INTERVIEW: Freddy & Francine

Hi guys, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

We’ve been great.  Thanks for asking.  We’ve been touring a bunch getting ready for the release of our new record.  Having an awesome time.

Can you talk to us more about your single “If You Want Me”?

Yeah, we’re very happy with it…it encompasses many of the feelings we have experienced in the past few years, from doubt to great hope.  It is all about accepting and celebrating who we are with all of our faults and weaknesses.  Loving the whole of ourselves and others.

Did any event in particular inspired you to write this song?

Nothing in particular.  It seemed to flow out of our shared experience over the past few years.

Any plans to release a video for the single?

Yeah!  We brought multi talented artist and filmmaker Danielle Mulcahy on tour with us throughout the south and Texas in Late winter and shot tons of footage for the “If You Want Me” video.  The concept was to find random strangers willing to lip sync to our lyrics and assign each line of the song to a person we felt was compelling enough to help tell the story of the song.  We left the interpretation of the lyrics up to them and we love the results.  It was an amazing experience meeting strangers and having them react to our music.

The single comes off your new album Gung Ho – what’s the story behind the title?

We made the record at Gung Ho Studios in Eugene,OR owned by engineer and musician Billy Barnett.  Bianca threw out the idea of naming the record Gung Ho and Lee did a little research on the words.  The Chinese translation is, “working together in harmony.”  It seemed perfect in describing our intentions in all we do as a duo as well as anyone else we included creatively in the making of this record.

How was the recording and writing process?

Bianca and I wrote this record over the past 2 years after we reconnected following a 3 1/2 year hiatus.  The process was quite organic.  We got together weekly and worked on tunes whether we were home or on the road.  The ideas were there as if we had never separated.  Writing is a job.  We don’t treat it as something dependent on inspiration.  We have to schedule time and bang it out regardless of where we’re at.

We recorded with Todd Sickafoose producing.  We rehearsed for about 6 hours the day before the session began.  We set up the first day and recorded everything live with a rhythm section in 4 days.  We never used a click.  We added a few instrumental overdubs, but every vocal and rhythm section take is live.  Its the way we’ve found we love to work, doing our best to capture the moment and surrender the results.

Did Oregon get to influence the sound of this record in any way?

We love Oregon.  I don’t think there is anyway to avoid the beauty of that state seeping into what you do.  We have driven the entirety of the Oregon at least twice and met some of our best friends there over the past two years.  It is a home away from home for us.

What role does LA plays in your music?

LA plays an adversarial role in our music.  It can be very challenging to live here at times with the emphasis on external things like money and fame being shoved at you from every which way at times.  Its a place people come to become something as opposed to living in a place they love exactly as they are now.  That being said, we have our closest friends here.  We have an amazingly creative community of friends all doing the best they can to thrive artistically in a huge city.  It is inspiring.

From the challenges LA presents comes a certain tension that we are able to process through our music.  There is a melancholy that is filtered through…a longing for open spaces, natural beauty, and…less traffic.

You brought a group of talented people on board – did you handpick them?

Once we got our ideal producer, Todd Sickafoose, on board we trusted him to assemble the right people for the record.  He got guys who were based on the west coast or happened to be there during our studio dates.  We love Rob Burger’s keyboard playing with Lucinda Williams, Ryan Adams, and Rufus Wainwright as well as Ted Poor’s drumming with Andrew Bird and Bill Frisell- so once we heard these were the guys on board, we trusted Todd’s every choice.  It was a dream come true to have Todd play bass and direct these guys in the studio.  It was like music camp where we wrote all the music.

What were you looking for on these songs that you found in this people?

We always want musicians who play with us to understand that our vocals are the centerpiece of everything we do.  We knew that these players would implicitly do everything they could to serve the songs and ultimately our singing.  There is a lushness to this record that these guys provided that is very much in line with the emotional intention of the songs.  We were able to fully trust their process and surrender to the details of their choices.  The result was we got ideas from them that were beyond our wildest dreams.

Any plans to hit the road?

We just finished a West Coast tour and we are hitting the road for the East Coast starting in June after our LA Record Release Show at The Hotel Cafe.

What else is happening next in Freddy and Fancine’s world?

We are playing The Rocky Mountain Folks Fest this summer with Lucinda Williams, The Decemberists, The Lone Bellow, Conor Oberst, and many more amazing bands.  Our record comes out on June 10th and we will be touring as much as possible to get folks to hear it.

Pre-sales for Gung Ho

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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