Monday, July 11, 2011

FOTP Exclusive Q&A with Frankmusik

Interview by Fantini Blake (@FOTPBlog)

Vincent Frank - born Vincent James Turner on October 9th in Thornton Heath, Croydon - first became known as a beatboxer, under the moniker "Mr Mouth". Fast forward a few years and Frank - now known as Frankmusik - begins attracting increasing attention with his music on social network site Myspace, releasing an EP called Frankisum (2007). School friend and (at that time) assistant of A&R at Island Records, Ben Scarr, forward his page to his superior Louis Bloom. The resulting electro-/synth-/dance-pop album, "Complete Me" was released in 2009 and spawned two hits, "Better Off As Two" and "Confusion Girl".

Having wrapped up promo for the album and gaining even greater exposure as a live performer (sold out twenty-date headlining tour), producer (Ellie Goulding, Tinchy Stryder) and remixer (Lady Gaga, CSS, Mika) Frank packed his laptop, headphones, a few articles of clothing, and jetted off to glamorous L.A.

In L.A. Frank met Martin Kierszenbaum, better known as "Cherry Cherry Boom Boom", producer, songwriter, head of A&R at Interscope and president of his own Cherrytree imprint. Joining the Cherrytree family, Frank met and became a frequent collaborator of CT labelmates Far East Movement and Colette Carr. He has also continued to remix extensively, and expanded his production credits, working with the likes of Joe Jonas, Colette Carr (he produced half of her upcoming album), Erasure (he produced all of their upcoming album) and others. 

Severing his safety net and moving abroad had the intended effect and spurred Frank to want to tell a new story - to write a new album. Titled "Do It In The AM" and due in the fall of 2011, Frank worked on making his music more concise and polishing his songwriting and production skills, resulting in "more obvious dance numbers" and "slower, more R&B sounding" songs. 

Having been lucky to obtain an album sampler, I am currently marinating in the awesomeness that is exclusive (or fairly exclusive) new Frank music; a full review will be up shortly. Until then, tide yourselves over reading my Q&A interview with the ever-riveting Frank below:

First of all, thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions. How are you?

I am super. I hope you are well!

The music video for your new single, "Do It In The AM", has already surpassed all of your other videos in views, by a good few hundred thousand. And it's only just coming out now. Were you surprised by the reactions to it - both good and bad - from your old fans and new fans drawn in by it?

I am very happy with the response. I cannot believe that it's already reached such high numbers considering it has not been released!

Your new album is titled "Do It In The AM". Did you set out to make the album as it is, or did it morph into what it is as you worked on it? 

I needed to challenge myself and the listener so a move to Los Angeles and 18 months of living in a culture I knew nothing about had a massive influence on my new work!

How many singles/videos are you hoping for from "AM"?

As many as I can.

Any chance of another Acoustic album, or some kind of Deluxe Edition of "AM"?

Most likely. I might do that now actually.

You're two, almost three, years older than you were when you released your debut album (2009's Complete Me). How have you changed and grown in that time?

Of course. I am happier and more focused than ever on my goal to get my music to as many people as possible. 

Going back to "Complete Me" - the album, the singles, the videos, the interviews - is there anything you would leave out, change, do differently? The whole deal with Olivia...there's also a general feeling amongst fans that you may have been led to water things down somewhat, making the album more "sugary" than it would have been otherwise. What's your take on it all, in hindsight?

I told the truth. I find it sad that I am being questioned by many for my honesty considering tabloids have no problem celebrating drug addict pop singers and the dysfunctional lives of many others. I was in love and I wrote that love and  yes sometimes I talked about it. Since my raw interviews of 2009 I have made a face to face apology to Olivia herself a few months before I moved to LA.

Label mates Far East Movement, Natalia Kills and Colette Carr are confirmed features on the new LP. Can we expect anyone else to feature? There was talk of an Ellie Goulding collabo a while back.

Those will most likely be all of the collaborations.

Speaking of Ellie Goulding, she's mentioned in interviews that hearing you on Myspace was what compelled her to explore a more electronic sound. Your initial session resulted in "Wish I Stayed", which she loved so much that she decided it was the direction she wanted to pursue. Sometime after that you hooked her up with Starsmith, at that time a complete unknown, who ended up doing most of the production and some writing on her hugely successful debut album. Since then there's been talk of a rift or some kind of beef between you and Starsmith. Do you regret passing Ellie on to Starsmith, what's your relationship like with him at the moment?

Pillow talk. They all know what I have done for them so if there is beef then its in their own heads.

You've been living out in LA for the last eighteen months or so. What was the scariest thing about that move, and how did being in LA influence the sound of your new album?

The scary thing was just trying to get a working visa. LA has been good to me, its not really that much of a scary place. 

My album has changed of course, I am just more practiced in my art and that has made me feel so good.

Whilst out in LA you signed with Cherrytree Records, where Far East Movement (with whom you've collaborated and performed with) are your label mates. How did those two associations come about and how have they influenced you and shaped your next record?

I met the Far East Movement in London and we had a mad night after Martin Kierszenbaum mentioned that they were support N.E.R.D. CherryTree is full of passionate people and I feel that there is a shared spirit and common goal to there belief in new talent that may not necessarily be the most obvious choice for commercial success.

You recently said to Music Week that Cherrytree head Martin Kierszenbaum  made you realize "it's ok to be a bloke and straight and a pop singer and collaborate". What exactly did you mean - could you expand on that quote ?

A male solo artist doing pop music who isn't attached to a boy band, or a rock group, or anything to do with urban music generally has a lot of assumptions drawn on what it is he actually does or is. Martin made me remember that my music should be more important whether the general public get it or not. I think I was trying to say that Martin made me feel I could just be myself. I don't rap and I do sing as high as a girl and he made me feel that other peoples assumptions of me irrelevant.

Do you ever worry fans connect more to Frank (the pop star) than to the music?

I can't say I have noticed.

What's your take on Pop music in general at this moment?

It differs around the world.

Will you be taking the album on the road, touring, doing festivals and the like? Will you be travelling further afield with "AM" than with your debut?

I hope so.

Any final words?

I like your questions.

And there you have it.

You can find out more about the lovely Frank on his OFFICIAL WEBSITE and following him on Twitter @FRANKMUSIK

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