One of the bands cooking with hot grease up in New York right now is a band called FRANK. They are self-described as a shape-shifting trio who deliver honest music that moves from deep grooves to punk rock, acid jams to heart-breaking folk. The group just released an album last month called Dreams and Fears of the Outside. This album made us happy for a lot of reasons, so we went a little deeper.
The album is eclectic in nature, as are many that see the light of day. It’s a prodigious collection of songs that blend together beautifully. We hear the influences of Tom Petty, The Rolling Stones, and Billy Joel. The way it plays out is like an actual set you would hear if you went to see a band. You get lots of surprises and change-ups to keep you wanting to explore the thing until the end. We caught up with the band to ask them about the album, themselves, and what the future holds.
Who Is FRANK
Bubblingbox: How did you come up with the band’s name?
FRANK: We were between a lot of names, but we thought that the meaning of the word “frank” as in honest and straightforward really described the kind of music we were making at the time and the kind of musicians we wanted to be. We came up with this name before the advent of Spotify or any of these music services. We just did a search online to see if any other bands were named “frank”. There were none, so we took it! In retrospect, we would have picked something that was easier to find on Spotify!
Bubblingbox: Please lay out the band members for us, who does what?
FRANK: Scott Porter is the lead singer/guitarist/songwriter who has been the creative driver of this band. Christian Linsey is the most recent member of the band on drums who is a solo artist and songwriter as well. His influence has really shaped this last album in our sonic quality and generally “laid back” vibe as opposed to the more aggressive work on the earlier albums. Billy Ziff plays bass and has been with Porter since the beginning of this band almost 20 years ago. It’s the interplay between these two, with Scott’s “The Replacements” and “The Clash” driven guitar rock with Billy’s more prog-rock and jazz influences becoming the core of the band’s unique sound.
Bubblingbox: Tell us about your current album Dreams And Fears Of The Outside, how did the project come to life?
FRANK: We began by experimenting with recording in our own studio. Generally, we would go to another studio to record for a set amount of time in order to record our albums. However, with technology becoming more accessible (just some mics and a laptop) we decided we might be able to capture some of the more spontaneous performances that occur during our rehearsals and use that for a release. Just as we were getting started with that, Covid hit and we were locked down. With the lockdown, we started getting together over Zoom every week just to check in and talk. From this, we decided that this obstacle provided a great opportunity for us to change how we looked at songwriting and recording. We started working on ideas individually and sending them to each other to keep adding in parts. Writing separately and in a quiet setting led us to become more deliberate and thoughtful with our playing. It also allowed us to pull collaborators in who we would never think of due to working out timing and physically getting them to the studio. This was no longer a concern, so ironically, being physically constrained to one location actually opened up our world to all of the possibilities in songwriting and recording.
Bubblingbox: Are there plans to promote the album, when, and where?
FRANK: At the moment, playing a gig seems like a challenging prospect. We hope to get back on stage soon as that is where we really feel at home. Otherwise, we recorded a video for “New York (How I Feel)” which we are really proud of. We’ve been getting great reactions from it because it’s a positive message. We involved friends and family and basically filmed a dance party/love letter to New York.
Bubblingbox: It sounds like you don’t use samples or loops, are these all live recordings?
FRANK: We will use any tools available in our toolbox. We are a rock band in the sense that the songs at their core are meant to be played when we just pick up our instruments and go. In this album, though, we utilized keyboards and some samples more than we ever have. We are still working out the tricks of what this will look like when we try to play this material live!
Watch the video for New York (How I Feel) below.
Pandemic & Beyond
Bubblingbox: How has 2020 affected the group musically/creatively, has anything changed?
FRANK: Well, the process of recording this album has certainly opened up new methods of recording for the next one, which we are already far into. We have upgraded our equipment from a technical point so that all three of us have Pro Tools set up in their home. This has led to more collaboration in the songwriting process than has ever occurred in the band’s history. Now that we are physically back in the studio, we have noticed that our playing and writing are more focused and we’re able to use more live versions of our songs for the album with minimal overdubs. We can’t wait for you to see what we’ll do next.
Bubblingbox: What are your plans for the rest of 2021?
FRANK: Continue to promote Dreams and Fears of the Outside including, hopefully, some live shows. We have our 20 year anniversary coming up in September and we want to celebrate. We are very thankful to have been together for so long and we consider that as good a reason as any to celebrate. Also, work continues on our next album.
Bubbingbox: What do you want fans to know about you as a group?
FRANK: FRANK, more than anything, is family. We truly love being together as people which is then expressed through our music. Our dedication to this band and this music is evident from the albums and live shows we’ve done thus far, and it’s only going to get better. We promise that you’ll like what you hear.
We would like to thank FRANK as a band for giving us this interview. The time that you’ve taken to answer these questions is greatly appreciated. What you did with the album is spectacular, we wish you the best in the future.
Below is a link to FRANK band where you will find their music and contact information.