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What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
Darcy: I’ve been a musician for as long as I can remember; I was the little try-hard in the elementary school choir for a little bit of time, I wanted to go into the medical field, but it’s probably better that I’m a musician.
Max: Guitar hero got me into music. My parents bought the game when I was about two years old. I’d pretend I was a rockstar. If I wasn’t a musician I'd probably be spending all of my time playing basketball, I’m always hoopin somewhere if I'm not playing guitar.
Nate: I grew up in a house where music was always playing whether that be of my own volition or sitting though multiple CD’s worth of music from my parents’ collection which I also grew to love and appreciate. Listening to so much music, the next natural step was learning to play music and it’s evolved from there. If I hadn’t gotten into music, I would probably be hard focused on my engineering degree without a good creative outlet. I’d rather not think of that scenario because I am so grateful for the opportunities that have presented themselves through music.
Ellie: Every time I listened to the radio as a kid I thought playing the drums would be so cool. I would play on my knees until I was told to stop. If i wasn’t doing music, I probably would have focused more on sports
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
Darcy: I do a lot of journaling. I’m constantly writing. all the time. Oftentimes, I find that writing about the mundane events that occur in my day-to-day life leaves more room in my head for angsty lyrics for my songs.
Max: Besides playing the guitar, my other hobbies are driving around, lifting, honestly anything active. I’m always on the run, it helps me zone in more when I play guitar- I see music more as my “free time”.
Nate: when I’m not playing music, I like listening to music and almost passively drawing inspiration from other artists I listen to every day, but outside of music as a whole, I like to relax and almost reset my brain, spending time with friends, going to see movies, chilling outside, and going on drives. Sometimes being able to take a quick break and reset is what you need to really boost your creativity in my opinion.
Ellie: I like to work outside. Just being outside helps me think. I think the fresh air stimulates my creativity.
How long has music been your career?
Darcy: I’ve been writing and performing since 2019
Max: I’ve been playing shows since i was 9 years old
Nate: Since late 2019-early 2020
Ellie: I started getting into music when I was about ten years old, I played drums in my school band. I didn’t really get into the drum kit until I was around fourteen years old.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
Darcy: We’re based out of Central Illinois. I’ve found that even though we’re not from Chicago, we have integrated a lot of the “Chicago-style” rock grunge sound into our music.
Max: I moved from Saint Louis to Central Illinois when I was three or four years old. I was really young but the music shop in town (Zs music and sound) drew my attention first. I always hung around there because that’s where I wanted to be, and that’s where I learned how to shred guitars.
Nate: Based out of central Illinois, around here a lot of people listen to country music, being a local band who doesn’t quite fit into the rest has given us the ability to grow our own style.
Ellie: I live in a rural area and it has influenced my music style drastically. I grew up listening to country and rock, and it wasn’t until I joined the band that my music style started evolving more toward indie rock.
Tell me about the best and worst shows you have played.
Darcy: We were opening for a band called ripe, I was a total fangirl and the energy was so high in that venue. I was totally starstruck and everyone was so nice. It was really a best-case scenario experience.
I’ve had a couple of shows where I’ve just completely forgotten a song; to the point where there’s no saving it. Everyone knows that you’re messing up, everyone can hear it, and no matter how hard you try to cover it up, there’s just no hope.
Max: I’ve got the best and worst in one. We were playing a show and I broke a string. I didn’t have any extra, and I didn’t have a back-up guitar. I play lefty, so no one had one I could borrow, so I just played the rest of the show without a B string. It was fun because I had to think on my feet for the whole show, but it was also the worst show because, well, I didn’t have a B string.
Nate: I would say our best show would be opening for the collection and ripe at the castle theater. It was amazing to be able to play for such a large and enthusiastic audience that seemed to really enjoy what we were playing. As far as our worst show, generally playing small town bars or wineries where we have to majorly limit how and what we play, it brings down the overall mood and generally affects how i’m playing.
Ellie: one time, I played a show with a concussion. That wasn’t smart, I don't remember much of that show, but I do know that I played a rockin’ drum solo. I guess I bring my A-game even when I probably shouldn’t.
Tell me about your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
Darcy: My favorite venue was the Castle Theater in Bloomington, IL. Everyone there is so nice, and is genuinely good at what they do. Their in-house engineer really knows his stuff. I’ve always wanted to play the river in Chicago, that would be a dream come true.
