Not too long ago you all released “The Sum of Who We Are” a much anticipated album by your fans, what were some of the roadblock that were hit while trying to get it out?
Well, it was the first fan-funded album we’d done. We did it via crowdfunding through Kickstarter. Our fans went above and beyond helping us surpass our initial goal. Well, when it came time to do the album, it was almost as if there was an extra weight that came along with the crowdfunding, ya know? These people spent their hard earned money for an album from Framing Hanley…and that meant it had to be the best damn album they’d heard from Framing Hanley. We wanted them to hear this and think “I’m glad I was a part of this,” ya know? So we spent 2 years writing and writing, going back to the woodshed with a song that 2 weeks before ya thought was finished, that sorta thing. It sucked that it took as long as it did, trust me, we would’ve LOVED to had it out there and been on the road touring. That being said, knowing now what was the result of all that time we spent, I wouldn’t trade any of it.
What inspired the songs on this album?
It’s funny, because the title “The Sum of Who We Are” was originally in reference to the fact that our fans did this WITH us. Through the kickstarter, this was one collective effort. The sum of all of us, if you will. But over time, as we worked more and more on this album and it consumed more and more of our lives haha, the songs started to be about that; stories of things we were going through. So the title suddenly represented the fact that these songs were a collection of songs that were stories about our lives…the sum of who we are.
A pretty popular cover you all did was “Lollipop” (which earned it’s own music video), did you expect it to blow up as much as it did? Did you personally see any negative reactions to it?
Nah, we never expected it to do what it did. It was a joke at first, something we were just gonna do at one show. Ryan (guitar) had just joined the band as an official member, and it was our first show as the new lineup in our hometown of Nashville, TN. The original version of that song was all over the radio, in all of the bars & clubs, playing at every sporting event…you couldn’t get away from it. So I suggested at practice one day us throwing a cover of that together to play at the upcoming home show. It was laughed off, we continued rehearsing…continued drinking…by the end of practice, we were dicking around with a rock version of Lollipop. Fast forward to after the show (in which the song was obviously played in), and we’re in the studio tracking songs for our 2nd album. The label sees a video of us playing “Lollipop” on youtube at the Nashville show, and they ask us to record it while we’re in the studio. Next thing ya know, it’s on syndicated radio, then every rock station in the country starts adding this thing. It was crazy! Looking back, of course it stings a little to be known mostly for your cover of a hip hop song and not your own material, but that song opened a lot of doors for Framing Hanley…it introduced a lot of people to our band. Thankfully, it seems a lot of those people have stuck around over the years and are fans of the music that we create. If it took a cover song to get our name in peoples’ mouths…to create awareness about who Framing Hanley was, then so be it. I was bitter about it during the recording process of this album…I was just over it…yanked it out of our set, everything. But when we finished this album, and I realized how it was undeniably so much better than a fuckin’ cover that we did, I realized how big of a d-bag I was being by taking that song out of our set…the new album made me feel we had nothing to prove…that the album in itself proved everything. And, ya know, again, “Lollipop” was the introduction to Framing Hanley for a lot of people…who the hell am I to take that away from them? When they come to a show, they most likely wanna hear the song that put you on their radar…there are memories with that. I remember those songs for ME with bands that I love. So, yea, it’s back in the set and I can honestly say that I have no regrets about covering that song.
Out of all of you all’s songs, which is your favorite to play live and why?
“Collide” is a good one. I just FEEL that song like no other song in the set when we’re playing it live. The energy is intense. We open with that song now, and every time we finish it I have to give myself a pep-talk. A little “hey man, take it easy…breathe…that was just the first damn song! You’ve got like 55 more minutes dude!” Haha. It’s no coincidence that’s one of my favorite tracks on the album as well. As far as the stuff that we’ve been playing live longer, “Hear Me Now” is another one that I love playing live. That song was the true beginning of Framing Hanley…flooded with memories everytime I sing that song live.
Yall have a small string of shows coming up in late August, early to mid-September; are there any plans for a full US tour or any overseas tours in the near future?
Yea, right now we’re doing a couple festivals coming up and then some headlining shows sprinkled in here and there, and then we’re going to the UK from late October through early November. The plan is to probably take a couple weeks off mid November after returning from the UK, and then just tour our asses off for the coming months after. When you’re away for as long as we’ve been, it feels like we’ve had this big secret for 2 years…these songs, ya know? So getting out and playing them live, it’s a release and a relief haha.
Has anyone told you that music has saved their life? What was your reaction? Did music play that kind of role in your life before you started Framing Hanley?
