‘Five Minutes Alone’ With Not the Girl Next Door and The Fraoch Collective
Written by Angela Mockbee on January 27, 2020
If you had ‘5 Minutes Alone’ with a band, what would you ask? In this unadulterated, unedited, raw interview I took my five minutes with the band, The Fraoch Collective.
Tell us a little about the band, where are you from? How did you meet?
Marc: The Fraoch story actually goes back a few decades. Heather and I met in our teens through my cousin Steve. Heather lived one town over from me on Long Island in New York. We lost touch for a long time and reconnected through MySpace and decided to try putting together a cover band with Steve.That was in 2014 and we met Gregg a year later when we started rehearsing at his studio and became fast friends. Gregg then replaced Steve in that cover band.
Heather: I had started writing again and asked Gregg to write music to some words I had. We asked Marc to record drums and basically Fraoch was born. We never intended to play the material live so we never really had a band; we were just doing it for ourselves. But when the cover band broke up we decided to get more serious about it.
What kind of music would you describe your sound as? Who are some of your musical influences?
Heather: We really can’t type ourselves in a genre. I can best call us multi-genre rock if such a term were to exist. I’ve always loved music and listen to so many groups, but my biggest love is probably Bowie.
Marc: The Beatles and Motorhead are my two favorite bands. Our first album “Oh, The Things We’ve Done” takes a lot from the sounds of the “70’s. Our newer material you’ll hear a lot of British invasion influence as well as classic hard rock, funk, metal and folk. Strange combo I know. And Gregg you ask? He’s been a working musician for a long time and is very well versed on so many styles. But I don’t think he really has a favorite band.
Let’s talk about the song, “Invanity”. What can you tell us about the song and the video, which has a very 80’s Aha “Take On Me” feel?
Heather: The song itself started with Gregg. He came up with a couple of parts and I scratched out some lyrics and we structured it. Then I refined the words to tell of an aging beauty that rewards those that ply her with flattery, even if the flattery is insincere.
Marc: The video is a no budget, DIY, filmed with a tablet and edited by me. I appreciate the comparison to Take On Me. That’s an incredible video for the time. For Invanity, we shot Heather in her living room while projecting flashing colors on her face, which represents a reactor or a power collector that needs to be fueled. Tell me what I want to hear, that’s my fuel. We had fun doing it. I have a better program now. Gregg and I did a video for The Bay Song and we plan on doing one for Sybille.
How does the collaboration process work as far as writing/composing music?
Marc: On “Things” most of the songs were written around lyrics Heather wrote, including Stockholm Sugar. Gregg wrote Welcome Our Overlords and together the three of us worked up our rendition of Stanley which our friend Kevin Corrigan wrote. Our upcoming album called “Eyes” is where we started getting more serious about the compositions. The approach to this album has become our norm now. I took a big hand in writing the lyrics. Gregg gives us music and I write around it, but no song starts with a
theme. The Bay Song was completely different in its original version. The words weren’t working. But we kept the lyrical structure Heather conceived and I wound up writing it about Cliff Burton. I had a very difficult time controlling my emotions writing about him. There’s a lot of symbolism in the words and I tried to picture him passing the time on tour. I sent it to his sister Connie but she never responded. I just want to know if I did alright. For me my words dredge up some memories that aren’t so pleasant. Mice
and Broken Things is about drug addiction and Dear Somebody is about suicide. All three of us have had some personal brush with those topics. When we get the songs structure together, Gregg puts all the basic tracks down and we move on to recording vocals, then drums. After that all the other sounds come in, and that is when the fun begins. We love experimenting and “Eyes” is full of that. Lots of strings, brass, synth as well as sound effect.
How does it feel when you put all your hard work to the test and perform live?
Heather: It’s a lot of fun to play these songs live. Gregg and Marc are two great musicians and they really feed off each other. And of course we must acknowledge our live band, Christine Smith on keys, Will Brown on guitar and Steve (yes Marc’s cousin from earlier in the story) Riordan who plays bass in the 6 piece Fraoch.
Do you have any crazy band stories?
Heather: Yes and we call it the Fraoch curse. Our NYC debut was the start of it. Gregg had a back issue and it didn’t look like he was able to perform. So Christine and Will went back and forth all day with texts figuring out how Chris was going to cover the bass parts and Will fill in here. Then I get a call from Rory Black from Black Angels NYC who was on the bill. His brother, their drummer Jimi, passed away that morning. The gig after that was a health scare for a member of a support band. The gig after that
was Steve and the 6 piece debut and Steve falls and breaks 6 ribs the night before. But the Jimi thing hurt. He really loved our music and Marc loved hanging out with him whenever they saw each other around. He was so sweet. But yeah, the curse.
Let’s shake it up a little. Tell us some strange facts about the band that virtually no one would know.
Marc: Damn if I can think of anything that strange. Um, Ive never paid for a haircut in my life. Really. My parents took me to the barber until around age 10 when my sister was taking cosmetology courses and she cut my hair until last year when she moved to Florida. Other than that our song The Judas Kiss is a funk song about a member of one of those two bands. We’ll let you guess.
What do you have planned for the rest of 2020?
This year our goals are to release “Eyes” which should be soon and start on a third album. Do some live shows and write another Christmas song. We did A Christmas Wish and had a good response to it as sad as it was. And we plan to hear lots of The Fraoch Collective on Not the Girl Next Door!