Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Indietracks interview #24: Frankie Machine

Multi-instrumentalist Frankie Machine has appeared on stage over the years with an impressive list of indie royalty, including White Town, Tompaulin and Phil Wilson. His music has been described as "sounds cut straight from the heart" by Drowned In Sound and "very, very special, like a secret on vinyl" by Record Collector, and he is sure to captivate you with his beautiful, witty, musically ornate and sometimes surprisingly lurid songs. His new album Squeeze The Life Back In will be onsale at Indietracks.

Hi, what attracted you to play the Indietracks festival?

I’ve played previous years with MJ Hibbett & The Validators (bass) and Airport Girl (trumpet) and loved it. That was on the indoor and outdoor stages but I’ve never played the Church. It’s my favourite stage and to be asked to play is an absolute honour. I’ve seen some amazing gigs there (I’m thinking The Bobby McGees in 2008, where Jimmy decided that wearing a full jester’s costume in a small metal shed on the hottest day of the year was a good idea – and the roof nearly coming off when White Town played “Your Woman” last year). If we’re half as good as that then I’ll be happy.

What's going to be on your compilation tapes as you travel down to Indietracks?

I have a bit of a pre-Indietracks ritual in that I avoid listening to indie pop stuff in the immediate run up – otherwise, as my mum used to say “you won’t feel the benefit”. Or maybe that was about wearing my cardigan indoors, I forget. Anyway I’m planning to listen exclusively to German Heavy Metal from the 1980s, particularly the Michael Schenker Group’s excellent “Assault Attack” album. I can honestly say that the line “She's a great dancer. Not ideally built for ballet” is one I will never stop being jealous of not writing. I also promise to high-five anyone who attends Indietracks in a Scorpions t-shirt.

Do you have any exciting plans for the rest of the year?

Having finally finished off the album that has been in the works for the past four years, we’re planning to record the next album immediately after Indietracks (before we forget the chords). So 2011 should see two Frankie albums released. That is as near as we get to an “exciting plan” I’m afraid. The new album is out next Monday by the way – is that an obvious enough plug?

Who are you most looking forward to seeing at the Indietracks festival, and why?

I’m an enormous anorak when it comes to Edwyn Collins, so that one’s obvious. We played with Jeffrey Lewis a few years back in Hull and there was an incident afterwards in the chip shop that I hope he’s forgotten. I’m also excited by the rumours I’m hearing about The Little Orchestra’s set. That promises to be something special.

One band I’m really looking forward to is Peru. Back in the mid-90’s Jock (or ‘Brian’ to his mum) and I played together in a Smashing Pumpkins-style grunge band called Boy Scout, and we had some interesting times being courted (but alas never shagged) by major record companies. I’ve not seen him for ages, so I’m looking forward to a bit of catching up and some nostalgic story-telling. Incidentally, the bass player in that band was Marc from Bulldozer Crash, whose brother Graham Elston is also playing Indietracks this year. At this point I start to feel like the Kevin Bacon of the festival.

Aside from that I'll just be bouncing between the bar and the stages at random, following my ears. I find it’s always the bands you *don’t* know at Indietracks that surprise you the most.

Thanks - see you next week!

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