-Hi Justin, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
I have been so good! Thanks for having me!
-Can you talk to us more about your single “Renegades”?
“Renegades” is about a lot of things. It started off as a song about losing your v-card, but the more I wrote, the less I liked it. It’s such an awkward (not to mention private) event, I figured that was better left to someone else for now. It took on a new life as new situations arose in my life and I started to apply the song to those and it became something totally different, which is always interesting to me.
-Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
Not necessarily, but sort of. Love is a such a big concept; there are a lot of layers and things to consider when you’re in love. It’s really about loving without question, and without letting others tell you how to love. Love can take on many forms, it can last for different lengths of time, it can make you act different ways. With that said, the song is simultaneously about having the courage to love someone that maybe people say you shouldn’t; loving without prejudice or fear, but also the way that courage can bind you to other people that love the same way.
-Describe the writing and recording process?
This song was actually recorded two or three times. I always demo the songs at my home studio, to try to lay a skeleton of the song down.
First round of real recording I was working with a producer who sort of dropped the ball the first time, recording-wise. It’s okay, there is no hard feelings just wasn’t good enough to put out.
Second time around was a little more structured. My co-conspirator Marshall Bastin is a BEAST behind the boards. We recorded it at Rivergate Studios, just outside of Nashville. We have an extremely close relationship now. He was interning under the original producer and that’s how we met. I wasn’t satisfied with the first round of the songs, so I called him up and asked if he would be interested in giving the project a real try. He was super amped. He actually plays all the drums on my songs too, because he is a killer drummer as well.
Once I have the drums written, he lays them down. Then I come in town and lay down vocals and guitars.
Once that is done, I like to sit with songs for a couple weeks. It is during that time that I take to really mess with it and make it take real shape. I am very pop-oriented, so I try to take it and whatever we have done, I try to make it the biggest and best it can be, adding synths, strings, piano, etc. Marshall knows my strengths and my weaknesses. He and I have very different opinions on how things should go sometimes but it’s that balance that makes it work.
-What was it like filming the video for it?
If I had to describe it in one word, it would be “SWEATY” in all-caps, haha. We filmed it in the basement of where we practice, and we sorta did it without asking permission (whoops!). It was super DIY which is how I have always done things, but it was May in the south which can be VERY hot! It was probably 99 degrees or something that day, and to have all those people in that tiny room rocking out was wild. Andrew Flemming directed and filmed it all and he really killed it and captured the vibe.
-What role do artists like Katy Perry play in your music? Who else would you consider a big inspiration in your writing?
Pop music is such a cool weird genre. It’s almost indefinable and it’s always evolving and changing. It is at one time the easiest and most difficult genre to write for. It’s a delicate dance, making a song that is meaningful and has soul and means something to you, and then taking your specific situation and making it relatable and catchy to others.
Katy Perry’s live show is HUGE, and I want to bring that to the pop punk world. I was raised on a DIY punk rock kind of ethos, basement shows and all that, so I try to combine the two worlds. People look at me crazy sometimes; we have confetti cannons and balloons and props and all kinds of stuff, even for house shows! I just wanna make it as big as I can, all the time!
There is lots of artist I take cues from, and my pallette runs the gamut. I grew up with Blink-182/New Found Glory/Green Day, but honestly I love everything from Chet Baker, to Rae Sremmurd, to American Football. Pop music is such a freeing genre, because you can literally take influence from any genre from any time in history and really make it something fresh and new and all your own.
-Any new music in the works? Maybe an album?
Yes! I have a set of songs we are releasing as singles at first, all with accompanying videos, eventually packaging it as an EP. I really wanted to give each song the life and attention it truly deserves. Each one is so important to me, and if you look at the hip hop world that is what SO many artists are doing now, and I think that is the best ever, because each song gets to be an event!
-Do you have a tentative release date or title in mind?
The EP will probably be out November, coinciding with the final single, and we’ve already begun the recording process for the next EP, so the next year or so is gonna be wild.
I don’t want to speak out of turn but I can also tell you that we have something really special coming this month! So stay tuned!
-Will you be hitting the road anytime soon?
We have a lot of regional stuff coming up this year, to support each single, and we have an east coast spring break tour early next year. We have some other stuff in store, but we don’t want to spoil any surprises 😉
-What else is happening next in FRENCHIE!’s world?
Singles and videos, for the rest of the year! One down, three more to go! Starting at the end of August, we’re running an Instagram giveaway called Merch Monday every week until the end of September! We have also got a ton of tour dates about to be announced, so keep checking our social accounts for announcements!