Frank Meadows Interview

​FLON: Let’s talk first about Currence, an album with an accompanying book. What led you to this concept, and how do the two mediums inform eachother? 

Frank: That release was one of a string of book-digital download releases coordinated by my partners and close pals at Cairn Desk. Most of my life as a music consumer I’ve been equally invested in the treatment of music as a physical object, and of the open source digital situation we find ourselves in. I’ve released music on CD, tape, vinyl etc, or else exclusively online and I think its pretty special that this record exists as a physical object, but you can still only listen to it online or with a download code. It speaks to the nature of the mediums for sure, but I think that how the two mediums interact with each other for the record serves to say something about the record.  The music is basically ambient music that’s trying to imitate chamber music and pop structure, and borrowed very heavily from my environment at the time. The book was designed by Alec Sturgis and is very minimal, with a lot of blank space, jagged lines and words, and some point and shoot pictures of a sanctuary park in Asheville, NC. I wanted the release to be high minded but relateable, and I think the book read in accompaniment to the listening serves to accent some of the sweetness without falling into nostalgia, and reinforces its objectivity without getting too cold. 

 FLON: Solo, you mostly create compositional music, but you’ve also done improvisational performances and live collaborations. You’ve also been in bands and written music collectively in that capacity. Do you compartmentalize these different approaches, or do you see them as aspects of one greater thing? 

Frank: I think all processes of making music have the capacity to inform each other. I have never really had a high tolerance for genre/aesthetic pretension, especially when I have noticed it in myself. I have always tried to learn as much about music as I can by putting myself is lots of situations, and one of the goals with my solo music is to try and integrate and meditate on all the things I learn, sonically and personally, while making music with others. I think that all improvisors are composers and vice versa, the only difference is the pace and reproduction value. I think sometimes it’s helpful to compartmentalize and intuitively focus on specific areas of my practice that need attention, and it’s crucial in the context of a group to know what your role is at that moment, but as always there are no absolutes. I see music making as a lifelong exploration of becoming a better collaborator with others, and there is something to be learned from every experience that can help you translate better.

FLON: What projects are you working on now, and when will we be able to hear or see them? 

Frank: I just put out a record called “Music for Use” that is up on my bandcamp. This record has been conceptually germinating for awhile. I wanted to explore the ways that people actually use music in their day-to-day. Background music for work, studying, driving etc. Living in New York, everyone is always fighting for alone space, and so many people are listening to headphones trying to enhance  or ease the time passing of some commute or work task. I decided to embrace this function of ambient music, and create music that can live in any space and actually seek to enhance the way that people walk through public space or check emails.

Now that that’s done, I’m honestly in the mood to start writing songs again, which is something I haven’t done in years, but always feels great. I have always had bands as an outlet for that sensibility, and now that I’m basically figuring out a new scene, it feels like I can sort of reclaim the song forms for myself, informed by all the sonic explorations I’ve done with all these other projects.

FLON: For those that haven’t seen you perform, can you describe what to expect from, and what instrumentation you employ for different projects?

Frank: Most recently I’ve been performing with upright bass and electronics. I have a few loopers and volume pedals for the bass, and I do alot of bowed, harmonic stuff trying to explore the full range of the instrument, but always for the purpose of the backing tracks, which are pre-composed in Ableton and played back with an SP-404. I’m always trying to change this format and refine it. Playing live is my first love, but I’m always trying to grapple with and explore how it relates to composition, how the practices inform each other etc. I like to keep things relatively unstable.

FLON: Well, all that grappling and unstable-ness is yielding wonderful things. Congrats on the new record, and please keep us informed about future releases and performances.

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