EMURG’s Interview with Kenneth Nixon of Framing Hanley
“This album is the past 2 years of our lives and is every part of our beings…that’s what the title means,” claims frontman Kenneth Nixon in reference to Framing Hanley’s newest album, “The Sum of Who We Are” which is set to release on April 29th, 2014 on their new label, Imagen Records. During that four year absence, the band has accumulated a collection of new songs that finds the band re-energized and ready to show fans that they are back and better than ever. EMURG had the privilege to catch up with frontman Kenneth Nixon and see what the band has been up to in this time, and what went into making their newest album…
EMURG: It’s been a while since fans have heard from your band, Framing Hanley, in which you’re set to release a new album on April 29th, “The Sum of Who We Are”. Can you catch our audience up with what has been going on with you and the band?
KN: We’ve just been hard at work on what is the most important album of our career. Third album, hell we’re Juniors now haha. We put extra time and hard work into this album bc it was funded through our fans on Kickstarter; our fans funding the album made this album even more important. We wanted to be sure we were giving our fans our best work. We finally did that.
EMURG: What is the main theme of this album and how do you want it to connect with listeners?
KN: I don’t know that there’s a “theme,” per se. It’s really a collection of songs that pretty much explain the mindset(s) we had and things we went through over the past 2 1/2 years.
EMURG: You recently signed with the label Imagen Records which support many well-known bands such as Three Years Hollow and Candlelight Red. Why did you switch to this label and what has the experience been like with the new label?
KN: Originally we had planned on releasing this album solo, but Morgan Rose (drummer of Sevendust) is a good friend of mine and A&R for Imagen. For weeks, he and I went back and forth on the pluses & negatives of releasing an album independently as well as releasing with a label. When I first talked to Bob Winegard (President of Imagen), I could tell he was a believer in Framing Hanley, and even more importantly, a FAN. He had a vision with our band that ultimately made us realize that having Imagen on board would give us opportunities to have this album reach people that perhaps we never would have reached on our own.
EMURG: What was the process like recording and what inspirations did you draw upon for the lyrical content of this album?
KN: We worked with numerous producers on this album, which was the first time we did that really. Lyrically, again, this album goes from the highest of highs over the past 2 1/2 – 5 years, to the lowest of lows.
EMURG: How is the band going to promote this album in the year 2014?
KN: By touring relentlessly. The most rewarding thing about releasing a new album is being able to go and meet those people that somehow, for some reason, connected to your music. It’s a treat to shake those peoples’ hands and thank them for listening to your work…your life. So we’re gearing up to hit the road nonstop.
EMURG: Your first single off the album, “Criminal”, is impacting radio, but what is this song about and why did you choose it as the first single?
KN: I think many can relate to being in a relationship where your partner just drives you nuts, but you keep coming back for me…doing all the wrong things, just to please him or her. That’s what this song turned into, although initially the chorus was about my son listening to Taylor Swift. I, being a rock guy, tried to persuade him to listen to Foo Fighters instead. Yet, I’d find that when I wasn’t around him, I’d be listening to T. Swizzle’s newest album myself. Breaking the very “law” I was setting for my 4 year old.
EMURG: How does this album differ from your previous albums that you’ve recorded?
KN: Other than the amount of time we spent on it, and the number of times we revisited songs, and went back to the drawing board, we didn’t change anything on our end in terms of writing/recording. We just gave it the extra time and attention we felt it deserved. I think there’s a growth in our music that people will hear, but honestly we are doing something wrong if you don’t continue to hear that growth with every album.
EMURG: How has Framing Hanley evolved musically?
KN: I think touring is what initially led to our band’s evolving after our very first album The Moment. We used to joke about how it was Musician’s Boot Camp. Also, broadening the spectrum of the music you listen to I think naturally introduces your ear to new ideas and such when crafting a song.
EMURG: You’ve worked with some pretty big names in the business such as Brett Hestla. What was the experience like working with him and how has it molded you into the band that you are today?
KN: Hestla is our boy. He was the guy that was there in the beginning and is still there now. 7 years ago he taught us the real art of writing a song…telling a story…making that connection with people. We wouldn’t be here now if not for him.
EMURG: Who is your favorite band to listen to right now?
KN: Mannnnn, this is a tough one. I’d probably have to say Biffy Clyro, although there are a number of artists I’m heavily into right now. I’d say my favorite album of 2014 so far is Switchfoot’s newest one.
EMURG: Are there any interesting stories that you would like to share that you’ve experienced while being in the band?
KN: I’ve traveled the world with my best friends, cried with my best friends, laughed until we cried with my best friends, met amazing people with my best friends…all because of music. I’m a lucky guy. Sometimes it’s hard to keep sight of that fact, but it’s true. This band changed my life and it’s all because of the people that listen.
EMURG: What is the best piece of advice that you can give to any up and coming artist or band? What is the one thing that you wish that someone would have told you before entering the music business?
KN: It’s hard work, but it’s so worth it. Be nice to other bands…it’s a smalllllllll world!
EMURG: It seems that bands are a dime a dozen these days. How has Framing Hanley continued to be an active presence in the industry while other bands have fallen to the pressures of the industry?
KN: Again, credit goes to a loyal fanbase in a day and age where it seems a lot of bands have fans that may come & go. Four years between albums is career suicide nowadays for a band. It’s unbelievable the amount of people that have stuck around and remained patient, waiting for this album. We let our fans know that without them, there is no us. I think they appreciate our straightforwardness.
EMURG: What do you want to leave behind as a musician for future generations?
KN: Songs that years from now can still resonate with someone. Even if it’s not what I was particularly writing about, for anyone to be able to take a song and relate it to their own life, THAT is the beauty in this art.
EMURG: In your opinion, what is the one thing that is missing in music today? What do you think the industry should do to correct this problem?
KN: CD sales! I’m not sure there’s any correcting that at this point. If you got Pepsi coming out of your sink faucet, you ain’t gonna go buy a 12 pack of Pepsi at the store. There was a dropped ball at some point by record labels, and it’s led to this industry pretty much becoming a vacant wasteland where “only the strong survive.” We will keep our heads down and keep pushing forward regardless.
EMURG: What is on the horizon for you and the band in 2014?
KN: Shows & more shows. We’ve missed touring and we are ready to do so nonstop now.
EMURG: Is there anything else you would like to add to this interview?
KN: Stay up to date with all the going-ons of FH by visiting our website www.framinghanlely.com. If you’re on twitter, follow us @FramingHanley & instagram @FramingHanleyBand. Of course www.facebook.com/framinghanley. Or you can just go to our website like I first said and there are links to ALL of these haha. We’ll be updating our Youtube regularly once we start touring, and that’s something you won’t wanna miss. If we’re coming to your area, make sure you come out to a show!