I always react awkwardly to that I feel, because what do ya say? You’re just a guy that’s writing songs that mean these different things to you personally, so when someone comes up to you and tells you they’ve played some huge role in their life, it kinda makes you take a step back, if that makes sense. It’s like, there’s never any getting used to hearing that, no matter how many times people may have said it. “Humbling” doesn’t even encompass the feeling that comes with being told something like that. I remember those artists that I would put on in my CD player, throw on my headphones, and just get lost in. When I needed to get away, when things were tough, I remember those artists…I mean, hell it’s still that way for me today. So to hear you’re someone else’s “escape,” it’s a big deal. Those are the things you never think about when you’re a starry eyed kid sitting in your homeroom class dreaming of doing this one day. But like I said, you never get used to it either.
Even though “The Sum of Who We Are” came out recently, is there anything new in works for Framing Hanley?
I’m very pleased to say that we’ve already started tracking rough drafts of some songs that I’m certain will be on FH4. We’ve always had this agreement that as long as we feel we’re not putting out the same album with every album, we’ll continue doing this. With that said, we make it our goal to evolve…to bring something new to the table each time. Our favorite bands are the bands that never get in the routine of putting out the same shit, so we don’t wanna do that to our fans either. Hell, we don’t wanna do that to ourselves. I know I can listen to our 3 albums and hear the “evolving”…I’ll say “evolving” because I hate the term “maturing” when used to describe a band’s sound improving haha. Because, trust me, we certainly aren’t any more mature now than we were when we started in 2007 hahaha. But yea, the new stuff we’re writing…I’m really really really excited about it. I was stoked as hell about our new album, and to feel like we’re already topping it with the new shit we’re demoing just 4 months later, it’s a good feeling.
You also work for New Ocean Media, how do you balance doing what you do on stage and being a publicist?
There is no balance, just constant chaos. I’m married and have 2 kids as well. And none of that’s even mentioning what consumes more time than anything else: FANTASY FOOTBALL. Hahaha. As far as the publicist thing, it was something that a friend of mine in the field got me into. Nothing in this industry is promised or guaranteed, so it’s good to be multi-faceted in this field. That doesn’t leave much time for shit else really, but hey, them’s the breaks, kid.
You seem to Balance everything well when it comes to the band, being a publicist, and being a husband and father, has it become easier of the years to do that?
I don’t know if it’s become “easier” or if it’s just become routine. You do things enough times and it becomes a part of you, ya know? I think for anyone to come out on tour with us, or any rock band, for the first time it’s a shocker…I don’t think people can really anticipate what touring as a musician is like. We certainly didn’t. But then, after a couple of weeks of doing it, it’s a routine. Not that it ever gets easy, but it becomes a part of who you are. I’ve always been a guy that will go out and do whatever he can or has to do to get shit done. I basically raised myself and younger brothers for a good part of my adolescent life. I’m glad for that, because it instilled a sense of responsibility in me that would later go a long way in determining my prowess as a father haha. I’ll say this: sitting at home for the past 2 years, working on this album, but not being as busy as you are when you’re on the road…like now…it absolutely killed me. So it’s good to have the chaos all back again.
Last time I saw you all (its been too long!) You were traveling in medium size Camper, do you still tour in that? What makes you not do what most do and get a tour bus?
We’re in an RV, yea, but it’s not that same one. It’s funny, because that one that you saw us in we got brand spankin’ new. In 2007, it was a 2008 model, and didn’t have a single mile on it. We drove that shit into the ground. 200,000+ miles on it over the years, 2 engines, 2 transmissions, 3 generators…we destroyed it. We also had many a drunken nights in that thing, so the inside of it didn’t look too nice anymore either. If you’ve ever seen a backstage dressing room, those things usually look shitty and it’s because bands. Haha, just “because bands.” So our RV ended up being close to that…I mean, it was better than that, let’s get real…you could actually sit down and not get pregnant from the cushions…we’re not those kinda guys…but yea, we didn’t really take care of the thing. So now we’re in a like 1997 RV that we can run into the ground and beat the shit out of and not really worry about it being a money-pit. Tour buses aren’t cheap. We spent about a year in a few different buses, all while still owning the rv that we could’ve been saving money by touring in. It all adds up. Don’t get me wrong, waking up and being at the venue and having no responsibility for the rest of the day, that’s pretty damn awesome. But, when you see the difference on a spreadsheet at the end of a tour, it’s sometimes better to just tour in an rv haha.
What is one thing you would like to let your fans know?
We ain’t going nowhere…and we wouldn’t be here still if it wasn’t for you all. If you’re reading this, and you were a part of our Kickstarter, just know this: you are a permanent chapter in the Book of Framing Hanley; a most important one at that.
Stay up to date with all things Framing Hanley at www.framinghanley.com and come out to a show if we’re in your area!
Photo Credit: Dalton Bartlett