Interview: Frankie Rose & the Outs

Stunning reverb-drenched harmonies, 60's pop sensibility, effective instrumentalism, intelligent arrangements and perfectly complementary production makes debut album from all-female Brooklyn four-piece Frankie Rose & the Outs more than a little intriguing.

Frankie Rose And The Outs Currently out touring Europe and arriving in the UK tomorrow for their first of five dates, Frankie Rose took a little time to subdue our curiosities..

Who are your musical influences? The Cramps' raw musicianship and vocal effect [especially in ‘Don't Tread’], Phil Spector's wall-of-sound production, and melodies and harmonies reminiscent of the Beach Boys all stand out, but are these just coincidences?

I do indeed like all of those! You can add so many to the list - I think at the time I was writing the record I was listening to a whole lot of Spacemen 3 and Cocteau Twins.

Who are the non-musical influences that influence your music?

George Kuchar, Italo Calvino, Emma Goldman, Werner Herzog, Too many to count really.

Is the band your entire focus or do any of you play in other bands, or have other jobs?

I wish I could say music was my full time job, alas I have to keep a bar-tending job. I also book bands in a show space.

The cover art for the debut album is minimal and ambiguous, and the photograph on the front of single ‘Thee Only One’ is reminiscent of The Smiths' trademark cover shots; can you explain the meaning behind both of them?

My friends over at Sacred Bones Records designed the album cover for me. I really think they make the most beautiful artwork so I trusted them to make something simple and classic. I feel the same way about the 7in cover. I wanted it to look like a cross between a Blue Note album cover and an old French pop 45.

There are strong musical links between Frankie Rose & The Outs and Best Coast, are you guys friends?

Hmmm, it’s funny because I don't get so many comparisons to her music, however, yes, Bethany and I are pals.

Your cover of Arthur Russell's ‘You Can Make Me Feel Bad’ is always mentioned positively in reviews [and quite rightly too]. What encouraged this interpretation, and was there a particular reason for including it on the album?

I think it is a really beautiful simple song. If a song could be a snow globe, this song would be it. It captures so much emotion, all within its simple A, B, verse, chorus structure, it seemed to make sense on the record.

Your lyrics are smothered and at times difficult to hear - is this to encourage fans to delve deeper and actively seek them, a consideration that you believe your lyrics to be a less important factor, or just the way it is?

When most people listen to music their ears are drawn first to a vocal melody; for me, the vocals and lyrics are just another instrument. depending on the song, I don't like them to be on the top of the mix.

The band's sound, and the nature of the genre some may pocket you in, is considered very American. Are there any current UK/International bands that you'd consider performing alongside, or just particularly love at the moment?

In general, when people say that my record fits into a particular genre, I am a bit confused. Does the genre include all of my past bands? There are a few bands I do love at the moment: ‘Tamaryn’ from San Francisco, and ‘Light Asylum’ from Brooklyn NY.

This the first time the band have come to the UK since your conception last year - are you terribly excited, and have you been here before with other bands? If so, how does the feeling compare?

I have a lot to say to this question. I have been over before touring quite a bit with my previous bands, however doing it on my own steam is a very different experience. I am more engaged and I feel so much more responsibility. In the end I think I am much better off in this scenario. I don't really love touring in general, but I am grateful that people care at all, so it is a pretty awesome experience for the most part.

Will we see you back for the infamous UK festival season in Summer 2O11?


You're releasing ‘Girlfriend Island’ on iTunes for December 6th - what other activities have you got lined up in terms of touring and future releases?

I am going straight home to record another record!

You played for Vivian Girls, Crystal Stilts, Dum Dum Girls and now of course The Outs, three of the four of which are all-female bands. Was this purposeful, and how do the girls compare to the guys?

Nope. The gender of my band-mates doesn't matter to me - you can be a great person, man or woman, or be a shit person, man or woman. I did however need 3 female vocals to pull off the live show, hence the majority (all) of my band are women.

How much influence have you taken from your time with your previous three bands in terms of sound, image, anything?

I Love Dum Dum Girls and I love Crystal Stilts. I'm a fan. I feel like I was, and continue to be, inspired by both.

It's been printed that you're not fond of touring, is there a reason for that? Have you had any bad experiences?

Touring is hard on your body, it’s exhausting and I don't find it particularly creative. I like being at home in Brooklyn writing songs, having a routine, and being around people I know. I am not the most social of creatures.

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So we admired the album and questioned the band's creative driving force, now to witness the live spectacle... Keep your eyes peeled for a full review of the band's final UK show at the London Luminaire soon.
Catch Frankie Rose & The Outs in the UK between tomorrow and Tuesday here:

10th Dec MANCHESTER St. Philip's Church w/ Wooden Ships
11th Dec SHEFFIELD The Harley
12th Dec GLASGOW Nice n Sleazy
13th Dec LEEDS Brudenell Social Club
14th Dec LONDON The Luminaire w/ Banjo or Freakout and Elephant