Max: I love playing at the Effingham Performance Center, I had one of my first big shows there and every time I go back I just love the feeling. It gives me a bit of nostalgia when I go there. Plus, the stage is nice and big, which is always fun.
Nate: Favorite venue would have to be the Castle Theater in Bloomington, IL. Having a stage like that and an audience of that size really feeds into the energy of the show. As far as places I'd like to play, I would just say bigger and better places where we can share our music to as many people as possible.
Ellie: My favorite venue to play is probably the Castle Theater. Playing there is a lot of fun, and I think their engineer makes us sound pretty good. I’d really like to start playing some shows in the Champaign area. Lots of college students, and lots of energy.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
Darcy: Probably the kings and queens of the indie world: Beach Bunny, Peach Pit, boy Pablo, Rex Orange County, I’m sure I’m forgetting people.
Max: If I could play a show with any lineup, I would play with Metallica, we’d play, and then Avenged Sevenfold would be the closing band. I’ve loved both of these artists since I was a kid and playing with them would be a dream come true.
Nate: I would love to play a show with Beach Bunny, they have such a fun sound and good energy.
Ellie: I think it would be cool to play with Peach Pit, Cage the Elephant, Backseat Lovers, or Briston Maroney.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into music?
Darcy: Don’t stop, no matter what. You’re gonna play shows where no one listens to you, you’re going to release songs that don’t get streams, you’re going to make merch that people don’t buy, but DO NOT STOP. Eventually, you’ll have a show that is super fun to play, you’ll release a song that does well, and your merch is going to sell out. keep going.
Max: Take it easy- learning an instrument can be hard but being patient with your skill will result in improvement and you’ll have more fun in general.
Nate: Stay dedicated, even through the times where you think about giving up, it takes hard worK and dedication and an overall positive mental attitude.
Ellie: You can’t master anything in one day. It takes time to build up your skill. It’s important to have patience.
If you could go back in time and give yourself advice, what would it be?
Darcy: Don’t try to make yourself sound cooler than you actually are. stay humble.
Max: if I could go back in time, I would tell my younger self to keep challenging myself with difficult songs to learn. I would also tell myself to have more fun with it. I’ve been playing shows for so long that it started to feel like a chore instead of a passion, but now I’ve relearned how to love the instrument.
Nate: Don’t be afraid to be yourself. Too many times I’ve found myself holding back because I'm afraid of what someone might think or the criticisms they might give, but being able to be yourself truly helps mentally, and even helps creatively in music.
Ellie: TAKE A BREAK WHEN YOU’RE FRUSTRATED. Oh my goodness. There were so many times where I would drill myself for not being able to get a certain fill or I'd be rushing or some other minor issue would come up. I wish I would've just taken the time to breathe and sort everything out.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
Darcy: I wrote our song “17” for our bassist Nathan as a birthday present. We’ve been friends since 3rd grade, and graduating with him knowing we were going to completely different places was really scary to me. I wanted nothing more than to return to days where we could ride our bikes together and fall down and have temper tantrums.
Max: Out of all the songs, “more to you than her” means the most because I remember putting my lead lines over the song. I had so much fun with it. I had to copy Darcy’s vocal melodies onto the guitar, and I love playing that part of the song live.
Nate: 17. It’s a song truly based on me and Darcy growing up and getting caught up in the stress of college, jobs, relationships, and everything else that comes with becoming an adult, and it’s truly meaningful to me, and some of the best times i’ve had on stage is seeing people reaction to this song.
Ellie: 17 means the most to me because it’s a very relatable song. Life has its ups and downs, but to be a kid again would be awesome. We were all carefree back then and didn’t have nearly as many responsibilities.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
Darcy: I think “peach pit” is the most fun to play, and it’s the one I hear gets requested the most. I didn’t think it would do as well as it currently is, I wrote it in about 15 minutes and didn’t really put all that much thought into it.
Max: We do a cover of Crazy Train by Ozzy Osbourne, and I have so much fun playing that song live. Our music doesn't really call for shredding, but when we play that song in a set, boy oh boy am I shredding. When we play bar-style shows, I love seeing people in the crowd dancing and singing their hearts out to that song.
