Topshelf Records’ ever-expanding roster was given a hefty dose of vibrance and aggression in November when they had signed Frameworks. This Gainesville-based act will be releasing their debut full-length, Loom, through the label on April 29. Expectations for this record were set pretty high since the premiere of the title track and more recently, “Mutual Collision.”
UTG caught up with frontman Luke Pate shortly following the completion of Frameworks’ most recent tour, which had included a three day stay at SXSW in Austin. Follow the jump to read what the voice behind this self-proclaimed “lounge screamo” band has to say about the concepts behind Loom, recording with Jack Shirley (Joyce Manor, Deafheaven), favorite tour destinations, and the struggles and triumphs in carving their own path sonically.
So, tell me about the themes of Loom.
So this was the first time we had the chance to write a full-length, but at the same time, working with Jack Shirley was the first time that we’ve ever tracked live. When we went in there, it was very interesting, recording. We knew when going into (or at least, I did) that we were going to make sort of a concept album. The split that we just did with Droughts, Kittyhawk, and Prawn was sort of a prelude into the full-length, which is why one of the songs is called “Preamble.” It kind of tied into this concept that we had, it’s kind of really in-depth and goes really far, but it’s loosely based off of this poem called “The Tobacco Kiosk,” where the character’s looking out of the window and he realizes that he can’t relate to the people in the tobacco kiosk across the hall. So I wrote this album around that idea, where in the title track, it’s [the character] looking out of [his] window, and he’s kind of watching cars pass, and with the idea that he’ll never connect with 90% of the cars that pass, and the people inside will have their parallel universe that you’ll never know, and they’re just going to be there. The album goes into ten phases into that thought process and it resolves itself, and that’s what the concept of the album is. Musically, it kind of builds up, and it gets progressively aggressive until the very end, the last track is a lot calmer, [with] a resolved kind of feeling.
What came first when putting together ideas for this album?
I had the idea, but I didn’t start putting it into place until we started having music. The album wasn’t rushed by any means, but our drummer lives a little further away than is comfortable, he lives about three hours away from us and we had two months to write the album. Since he lives so far away, it’s kind of conflicting, so we had about a month and a half to write a full album, and I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to fully dedicate that idea to the time that I had with the music. So I’d say the music came first, and then the idea came after.
What do you consider to be the most prominent and distinct attribute of your band?
I’d say how bright the music sounds, but also how aggressive it is. The five of us have such drastic and different influences, and it’s almost bad. Cory would say that his favorite band is Weezer, and then Andy would probably say some blues artist, so we get this sort of mutt influence of very drastic influences, and I think that creates what we have, where it’s almost like a jazzy, post-hardcore, screamo sound that I can’t really label, and I think that’s our most noted attribute.
Not to say that I’ve perceived your band in an ambiguous sort of way, but I have perceived you guys in this “there’s more below the surface” kind of way.
Gotcha! I don’t think we’ve ever wanted to be cornered into one genre. We don’t call ourselves a hardcore band because of the semantics of that situation; when people don’t really like the idea of us being a hardcore band, we learned that very early on. So we called it post-hardcore, because that kind of seems the most vague genre that we get labeled into, because screamo or scramz always has such a bad taste with it.
You guys have developed quite the style over the last few years. You’ve even gone as far as labeling it “Lounge Screamo,” which I think is just awesome. Can you describe some of the struggles and triumphs in creating your own musical path instead of following someone else’s footsteps?
Yeah! The most difficult part I have found is finding artists that we relate with. It gets very hard, because I don’t really like most of the relevant hardcore/scream bands. I mean, they’re all (within respect) great musicians. We like bands like You Blew It! and Dikembe, but it’s weird with us getting lumped into the “emo revival,” because I don’t consider ourselves an emo band, but that’s kind of where we want to be, and where we relate.
Going further with that, from Florida, there isn’t too many bands doing anything like we’re doing. We have some pretty good bands, like the Passion Children, we really relate to those guys, and they have the same post-hardcore kind of feel that we’re doing. But other than bands like that and Gillian Carter, we find that it’s hard to find bands to play with. That’s one of the more difficult situations, but the triumph is that there isn’t so many, so people might be more interested in it.
