Listening to the Frames you could say there's a bit of a musical schizophrenia in there, in terms of this mix between a big anthemic rock band with killer tunes, and the softer lo-fi experimental side?
That's true – it's definitely there. It's something I was just talking about to Claire, our manager, the other day. I think it's something that people, or certainly people we've worked with, like record companies, have had a problem with in the past, where they just didn't know how to handle us – they weren't able to pigeonhole us. From song to song they could, but not as a band, on the whole. I've had strange feelings towards it myself sometimes, going, “what do people think of us?” I mean we release this really quite soft album, with a huge, hurt you noisy, kind of song, and then we release something else that's completely different again. I've come to the conclusion though, that that's just what we do, it's who we are and they're the songs we write. We tend to take most songs, simply as the song itself – we don't go “Does this sound like a Frames song”. It's never been an issue. No song has ever been put away or dropped because it didn't sound like us. If we liked it, we went with it, it was us. So, yeh – I think it's fair to say that musically we're schizophrenic.
It's ironic that though, because at the same time, there is a very definite “Frames Sound” that's unmistakeable.
(pauses)Yeh… I guess there is, which makes it o.k to be schizophrenic I guess if somehow in the middle of all of it, between the two ends of the spectrum, there's something that's shared between all the different types of songs – then that can't be bad.
You brought out for the birds as an independent – how did that work out, and what’s the current state of affairs in terms of labels?
It really worked out well for us. At the time it was totally the right thing to do and we all felt it was the thing to do and it turned out to be really good for us – really good for our heads and for the music.The people who liked us, who bought our records and came to the gigs, all seemed to get behind us – almost like saying “Well done – go for it!”. Obviously for us Ireland you have to treat kind of differently to the rest of the world. We obviously do pretty well in Ireland though it's a completely different matter outside of it. The independence thing totally worked for what we were doing.
we've just done a deal with Anti – a licensing deal, which is what we've done before with other people outside of Ireland and they're pretty much the biggest Independent company in the world so, we're still doing it the same way but we're just trying to give ourselves a bit more of a chance I suppose in terms of the records getting out there, and people being able to hear them and having people to work with them. We feel like “let's give the next record more of a chance”, you know. Let people hear it. So we've gotten involved with these people and they'll put out our records in America and Europe. We're going to stick with the people who've brought out the records in Australia and we're going to do it ourselves in Ireland so. It's the same idea, but on a slightly bigger scale.
In the past, I’ve heard people criticise the Frames for being too difficult for their own good – presumably referring to problems with previous record labels. It does beg the question, how much do the Frames want to be successful?
I think we do, as much as anybody else. We'd like people to buy our records, and we'd like to spread ourselves around. In the past it may have looked like we were difficult, and I can totally understand how people might think that, but basically the matter of it was that you've got people trying to get you to do things that you really really didn't want to do. It got to the stage where we just started saying no. And that's where the problems started coming in.
We don't want to make a record with loads of songs that we like, and then have two songs on it that sound completely different, and have loads of dodgy keyboard pads and are obvioulsy trying their very best to be singles. We want to be the band that we are, and if people like it they like it, as opposed to being in some way shaped to suit a market or . I can understand why bands would. It can be an intelligent or a logical thing to do, when you're making a record, to keep in mind that you might have a couple of songs that might go to the radio so it's better to have it 3 and a half minutes rather than 5 minutes. Every band in the world does that. But as far as really changing what you are to try to sell it, we just don't go there.
That was one of the problems we had with Majors before “you just don't get us, that's not who we are” – and probably after the last couple of years being independent, that idea has just gotten stronger. We don't want to be in a situation where we get strong-armed into doing something. That's where difficulties have stemmed from in the past.
We haven't had the best of relationships with some of the people in the past. As well, with some of the record companies – I think they were just the wrong people for us. I don't think for example ZTT were the right people to put out our records. What they did was overtly POP records.
It was an interesting combination though,in some ways. How do you look back on Dance the Devil(brought out by ZTT, with a number of songs produced by Trevor Horn) for example?
I think Dance the devil was a really good record you know. It's a shame that it never really got the chance that it deserved. If you talk to a lot of Frames fans, people who come to the gigs, a lot of the songs they love are off that album. I think overall as a record it's really really good For a lot of people it's their favourite of our records – so it's kind of dissapointing when you think If we had had someone working on that record who got us, and realised the people who actually might have wanted to listen to us, as opposed to trying to get some pop songs out of it, we would've been in a better position and so it's a little bit dissapointing to me that that record never really got the chance it deserved. But you move on, you make more records, you try to make them better and you make sure that you're in the position that the next time you make one to do it justice in so far as giving it a bit of a chance.