Nate: My favorite song to play is 17 because of my emotional attachment to it.
Ellie: my favorite song to play is REELING. It has so much energy and the lyrics are so angry and everyone in the band really gets into it because you know we all relate to the lyrics at least a little bit. I think “peach pit” gets requested the most though.
What is the creative process for you, and what inspires you to write your music?
Darcy: I usually find a groovy chord progression that I like, typically with a lot of 7 chords in it, and then come up with the hook. I’ll write a verse and a chorus, let it sit for a few days, write a second verse and a bridge and then wham bam, you’ve got yourself a frames record.
Max: The creative process for me is a really easy process, I mean for the band, we just sit down in our rehearsal space and start making songs from scratch, it works out super easy, and it’s really fun to hear everyone’s thoughts and listen to what everyone comes up with. I play lead, so it’s always interesting to see what kind of licks i can come up with
Nate: When it comes to writing for me, it's based on what I think sounds good. When we first come up with a certain chord progression or melody to work with, it flows into my mind thinking about what the bass would do, what the drums would do, until we collectively get to a sound that we like.
Ellie: I like to get an idea of how the song should sound, Darcy usually sends us a voice memo, and I start to hear a drum part in my head. That’s when I try to come up with any cool fills that I think would suit the song well, but the magic really happens when we all come together and bring all of our ideas and get to mesh them together like a collage.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
Darcy: Usually my lyrics are pretty angry. In our newest song “peach pit”, I find the lyrics to be pretty passive aggressive, for example “had dreams of taking you to see my favorite band/then you broke it off like you didn’t give a damn” or “don’t know if you’re fine or if you’re in hell/but it’s safe to say that i’m not doing well”. I also write my songs about very specific people (usually people that make me upset) so as long as they get the message that is being sent to them, my work is done.
Max: I just like to make sure what I’m playing or creating has a good, hyper energy to it- I just like to have a good time when I’m playing, and I like to make sure people are having a good time when they’re listening to my music.
Nate: I personally like being able to portray situations that we’ve personally been through and that can be relatable to other, giving people who listen a feeling like they aren’t alone in feeling a certain way.
Ellie: I guess I would have to say I like it when we push nostalgia. I like it when we talk about childhood in our songs, because I feel like more people relate to those lyrics. We all remember what it felt like to be able to run around and do whatever.
Do you ever have disagreements when collaborating and how do you get past them?
Darcy: We've had a couple of disagreements, but it’s usually just a case of miscommunication. we talk it out, get over it, and move on.
Max: I’m usually not part of the disagreements, I’m just here to make music. I like sitting back and staying out of it.
Nate: I feel like part of being in any group is the disagreements, but being able to work through them is what matters, and honestly having multiple good ideas can be a good thing when it comes to writing music, possibly keeping another idea in your back pocket for later.
Ellie: We have disagreements, yeah, but we also all have our weaknesses. I could be better at communicating my thoughts with the rest of the band. Every group has their disagreements, but the important thing is that we work through them, and I think that’s what makes a good band.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
Darcy: we’re getting ready to play some shows this fall! We’re working on new music, and hope to get it released as soon as possible.
Max: To be honest, I'm not sure yet. I’ve got some time to think about it, and wait for a plan to fall into place. Just make sure you stay tuned on anything that’s coming. Follow us on instagram and Spotify. Come see us live!
Nate: releasing new music, playing more shows, and playing for more people. Be sure to follow all of our socials @framesthemusic or go to our website framesthemusic.com for updates regarding upcoming shows and new music.
Ellie: I plan to continue drumming. I'm leaving for college soon, so I hope to implement music as much as I can into my day-to-day life. I’m looking forward to playing more shows with the band and releasing as much music as we can.
frames is an indie-rock band from Central Illinois, who describe their sound as “power pop”. Consisting of Singer, Darcy Johnson, Lead Guitarist, Max Hutti, Bassist, Nathan Logsdon, and Drummer, Ellie Long; since 2019, they have been writing and releasing music together. Their newest tune, “peach pit”, has three awards in tow, for songwriting, engineering, and production. frames is most recognizable by their use of blunt and relatable lyrics that confess their real-life experiences.
Link to our Spotify!: frames | Spotify
Follow us on Instagram!: frames. (@framesthemusic) • Instagram photos and videos