What would you consider to be the biggest stumbling block for your first time listeners?
From my perspective, I see a lot of comments from people that are like, “I really like the music, but I don’t understand the screaming aspect of it,” I think that’s always pretty funny. Another one, vocally, is my diction: people don’t always understand what I’m saying.
Post-Hardcore bands are known for touring a lot and you guys are no exception. What are some of your places to pass through, and why?
Austin might be one of my favorite places, just because we have so many friends there. If there was any place to up and move to as a band, it would probably be Austin. Every time we’ve ever been to Austin, which is like four or five times, we’ve always had a good experience. [When] we did our first tour, we played there, our friend Skyler booked us and there were like four kids there, but we still had an incredible experience. So Austin is definitely one of those cities, I’d say Chicago is as well. I think mostly, it’s all really nostalgic, because on our first tour we would play really shitty shows, like five people would meet you, but we’d meet really awesome people, so we would keep going and we’d still know these awesome people, but play better shows each time. So I’d say Austin, Chicago, San Francisco, South Florida (the Pembroke Pines part), and New York. I always really like going to New York, I guess I don’t have a legitimate reason, it’s just fun being there. We’re from Gainesville, so getting into a big city is always interesting to us.
In regards to branching out, what were some of your most favorite tracks to record for this album?
I won’t go too far into the new CD, but we had a lot of fun recording the two split songs. There was some kind of misunderstanding, but we thought we needed one song, but we needed two for that split. We found this out while we were on tour. After that tour, we were going to get home, and be home for three or four days to tighten up the one song that we had written for that split. But then we found out that we needed two, so when we got home it was like, “Well… guess we need to write a song really quickly,” and that’s how “Persomnal” happened. Those two were really fun to record because it was interesting to see the difference between a song that we’ve spent a lot of time on, wrote and really enjoyed, and then something we wrote in two days. So when we went into the studio to record, it was very interesting. We weren’t really stressed, as opposed to the other stuff that we’ve done for the studio – at least I wasn’t, I don’t know if the other guys were. I’m always freaking out before we get into the studio, thinking that I’m never ready. I usually am, but I freak out anyway. So when we got into the studio, I didn’t have anything for “Persomnal,” so I just kind of did it right there on the spot, which probably explains why that song is so short.
What was it like recording with Jack Shirley? How do you think his presence affected what the record could’ve been, had it been self-produced?
I think it had a huge effect. Ever since we’ve started recording, it was at Glow in the Dark Studios (prior to Loom). That studio’s huge and there are always other bands there. So when we went to Jack, it was kind of really homey, it was a smaller studio which was really awesome, so we were all just there, and he was like, “cool, go ahead. Maybe another track, let’s try it again.” He really had this vibe that made me very comfortable. Not to say that our last recording was very uncomfortable, but this was very easy and I think that’s what we really needed for our full-length, because we didn’t rush the songs, but we did have a very small amount of time to write it, and we were kind of worried how they were going to sound being tracked live. Going into the studio, it was encouraging for him to be so supportive over the situation.
What do you think are some of the most common presuppositions about the state of music in Florida?
I hear so many different things. Some people say the scene here is awesome, and some people say it sucks. I think it’s pretty cool, in certain aspects of it. It’s interesting, because Florida’s kind of split in half between two states. It’s like there’s the north part of Florida, which has a lot going on, and then there’s south Florida, where it’s kind of mainly two or three areas, and they kind of don’t. So when you play Pembroke Pines (that’s south), everyone kind of comes from the surrounding areas, where in north Florida, when you play Orlando, it’s kind of everyone from Orlando that comes, when you play in Gainesville, everyone from Gainesville comes, but when you play south Florida, everybody comes from around, and I think that’s pretty cool. I think that Florida has a really cool scene, but some people say it doesn’t.
It definitely isn’t fun to tour in at any point in time, mainly because it’s always hot and humid 100% of the year. We have one season here.