By: Jarkko Ylänkö
Image: Haley Lepieszo © 2007
Ryan Kash Isojima from The Framework sat down with our Jarkko to answer a few questions.
Describe the sound of The Framework for those who may not have heard you yet.
I’d say The Framework’s ‘sound’ falls somewhere in-line with the brash swagger and polish of the UK scene, the dance-rock of the Europeans, the raw clang of New York art rock, and the best tendencies off someone’s favourite 80’s retro mix tape. Current bands I’d say we share a sound with are: Metric, The Sounds, Bloc Party, The Bravery, Does it Offend You, Yeah?, Tokyo Police Club, Louis XIV, and other bands like that.
In the band are yourself, Chris, Rayanne, Scott and Tobias. What’s the history of the line-up? What compelled you all to join together to make music as The Framework?
Chris and I have known each other for a long time as we’ve both been singer/songwriters active in the Toronto music scene. We decided to take a break from our respective solo projects in late 2006 to write and record some songs together (songs that would eventually become songs for “The Framework”). Rayanne, another local singer/songwriter and a good friend of ours, was looking to sign on to a new project. She really connected with the material and was ecstatic to be a part of it, and signed on immediately. Next on board were Tobias and Scott who had played in various Toronto bands together and were already good friends, and also immediately signed on. Our first rehearsal was probably the best first rehearsal I’ve ever had with any group of musicians. I can safely say that with how well our line-up “clicked” on that first run of playing the songs, this is what initially compelled us to continue making music together. We then rehearsed for 3 and half months before playing our very first show in July 2007, and the rest is history.
In general, who does what in the band? Who writes the songs, who kicks out the 20 minute jam solos, who does all the driving when on the road, who breaks the most stuff, etc?
A lot of how we work on stuff has changed. The basic songwriting is still usually done by Chris and I, however all five of us now work on the songs together in rehearsal and figure everything out and build on the basic song together. In the beginning stages of the band, it was mainly Chris and I figuring out the songs entirely before we’d present them to the band. Over the past year we have really become a very complete band where everybody contributes to the end product.
You know, there’s not really any room for any “20 minute jam solos” in our tunes, they’re all pretty concise the way we write them. Plus, we’re not really into that “jam band” kind of thing.
We have a bit of a team that comes with us on the road, so I’d have to say our friend James T does a lot of the driving for us. Other than that it’s pretty shared between Tobias and Chris.
In terms of who breaks the most stuff, I’d have to say that’d be me. I’ve always been pretty clumsy in general. For instance, if there’s something to knock over on a table, I’ll knock it over. I know, I know, very “Rockstar”. Although, I have gotten better over the years mainly because I know I’m clumsy. I did recently manage to bang up my black Telecaster so bad (over the course of 13 or 14 shows) that I had no choice but to buy a new one right before the next show. Aside from that I’m pretty erratic on stage and I move around pretty constantly. I don’t know how many times I collided with our bassist on stage, or how many times I’ve pulled out at band member’s cords and knocked over numerous things on stage at our shows. I’m sometimes quite a hurricane on stage.
The Framework’s myspace bio says that in 2006 and “at barely 3 months old, the band garnered national attention as a result of winning runner-up in the Mix 99.9’s 2007 RadioStar Songwriting Contest, for the song, “She Thinks I’m Famous”.” Tell us about what inspired the five of you to enter the contest, and what it was like to hear your song do so well on such a popular radio station.
It was absolutely amazing hearing my band’s song being played on the Mix 99.9. I remember I was driving in my car, then Steve Anthony came on and introduced it (which was also super cool), and all of a sudden I found myself pretty flooded with emotion over it as the song started playing. It’s one of those things you always dream about happening, and then one day it actually happens to you. It was absolutely brilliant! The response to our song was so amazing and positive as well, which was great and so encouraging. Honestly, our song getting into that contest set everything in motion for us at a super accelerated rate. Everything kind of exploded for us as soon as that happened: our myspace went crazy with views and plays, word of mouth started spreading about us — which was all so amazing as we were still so young as a band at that point. The amount of exposure and attention we got because of that was priceless. It was a huge ‘lucky break’ for us, and I can’t even fathom what a different year it may have been for us had we not had that whole thing start everything off for us at the beginning.
Did the popularity of “She Thinks I’m Famous” affect song-writing in the band after the contest ended? Like, was there a temptation to say ‘Wow, that worked so let’s only do songs like that from now on’?
No, not at all. I can see how some bands might contemplate that, but I’ve never been that kind of writer. Chris and I, collectively and singularly, write what we write. We know sonically the structure and style we’re going for as a band, and I think our tunes display that cohesive singular mindset and statement.
