Read on to find out more about Frandé’s new album, shooting their latest MV and who maintains the discipline when they start having a little too much fun. Frandé headlines the GigGuide.tw concert at Legacy on Friday, January 24th.
Congratulations on your new album! ‘隨波逐流我不介意’ was nearly two years in the making. Tell us about what went into the making of this album and how it has been received.
For the past two years we’ve been continuously writing songs. As soon as we came up with new material, we immediately went into the studio and recorded a demo. If everyone liked it, we continued working in that direction until it was completed. So, we never really had a set recoding period, more like a collection process. Thus far, listeners have had a positive reaction to the album; every song has become someone’s favorite.
How do you feel your sound has changed since the release of your first album ‘受寵若驚’ in 2011?
Actually, our music has always maintained a hazy, melancholy tone. In comparison, the first album was gloomier…more black and white. The new album is richer in color, which blossomed out of a deeper understanding between band members. Everyone eventually found their own style of self-expression and their own sense of how to move towards this new style. Musically, our colors have become more rich and vibrant over time.
You have stated that some of your musical influences are The XX, Björk, Lamb, Röyksopp, Telepopmusik and Radiohead. Electronic aspects of all these bands can definitely be heard in your music. How do you find balance between the creative freedom afforded by digital technology and the warmth of traditional analog instrumentation?
A big part of the band is composed of traditional analog instruments, so when writing songs we mainly rely on this equipment. At the same time we also try to create electronic sounds with our traditional instruments. Fran also uses the keyboard or computer sequencer to further develop the electronic tones in our music.
Your music sonically wanders between light and dark themes. Sometimes your songs are light, poppy and playful. In the next moment you might dabble in dissonance, drum’n’bass and feedback. Which is most interesting to you and where do you feel most comfortable in your range?
When writing together in the practice studio, we often come up with little parts or riffs that surprise and excite us. Sometimes it happens by mere coincidence and other times it’s molded through collaboration. We don’t really demand that it particularly sounds great or “indie” because we’ve always enjoyed the different kinds of music that come out of it. Oh, if we are talking about the most comfortable parts, it would probably be the darkness in which you can see the light.
Is your songwriting a collaborative process within the band and what are your biggest challenges when forming new songs?
Most of the songs on this album were written in the practice studio. In those situations the most difficult thing to overcome was finding the balance between instruments and keeping the songs from sounding too rock ‘n’ roll while maintaining that “band” feeling.
You recently premiered a fun new video for your song 閃電. You must be pleased because it has been receiving quite a lot of views on Youtube. Did you film the video in one continuous take? How many attempts did it take to get it right?
This music video was done in one straight shot. We started filming at noon and shot until dusk. In the end we must have done around 10 takes, but if you want the exact number you’ll have to ask the director, Murky Crows front man, Lee Chung Li – haha!
Your debut album was mastered by the renowned engineer Simon Davey at The Exchange in London, UK. He’s worked with many of the most exciting names in the business including Moby, The XX, DJ Shadow, Four Tet, Cat Power and Franz Ferdinand. Tell us what it was like working with one of the most accomplished engineers in the industry on your first album.
We all were extremely satisfied with the results. In the mastering process we received a lot of helpful advice. He was really dedicated to bringing out the sound that we wanted to capture. We thoroughly enjoyed the experience of working with such a talented professional.
You have some seriously talented members in your band. What’s the chemistry like within the group? Are you all business or do you let loose and have fun when you’re together?
Everyone is basically drinking and having a good time during practice. We are a band that gets along pretty well, but when it comes down to getting things done, everyone takes direction from the band’s “Female Executive”.
During your time together, you have been fortunate enough to play some really great festivals and concerts. Is there any one event that really stands out in your memory as being special to you?
We recently went to the Clockenflap Music Festival in Hong Kong and that left a big impression on everyone. It was the first time for the group to play outside the country. At the festival we met musicians from all over the world and it gave us a strong sense of inspiration and motivation.
Being from Taiwan, you work within a music industry that is quite unique. What do you find are the biggest challenges and obstacles for up-and-coming artists? Are there any advantages to starting your music career in Taiwan?
As far as new bands go, the most important thing is defining your own sound. Being able to develop and grow your band’s uniqueness and individuality is what makes a successful band. The music scene in Taiwan is pretty open to different things. No matter the style of music, there is someone playing it. You can create any sort of sound because the scene is really free.
Your star is definitely on the rise. What can we expect from Frandé in 2014?
We hope that we can put out a single in the upcoming spring or summer and then complete a new album in the winter. In the meantime, we’ll be continuously performing. We are looking forward to seeing how time will shape us and our direction as a band.