Friday, May 28

Frankie & The Hearstrings Interview

. Friday, May 28

Frankie and The Heartstrings are a five piece band from Sunderland. You might have seen them supporting The Futureheads on tour, you might have seen them at a festival or you might not have seen them at all - either way you’re bound to love them. Their mix of quick fire wit and smart indie pop combines with a soppy sentimental heart and romantic sensibility to make for a quintessentially British indie band. Gigwise caught up with three members of the band for a chat about where they have come from and where they’re going. Warning: a lot of what you’re about to read is very sarcastic.

Gigwise: How did the band start and what was everyone doing before the band started?

Frankie: We’ve been together nearly two years. Before the band I was the landlord of a pub called The White Horse in Sunderland, Dave (drums) was in social care, Michael (guitar) was a teacher in a boys school, Dennis (bass) worked in a clothes shop and Pete (Gofton, guitar, formerly Johnny X in Kenickie, brother of Lauren Laverne) was a producer.

What was it that brought you all together?

Pete: The Bible and Bible studies mainly.

Frankie: Sunderland is a pretty small town so you get to know people quickly, especially those with similar interests. Basically we’ve all been in bands in the city before and I was DJ’ing at a lot of gigs of our friends bands like Field Music and The Futureheads.

Pete: You basically end up coalescing in and around the same pubs and gigs and we just ended up being good friends.

Was there a definitive moment where you decided to start Frankie & The Heartstrings?

Frankie: We were having a quiet drink in The White Room one Sunday night before we all had to go to work the next day and started talking about films and music, realised we had a lot in common and decided to practise in the room above the pub. Our friend Graham, who enjoys a drink, was originally playing drums and heroically managed to fall of his stool at out first practise. We played two gigs and Pete was at both and asked to get involved and record some songs. He ended up playing guitar in the studio and it evolved into him being a full time member. That’s when the band started properly, when Pete joined.

What was the first song you wrote together?

Dave: It was actually our most recent single, Tender. Starting any new band you will get say four brand-new songs in your first week. We wrote ‘Tender’, ‘Fragile’ and ‘Possibilities’ straight from the off.

Pete: Even before I joined you could see that there was something special in the songs and the band, they just needed someone to take the helm and steer it a bit.

Dave: Before Pete joined us it was like four retards trying to fuck the same door knob.

A lot of your songs reference other art forms such as books and films. Is this something you’re passionate about and do you feel that too many bands shy away from it?

Frankie: I think other bands don’t do it maybe because they’re scared of looking a bit up themselves but I know that people in our band are more passionate about it than some of the music we listen to.

Pete: In terms of other bands I don’t really think about it. Nothing we do as a band is a reaction against anything, it’s just what we do because it feels right. We’re not trying to fill a void created by other people, we just write about what we know.

Dave: If you don’t write about what you know then you’re not being true to yourselves and then what’s the point? It doesn’t have to be some trendy reference but if you read a book and it sends your mind wild then you put it into your work. It’s like that quote “Some people never let themselves get wild. What truly horrible lives they must lead.”

You played some really big shows in support of Florence & The Machine in front of big audiences very early in your careers. How did you find that experience?

Frankie: Easy.

Dave: we’ve never felt so confident as when we do the big shows.
Pete: A lot of what we do and Frankie especially is throwing big moves. It’s actually more comfortable to have room to do that and even though we love playing club shows, we’re never going to be a band who shy away from playing the big gigs.

Can you tell us about your recent single Tender?

Frankie: It’s a love song based on the Edmund Fitzgerald poem ‘Tender Is The Night’ about how you can be really close to someone one moment and then they change and you drift apart.

Dave: The lyrics to the chorus talk about how it feels to be with someone and how, as long as you’re with them, you’ll be alright.

Frankie: We’re not ashamed to say most of our songs are about girls.

How is your debut album coming along?

Pete: It’s about eight tenths done. I produced it and it’s pretty much ten singles.

Dave: Pete said it’s the best thing he’s ever done. It’s a really immediate album, I think people will get it and play it once then stick it on repeat straight away. It’s like Spinal Tap or Withnail & where every time you listen to it you find something new.

What number in the POPSEX LTD directory (the bands online vault of memorabilia) will that be?

Frankie: Well we’re aiming to release it in September and by then there might be a lot more stuff in there.

Dave: Everything physical that we do or have we give away, from records to things like drum sticks from gigs and the stamps we use on our vinyl. It just gives fans something tangible to hold on to, a bit more effort than normal. I remember being young and meeting people from bands and being blown away that they’d talk to me so we appreciate the value of giving something back to your fans.

Pete: It’s the same with our music. We don’t put MP3’s on Myspace or blogs, we prefer people to email us and then we send them over to them. It’s just a more personal approach and although it’s a retro move it kind of puts a value back into music that’s been lost a bit by downloading and the internet.

‘Tender’ is out now on Pop Sex Records. The band play their first headline London date on June 3rd at 100 Club before playing the Reading and Leeds festivals as well as Latitude.

Image via


Post a Comment