Vancouver-based band FRANKIIE’s upcoming album, Between Dreams, delves into the complexities of our constantly changing world and the blurred lines between reality and fantasy. Created largely during the pandemic, the band saw a new opportunity to push their already incredible creative spirits further than ever. With their unique blend of dream-pop, classic rock, and shoegaze, FRANKIIE presents a sonic world that immerses listeners in a liminal space where magic abounds.
We had a chance to speak with the band about their sonic influences, writing process, and the moment that Between Dreams fully came together.
Mark Wesley: Can you describe the process of writing and recording your latest album, Between Dreams?
FRANKIIE: We began writing this record in the late spring of 2020, in essence, to keep the band alive. Yes, we hoped it would turn into a record, but we had recently parted ways with our original drummer Zoe after 7 years, and with the world in uncertain times, everything felt very fragile including our future as a band. We started working on songs in our moldy dark jam space, using a drum machine to hold down different tempos as we workshopped song ideas and chord progressions. It was really fun, and looking back we really accomplished a lot given what was going on.
Being able to have a creative outlet during those times was truly a blessing. In the late fall of 2020 Trevor, our drummer joined the band and we were able to start flushing the songs out even more and work on final structures and write a few more new ones. We recorded the main bulk of the record with producer Jason Corbett at his studio Jacknife Sound in Vancouver over the summer of 2021 and into 2022. Jason was so great because we came in with songs that had structures we weren’t fully committed to, so instead of recording drums and building around that we recorded drums near the end, because we wanted to freedom to make changes to the structure if we needed to.
In hindsight, it was a blessing and a curse and we’ve got to give Jason a shoutout for his patience and collaboration throughout the process. We then finished off a few singles in Victoria, BC with engineer/producer Connor Head at Catalogue Studios. Nashlyn and Francesca co-produced those singles together which was a first. During that time we transitioned bass players as well, so the album definitely carries nostalgic and cathartic energy within the recordings themselves.
MW: The album is described as psychedelic with elements of dream-pop, classic rock, and shoegaze. Tell us a bit about your different sonic influences.
FR: OOO that one is always so interesting. I would say that no matter what, we can’t get away from our affinity for classic rock. The Beatles were a huge influence on Francesca and Nashlyn, and they both love bands like Crosby, Stills and Nash, Steve Miller Band, Heart and Fleetwood Mac, and Pink Floyd. It’s just what we grew up with, but then we also are huge fans of contemporary artists like La Luz, Sasami, Babe Rainbow, Weyes Blood, Patrick Watson, Cate Le Bon, Angel Olsen, and FKA Twigs.
Not to mention all the dancey late-night music or music from the 90s like Nirvana, The Verve, or N’Sync.. ahaha it’s so hard, I think we honestly love so many styles genres, and eras of music that what ended up coming up and out for Between Dreams was not really directly sonically influenced by a certain band or genre, but just an amalgamation of intuition and gut feeling founded in personal embodiment of certain songs/albums during moments in our lives.
MW: The album has been described as ” achieving a sound that you’ve been chasing for years, quoting Miles Davis’ famous “Man, sometimes it takes a long time to sound like yourself”. What was the exact moment when you realized that you had hit what you were aiming for? Was there a particular studio session where it all clicked?
FR: I think once we got back the final master for Golden Days, which is the outro song on the record – we were just like ahh yeah, this feels so satisfying. It just emotionally brings you to a place, and even physically with the mix that just was like F YA. I think I could say the same thing about Passionfruit, which is the first time we’ve used flute on a song and it’s just beautiful.
MW: In the 4 years since your last record, Forget Your Head, what have been some of the key moments in your lives that would eventually inspire the themes of Between Dreams?
FR: Ultimately the shift in the way the world ran after 2020 and lockdowns was a big moment for everyone as it really just slowed things down, divided a lot of people, and then eventually put the world back together in a different form. Nashlyn had a baby during the writing and recording of the record which is a dream in itself. Being able to find solace and happiness in nature amongst all the craziness of the working world – continues to be a big inspiration.
The shift of band members, the departures, and entrances bring out a lot of feelings that influence some of the themes in this record. Love, as per usual. I would say we also tried to write less about our own personal lives on every song on this record, and draw influence from other places, whether it be a poem about a cat, a fantasy-quest narrative, or a made-up character…
MW: Can you discuss the collaboration process with the rotating cast of musicians who worked on this album?
FR: We wrote a lot of the record while working with Trevor Stoddart on drums, Victoria Sciezka on bass, Nashlyn Lloyd on keys/vox and guitar, and Francesca Carbonneau on guitar/vox. We would often jam and work on chord structures together, then Francesca and Nashlyn would work together separately on lyrics/melodies or certain parts. We parted ways with Vicky last year before the record was complete and we were so lucky to have Jody Glenham step in to work on a few more songs with us and record them over last summer.
The record wouldn’t be what it is without the personal touch and vibe of each person who contributed. Can’t forget to mention Jeremy Wallace Maclean who mixed and added extra production to the entire record and really added depth and a dynamic to the soundscape that takes it to the next level.
MW: “Passionfruit” features a flute from Hey Ocean’s Ashleigh Ball. How did this collaboration come about, and what did she bring to the song?
FR: Yes! Ashleigh is an old friend of mine (Francesca), and I just felt like the song was missing something. I don’t exactly remember how the conversation happened, but when I asked Ash she was keen and it was so, so amazing. She was also very pregnant at the time she recorded in Vancouver with Jason Corbett and I and there is something special about that too. She just riffed along and jammed and we recorded several takes that afternoon and magic ensued, 😉
MW: What can fans expect from your live performances, and are there any upcoming shows or tours planned in support of the new album?
FR: Fans can expect haunting harmonies and big vocals over psychy guitar tones, spacey synths, and a tight rhythm section. We like to have fun, and we are always just so grateful to be performing. Shows!!! We are playing a DOUBLE ALBUM release show in Vancouver with Winona Forever, Spank Willams, and Fellers at Green Auto – tickets HERE.
We’ve also got some upcoming show announcements in LA and Seattle so stay tuned!
MW: What do you hope fans will take away from the new record?
FR: I hope they take away a really enjoyable personal musical experience that they connect to either sonically, conceptually or otherwise and just wanna keep listening!! Once the music is out there, it’s really not ours anymore and all we can hope for is that people dig it. Thanks for the support. <3
Album cover courtesy of Tell All Your Friends PR and Paper Bag Records