by Matt Karpe
– Senior Columnist –
After a few years away from the limelight, 2014 has seen Framing Hanley return with a big bang. Their third record The Sum Of Who We Are was released back in April after a successful Kickstarter campaign, and with a busy touring schedule in place for the remainder of the year, all seems to be well in the Framing Hanley camp once again.
I caught up with lead singer Nixon (as he is commonly known) to discuss what Framing Hanley have been up to in the last four years, the making of the new record and how the band owes EVERYTHING to their fans …
HRH: Hey, thank you for taking the time to speak to HRH, how are you doing today?
Nixon: I’m doing great. Sitting here with a cup full of coffee, so I can’t really complain too much. (Laughs)
HRH: The Sum Of Who We Are has been out a while now, how pleased are you with how the record turned out?
Nixon: I never imagined being this pleased with an album we did. I know we’ll never consider any album we do a “perfect” album, especially since part of the beauty in Rock ‘n’ Roll is the rough edges…the character that’s there in an album with its flaws. That being said, this is a damn good Rock ‘n’ Roll album and it feels good to be able to say that. Ask my wife, I’m my biggest critic by a long shot, but this is the first album that I can jump in the car and it already be playing in the CD player from when my wife may have been driving and I don’t have the impulsive urge to eject it from the player. It’s awesome to have music out right now that I feel is a good representation of who we are as artists at this point in our career.
HRH: It’s the first Framing Hanley album for about four years. What’s been happening over the last few years?
Nixon: Life. Ha-ha. We all have families, and when we left our previous label, we knew that we had to take care of our big boy responsibilities. The album was something we couldn’t dedicate 24 hours a day and 7 days a week to. The interesting part of this is the fact that we were able to revisit songs over and over again, unlike any album we’d done in the past. Our fans funded this album on Kickstarter, so we knew that we had to give them something that we could confidently stand behind and say “this is who Framing Hanley is.”
HRH: I think the record is the bands strongest to date. How did you approach the writing and recording process?
Nixon: It was a never-ending process, the writing side: we wrote over 30 songs for this album and as I said, this is the first time we were afforded the opportunity to revisit songs if we felt they weren’t “finished.” In the past, once the song was recorded, that was basically it. This album has so many songs that we took back to the wood-shed, disassembled, and put back together again…until it was all new. It greatly benefited the album being able to do this.
HRH: The Sum… was made possible by a Kickstarter campaign. I read that you needed around $40,000. You must be really proud that you have such a supportive fan base that would help to make it all possible?
Nixon: We asked for $40k. That included an album, the first music video, the packaging, promo, press, etc. We knew that was a lofty goal, so we speculated whether we would raise that much. Then our fans went above and beyond and raised $60k. It was unbelievable. Ya know, throughout all of this, I just want to know that ten years from now, whether FH is still around or not, I want to know that all of those people that contributed to our Kickstarter in 2012 know that they kept this dream/career alive. This album wouldn’t be released right now if it weren’t for those people because it would’ve never been recorded, and that would’ve been a tragedy for our band, because, again, neither of our previous two albums compare to this one.
HRH: After the help that you received, was there added pressure to make the best record you physically could, and make it successful also?
Nixon: An extra pressure that we never could’ve imagined. Again, the fact that it was our FANS who made this album a reality, we knew that we HAD to give them something that they all listened to and thought “wow, I’m glad I helped put this band in the studio to record this.” A lot of the push-backs were due to us questioning the strength of the album. So that’s when we’d do the aforementioned “wood-shed” trips and just keep reworking songs or writing new ones, until we knew we had the album we personally felt confident about.
HRH: Do you have a favorite song on The Sum … If so which and why?
Nixon: Yeah, “Castaway” is a special song. Throughout the making of this album, with all the setbacks, we started to wonder “man, have we played our last show? Is this album ever gonna see the light of day?” Finally, one day, it just hit me: “Ya know, there are people out there patiently waiting for this album because they’re that interested in hearing our music.” That was a huge moment for me. It was a moment of enlightenment. That song has a line in it that says “I’ll go down with this ship” and that’s basically a statement to our fans saying “Hey, as long as you guys give a damn and WANT to hear the music we create, I’ll be here playing till the ship is completely under water.”
HRH: So after a positive 2014 thus far, what does the future hold for Framing Hanley?
Nixon: Touring. Lots and lots of touring. Other than that, I’m not sure. I just know that we missed touring while we were sitting at home working on this album for over two and a half years, so it’s nice to be back on the road and being able to play these songs live and shake the hands of those people that have kept this train moving.
HRH: If you weren’t in a band, what kind of job do you think you would have?
Nixon: Dream job? A writer for WWE. I’m a HUUUUUGE wrestling fan, and I’ve always wanted to write for WWE.
HRH: Who would be in your dream band line-up?
Nixon: Vocals- Freddie Mercury, Guitar- Slash, Bass- Flea and Drums- Phil Collins (because of the vocal harmony possibilities!!)
HRH: Thank you once again for talking to me, and I wish you the best of luck in the future.
Nixon: Thank YOU for taking the time to talk to me. Make sure you and everyone else stay up to date with all things Framing Hanley by frequenting www.framinghanley.com or by following us on twitter at www.twitter.com/framinghanley
Framing Hanley’s third studio album The Sum Of Who We Are is out now via Imagen Records on iTunes and in all good record stores