AN INTERVIEW WITH REALITY SOMETHING

     Elena Franklin was born an artistic novelty. Starting as a painter, a writer, and a photographer, she has now mastered her craft as a musician. Read about her songwriting process and her upcoming album she put together with her closest friend.

PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF!

     I’m Elena, and we’re Reality Something and we’re a rock band:) The thing that I get told the most is that we remind people of something from when they were young and makes them feel that same way, but it’s always totally different bands and eras. I think it’s because under all the distortion and stuff they are really just pop songs. Recently I’ve been calling it ‘guitar pop.’

SONGWRITING PROCESS?

    I write a lot in notebooks all those sort of ‘at the time’ emotions, so when it comes time to write lyrics everything’s all right there exactly the way I felt it at the time and I don’t have to scramble or make shit up.

WHAT CAN WE EXPECT FROM YOUR NEW ALBUM COMPARED TO YOUR LAST EP?

    I recorded our EP with my friend Adam Swafford in his house before I had even played with a band.  I’ve always been proud of the way it came out, it definitely sounds like me and all my ideas, but our next one will definitely sound more cohesive as a band instrumentally.

WHAT'S IT LIKE HAVING YOUR LEAD GUITARIST, KINGSLEY BROCK, PRODUCE THE NEW ALBUM? 

     Kingsley and I work really well together professionally.  He is an extreme perfectionist, like he will sit there and record a guitar take literally 300 times, or work for a whole day to get the right tone, which makes me crazy, but he has the best ear for tone I’ve ever heard. He’s obsessive and and works really hard.  I on the other hand like things to get done fast and really raw, sometimes for emotional effect, sometimes probably out of laziness. I like first takes and I like mistakes, so between us we have a really good balance.  If one of us feels very strongly about an idea we will fight for it and it always ends up being the right thing.

I REALLY DIG THE ZINE YOU RELEASED WITH YOUR LAST EP. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR ARTISTIC SIDE OUTSIDE OF THE MUSIC YOU MAKE? 

    Aaah thank you so much!  I think as is the case with a lot of artists I just have a strong need to express myself, and get out whatever is inside, so it can come out in a lot of different ways.  Before I started playing music I painted and wrote a lot and took photographs.  The zines were really fun to make because it was a vehicle for my writing which is fucking weird, way weirder than the music, but easier and also more selective to distribute. I liked having it be a collaboration with some friends I really love and respect. The zines were about making something physical to look aesthetically like the music sounds.  Everything I make is just what the inside of my brain looks like.

DO YOU PLAN ON PUTTING OUT SOMETHING SIMILAR WITH THIS ALBUM?

   To be honest I didn’t even mean to put it out with the album,  but I wish I did and that’s a good idea haha.  Maybe for the next  I will do a lyric booklet in that style or something.  Hmm yes yes good idea… The next thing I’m doing is a collab with my mom who has been binding books.. We’re going to do a whole book of poems etc because why not I’ve always wanted to and each one is going to be handmade by my mom with different covers.

NASHVILLE'S DIY MUSIC SCENE?

     Nashville’s music scene is incredible I’ve never seen anything like it.  Everyone is so supportive of each other and makes their own way and their own shows and promotes each other’s bands and it is so refreshing and encouraging that this scene exists in this stupid cynical world.

FAVORITE NASHVILLE BANDS? 

     Ugh yes Dogs of Oz was my favorite :(  Bully is one of the best things to happen to music probably and Alicia works harder than anyone I know.  I also love Daddy Issues, Jenna and I are kindred spirits I think (she wrote my favorite poem in my zine!!) and Goth Babe I really like too.

AN ARTIST, SONG, OR ALBUM THAT MAKES YOU FEEL A HEAVY DOSE OF NOSTALGIA? 

     Well speaking in nostalgia specifically I’m gonna go with Jagged Little Pill it was the first CD I ever got. Haha probably.

IF YOU COULD LIVE IN ANY PAST DECADE? 

     I’m from New York, it would be pretty dope to have been around in the 70’s with Patti Smith and Television and Blondie and the Chelsea Hotel and CBGB… talk about making your own scene.

WHAT'S IT LIKE BEING A BAND IN THE 21ST CENTURY?

     I mean, it’s good and bad.  It’s become way easier to get your music out there with all the digital stuff but it’s become so diluted because there’s so much and I don’t think it’s as special. Also the nature of social media requires a lot of self promotion which is easier for some people than others but on some level pretty embarrassing for everyone I think…  No one wants their rockstars to be self promoting you want them hidden and brooding. The good thing is that since no one is making any money from music now, I think people are starting to make whatever the fuck kind of music they want because no one is trying to sell it, it will catch on or it won’t.

LISTEN TO REALITY SOMETHING HERE

interview and photo by JOSEPH COAKLEY

JOSEPH COAKLEY