New York based musician Frankie Rose made a name for herself by playing drums in bands such as Vivian Girls and Crystal Stilts before picking up the guitar and fronting a band of her own.
Recently she’s been doing a lot of touring on the back of her successful new solo album Interstellar , so we thought it about time to give her a call and talk about essential travel items, hiking in the mountains and missing American Drip coffee..
“So… travel. This is a music magazine, right?”
Interview by Basje Boer. Photos shot in Brooklyn, USA by Christopher Schreck
So, you’re about to embark on a European tour. What are your thoughts on touring?
Well, there’s so many factors. It depends on who you’re with, your accommodation – that’s like 90% of it. Touring takes a lot of energy. It can be horrible or it can be amazing. I did a tour of forty days in the middle of winter one year and that was horrible. It was beautiful to see everything covered in snow but a drive that should take seven hours took twelve, and then you still have to do a show. But then I’ve also been on tour in the summer and that’s just amazing. On tour you just never know what you’re really in for. Like, anything can happen. Well, that’s the nature of travelling.
But I’m very excited about the people that I have on this tour. I’ve sort of gone with the ‘the more the merrier’ kind of philosophy for this tour. I have seven people this time around. So it should be, if anything, no heavy lifting. Literally, because there’s not enough for all of us to carry.
What essential items do you need when you’re on tour?
I have this pillow that I HAVE to have with me. It’s sort of like my woobie, like babies have. Lavender oil. Deodorant, that’s pretty key. And clean socks and underwear and a toothbrush – then you’ll be okay.
What European city are you particularly looking forward to on this tour?
Barcelona. I love the beach. And I know the city a little bit.
Do you speak some Spanish?
I do speak a little Spanish, I’m Mexican. I don’t speak it that well. My mother does, my whole family lives in Mexico, but I’m very… American, so…
Do you ever get homesick?
Oh yeah. I am a true homebody. And I’m not a city person. I mean, I live in New York City and I love it but if I were travelling I would go to an Amazonian rainforest. I don’t think I would want to go see another city. I’d rather go to a waterfall. Or just Hawaii. Or go hiking in the mountains. But I’m always visiting other cities. This year was the first time I’ve ever taken a vacation and it was really amazing. I was in the Dominican Republic and it was great to not have to do anything I didn’t want to do.
Just lying on the beach?
That’s all I did. And it was so great.
What do you miss most when you’re away from home?
My bed. My housemates. The food. The food is a big deal.
You don’t like foreign food?
No, I absolutely do. But it’s just that in New York City and in most metropolitan cities you can get all kinds of different food that’s done really well. Mexican, Japanese, African food – it’s at your fingertips. Indian food, at any time. But not when you’re travelling. Oh, and coffee, American coffee. I miss drip coffee. But I do enjoy European food. It’s a lot of bread and cheese. I did notice that.
What’s your fondest holiday memory?
Camping in Yosemite, that’s a National Park. I’ve never seen so many stars. We used to camp all the time. I have a lot of great memories of forest camping, beach camping. I never get to do any of that now, I never have the time. It’s a shame.
Camping can be a bit of a hassle, I think.
Yeah, but it’s a fun hassle. I mean, I enjoy building a fire. That’s the fun of it, I think. But you do have to have a body of water near, so you can go swimming. Otherwise it’s just… icky.
So… travel. This is a music magazine, right?
I did do a lot of travelling when I was young. I backpacked all around Europe. I was a punk and I lived in squats for six months. That was not boring, that was straight travel. That was before the euro and I couldn’t speak a lick of anything. It was very brave of me, now that I look back on it.
Were you by yourself?
Yeah, I was by myself.
How old were you?
Twenty-two. I was crazy. There were crazy bad moments, crazy good moments. I was filthy and I had a shaved head.
But you did make music?
No, not back then. That was sort of before. You know, I didn’t know what I was doing.
Frankie Rose plays on 18 July at OT301 in Amsterdam. The show is free for Subbacultcha! members.