Frontier Psychiatrist

On The Frontier: An Interview with Frankie Rose

Posted on: April 2, 2012

Frankie Rose

Frankie Rose just might have the Midas touch. Whether in Grass Widow, Crystal Stilts, Vivian Girls or Dum Dum Girls, people have been (indirectly) listening to Rose for years. Since then, she’s stepped out of the shadows, kicking her chronic habit of playing in bands that find success upon her departure. In 2010, she began her solo career as“Frankie Rose & The Outs.” Here, two years later, she’s dropped “The Outs” and picked up her own distinct sound—out are the echoes of her grrrl pop resume, and in are lush, intricate soundscapes. Interstellar, her second effort for Slumberland Records, is unlike anything she’s done before, and music critics are rapidly taking notice. With a mountain of overwhelmingly positive buzz building up behind her, 2012 looks to be a big year for Rose. Frontier Psychiatrist chats with the multi-talented songstress about the new record. 

Frontier Psychiatrist:  Frankie! What have you been up to today?

Frankie Rose:  I’ve been getting ready for tour. But there’s also been a lot of press for some reason, just building up right now in these past few days. It’s been really crazy for me. It’s insane! I literally have a schedule—this person’s calling at this time, that person’s calling at that time, this person is calling via Skype… but meanwhile I’m also riding my van around trying to get stuff done for tour, and trying to mix these tracks that I have to mix to blah blah! Boring stuff.

I’m going to get a Madonna mic, I think, so I can just be one of those assholes who goes around walking and talking as they do the things they have to do during the day.

I feel funny saying, “I have an interview,” because I never thought I would be that person. “I’m sorry, I can’t go out to lunch with you, best friend, because I have an interview.” [Laughs] “I could pencil you in, maybe.”

FP:  I’m glad you had time to pencil me in! So… I’ve been listening to Interstellar, and can’t help but think of Enya. It really makes me want to dig up my old Enya cassettes.

FR:  There is definitely a kind of New Age thing going on. I think it’s much more of an accumulation of all my references, but it was definitely who I was working with. Like, [producer] Le Chev. We got some Enya vibes, for sure. Which I’m fine with! [Laughs]

FP:  I couldn’t help but notice that with this new record, “The Outs” are well, out. At least in name.

FR:  They were my backing band. A couple of them come out on the new recording. Especially Margot [Bianca]—her voice comes out a lot on the recording. [Interstellar] was recorded very similarly [to the last record]; I bring people in. If I don’t get what I’m looking for, I will outsource the job. I will do something until I get the take that I want. It doesn’t matter who it comes from.

As for the new name, it’s more of a name change, honestly. And I needed a new backing band who could play the new album, so it’s pretty normal. I needed big synths, a drummer who’s comfortable playing with a click drum, and using samples… it was a totally different skill set that was needed to play this record.

FP:  I was playing your record in my apartment, and one of my roommates remarked that it sounded like “baby-making music.” How many children have been conceived because of your new record?

FR:  That happens to me a lot, actually. Not babies. Just, you know… doing it. I think I’ve actually had three interviewers tell me that they were either making out or having a romantic time to this record. Which, I think I can imagine that?

All I can imagine, for me, is listening to it and freaking out. Imagining myself listening to this record, it’s not romantic at all.

FP:  How often do you listen to Interstellar? Your own music in general?

FR:  I listen to [Interstellar] all the time. I listen to it because I kind of have to listen to it. For example, what synth sounds I used, and now, having to make the live show—what synth sounds we’re going to take out of there and have to use live.

It’ll probably be a long time until I listen to it again for fun. I mean, my old record, I haven’t listened to it in… I think I listened to it for the first time maybe a week ago.

There’s a whole different feeling on the last record. I think I’ve definitely grown as a songwriter since then. And working with a new producer has changed everything. I’ve really learned a lot from working with Le Chev. It was definitely a big step up for me, but by no means do I listen to it and cringe or anything. It’s alright. I give myself a B+!

FP:  Is that B+ for Interstellar or yourself as a whole right now? Considering how well you’re doing now, a B+ seems modest.

FR:  I’ve noticed that I’ve always left bands before they really did anything amazing and fun—so this is kind of a new territory for me, honestly. I’m actually getting to follow through, and see what happens after your record gets some nice attention. It’s an adventure! I’ve never had to do so many interviews in my life. [Laughs]


John Taylor (@johntaylortweet) is an editor and writer living in Chicago, IL. He is currently an editor and freelance coordinator for Popstache. To date, he has never listened to Frankie Rose while getting it on.


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