“She Thinks I’m Famous” certainly has legs. It is still garnering acclaim (song of the week on the Homewreckords Ent myspace) and many a listen on your own myspace. How has the song evolved within the band, given that it was one of The Framework’s earliest compositions?
I think the difference with us, as opposed to some other bands, is that we’ve always had a clear concept of exactly what The Framework was going to be, sonically and stylistically. So even though “She Thinks I’m Famous” was our very first tune, it along with anything off our first EP (from July 2007) are just as relevant today as the day we wrote them, and they are still completely on par with our newest songs and where we’re going. “She Thinks I’m Famous” is still a solid staple in our live set, and it’s always amazing to see people dancing and singing the words back to us. That song in particular, over the past year, has really become pretty popular internationally. Crookram from The RAC (a collective who’ve done remixes & re-stylings of songs for such artists as: Bloc Party, Tokyo Police Club, Tegan and Sara, etc.), did a brilliant remix of “She Thinks I’m Famous” that has now been featured on a ton of blog sites worldwide (such as Stereogum, etc.). As well, Team 9 from Australia (the crew that got famous for their mash up of Oasis and Green Day) did a major song mash-up of “She Thinks I’m Famous” and “Close to Me” by the Cure, which is also a really cool thing that has happened. The Team 9 mash-up also made its way onto tons of blog sites this past fall. As well, the song has also been played numerous times on 102.1-the Edge via the Mod Club broadcasts on Thursday nights. So, it’s pretty spectacular to see all of that happen to that little song.
Everyone is having such a good time in your video for “Always Left Behind”! Is that what a Framework show is generally like?
Completely! That is definitely what we wanted to capture in terms of performance in that video. On stage, we have a blast when we play. We truly do! A common reaction to our live show is that we look like we’re having so much fun onstage. It’s sometimes hard to capture that kind of energy on film, but I think we captured exactly what we are and what we do live in that video.
And the youtube comments for the video beg the question: Who is “Mr Graham, The Best Music Teacher Ever”?
Haha! That would be Mr. Chris (Graham). He’s a high school music teacher by day, and The Framework rock’n’roller by night. We recently played a packed show at the Opera House, which was also the first ‘All Ages’ show we’ve done so far, and it was great because a ton of his students were finally able to come to one our shows.
Back to what The Framework is like live, your shows definitely get a lot of good reviews. What is it about the band, or what you do when performing, that works so well on stage? Are you the exact same band when holed up in a rehearsal studio?
I guess what works about us live is that we give it our all every time we play, and we have a blast while we’re doing it. We play every show like it’s our last. That’s the only way to guarantee, as a performer, that you’ll have no regrets afterwards. We blast the audience with our on stage energy and we make our songs as big as they can be live. I think our personalities and our enthusiasm definitely come through when we perform. We don’t pretend or rehearse any kind of stage antics, we just are what we are, and we do what we do on stage. But yeah, we do put one hell of an extremely high energy show every time. In rehearsals we can be a lot more relaxed and subdued, but the songs are actually so much fun to play that we often get pretty into it even in practise.
When will the remix for your self-titled album hit the streets? When can we expect another Framework LP?
The Remix record (called “Reworked”) is actually already available on iTunes, and it is also available to buy at our shows in a drop-card (digital download card) format. We are only releasing that remix record in those two formats right now, there won’t be a physical CD version of it for some time.
However, we’re actually finishing our first full-length record, that’ll feature 8 new songs, as well as new versions of the first EP’s songs. We’re hoping to put it out possibly in October (’08). We are planning to tour it though, with a possible small tour of Europe in the Spring 2009,
Can you give us the breakdown for your next couple of shows in and out of town, as well as the sales pitch on voting for The Framework to be a part of the Virgin Festival this year?
Well, coming up, we’re playing the Steam Whistle Indie Night in Ottawa at Live Lounge on the 25th of July for the 88.5 FM, and then the following night, we’re back in Toronto to play the Drake Underground (Drake Hotel) on Saturday, July 26th. Both shows are going to be a lot of fun. Aside from that we’re kind of taking August off to finish our record, however there may be one date near the end of August possibly in Toronto.
In terms of the Virgin Festival contest, we’re currently sitting in 2nd place, with over 3000 votes. Hopefully that gets us into the final round. If and then, keep voting for us if you can! We’re working hard on doing whatever we can to be a part of this year’s V fest.
The Framework - “She Thinks I’m Famous”
The Framework - “She Thinks I’m Famous”
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