stronger and that the more you do it, the less you lose your voice. I don’t know if that's scientifically correct but it works so I’m going to keep with it."

8 Steps to Scream-Singing:
1. Hydrate: "This is the most important thing you can do. Drink lots of water beforehand to sustain your voice."
2. Don't snack: "Mainly don't eat crackers or crumbly things. It's uncomfortable having stuff lodged in your throat and it will make screaming harder."
3. Warm-up: "Do lip exercises where you vibrate your lips and blow out air because it will help warm-up your vocal chords and mouth. And even though you're screaming, do other singing warm-up exercises."
4. Practice: "Your diction is really terrible when you're yelling, so I practice until I'm able to pronounce the words while screaming. Not running out of breath is also key, and one way to do that is to scream and breathe between the words, not after a full phrase. Longer notes, single syllables, and simple phrases are easier than crunching out a lot of words and syllables. In this way, it's sort of like rapping, but you're yelling. It's more about the pattern and less about the notes that you're actually hitting."
5. Stance: "Your mobility is not limited when you're screaming, but the easiest way to do it is my looking straight ahead. I found that the only mobility I don't have is if I look straight down because I close my throat, or if I look straight up because it also closes my throat."
6. Breathe: "I guess I breathe from my diaphragm, but I also breathe a lot from my throat because that's where the noises come from. I think that's universally-known as incorrect, but that's how I've always done it, even if it is more detrimental."
7. Yell: "The yell (or scream) comes mainly from my throat. I just project my voice into a yell to the point where my voice is scratchy. If you do that, you're doing it right.
8. After-care: "When you're done, drink tea. It definitely helps and it speeds up the healing process. What I'll usually drink is Traditional Medicinals Throat Coat Tea. It's thick and it helps sustain your voice."

The Cons:
1. Hoarseness: "It’s never been a problem that my voice hurts so bad that I can’t do something, but you can get a sore throat or hoarseness. 
2. You might get sick: "I know that if I stay up really late a lot of days in a row or if I just treat myself like shit, I am very prone to getting a sore throat or some kind of sickness. And, if I do catch any kind of sickness, it will ruin the show because you can't scream with a sore throat unless you want to be in agony. You have to make sure that you're very on top of your health."
3. Losing your falsetto voice: "I haven't experienced it yet myself, but I know that a good friend of mine, after years of screaming, eventually lost his falsetto voice. So maybe that's in my future, but who knows."

Frameworks plays with Autumn To Ashes at Slim's on Saturday, Jan. 23. 
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Jessie Schiewe


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