Ones To Watch / Interview – Frank Hamilton

After last year’s success of the #OneSongAWeek project, the DIY singer-songwriter Frank Hamilton has had quite a journey. He’s released the whole 52-track album, an EP recorded on the London Eye, collaborated with artists such as Ed Sheeran and Newton Faulkner, sold out shows at Barfly, The Garage and Borderline, built a large loyal fan base… and the accomplishments just go on. Right now he’s in the middle of his own 17-date UK headline tour and is set to release a new 4-track EP called ‘Summer’ on 7th October. Frank’s engaging sound and lyrics reveal the broad talent and uniqueness of this hard working musician who paves his way for a bright future.

Frank took some time to tell MGMB about his upcoming record, making of his latest video, fondest musical memories and more.

Your EP ‘Summer’ comes out on 7th October. How would you describe the record?

A taste of what’s to come but also a nod to the past. The first track is a big production of a #OneSongaWeek favourite, the second is a brand new and a halfway-house between the first track and last year in terms of production and the third track is a cover of Teenage Dirtbag (featuring Brendan, the guy from Wheatus), that combined the DIY recording and ‘random feature’ elements of #OneSongaWeek.  The fourth track is an awesome remix of ‘Summer’ by a chap called Draper.

Could you share some special memories from the recording journey of this EP?

The first track was recorded in David Gray’s studio in Crouch End with an uber-talented producer called Richard Wilkinson, so that was a nice step up from last year’s project (which I recorded at one end of my living room).  The third track was also really special – the moment Brendan from Wheatus sent over the vocal of him singing on my cover of one of the greatest songs of all time. Totally surreal!

You’ve recently released a video for the title track ‘Summer’. How was the filming of this video and where did it take place?

It was shot between Holywell (the town I did some growing up in), a local pub called the Tram and Social and my flat in south-west London. The whole thing was pretty nuts. I’ve never had the opportunity to make a proper music video before, so it was weird to see lots of people running around and making things happen on my behalf. Notable moments include meeting the little version of me (called Harry) and driving alongside a car at 40MPH so we could film one of the closing scenes!

How do you usually work on your songs and what motivates your songwriting the most?

It changes from song to song, to be honest. Some of them are ‘5am with an acoustic guitar on the couch’ jobs and some of them fall out when I’m walking home from the train station.  In terms of motivation I tend to enjoy people – watching and thinking too much…

When did you first realize you wanted to become a musician? 

I used to steal the mouthpiece from my brother’s trumpet and run around the house playing the theme tune to Robin Hood, so maybe that’s when it started?  Enema of the State (by Blink 182) was the album I heard that first made me want to buy a guitar and start writing songs that meant something.

What are your fondest musical memories up to date?

Can I pick a few?  The #OneSongaWeek live show (featuring a load of special guests) was pretty special… and then finishing the project itself.  Doing the #LondonEyeEP, playing Hyde Park, having a sell-out tour… and so on.  It’s weird because this year has felt like really hard work and it’s only when I sit down and answer questions like this that I remember it’s actually been quite exciting. The highs and lows come quite thick and fast, I guess.

If you could share the same stage with any musician, who would it be and why?

There’s quite a few but I’ll go for Davey MacManus (from the Crimea). I’m a huge fan so I was really stoked to do a song with him last year but we’ve never performed together and probably never will (since he’s just quit music to work as a volunteer nurse in South Africa).

What’s your favourite lyric or quote by another artist?

The moonlight reflections that colour my mind when I sleep

And the lovesick rejections that accompany the company I keep

All the razor perceptions that cut just a little too deep

Hey I can bleed as well as anyone but I need something to help me sleep.

– Adam Duritz (The Counting Crows).   Genius. 

Which places are you looking forward to playing the most on your upcoming UK tour?

It’s more about the people than the places themselves.  Manchester, Glasgow, Birmingham, Guildford, London, Newcastle… I’ll stop now before I end up listing them all.

What’s the main accomplishment you’d like to achieve with your music?

Just to be able to carry on making music and not have to worry so much – I’m still totally DIY so there’s a danger that if I take my eye off the ball the whole thing will fall apart. Also pretty much every decision goes through me (which is a bit stressful), so one day I’d love to only have to worry about the music and not all the politics/other nonsense that goes with it.

You can still catch Frank live on these following dates: 

01.10.13 – Waterfront – Norwich

02.10.13 – Institute – Birmingham

03.10.13 – The Garage – London

05.10.13 – Thekla – Bristol

06.10.13 – Boileroom – Guildford

07.10.13 – Komedia – Brighton

08.10.13 – Joiners – Southampton

10.10.13 – Clwb Ifor Bach – Cardiff

Links – Website, Facebook, Twitter

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