Off the back of the guitar-driven previous single Lucy, Melbourne’s rock n’ roll upstarts Franjapan have returned now to share their latest single Stonewall, combining moving rhythms with reverberating guitars and a frantic, pulsating urgency. Reminiscent of a moment in time, such as Sam Fender, Arctic Monkeys & Catfish & The Bottlemen, Stonewall is a resounding opportunity for Franjapan to showcase their musical diversity, with a fevered blend of dance-influenced tempos & raucous, jangly guitar riffs. Alongside Stonewall, the band are also announcing their EP Learning Futures, set for release on Thursday, June 8, which they will celebrate at Melbourne’s iconic The Espy on Friday, June 16.
Self-produced and recorded as a labor of love in their home studio in Melbourne, Franjapan were able to combine together to track all instruments and vocals themselves, before linking up with Cam Trewin (Rufus Du Sol, Pierce Brothers, Kingswood) for mixing on Stonewall & the EP, as well as Grammy award-winning engineer William Bowden (The Living End, Haiku Hands, Gotye) for mastering.
Stonewall is inspired by a coming together of egos, an unhinging of any relationship, constantly enforced by miscommunication and stonewalling – whether on a personal or professional level. Dennis Sehovic from the band answers some questions about the single.
Congratulations on the single Stonewall, have you been stoked with the reaction to it?
The reactions have been really great to the new track. We have been playing Stonewall at shows for a while and their it was receiving really good reception so we were keen to get it out for people, and they seem to be really loving it!
What’s the story behind the single?
Lyrically, Stonewall is aptly named after those encounters between two people where any ideas and conversation are refused solely on the grounds of one’s ego . It can be typical in the last stages of a relationship where things have deteriorated to a point of loathing, or moreover between two artists trying to both convey a message they believe in with one or the other person not wanting to budge. Sonically, the song came about from Spencer and I sitting in the studio wanting to try just write a song on the spot together, and after showing him the riff he added words and put together a chorus and bridge, and within the hour it was pretty much written. The first rehearsal with the rest of the band, the song was formed almost instantly.
Sonically, how would you describe Franjapan?
Sonically trying to describe Franjapan has been a mission over the years. The sound has changed so much but we feel that now it is really at a point where we can call it our own. It definitely fits into the Indie-Rock/Indie-pop mould, but we always struggle to give a 1:1 comparison to another artist which is a good feeling! But to us Franjapan is Franjapan, its feel-good Indie-Rock music with catchy hooks, lots of guitars with some nice vocal harmonies.
Is the band building towards an EP/album?
Both our singles Stonewall and Lucy will be featured on our forthcoming EP Learning Futures, which comes out June 8. It’s a five track EP of by far our best material yet, and we are pumped that its just around the corner!
Does the creative process come easily to the band?
We don’t really have any strict rules on what the creative process should be, which makes it easy to not get in anyone’s way. But it is a very collaborative process and it can take one or five of us to write a song. Everyone will always put their two cents in, and making sure that everyone is inputting their own ideas helps us turn any song into a Franjapan song.
How did the band meet?
We are all High School sweethearts, but we are in different year levels, so the bond between us didn’t properly start until Franjapan formed which was the end of year twelve for myself (Dennis), Oli and Spencer. Spencer and I go way back to primary school days at Cheltenham East Primary School, where even back then we were playing music together, and we both met Oli in year seven when we heard whispers of a drummer wanting to start a band. And from there we were consistently in school music projects together, and later in High School we got to know Rhys and Oscar who were in year levels below us, and we gravitated towards each other heavily until one day I asked them all to be in a band together properly.
Who are some of the biggest musical heroes for Franjapan?
Each band member has very different musical heroes individually, which I think plays a big part in us formulating our own sound. But the shared interest is that we all have a vested interest in artists new and old, and between the five of us there is a multitude of artists that could be considered heroes. From Current artists like Tame Impala, Sam Fender, Rolling Blackouts C.F, The 1975, Gang of Youths, To artists a little bit older like Radiohead, Queens of The Stone Age, Blink-182, The Strokes, and then going even further back to Legends like The Beatles, Bowie, Hendrix, Zeppelin. There’s a lot to choose from and it is genuinely tough for us to narrow down our musical heroes to a select few.
How did you come up with the band name?
The name came directly from a room odour spray, I believe it was just a home brand generic one but it was Frangipani flavoured, and it was about 5 or so years expired, but it didn’t stop us from using it in the studio when things were getting a bit sweaty. Whilst we were filtering through band names Spencer just took the ‘Frangipan” part of Frangipani and we switched the spelling to Franjapan because we thought it looked cooler. We all loved the name, the only debate was should it be ‘Fran Japan’ or ‘Franjapan.’ I think in Hindsight we chose correctly
Are there plans more broadly around the country?
we just wrapped up our first interstate tour in April, and we are definitely hungry to do it again. We are in the middle of cooking up some new music and get that pushed out so we can head out on the road again.
What’s next for Franjapan?
With the EP coming out on June 8, we also have a pretty special show we are putting on at The ESPY (Gershwin Room) in St Kilda. It’s a mini-festival of sorts we are calling ‘Franjafest’, something that’s been in conception for five plus years now, we are finally doing it and are extremely excited about the event and the lineup of artists we have on there. That’ll be on June 16. After that its just gearing up for the next batch of songs to put out to the world and organising our next tour!
Interview By Rob Lyon