Q&A: Frankie Rose
By Aly Barchi | Published on Wednesday 7 March 2012
Following stints with Vivian Girls, Dum Dum Girls and Crystal Stilts, Frankie Rose broke off and went solo in 2009, under the name Frankie Rose And The Outs. The following year she released her acclaimed eponymous debut via Memphis Industries, a collection of short, fuzzed-out pop songs.
For the follow-up, ‘Interstellar’, due for release on 19 Mar, Rose dropped The Outs from her moniker and set about creating a cleaner sound with New York producer Le Chev. The result is an album filled with grandeur, but which retains the melody and sharp songwriting of her debut.
With a US tour due to begin next month and UK dates in July, including a show at London’s XOYO on 26 Jul, CMU’s Aly Barchi caught up with Frankie Rose to find out more about her methods.
AB: When did you start writing ‘Interstellar’?
FR: Last year in the spring, then I spent all summer recording.
AB: How did the recording process compare to album number one?
FR: ‘Interstellar’ was recorded in a very similar fashion to my first album, despite the name change. Though this time I had a producer to work with – my first album was self-produced. Having a producer made a world of difference, and I learned so much! I also had much more time available to me in the studio enabling me to take my time and get exactly what I wanted.
AB: The layering of vocals on the new record is so intricate; how did you go about creating that sound and how do you adapt the songs in a live performance?
FR: Layering the vocals takes a long time, and it took an especially long time on this album because I became such a perfectionist about it. I also brought in other ladies to sing with me, because I think a choir of one person’s voice can sometimes sound a bit creepy, and not in a good way. As for the live show – we’re still working on it! I need at least one other lady in the band and also a synth wiz that can double on guitar. This is going to be a challenge of an album to perform live, but I’m up for the task!
AB: Would you ever consider a future collaboration with any of the bands you’ve previously been attached to, or are you going it alone for good? Has working with other bands prior to this album helped you step out as a solo artist?
FR: I’m entirely content with my current situation. Although I feel I never would have been able to do what I have done on my solo records if not for the lessons I learned being in each and everyone of my prior bands.
AB: How conscious are you of what’s written about you and your music? What are your thoughts on the music press’ custom of balancing ‘hype’ or praise with critique?
FR: I mostly only see the ‘good stuff’, but once in a while the bad stuff is sent to me, and of course it is upsetting. Everyone can’t like everything all the time I suppose, and when you make the decision to put your work out into the world, the world is allowed to pass judgement.
AB: You told Pitchfork in a recent interview that you “hated” what they termed “the whole girl group thing”. What did you mean by that?
FR: For a while there we were seeing a phenomenon of female-fronted bands being lumped together with other female-fronted bands under the genre ‘girl group-esque’. I think it was for the most part an unfair assessment of the music.
AB: We’re forever hearing Brooklyn described as a sort of hotbed for breaking bands. As a Brooklyn resident, what’s it really like to live there? Does it spur you on being surrounded by so many other artists?
FR: Although most of my friends are musicians, for the most part I feel a bit like a lone wolf. I don’t really go to shows so much and I spend a lot of time working on my music. As for Brooklyn, I love it! Except in the winter – too cold!
AB: Which of your musical peers do you most admire at the moment?
FR: Cass McCombs and Annie Clark.
AB: You’re touring a lot around this album. Are you looking forward to getting back on the road?
FR: Hmmm. I am but I’m worried, I don’t want to tour so much I wont get to start on my third album this year.