Frankie Rose

New York art-popster Frankie Rose reflects on Brooklyn venues, synth epiphanies and her love of film

1980s MUSIC

“I grew up with MTV, so that was certainly an influence on me. We had KROQ too, and of course what was on the radio was all that 80s stuff. That’s what was being played in the early 90s. Duran Duran, Depeche Mode and The Cure and things like that, so it definitely permeated my psyche as a kid.

“I had a cousin who was into all that. He was a mega-goth and I thought he was so cool – he was kind of a big brother influence, which is how I began hearing it all. My first record was by The Smiths when I was 12. I didn’t have many records as a kid, but with ‘Hatful Of Hollow’ I knew every single song. I was obsessed.”

DIY VENUES

“It was an amazing time in Brooklyn back then. Glasslands and 285 Kent were kind of sketchy but that was part of the fun. It’s kind of sad because a lot of them are actually gone now as a result of gentrification. They fostered a real community of musicians that wanted to play out, and it was like a built-in audience.

“You would go in there and MGMT would be playing a secret show. There were so many nights, it was just a really special place. I’m lucky because pretty quickly the bands that started out as DIY for me, we ended up getting a booking agent. That really shaped me enormously because there were places to play.”

SYNTH YOU BROUGHT IT UP…

“Everything used to be a lot more guitar-centric for me and now it’s really not. I’m much more interested in synthesisers and sampled drums – I don’t even mess with live drums anymore. I think I didn’t understand synths at first, they were a little bit out of my range of comprehension.

“I started messing around on them when I got asked to do a Strokes cover for something or other, and I knew I wanted to go more in the synth direction. I was like, ‘Oh my God, this is awesome!’, and from there it’s just been more and more and my music keeps getting more electronic. There’s barely any guitar at all on ‘Love As Projection’ – I used a lot of soft synths on it.”

PUNK IT UP

“Because I’m from a certain generation, there weren’t rock camps for girls or anything like that. So I was an ultimate fangirl of bands, I went to all the shows – they used to have punk shows at the library. I don’t think I realised I could be in a band. It took me a long time to understand that. I was probably 22 or something, and I was friends with other women who were like, ‘Wait, we could do this!’.

“That was in San Francisco. There used to be DIY shows at the railway stations. We would plug in to the power outlets there and just play. All the punks would come and it was really fun. I was playing drums. I didn’t know how to play, but there was an overwhelming excitement about it regardless. People were so supportive. The response that we got was so good. I thought, ‘This is what I want to do from here on out’.”

MUSICAL THEATRE

“My mom put me in musical theatre when I was a kid. I think I played Annie three times. That’s got to have some kind of impact. I think performing exposed me to playing instruments. I’m pretty sure that did something to my brain in terms of understanding song structures and choruses – simple stuff like that. And also being in front of an audience and playing to the crowd.”

MAD ABOUT MOVIES

“If I could be a filmmaker, that’s 100 per cent what I would do – if I was rich and could make whatever I wanted. I love Julia Ducournau – she’s a French film director who makes horror movies. She made that ‘Titane’ movie. And ‘Raw’ was amazing. I love soundtracks – I’ll take a Vangelis soundtrack any day – and sci-fi.

“Films bring together everything. It’s music, acting, costume – an ultimate vision. They move me in a way that listening to a record might not. They are the most inspiring thing. But it’s so hard to make it because it takes so many people. I’m honestly amazed at how films ever get made – I can’t wrap my head around it.”

Frankie Rose’s ‘Love As Projection’ is out on Night School

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