As drummer for the Crystal Stilts, Dum Dum Girls, and the Vivian Girls, Frankie Rose kept time for some of contemporary LO-FI’s lynchpin moments. Rising from behind the drums as a solo artist with a debut self-titled album with her band The Outs, she retained the “60s girl band” sound she was known for peddling. With her new album Interstellar out now on Slumberland, Frankie Rose explores lush, synth oriented sonics. Wonderland caught up with Frankie amidst her first solo tour-proper.
Let’s discuss Interstellar, which explores sonics you weren’t particularly familiar with.
I knew I wanted to make something different. I knew I wanted to use synths. I wanted this to be much bigger pop album, and pop in a sense of my version of what a dance record would be. The drums would be a big part of the sound. I originally started working in the old studio I did the first album in, and only did a week or two worth of recording. I just wasn’t getting the sounds I wanted to get. I rolled the die in a sense and I started working with a producer named Le Chev, and he’s my friend actually who has completely different tastes in music than me. I had a lot of faith in him. We did one or two songs together and it sounded amazing. I just knew I made the right decision. I did the whole album with him.
The album still touches on a retro, New Wave feel, but it has an extremely modern sound.
People like to ask what it is. Is it new wave? I don’t think it is anything. I think it’s an amalgamation of all my references. I wanted to make my version of a dance album. When I think about what I might go out dancing to, and this might actually date me too, but I would always go to 80s nights or The Smiths nights. Those are kind of the drum sounds that I wanted to stick with because I know them. I definitely didn’t want to make a throwback album. I don’t know if I’d be able to do that. I feel like too many references come from too many places to make something that exactly like this or that. It felt like it wasn’t trying to be something from a particular part in time but rather something that picks up things along the way. I always like to use the analogy of a painter that borrows certain things, who was trained by other painters. Of course, you’re going to take away some of that style and make it into your own. With any luck, you’re eventually developing your own stuff.
You’ve been a drummer in many groups in the past, and Interstellar is your second solo record – do you enjoy going at it alone?
It’s awesome! It’s getting a little easier now because I’ve got some help. It’s tiring in a sense because you are totally responsible for everyone that is playing with you. You are the sole decision maker, so sometimes that can be a lot of weight on your shoulders. As far as music writing goes, it’s just so awesome to have your own vision and be able to complete it by yourself. I can’t think of anything that is more satisfying. I think working with a producer was the perfect kind of collaboration for me. All and all, it’s just much better for me. I guess I’m a little bossy, I don’t know [laughs].
Words: Kelly Frazer
Frankie Rose plays Portland’s East End venue tonight.
Interstellar is out now on Slumberland