With their new album The Days Run Away still fresh from the print, UK crew Frankie & The Heartstrings are at the genesis of the new album cycle – the best time to have a chat with the band. Breaking from what is sure to be a crazy schedule, main man Frankie Francis spoke to Music Feeds about the new record, everything that went into it and the probability of another Australian tour.
Music Feeds: Thanks for taking the time to chat. It’s sophomore album time for you. Were there any signs of the ‘difficult 2nd album’ we often hear about?
Frankie Francis: Yes, to be honest. We were given time off to write and it and at some point we found ourselves overthinking things, but as soon as we gave each other a slap it worked out. At times the recording process was testing but only because we wanted to make the best record possible.
MF: I understand you teamed up with Bernard Butler in the studio. How much of an affect did his input have on the final copy of The Days Run Away?
FF: When we decide to work with someone, we bring that person into our world. We became good mates with Bernard and still are. After the studio we would go to the pub and on one occasion we went to a football match together but mainly the pub.
MF: The album cover is awesome. Is there a story behind this one?
FF: Yes, we take a lot of time and consideration over our artwork decisions. This album was no different. This time we found a great photographer called Paul Know who followed an illegal boxer from Darlington [in the UK] for years and documented his struggles. We found the images moving and thought provoking so we’ve gone with it and [there’s] more to come on following singles.
MF: I’ve been pumping Nothing Our Way lately. There seems to be more of a serious tone to the record than with Hunger. Did you find this was the case when you were piecing The Days Run Away together?
FF: Well, Hunger was an album that we stuck together with what we had as it all happened so fast. This time round we had the time and space to consider decisions with time and now experience of being in a band a little while.
MF: There is however, the similar pursuit of guitar perfection which spans both records, it would be interesting to know which comes first, the riffs or the rest of the tracks?
FF: It varies, sometimes it’s the riffs first then build a song around that other times it’s just a chord sequence. We love guitar music and are proud of the British guitar heritage and draw influence from that.
MF: Have you had a chance to unleash any of the new tunes live yet? How did they go down with the fans?
FF: Yeah, all of them, even the slow ones. They love ’em, or at least they pretend to love them haha
MF: You guys gig pretty darn hard. Did the increase in live performances since Hunger have any impact on how you wrote and recorded The Days Run Away?
FF: Yes, we did tour hard but that’s what bands should do – play in front of people who either bought your record or are unsure of you. Either way I believe that any sceptics will be left feeling that we are a worthwhile band and that we are doing it for the right reasons with the right people.
MF: With that touring experience, where do you feel more at home? In the studio? Or one the road?
FF: I feel more at home touring than in the studio. Nothing beats the feeling of playing live, best feeling ever.
MF: You’ve toured Down Under previously, what did you think of your Aussie fans?
FF: We love Australia. We love the people and the cities we went to, I think you have a similar sense of humour as us in the north-east of England and that’s cool. Aussie fans seem very open minded to new things and that’s great and how you should be, even your hipsters!
MF: That tour was following the release of Hunger. Does news of a follow-up album mean you will be returning soon?
FF: We hope so. We’ve been told it’s in the pipeline so keep an eye on our social networks and you’ll find out!
Frankie & The Heartstrings ‘The Days Run Away’ is available now.