TGF Spotlight: Mike Frank

I’ll begin by saying this is totally new to me and the first time I’ve considered myself a singer or songwriter. There are many reason that brought me here but ultimately I credit this decision to having to deal with the failings of past band mates, I kept saying to myself for a while “If I do everything myself… then I have only myself to blame if it all fucks up.”
After playing SXSW with Arrows of Love and spending some time in Los Angeles, I quit the band and began feeling disillusioned by music but at the same time a huge sense of relief and excitement because I wasn’t tied down to a band or project for the first time in 12 years. In my free time I tried to do anything but music… I tried dressing differently and tried new hobbies, I guess I felt I had almost lost my identity by leaving the band. Eventually after a couple of months of boredom I went crawling back to music and wrote two very different albums; ‘This is going to get weird… I’m going to make this weird’, a collection of orchestral and experimental film music songs, and a still yet to be released album that features Rufus Miller, Lyndsey Lupe and Artur Dyjecinski  full of dark sounds and Middle Eastern instruments. At the time of doing this I also wrote a soundtrack to a silent movie, two computer games and other projects. In November 2015 I played drums on a European tour for A. Dyjecinski, with support from Nick Faraone of Barbarisms, both of whom I have a huge respect for. This was a pinnacle point for because I really enjoyed what they were doing and loved the fact that they were self sufficient musicians that could go on tour without the need of a band and still create the buzz and excitement that a full band could. It’s what essentially got me thinking about playing guitar and singing, but what I wanted to sing about or the character I wanted to create didn’t come to me until I went back to Los Angeles in early 2016 for two months…

Here’s a playlist that inspired the album:

 

For me there’s no set formula to writing a song. Most of the ideas for this new album came during a house move last year where I moved from my flat in North London out to Hertfordshire. I spent nearly three months moving and renovating the new place whilst not having access to any of my music equipment or instruments and to fill that void I would come up with lyric and melody ideas and record them on my phone with my voice; I would do this in the car or whilst installing a kitchen or whatever I was doing and eventually I had hundreds of ideas and sometimes even full songs recorded with just my voice. Usually I’ll start with a lyrical idea which will most likely be something I’ve read, heard on TV or a lot of the time just a weird thought, then I’ll think of a melody or guitar riff to match which might then lead onto drum part ideas.

This record is all me, I don’t know any other way to work. I’m still clutching onto that punk DIY ethic. However for the next album I’d like to go into a studio with other musicians and an engineer because writing, performing and recording everything yourself gets fucking tiring after a while. I started out as a drummer playing in Punk and Grunge bands, I spent 4 years with Plastic Passion then another 5 years with Arrows of Love… and I played with many bands in between. Up until leaving Arrows of Love I was all about the drums but after I left I began experimenting with different styles of music and instruments. I now write music for visual media like games, adverts and different projects, which is great because I get to write a lot of orchestral and electronic music and really experiment with different sounds. I still play drums as much as I can, I recently played drums for Riddles and Aaron Keylock. Right now I’m working on a new band called ‘Magic Moss’ with three other guys who played in Riddles. We’re currently writing and recording but it looks like we’ll be playing some shows toward the end of this year.

One of my biggest (bad) influences is Charles Bukowski, and a lot of the lyrical ideas came from reading his novels throughout writing the album. The footage I used was taken from two documentaries I found on YouTube made about Bukowski, both from the 70’s and shot in black and white and look amazing. ‘All My Possessions’ isn’t necessarily about Bukowski but it is about feeling down and out, lonely or even desperate and all of which are themes in Bukowski’s writing… the footage of him really helps portray the character and vibe of the song.

“All my Possessions” is released independently on the 16th of July and available on all digital platforms.

Follow: Mike Frank on Facebook

Words by Ella Stormark