KAT FRANKIE – Interview

Foto-© Sabrina Theissen

Schon seit Jahren befindet sich die australische Wahl-Berlinerin Kat Frankie auf dem hiesigen Songwriter-Radar, denn seitdem sie in 2004 nach Deutschland kam, arbeitet sie gefühlt unentwegt an ihrer musikalischen Kariere. Egal ob als Solo-Künstlerin, mit ihrem Nebenprojekt Keøma, als Duett-Partnerin von Clueso, als Live-Musikerin in Olli Schulz Band oder aber als Co-Produzentin der Titelmelodie zur TV-Sendung Schulz & Böhmermann…was Kat Frankie anfasst, hat Potential dazu, dass man die Songs lange mit sich trägt. So ist es auch bei ihrem gerade erschienen neuen Album Bad Behaviour. Grund genug sich mal wieder für ein Interview-Update zusammen zu setzen – unser Interview mit Kat Frankie!

– Name: Kat Frankie
– Founding year: 2002
– Location: Sydney
– Album: Bad Behaviour

You moved to Berlin 14 years ago to make music – was it hard for you to connect with the local scene then and what were your first steps then?
Not at all. I was really lucky. I fell into a really nice community where people would give me tips for where I could play shows, or who to ask if I needed a bass player… that sort of thing. I played pretty much every cafe and basement in Berlin that would have me until I had enough of a following to rent a proper club and do a ‘real’ show. For my first few years in Berlin I was almost always my own booker and concert promoter.

In the last months you were doing a side-project (Keøma), composing a soundtrack for a talkshow with Get Well Soon and sang on a song with Clueso – you seem to be a good networker and a musicaholic. How did it come to those projects and when did you find time to work on your own music?
Well I didn’t find so much time for my own music because it took nearly four years to finish Bad Behaviour. The chance to work on the Schulz Böhmermann soundtrack came via Olli – I played acoustic guitar in his band for a couple years and he likes what I do. Jan is a fan of Get Well Soon, so they put us together for the sound track. Keøma is a side-project I do with Chris Klopfer which began as a single collaboration but over time became an album. We’re working on the next one right now. I just really like to try things I haven’t done before, so that’s why I said yes to Clueso. I’ve spent the past year on tour with him and it’s been really lovely. I’ve also met some very nice people and fantastic musicians through him.

Your new record is called Bad Behaviour – why did you choose this title and what is it about?
It’s somehow a general theme for the record. I’m at a point in my life where I just want to make music I enjoy without caring about the expectations of others. And there’s also a protest thread through the album, with songs like Home and Versailles being about social control ans social injustice. I figured that if ‘good behaviour’ is a demand of those who have power over us, then bad behaviour is the required antidote, through acts of self-expression and civil disobedience.

For us on some songs of the record the sound is amazing and kind of more like your live shows – very intimate, but with a lot of layers and very personal. How would you describe it and how did it come to this?
That’s a pretty good description. When I was making the album I was thinking a lot about how it would feel to perform the songs live. There’s layers, but every single thing is in there for a reason. When I write songs, I want every layer – every part of the music, words and melody – working together at the same time to communicate the same idea or feeling. And it’s definitely a personal album, it contains my world view.

How/when and with who was the record done, what was the best moment/what the worst during production and what is the most told anecdote from then?
I started making this album about four years ago but I had a lot of interrruptions. Olli Schulz asked me play guitar in his band, so I did that for a couple years. I produced the Keøma record. I did some soundtracks, and then went on tour with Clueso for most of 2017. The rare days I could stay at home and work on my own songs was the best time. I can’t really say if I had good moments or bad moments. I was just really happy when it was finally done and Grönland asked me if they could put it out.

For us the song Forgiveness kind of stood out of the record as our favorite. How was it done, is there a story behind it and when did you come up with it?
Ah. I like Forgiveness a lot too. I borrowed a friend’s synth for a while and I was just fooling around with it when this lovely little loop started to take shape. It sort of had a cheery melancholy to it, like a sad robot, and I built the song around that conflicted feeling.

We read that your looping experience also comes back from your first recording experiences with a tape recorder – how come?
When I was a kid I used to record myself singing at home. One of the things I would do is take a casette tape recorder and record myself beatboxing or humming for a minute or so. I’d then take the tape out of the recorder and put it into my parent’s big stereo system, put a fresh tape in the recorder, and as I played back the first tape over the stereo very loudly, I’d record that and myself singing over it onto the second tape. That way I’d build up layers of vocals. It’s pretty much what I now do with the loop station.

With Keøma you were part of the Eurovision Song Contest qualifying – how did you experience this and how did this event + the work with Chris von Keøma influence your work as a musician?
I had a great time at the Vorentscheidung. Nobody told us what to do or how we should present ourselves, and opportunities for bands to perform on German TV are pretty rare. It was easy to say yes, and it was really fun. The reason I like doing Keøma is because I get to produce a project that’s quite different from my own, and its really easy to work with Chris. He’s always coming up with new ideas for songs.

With being in Berlin/europa since such a long time – did you ever think about going back to Australia? For what reasons would you go back?
It doesn’t make sense for me to go back. My life is here. Although sometimes I miss the glamour of Sydney, it’s also expensive and somewhat inhospitable to musicians and artists.

In the years since you’re living in Berlin a lot has changed, especially in the music industry, with streaming becoming a bigger and bigger issue for artists, but also social media (our first contact with you back in the day, was when you reached out for us on myspace…mywhat?!?) and co getting more and more important. How would you describe the change, what do you like, what do you dislike about it?
Really? Did I write to you on myspace?! Ha. That was such a great time. That lovely moment before online communities became monetized. Now it’s all about organic reach and sponsored posts. Berlin has changed too of course. There’s money in this city now so the stakes are higher. Less ‘arm aber sexy’ and more ‘startup incubator’. But compared to other metropols it’s still a pretty nice place for musicians and artists to live. For now.

What are your next plans?
Going on tour! I can’t wait to sing the new songs live with my band.

What did you learn in 2017?
Not to worry about what other people think.

Which song makes you dance every time?
Call Your Girlfriend by Robin

How would your Bedroomdisco look like?
It would be a beautifully lit, shimmering space with a smooth floor so I can slide while I dance.

Kat Frankie Tour:
14.03. UT Connewitz, Leipzig
15.03. Musa, Göttingen
16.03. Franz Mehlhose, Erfurt (Ausverkauft)
17.03. Gleis 22, Münster
20.03. Kulturkirche, Köln
21.03. Pavillon, Hannover
22.03. Mojo Club, Hamburg (Hochverlegt)
23.03. Lagerhaus, Bremen
24.03. Helga‘s Stadtpalast, Rostock
27.03. Volksbühne, Berlin
28.03. Volksbühne, Berlin
17.04. Halle 6, Erfurt (Zusatzshow)
25.-26.05. Immergut Festival, Neustrelitz
01.-02.06. Elbjazz, Hamburg
15.-17.06. Maifeld Derby Festival, Mannheim
01.-04.08. A Summer’s Tale, Luhmühlen
03.-05.08. Watt En Schlick Fest, Dangast
28.-30.09. Way Back When, Dortmund


Bedroomdisco-Gründer, Redaktions-Chef, Hans in allen Gassen, Golden Leaves Festival Booker, Sammler, Fanboy, Exil-Darmstädter Wahl-Hamburger & happy kid, stuck with the heart of a sad punk - spreading love for great music since '08!

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