(photo via achrntatrps, Creative Commons BY NC SA)
Frankie Rose has played drums with the Vivian Girls, Crystal Stilts, and Dum Dum Girls... but I think it is safe to say, in the long run, she is more of a songwriter than she is a drummer. For instance, I found "Where Do You Run To?" to be the best song on the Vivian Girls first record, and while I liked the rest of the tracks on the album... that number had such a resonance to it, such a "catchy" immediacy... it was instantly stuck in my head for days on end when I first heard it, and with each time after that as well...
Now, Ms. Rose has started a career with her own group, The Outs, whose self-titled album is full of songs like "Hollow Life", "Girlfriend Island", and "Candy"... songs that have the same feeling as "Where Do You Run To?" but with enough variety and dynamics to make a full album interesting. There isn't a song I don't like on Frankie Rose and the Outs. She is definitely someone to keep an eye on.
I interviewed Frankie Rose via email.
I wanted to talk to you first about the sound of your record. I tend to stray away from really reverb-ed out music, but I found the use of reverb on your record to be very tasteful, especially with the sound of the drums. They have such a great thick feel to them. How important was this "sound" when you were making or even just writing the songs for this record?
I tried to stay "tasteful" with my use of reverb. I did my best to use reverb as a tool instead of a camoflauge on the record. It's tricky... I find it hard to keep things sounding warm and reverby without things turning into a wash. I think drum sound is (what i'm finding out, anyhow) one of the most important factors in what can make a mediocre record spectacular.
Why did you decide to make your own solo record, after playing in so many groups as a drummer? When you were writing the songs that would make up the album, were you writing them with an album in mind, or is the album a collection of various songs you had written? Who are the
influences on some of these songs?
To be honest, I never wanted to be a drummer... it's just what, by default... I have always played in bands. I'm not sure why, I started to resent it after awhile. The album is a collection of songs that I wrote in the winter of 2010. The songs are about so many topics and situations I couldn't even begin to explain... love, hate, heartbreak. I'm no good with words. I think I fail as a lyricist and I try and treat songwriting like a short outbursts of emotion. I'm no good at explaining... the less words the better.
With this, your cover of Arthur Russell's "You Can Make Me Feel Bad" is a definite highlight on the record for me. What drew you to that song?
The Arthur Russell had something in common with the rest of the album. It shares a simple A, B verse and chorus, and yet it is a heartbreak of a song... simple, yet it captures so much emotion. If a song could be a snow globe it would be "You Can Make Me Feel Bad."
I have love for many of the people that I have worked with, however, I find out more and more everyday how personal songwriting is for me... Lets just say, I love a fling, but I will never get married....
Has your time spent playing drums with other groups affected the way you make your own music, or view music in general?
I suppose I have a good idea about rhythm, and I think drumming taught me about Tambour.
Many groups you have been in have a strong tie in influences to the 1960s-- and your album definitely has some echos of girl groups past within it. I hear much more than that in the music, but do you ever fear that some may interpret your music as being too tied to the 60s?
Much of my influences for this record did inded come from music recorded in the 60's, not all of it, but some! I don't think it's a bad thing or good. I like what I like- if you like it too, great!
With that being said; I cannot say that I will make the same record the next time around. I am always being influenced by different music, life situations, moods at any given time I am writing.
Looking backward, what was the record that "did it" for you, and really gave you that dream of playing music?
Almost never a record, usually its a song....I wish I can remember a recent album that really "did" it for me. I have a short attention span so its hard for me to feel really passionate about music in the way that it did when I was 12. I do love it however, and its the only thing that continually keeps my interest.