Interview: What The Frnk
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
Stevie Ray Vaughan got me into music. I saw him on TV as a young child. This was a revelation for me and the start of a lot of playing. Outside of music I would be a teacher.
What do you like to do when your not playing music and how does that influence your creativity? I like to travel a lot. During the covid period I started running long distances. Mainly early morning walks. During these walks, most of the ideas about new songs arose. Daydream and be creative at the same time.
How long has your band been around?
My band What the Frnk started in 2018 when I had to make choices in my life. In a “forced” sabbatical of 1.5 years I used the time to start What the Frnk with bassist Twan. During the lockdown in 2021 we started experimenting playing with a hornsection. today we play all major gigs and festivals with horns as What the Frnk & The Longhorns.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
The band is based in (Rockcity) Eindhoven in the Netherlands. This city has a rich Rock and Americana culture.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you.
What the Frnk was used as a kind of joke during a dance festival in Eindhoven (Netherlands) when I played as a soloist with a DJ. It's an inside joke name. The name was used as a working title when this band was created and eventually kept because it fits well into the concept.
Tell me about the best and worst shows you have played.
One of the best shows so far was in pop stage Grenswerk Venlo. At that time, we were all about writing. Some lyrics of songs were written just the night before.
Worst show. do you have an hour? I think when I was about 18 years old. After the sound check we had to wait 3 hours in the dressing room for the show. With a fridge full of beer in it, so you can imagine what happened. I thought I was playing the best show I've ever played. Most people disagreed.
Tell me about your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you haven't already?
My favorite venue is a small blues cafe Café Wilhelmina in Eindhoven. My hometown. My dream is to one day play at the Pinkpop festival and in Paradiso (Amsterdam).
If you could play any show with any lineup who would be on the ticket?
Markus King, Gary Clark jr and Lenny Kravits.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band?
Play with conviction and play what you believe in. Don't limit yourself with what the audience wants to hear. And above all: Play a lot. Take every opportunity to play with all kind of musicians.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
"Stop playing covers as soon as possible. Be creative and develop yourself as a songwriter. It gives you so much more energy and satisfaction."
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
"Speed of light". That's our newest single. I carried that intro lick with me for almost 10 years before it became a real song. Also the text, which was written by me and is about me.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
That's our previous single. "There is something about you". I always get goosebumps when I play it with the band.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
We start with an idea: Theme, subject or musical phrase. My memory recorder on my iPhone is full of ideas and guitar riffs to work out. These ideas are quickly absorbed (rough sketch) into the computer before I take them to the rehearsal room where it all comes together as I jam and try things out.
The lyrics are about everyday things in life. Love, girls, freedom and friendship.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
I like to connect with my audience and try to entertain them with good music. Everything for a pleasant evening. We don't give a showcase of extreme virtuosity but just play nice energetic catchy songs with which we want to entertain the audience.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
We certainly have those. A creative process needs that every now and then. This way you achieve the highest achievable. There were no heavy fights yet, but it does not rule out that it will happen :)
But hey, we are all adults and we have the same goal.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that's coming up?
Because we couldn't play live anymore due to Covid lockdowns, we spent a lot of time on new material. This was also the point where we brought in the horn section to play our new songs. That inspired us. The result is the single "Speed of Light" released last year. We also recorded some other unreleased tracks. Our main focus now is to play live again and we plan to write and release several other tracks over the course of 2022.
Regard: Frank Schurgers