written and shot by Ella Jones
Rising up through the Nottingham music scene, The Frantics are a 4-piece alt band hoping to take the indie-rock scene by storm. I had the opportunity to interview them before their set at Rough Trade, Dot To Dot Festival. The conversation unfolded through their musical influences, how they write songs, and getting Oasis back together?
Would you like to introduce yourselves, and the instrument you play?
Adam: I’m the drummer –
Frank: I’m the lead guitarist –
Billy: I’m the bassist –
Eddie: and I’m the lead singer.
What’s the story behind the name “The Frantics”?
Frank: Basically, we had the band together, but we didn’t have a name. We just sat with a piece of paper and considered different words we could use. We wanted something quite simple that had ‘The’ at the beginning. ‘The Frantics’ matched our vibe perfectly, but some of the other options we had were ‘The Vaders’, and we also considered ‘The Tuesdays.’
Eddie: Because everything that happens to us seems to happen on a Tuesday.
Who are your musical influences?
Adam: We have a range of musical influences but they mostly revolve around ‘indie rock’ and ‘rock and roll’, like The Rolling Stones. Billy’s really into The Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Frank Zappa.
Eddie: Also some pop tunes, pop-rock, like The Kooks and all that stuff.
Adam: Basically anything really catchy.
How long have you been playing your instruments?
Adam: I’ve been playing the drums since I was 10 years old.
Eddie: Billy told us all he could play bass when we started the band, but he’d never played bass in his life. (laughs)
Billy: I could play the guitar. I just assumed my knowledge of guitar could carry me through.
Frank: I actually started off with the drums when I was 9, but I picked up playing the guitar at around the same time. Drums was always my main thing; I really only started playing guitar about 8 years ago.
Have you only ever written songs as a group, or did you write songs individually before?
Eddie: We’ve all written our own stuff before. The Frantics’ songs just tend to happen at the moment. We’ll be in the practice room, and Frank will play some sort of chord progression and it all comes together really quickly.
Adam: At the beginning, because Frank and Eddie had already set up the band, they had some songs ready and they’d just bring those to practice, and we’d add our own parts into it. But since then we’ve done it more as a group.
Have you consistently stuck to the genre you play, or tried experimenting with other genres?
Frank: I’d say we’re getting progressively heavier, we started off more indie-rock.
Adam: I think individually we prefer certain genres but as a band, we focus on the same sound.
When you write songs, do you feel that you have to be in a certain mood or mindset to write?
Frank: I feel you don’t necessarily have to be in a sad mood to write a sad song, but you do have to be in a particular mood to write a song.
Eddie: Anyone who writes songs will get into this weird head-space, you get really into it, it’s the best thing ever.
Adam: What we’ve found is all of our songs just so happen to be about girls. We don’t know why, though.
Eddie: You listen to our music and have the assumption that we are all ‘lovey-dovey’ guys who have had their hearts smashed into a thousand pieces, but we’re really not. It just so happens to be the topic that draws a creative spark in us at this age.
Do you feel you must have experienced the heartbreak to write about it – or can you empathise with others when writing?
Adam: It’s better if you’ve experienced something yourself, so you know what you’re talking about. You’ll always have the aspect of empathy too – making the song more relatable.
Eddie: We are trying to move away from the girl thing now.
What else would you write about?
Eddie: Books, weird little thoughts that we have – we have one song that’s called ‘Postman Scat’ which is just about wanting everyone to go away.
Photo by Ella Jones
Would you ever go into political or important issues when writing songs?
Frank: I don’t think so. Everyone is so tense on both sides of the political spectrum, and obviously everyone has their own views, but it doesn’t need to come up in the music. You should be able to listen to music regardless of what your views are. I have my views, but I just want people to listen to the music, not my opinion.
Eddie: If you’re standing in a crowd, no one’s gonna say “oh you’re a Tory I’m not gonna sing along with you”. No one really cares about that sort of thing within music. That’s what makes music so great – people can watch bands and forget about the political problems in the world, like an escape from reality.
Do you feel like bands that have a substantial following should talk more about important issues?
Frank: I don’t think they should feel obliged to. At the end of the day, they’re there because they wrote songs and want to do that for a living. They aren’t obliged to have a public voice on these issues.
Adam: I understand what you’re saying – if you’re popular enough, you’re in this sphere of influence, you have this platform where you can share your views. However, I don’t think we want to cause any controversy. We just want to entertain.
Eddie: If you’re Kanye West you can basically say whatever you want. But if we said something outrageous, everyone will just say “oh shut up, no one knows who you are.”
What’s your opinion on going to Spotify rather than CDs? Do you think it is better?
Billy: Spotify has this great discovery aspect to it, so we feel like more people are able to come across our music.
Eddie: There’s this thing called ‘Spotify for Artists’ where we can see all the places people have been listening to our tunes. We’ve got people in Australia, Singapore… only 4 or 5 people, but I think it’s really cool. For example, if we just put our music out on a CD, we’d only be able to share it with those close to us. With Spotify, everyone can listen to it.
Frank: It’s good for bands our size – small and up-and-coming bands. I think big selling artists disagree because they don’t make any money from it. But for people like us, it’s good for our exposure. We can play these gigs, say we’re on Spotify, and people check us out and show their friends.
What’s your favourite venue you’ve ever performed at? Your favourite crowd?
Eddie: We flew out and played a charity event in Abu Dhabi which was amazing. We played for 3 hours, though it was a lot of covers – almost like a wedding band.
Adam: I loved playing at The Alleycat on Denmark Street, London.
Are there any venues you aspire to perform at?
Eddie: Rock City, Nottingham, and then… Glastonbury headline next year. (laughs)
Adam: For now, we’re just building our way up in the Nottingham music scene.
Are there any traditions you have before or after playing a show?
Adam: Frank is quite superstitious – we can’t say anything before playing./
Frank: They always jinx it! When they say “yeah, we’re gonna smash it,” in my head that means we’re not. I know it’s stupid. (laughs)
What band would you love to tour with? Dead or alive?
Billy: Queen, probably for me, or Guns and Roses.
Adam: Maybe if Oasis got back together.
Eddie: You know what I wanna do if we get to a point where people actually care about our opinions? I want to chat sh*t about Noel and Liam Gallagher so they group back together in their hatred of me and reform their band. I could be the one that gets Oasis back together. Imagine “The singer of The Frantics gets Oasis back together” – we’d skyrocket up the charts. Or they’d just hate us.
Do you plan on making any music videos?
Adam: If we get someone who wants to make a music video for us, we’d be more than happy to do so. We don’t really specialise in that area so we don’t want to make a sh*tty video that we’ve just whacked on YouTube.
What advice would you give to people wanting to start a band?
Adam: You have really got to want to be in a band.
Eddie: It looks like it’s just gigs and fun, but the amount of time you spend walking up and down the road carrying guitars. You have to love what you do – if you love it then go for it.
Adam: We’ve had a lot of controversial band practices, where it’s just been like, “oh f*ck this” – but we love it so much that we always get back up.
What can we expect from you in the future? EPs? Albums?
Adam: At the moment we are just trying to crack out more tunes. We want to be bigger in Nottingham, play loads of gigs.