Featured Artist - Hey Frankie
November 18, 2014
This week's Featured Artist is 5 piece Australian band from Melbourne, Hey Frankie. The gang at Ditto HQ AU got the lowdown, on all of the things, including - Their recently released film clip for 'Werewolf', their EP titled "Guess Who", playing the Melbourne Jazz Festival and the nationwide attention and opportunities they have gotten for their music. It went a litte something like this...
Can you tell us a bit of the backstory of how you guys came to be a band and where the name Hey Frankie came about?
Before Hey Frankie came together, Dan, Matt, Ryan and Jess were playing together as the “Jess Palmer Band”. Jess had written some tunes, and the band were preparing for a recording session in the second part of 2013. Nick wasn’t part of the original JPB, but was asked to fill in and play piano/keyboards for the session.
Rehearsals were going well, but at one point, we hit a wall with one of the tunes, "I See You”. We took a little break from rehearsing, and just had a play. This sparked a different energy in the group. We took elements from this jam, re-arranged “I See You”, and it ended up becoming the title track of the EP. This was the first time the five of us created something together; in this instance, we used someone’s material as a starting point.
Looking back, this jam was the birth of Hey Frankie, as we followed this process with all the tunes in the subsequent rehearsals and tracking sessions (and continue to do so in writing all our new material). This prompted Jess to put to everyone that we become a band, call ourselves “Hey Frankie”, and release these recordings as our debut EP. Everyone jumped on board.
The name “Hey Frankie” was inspired by a childhood friend of Jess. In primary school, Jess loved her friend’s name, and asked if they could swap. The friend’s name was “Frankie”.
How did you celebrate your 1 year band anniversary ?
We went to a little getaway retreat in the country, spent 72 hours hanging, writing and playing new tunes.
What was it like to play the Melbourne International Jazz Festival, and what will you remember most about it?
Jess - To have such an attentive and receptive audience for our first time playing the festival and two sets of completely new material was so special. They were even amused by my bad jokes and stuttering which I am truly grateful for!
Ryan - After we played the first few tunes, I remember feeling an immense sense of pride. Hey Frankie was only 7 months old when we played this gig. We’ve come a long way since we all first met (way back when we were all studying at the Monash music school), and sharing this stage together was really special. It was pretty surreal to be artists of MIJF, not to mention, that we packed the place!
Nick - It was a special moment for the band, playing to a full house, two sets of completely new tunes we’d only just written together. We all believe in what we’re doing, and the positive response from this show confirmed we’re on a good path.
Dan - It was an amazing experience to share this music we’d written together with the wider jazz community.
Matt - I’d been attending the MIJF for the past five years. It was a special thing to be part of the festival this year as a player, and be on the same list as other artists who I respect so much.
The video for your single Werewolf is amazing. The theme of it (although there are similarities) is unalike the emotion of the track. How did the idea come about? Congrats on being shortlisted for the WCMV competition by the way!
Thank you! The director, Alistair Marks, is responsible for the video’s theme and concept. He approached us after the MIJF show about making the video, and put to us the idea of creating a story from the eyes of the werewolf. We were pretty intrigued by the idea, so we let his imagination do the rest.
Watch 'Werewolf' here
The 'Werewolf' video was then shortlisted in the WHC music video competition. What's it like to be in the company of names like John Butler Trio, Vance Joy, Snakadaktal and The Paper Kites?
Its humbling to be in the company of these great bands/artists, and, to see that our music speaks to a wide audience.
Two of your tracks were chosen to be a part of the "Love Your Sister" campaign - Was that unexpected?
It was amazing to be part of such an incredible cause. Samuel Johnson came to our EP launch at the Toff, and has been a supporter ever since. He invited us to perform as part a Love Your Sister charity ball, and, following this, asked our permission to use tracks from our debut EP as part of their documentary film score.
What would you say is the best part about living in Melbourne?
There’s an incredibly vibrant live music scene, full of forward thinking musicians who are seeking to push boundaries. There’s no shortage of inspiration, from bands who internationally recognised to those who are emerging. We’re lucky this musical hub exists in our home-town.
Nick, what did you learn on your trip to NY?
I was surprised by the overwhelmingly positive response from New Yorkers, both to our music and video. One Sunday afternoon, I walked around Manhattan with ‘Guess Who’ on my iPod. I was with a close relative, and together, we approached people randomly on the street and asked if they’d have a listen. We’ve made a little video about it, which will be released shortly!
Jess what's the best thing about being in a band with the boys?
Hmm, this is a tricky one because, well, theres not an overwhelming amount of positives…..just kidding!! I love them all like my family and feel very lucky to play with such talented (and attractive) lads!
What's some advice the Frankie Family can give to the other independents out there?
Well, we’re still finding our feet. If there’s anything we can say that works for us, its that we operate under the principle that the collective is bigger than the individual. We work for each other to create something that’s ours. Our songs are the sum of all our influences; we could take any tune and pinpoint the elements that each person brings. We make decisions together, based on the needs of the tune. Our process of writing and playing evolves together, and its something we’re all excited to be part of.
We’re also all about being inclusive. We have amazing supporters, and we see them as an extension the frankie family. They take this music to another level, and we share our success with them.
Any plans of touring or doing some interstate shows?
We’ve got some plans to head up the east cost in 2015.
Buy Tickets to their EP LAUNCH at Boney in Melbourne, Decemeber 12 2014 -
You can follow Hey Frankie here:
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