There’s a moment thrift shopping when I come across clothing that makes me pause. Sifting through hanger after hanger, my mind goes into that safe zone of needing very little stimulation. All I have floating around is the potential of cool I see in each dress, pair of denim cutoffs, skirt or top-it’s that possibility that keeps me coming back week after week though the balance in my account diminishes. It’s all worth it if I find something that makes me smile. In a sea of misplaced shoes, forgotten cutlery, dishware and patterned couches that scream, “I have a story here!” I’m able to nestle in between these old memories and make new ones. It’s with this same eagerness that I’ve been listening to Brooklyn based artist, Caitlin Frame.
With a name like Frame, it’s almost insinuated that there’s fragility somewhere in her music- and there is, but it’s felt in her strength and openness. And, just like those thrift stores I find myself inhabiting time and time again, I keep coming back to tracks like “Polarizer,” “Run Around” and “Only Other,” each time with a fresh goal of what I want out of it. I have yet to be let down- Frame has given me that sonic version of that one funky dress that’s timeless and what I feel like wearing every time I head out to brunch.
KKS: Do you have any vocal inspirations? I can’t help but hear a lot of different artists in your vocals.
Frame: Absolutely! I guess I would say I grew up in a really musical family to begin with- my mom wrote songs and was always singing around me. There was always a lot of music playing anytime anywhere in the house. So I grew up listening to a lot of British bands because that’s what my parents listened to. A lot of them sing really honestly which is what I find really valuable in a singer. In that same way I would say that Thom Yorke is an influence even though I don’t necessarily think I sound like him, he sings very truly and emotionally. As far as vocal influences in regards to tone I would say Aimee Mann is a big influence of mine, although I try not to sing too much like her. There was a time in my life when I think I was mimicking it too much. (laughs). Also, Christine and The Banshees-she’s fantastic and Echo and The Bunnymen- a little spastic in nature, but emotive which is something that’s valuable to me as far as vocals. Oh, and Blondie. You can’t not talk about those people.
KKS: I always find this interesting; vocalists are able to compile together all the different artists they listen to in order to make their own voice. Similar to finding a writer's voice- I read so many different books by different authors that I sometimes can feel their impressions on my writing. It’s kind of like a collage of what you listen to when you’re younger and what has an influence on you.
KKS: “Run Around,” for me, is my summer song- I’m a little obsessed with it. What was the intention of that track and what were you inspired by?
F: Well, that song came about quite some time ago and I wrote a piece of it- I was just trying to write something silly to be perfectly honest. It turned into something more than that. When I revisited it, I realized that it was something that I could keep. The lyrics, as I can guess you can imagine, are about being in a relationship where you kind of have the freedom to do what you want and that comes with a price. That’s basically what it’s about- it’s melancholic, but still really upbeat. That’s what I was going for and that’s what I feel those relationships feel like.
KKS: I can completely see that now!
KKS: With those types of relationships, too, there are restrictions, but then there’s also that freedom at the same time. Especially with those relationships where there’s a time frame, like “We’re going to date for the summer.” One person always feels some kind of pain.
F: Yeah, exactly. That’s where that song comes from.
KKS: I also noticed that your music has a wonderful way of balancing drama and with this accessible catchiness. Is this something that you specifically worked for? Or did it happen naturally as you developed your voice as a songwriter?
F: I would say that that might stem a little bit from-well, like I mentioned before I think English music does a really good job of being melancholy and fun sounding at the same time. Between the love of that- well, I really really love theme songs. Like really love them. I put them on at parties and I’m like, “Everyone needs to listen to this theme song it is so amazing!”
But, honestly, I think you only have a certain amount of time in a song to get a point across- there’re so many different points that you have to hit to keep people listening. I would say that keeping tension in a song is what I find valuable and I think if the song is too one way it loses that tension. I think when you create that tension people are more drawn to it and will maybe want to listen to it again because they don’t know what to make of these two juxtaposing feelings.
That’s what I like in music and I’m mimicking what I would want to listen to, you know what I mean? Yeah, I think that’s where it comes from.
KKS: Listening to your music it kind of reminds me of the art of having good conversation. The ability to go back and forth with someone and seeing where the conversation can go- balance just feels like an appropriate word and I don’t mean that in a boring way.
F: Thank you, I really appreciate that. That’s what I’m going for. It’s the balance of the two feelings that keeps me listening to something.
KKS: Yes, and I think life is full of juxtapositions, so your music is a great mirroring of that. Lastly, do you have any plans of touring? Possibly coming to the west coast?
F: Absolutely- it’s all down to finishing up the LP right now. It’s been a really long process. I was working with someone, and I’m still working with them, but we both realized that what we did just wasn’t working. You learn things as you go on. As of right now on the timetable it is looking like I’ll be touring sooner rather than later!