The Virginia based folk-rock trio The Anatomy of Frank explore nostalgia, relationships and mortality with the release of their latest album South America, out on 1st September 2017 via Polar Islands.
Having formed in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2010 as a five-piece, in 2015 the band found themselves in a state of disarray with the departure of two members. As a result, Kyle (guitar, vocals), Jimmy Bullis (keyboards) and Max Bollinger (drums) decided to re-orchestrate their sound and breathe new life into the band’s identity.
The band had a valiant ambition to record an album on all seven continents and South America is the result. With a combination of brass, keys, strings, solid harmonies and rich melodies throughout, this album is an instantly immersive experience. The first single, La Llorona, focusses on the complexities of relationships when desire becomes self-destructive. Lead singer Kyle Woolard’s soft, warm vocals and his intricate guitar plucking weave together effortlessly before a soaring choral line is introduced, shifting the song into an ethereal soundscape. Each offering on South America shows a different side to the trio, whether it’s the instantly catchy indie-rock style of ’Sunken Coast’ or the intimate musings of ‘Viteri’, this album captivates immediately with each starting note.
In this interview spotlight, we chat with the band about influences, motivations, their newest project and much more.
Full Q&A along with links and a stream of La Llorona below.
Let’s dive a little deeper into You, the artist and your music. What attracted you to this genre(s) or style(s)?
I grew up listening to Queen, Dan Fogelberg, Phish, Chopin, and The Beatles. How the hell I arrived at my current sound is beyond me, but I attribute the fingerpicking to Dan Fogelberg and the post-rock elements to Chopin. That guy knew how to build tension…listen to Scherzo No. 1 in B Minor, you’ll poop your pants.
How long have you been creating and sharing your music with the public?
Since I was 14, so 16 years now.
Who or what influences your playing and/or writing? Also, what motivates you to keep going?
I take inspiration from cold places where most people don’t really go. Actual places, like Svalbard and Labrador and the Arctic in general. I personally am homesteading a patch of forest in northern Vermont, so I’ve got plenty of inspiration here. There’s also the whole beauty of the human experience, but that’s kind of basic.
Were you trying to accomplish anything specific on this new project? Creatively or otherwise?
We wanted to simplify our sound, reducing it to quieter moments whose lushness largely comes from the sparsity surrounding it. We also were excited to make a studio out of a farmhouse in Ecuador, and churning out the album in a short amount of time felt cool.What was the last song you listened to? “Welcome to Vulf Records,” by Vulfpeck.
Which do you prefer? Vinyl? CDs? MP3s?
I work outside a lot, so I honestly love having mp3s for convenience. My preference is to have .wav files on my phone, and some really good, isolating earbuds.How about this one….
Do you prefer Spotify? Apple Music? Bandcamp? Or something else? Why?
I love bandcamp so much!! They’re so good to artists! Spotify has its perks. I’ve not really gotten into others too much.
Other than the digital era overwhelming us with access to an abundance of music, what are one or two of the biggest challenges you face when trying to attract listeners to your music?
Really it’s simply that: we have this notion that our time is so sparse, when in fact we waste most of it doing things like facebook and following clickbait (myself included). We forget the satisfaction of reading a good book or chopping firewood or listening to an album, start to finish, and trying to understand it.
Do you gig, tour or perform? Do you ever live stream? Where can music lovers see you live?
We tour pretty heavily, and we’re doing so in the US, UK, and Europe starting in July. Go to TheAnatomyofFrank.com to see where we’re going.
Where is the best place to connect with you online? Discover more of your music?
Any last thoughts? Shout outs? Words of wisdom?
I’ll use this section for self-promotion. South America is an album that takes a couple listens, but we believe the rewards are great. Let us know what you think…we’re friendly.