Tell us a little about your early life growing up in the UK.
I grew up in the south of the UK, Hampshire, in the countryside. My parents are into classical music but nothing beyond that, so I didn’t get exposed to much until I came across Iron Maiden myself. From then on, music was the only thing I ever really cared about.
When “Recovery” hit stateside followed up by the full album (Tape Deck Heart) it seemed like Americans finally caught on to how unique your music is, it just so happened that it was also recorded over here on the west coast (Burbank, CA). How was that experience compared to previous work?
I was keen to work with Rich Costey, who works in California, hence us going there. I was initially a little cautious about recording outside of England, but it was fine in the end. The workload was huge, Rich really pushed me and the Sleeping Souls to dig deeper than before for the songs on this record.
I recently had the pleasure of listening to Losing Days EP. Is this a preview of more to come soon?
Actually that was more a case of getting some songs out there that needed a home. “Longing for the Day” was on the very first demo I ever did but for some reason never really got any further than that. It’d kind of become a fan favourite, but I hate the original recording of it, so it was good to get a new, definitive version out there. “Hits & Mrs” was writted for Tape Deck Heart but somehow didn’t fit the mood of the whole album.
What was it like transitioning from Million Dead to a solo career as a writer?
Well, I think my musical objectives are quite different. Million Dead was complex, aggressive, obscurantist, and we kind of constructed the songs collectively. As a solo writer, my fixation is more with simplicity, directness, and with writing songs as holistic pieces; with songwriting per se, you might say, which was kind of a new approach for me, back in 2005.
You mention influences ranging from Ryan Adams to Weezer, many of the bands and artists we grew up with in the 90’s. Who impresses you the most now in the music world?
There’s some great bands out and about, now as ever. I’m into The National, Larry & His Flask, Emily Barker, Smith Street Band… I could go on for ages.
You’re currently in the middle of a North American tour, how’s it been?
It’s going great. We have a killer support bill – Smith Street Band and Koo Koo Kanga Roo – which makes for a fun evening every night. These are the biggest headline shows we’ve ever done this side of the Atlantic as well, so it feels good to be making progress.
Any stops that have stood out to you in particular or that you are looking forward to?
Denver was great. We’re all looking forward to get back to Boston again, that’s always great for us. But it’s all good.
What can fans expect from you in 2014?
We are working on new material as a band right now, so I’m keen to keep moving forward, but whether or not that will happen before the end of 2014, remains to be seen. We shall see.
Check out Frank’s video for “The Way I Tend To Be” below.
Editor in Chief of Lemonade Magazine
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