2013 has so far been the year of Canadian bands. From Half Moon Run to Young Galaxy to Royal Canoe, my love for our northern neighbor’s musical contributions to this year’s soundscape has only grown. A perhaps lesser known act hailing from Montreal is The Franklin Electric, who gladly agreed to be interviewed for a feature. They recently released an album in June, I discovered it in August, and then couldn’t stop listening. There is something clean and fresh about the composition that leads one to feel a strong sense of purpose and direction behind the songwriting. The Beirut-like sound from keys and melodic trumpets throughout the album creates a sense of familiarity, and although this is some of the newest music out there, it makes you nostalgic and sentimental. Take a listen to This is How I Let You Down and read up on what lead Jon Matte revealed about the band.
How did The Franklin Electric come about? Who is the band?
About 2 years ago I (Jon) started playing around town in some local pubs trying out some original songs, always calling on my musician friends to sit in on the odd gig until I kinda felt I had a good group of friends -players for the songs. We went from there: Martin Desrosby (bass), J-S Leblanc (guitar), Johnny Griffin (Guitar), Katie Mcnally (back vocals), and Kevin Warren and Mark Wheaton have both been around playing drums, and now [plus] Francis Leduc Belanger (trumpet). And me, Jon, as singer/trumpet/piano and producer of the musics!
[We’ve played] basement demos to small gigs from Montreal to Toronto, but the real magic happened as I wrote the songs from This is How I Let You Down and we all found that we had something unique blending pop with some folk and orchestral vibes - it was ours!
What are your musical influences and what current bands do you listen to?
I enjoy Miles Davis’ Sketches of Spain a whole lot these days but I’ll go from Older Kings of Leon, Jeff Buckley, to Devotcka! I have a fond place in my heart for good old school hip hop to some jazz into some Sufjan Stevens to Winter Sleep then some Elton John – I’m all over the place.
Who does the songwriting?
Most of the stuff comes from a strong personal feeling of mine or I’ll just hear something, melodies and some words, the story and song basis. I guess mainly from me and then I work with the guys for arrangement stuff and a few extra parts as well. They help make sense of my messy ideas. Once in a while me and one of the guys write something from scratch together which is always fun as and I feel more and more that’s going to happen!
What were some of the strongest influences in the making of this album?
Well I guess there are a lot, but referencing some of the bands mentioned above as well as a strong lyrical themes, such as ‘this is how I let you down,’ around the concept of facing yourself and truly seeking a honesty within your heart and mind allowing your inner demons to exist and not avoiding them as many do daily. It’s inevitable that the voice inside us all haunts us and some may be better at escaping it than me. The voice is loud in my head.
What’s a favorite song to perform live?
I speak for us all when I say “Unsatisfied” is always a satisfying tune to play live, as well as “This is How I Let You Down” and “17.”
Tell me more about the Canadian music scene.
The scene in Canada is pretty cool. We get a lot of support from some radios as they like to support other Canadians that are doing their thing properly, but the industry is so saturated and Montreal being a city where everyone’s an artist of some sort it’s really nice to play out of country. We hope to do a lot in the U.S. - I’m curious about Austin, Texas (hmmm the next mission).
What’s next for the band?
A remix project live in-studio with an small size orchestra remixing “This is How I Let You Down,” “17,” and “Unsatisfied” with a video montage and a live stream where fans can tune in to the recording session and listen in as we perform the songs even hear us stop adjust some things live. It’s something very special for me to have the orchestral side of things and feature the brass! More touring in Quebec and Canada …and also another video in the works.
We are overwhelmed and humbled by the natural evolution and support of this debut album, and a huge thanks to people like yourself who help spread the word.
It's here! My first personal mix CD for you all, and just in time for the fall season. Below is the tracklist, and you should check out more songs from these bands. If you want a free copy, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. (Some shipping fees may apply.)
Sombear - "Incredibly Still"
CHVRCHES - "Gun"
Ladyfrnd - "Un Petit Message"
Chelsea Wolfe - "We Hit A Wall"
Jadea Kelly - "Wild West Rain"
Half Moon Run - "Drug You"
Typhoon - "Morton's Fork"
Typhoon - "Possible Deaths"
Phosphorescent - "Song for Zula"
Washed Out - "Great Escape"
Radiation City - "Foreign Bodies"
Coast Jumper - "Blackout"
Widowspeak - "Ballad of the Golden Hour"
Night Beds - "Wanted_You in August"
Hey Marseilles - "Bright Stars Burning"
Greycoats - "Hideaway"
Frightened Rabbit - "The Woodpile"
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. - "Hiding"
Magic Man - "Nova Scotia"
The Dig - "I Already Forgot Everything You Said"