After a busy summer of festivals, releasing a new album and managing their own independent record shop, Sunderland band Frankie & the Heartstrings have been working super hard. We caught up with the band just after their success at the Association of Independent Music (AIM) Awards to find out how they manage both life on the road and in the shop.
First of all, congratulations on winning an AIM Award this week! How does it feel to be crowned hardest-working band?
We never win awards or anything – it was completely unexpected when out name was read out. Thinking about it though, we have worked bloody hard.
Is it hard to manage your record shop, Pop Recs Ltd., in Sunderland at the same time as releasing and touring new music?
The short truthful answer is yes; we have to think about how we manage our time. So we have a rota for our shop hours and around that we have been writing our new album and we pull in parents and friends to cover the shop for us while we are out and about doing gigs. These people make it happen just as much as us.
Your record shop has been hailed as a success but what are your thoughts on the wider picture of independent record shop survival?
My thoughts are that record companies need to work closely with proper record shops, making sure they have the records that they make to sell to the public. Record shops are very important; that’s why we opened one. Bands make records, we need places to sell them – and what’s better than your local friendly record shop providing you with a service and education in all your audio needs?
How was the process of making your second album, The Days Run Away, and did it differ much from making your first?
Yes, it took too long to make – it took a year to figure out that not everyone was on the same page as to what they wanted from the record. I found working with Bernard Butler a tremendously beneficial experience; others in the band would disagree. There were many differences from the first record process time, location, approach, all of which affect the process as a whole.
What are you looking forward to most about touring your new album?
What do you miss most about Sunderland or the north-east when you’re away on the tour?
Friends and family, and getting called a poof. I guess now we worry about our baby THE SHOP, but we know it’s left in sort of good hands.
Your set at Reading Festival was great and had so many people dancing in the tent. How do festivals compare to usual tour gigs?
We love playing live, especially worthwhile gigs such as festivals in front of new and old fans. We will never disappoint and will always win people over. We are a real band singing about real things. And always will be.