FRAMATICS (from l-r): Liam Banga (bass), Madeleine “Mads” Todd (vocals), Adam Strain (drums), Zach Stone (guitar)
INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN
From London, Framatics are an emerging four-piece that mix together raw guitar riffs, thumping beats, and comprehensive synths to create an intense alternative rock sound.
The band’s latest single, ‘Look In Your Eye‘, came out to a positive response, with promoters This Feeling declaring it the “Track Of The Day” on their website, and with all live music venues having been closed since the UK went into lockdown back in March, the collective have been keeping themselves occupied by doing such things as regularly performing on social media.
To talk about all of this, and more, with me, was the quartet’s vocalist, Mads Todd.
How did the band initially form?
Liam, Zach, and Adam had been in a band called Concrete Caverns together until partway through 2018, when they started to look at doing something new. I found them online, and contacted them – we first met in a Wetherspoons near Tottenham Court Road, then soon after started jamming and writing together, and the rest is history!
How did the name Framatics come about?
We wanted a name that sounded punchy and loud, to match our music. At one point, the name Fra Mauro came up, which is actually the name of a crater on the Moon…We thought it was okay, but not quite punchy enough, so we cut it up a bit, and came up with Framatics.
When we later found out that “framatic” was defined as “fucking dramatic” on Urban Dictionary, we decided the name fitted us well, and it stuck.
What are the band’s main musical influences?
One of the best things about the band is that we all draw from different musical influences!
From a production angle, I know that Liam is influenced by Bombay Bicycle Club and Ben Howard, and he’s been digging Phoebe Bridgers‘ newest album. Zach is a big fan of Jimmy Page, Tom Morello, and The Edge, for their fat sounds and experimental tones. For me personally, my biggest musical influences when it comes to vocal style and melody writing are Debbie Harry (Blondie), Thom Yorke (Radiohead), Regina Spektor, and Michael Stipe (REM).
On the more general scale, some of my favourite bands are Queens Of The Stone Age, Yo La Tengo, and Hatari.
What would you say was your approach to songwriting?
Generally, someone will have an idea based around their respective instrument. So, Liam and Zach might come up with a riff or bassline, Adam might come up with a beat, I might come up with a vocal hook, then we will bring our idea to the group, and each of us will add our respective parts to it until it resembles something more like a song – we’ll keep developing it and jamming it together as a band until we’re happy with the general structure and style.
We like to demo all of our songs once this is done, so that we can think about the overall sound and levels, and to add any effects that we might want to use on the SPD during live performances. Once it’s ready, we’ll whap it into the live set, and see how it goes down!
What inspires the band lyrically?
I write the majority of the lyrics, but the guys will always tell me if the lyrics are total crap, which is a big help.
The vast majority of the time, I’m trying to write a mini-story to go along with the song. I like to imagine characters involved in some sort of drama, which the song is describing. It’s one of the reasons I like Regina Spektor so much – each song is like a story in and of itself with a whole world and cast of characters.
I try as much as possible to give the lyrics a narrative in the same way, if not quite as whimsically as Spektor. The subject matter is usually inspired by politics or human relationships – anything that interests me, and can inspire a narrative for the song.
So far, you have brought out two singles – last year’s debut ‘I Think You’re Funny’, and the recent ‘Look In Your Eye’. How was the recording process for them?
We recorded both songs in Liam‘s back garden! He has a handy little space where we can record and then mix our music, so we spent a whole bunch of time in there trying to get them as close to perfect as possible. The drums we recorded separately, live in a studio.
We like producing the singles ourselves, because it gives us the freedom to choose exactly how the song sounds, and creates our own sonic identity. It’s been a learning curve, but we’ve enjoyed it a lot!
And how have the responses been to the tracks up to now?
Really positive! It’s a great feeling to see people in a crowd singing along to your song, even if it’s just one or two folk. We’re dead excited to keep releasing new tracks, and see where it takes us – we’ve got a few bangers up our sleeves.
The band have performed live at venues across London, and have headlined places such as The Old Blue Last. How was the experience of playing there?
Our gig at The Old Blue Last was absolutely mental – one of the most fun gigs we’ve had. It’s a great venue right in the centre of Shoreditch, and everyone was raring to go, it really hyped us up. Of course, it was a big help that our pals in The Vignettes, Lucid Hound, and Yung KP put in absolutely mega performances, which meant for a great night.
How is it overall performing on stage?
Performing live is crucial for us. We love recording and producing our songs, but there’s nothing like the thrill of getting on stage and going wild for a while. When we’re gigging, it’s almost like I become a different person who doesn’t give a fuck about what anyone else thinks – I feel totally at liberty to dance crazy, sing loudly, and pull wild faces. I’m sure the guys feel the same way.
In the end, though, our live performances are all about energy – we want to have fun, and we want the audience to have fun, too.
How has the coronavirus pandemic affected you all?
It’s been a mixed bag. On the one hand, we’ve missed out on a bunch of gigs and festival slots this year, which is a bit sad, but hopefully, we’ll be able to reschedule for next year, and be bigger, better, and even more prepared.
On the other hand, we’ve had the chance to put out more online content, and have recorded and released two Quarantine Covers, which you can find on our Facebook and Instagram!
We’ve had such a positive response, and we’re dead excited to do some more while we’re still stuck at home. You’ve got to adapt to the situation, really, otherwise it’s easy to get miserable about the things you’re missing out on.
How will COVID-19 affect the UK music industry?
This is a tricky one – on the one hand, the live performance industry, in general, is going to take a huge hit because of restrictions and cancellations. What that will actually mean for bands, I don’t know, but it could make finding performance spaces harder, but on the flip side, people are going to be so hyped to get out and see a gig with their mates once this is over, so I fully believe that all of the gig-goers out there will refuse to let live performances die.
As for the recorded music side of things, I think we’ve all been so grateful to have access to things like Spotify, YouTube and such, where we can listen to our favourite music to stay entertained during lockdown.
The importance of music, art, and culture to our lives has been majorly highlighted, because it’s what we turn to get through hardship. There’s no way we’ll allow it to fail as a result of COVID-19.
And lastly, what are your future plans?
Once this has all blown over, we’re going to jump right back on the gigging scene and bring as much live music to you as possible. We’ve got a couple of new singles that are just about ready to be recorded and released, so keep your eyes peeled for those!
‘LOOK IN YOUR EYE’ – THE LATEST SINGLE FROM FRAMATICS – IS AVAILABLE NOW, AND FURTHER INFO ON THE BAND CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES: