Interviewed by Mark Dean (Journalist/Writer/Contributor) Myglobalmind Webzine
Referring to the title of the latest album..how does it define”the sum of who you are” compared to your previous releases?Is this therefore a more revealing and personal album for the band?
Nixon: Well, this album was made possible by our fans through the crowd-funding site Kickstarter. So originally the title was in reference to the idea of “this is us plus all of you” effort; the sum of who we all are. The longer we spent working on this album though, the more it become just stories of what we were going through over the course of that 2 years. So the songs literally were about who the 5 of us were as people, ya know? What we were going through and everything…the good AND the band…it’s all there.
The dual vocal with a male/female interplay on the track Rollercoaster” works well-how will that transfer to live shows? Or will you not be including that in the forthcoming tours? Is that the first time you have done this on albums? If so is it a one off or something that the band would hope to explore in the future.
Nixon: Yea, I don’t know that we’ll ever be able to play that one live because Stoye (new bassist) doesn’t quite have the voice that Lindsey does haha. She fronts a band called Oh No Fiasco. She’s literally one of my favorite female vocalists ever, and we just became friends out on the road as ONF came out on tour with us a few times in the states. I asked her if she’d be down to sing on this song, and thankfully she said yes. So, one day if our paths cross again on the road, I’d love to be doing that song live with her…but until then, this one might have to stay on the shelf. It’s funny because “Rollercoaster” was original a ballad idea that I came up with when we had just started touring in support of our 2nd album A Promise To Burn. I’m glad we waited on it, because it took on a completely new life and we were able to have Lindsey’s amazing voice on it.
What does the album cover symbolise and how does it relate to the albums title? Who designed it or came up with its concept?
Nixon: That’s actually a picture of my son. Chris’s wife, Krystl, took it when they were out at the park with him one day. It’s just a really strong image to me. All bias aside haha. I love the idea of walking AWAY from the light, as he is in this picture. After all we went through, the last 2 years, the stuff that has made us who we are, that picture says to me “I’ll go through this all again — the ‘dark,’ if you will — because it got me here.”
After almost ten years as a band what lessons has the music industry/band taught the individual members?
Nixon: I think we learned all of our lessons the hard way. Whether that’s good or bad, I’m not quite sure haha. But I think the most important thing I’ve learned over the last decade is a better way to quantify or define, even, what “success” is. I’ve done a lot of cool things, experienced a lot of amazing things…but the fact that I was a part of creating music that people actually gave a shit about…some even telling me that “such and such” song by us is a song they choose to listen to to get them through a rough time — which is BEYOND humbling to hear, because I remember the feeling of making a connection with a song like that — that is better than any definition of “success.
Outside playing live and recording music-what do the band do in their spare time-any particular hobbies or interests that you pursue.
We’re all pretty competitive video gamers. When we’re on the road, if we’re not working on a song, we’re usually playing hockey on PS4. I’m a huge sports guy, particularly football. So I’m fresh into the new season of fantasy football (american football haha), so that occupies a lot of my time.
After the departure from your previous label, the departure of Luke as bassist and also I read “legal issues”which delayed the album release date how hard a struggle has it been to re establish Framing Hanley?Did you ever feel like quitting music?
Oh yea, the discussion of “have we played our last show?” happened more than once during the 2 – 2 1/2 years we spent working on this album. Unfortunately, I’m cursed with this undying love for music, so it’s too damn hard for me to ever seriously even THINK about “quitting” music.
Who played bass on the album- how did you meet Jonathan and how has he integrated into Framing Hanley?
Nixon: Luke played on every track except “Criminal” and “Twisted Halos,” actually. We did both of those songs with Eric Bass producing. Well, since he’s a bassist himself (Shinedown), it only made sense to have him lay down some bass on those tracks. We met Stoye (Jonathan) years back as he was the bassist in another band from our hometown in Nashville. The transition to a new bassist was something we new wouldn’t necessarily be “easy,” but I know that we never imagined finding a guy as perfect/natural fit for the role as Stoye is. We’re all a bunch of idiots that just like to hang out and be idiots who happen to make music, and somehow we found the perfect 5th idiot to come join us. He’s a hilarious person to have around.
The forthcoming Uk tour includes a date in Belfast-is that your first time there?(if not any previous memories)..
Nixon: I remember it was a packed room that was HOT and humid. It was the day before Father’s Day, I remember that, too; and it was probably literally the hottest show we’ve ever played. It was a daytime show in a small venue, and it was sooooooo hot.
Individually if you were not a musician what would you be doing?
Nixon: Writing for WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) is what I often tell myself, ha. That’s the only other “career” I could see myself being okay with. Well, that’s a lie I guess…if I wasn’t so damn little, I’d love to have played American football professionally. That’s hilarious to imagine, though. Those dudes would destroy me hahaha.
What was your first introduction/memory of music?Hearing it-and also your first gig attended?
Nixon: First gig I attended was Further Seems Forever, Movielife, Autopilot Off, & Anberlin. First introduction to music was country. Real country though…Merle Haggard, Hank Williams, those guys. Guns n Roses were my introduction to rock n roll. There was no turning back.
What have been the highest and lowest points of your career to date?
Nixon: Man, I don’t even know how to answer that question honestly. Meeting people that enjoy the music that means so much personally to US, that’s always a very rewarding thing. Those are some of the highs. I’ve seen a lot of lows, but I’d rather not even think about those times and instead recognize the highs and how fortunate I am to experience those moments.
Individually if you could reverse roles, and be the interviewer -who would you like to interview(living/dead)and not necessarily a musician, why would you choose that particular person and what would you ask them.
Interesting…not limited to a musician, that’s a first. I’m not much at coming up with cool questions though, so I think I’d much rather be keen on sitting in a room listening to a conversation between Dave Grohl and Simon Neil. A fly on the wall. Hearing those 2 geniuses talk would be pretty rad haha. If I was going to interview someone though, I’d love to do a Zach Galifianakis/“Between Two Ferns” inspired interview with former American President George W. Bush. That would be must see tv.
Individually which is your favourite Framing Hanley track and the one that you never tire of performing live.?
Nixon: “Castaway” is a special song to me. We have quite a few that are, obviously, but “Castaway” is one from this album that stands out. Right now, one that I never get tired of playing live is “Collide.”
What is your definition of happiness?
Nixon: Being one of two places: with my family and loved ones, or up on a stage.
Back to the album pick 2 songs-and outline for fans how they came to be created/subject matter/recording process-ie the story behind the songs so to speak.
Nixon: “Castaway” is about the actual moment of enlightenment when it dawned on me how fucking lucky I am to have people who actually WANT to partake in the “art,” if you will, that I’m a part of creating. We’ll “go down with this ship” as long as those people are out there listening.
“Unbreakable” I wrote right after my wife and I wed. A couple of the other guys in the band had just married their wives as well, so it was something fresh and just naturally came out in the studio one day.
Best and worst things of being in a band.
Nixon: Best – traveling the world and being able to actually shake the hands of the people that are responsible for the lives we are lucky to live.
Worst – lack of showers.
What has music given to you and also taken from you?
Nixon: Music has given me memories, friendships, relationships, a family, a FHamily. Music has taken nothing from me; I willingly give all of me to music.
Future plans for the band.
Nixon: World domination. Or, well, we’ll at least play on a bunch of stages all over the place haha.