Interviewed by Thomas Munday
Canadian indie-pop group The Franklin Electric were born out of a tragic event, giving Jon Matte the strength to pursue his immense interest in music for the rest of his life. In 2012, Matte – alongside Martin Desrosby, Kevin Warren, Ken Presse and many more – pulled everything together to win an international songwriting competition in Nashville for the track Old Piano against thousands of bands.
After said necessary boost, Matte gathered his resources for debut album brick by brick. The group then officially came together, re-releasing album This is How I Let You Down in 2015 after an initial independent run. The group’s unique, invigorating mix of folk, rock, and pop has helped the group grow an overwhelming international fan base. The group develops songs revolving around immediate emotional angst and psychological impact.
The Franklin Electric has since toured throughout Canada and Europe over a short time span. From last year to the present, the ensemble is switching between valuable sessions in the recording studio and on stage. Currently on tour throughout Australia, the group recently chatted to the Ink Grid’s Thomas Munday about the past, present, and future – everything fuelling its meteoric rise.
Thomas: How did the band come together and form its signature sound?
Jon: The band came together playing a bunch of bar and pub gigs with close friends. I’d been writing some original music and used those gigs to try out songs and learn how to be a front man for the first time…found a good group of guys and rented out a studio with a great engineer and went in to lay down what is now This is How I Let You Down, our first born.
Do you prefer the recording or touring processes more? What are your highlights and lowlights in both stages?
Tour life is amazing for the most of the time, the adrenaline from playing to humans is enough to get you through the tough long drives and hangovers, eating good healthy meals gets a bit complicated at times but you can always find something decent. The studio world is super rewarding once finished but it’s a long process that demands actor like qualities to perform and get back into emotional places that you were while writing the songs.
Which other bands have you had the chance to work with and support?
We’ve been lucky enough to support great bands such as Half Moon Run, Ben Howard, City and Color, The Barr Brothers, Hey Rosetta and Philip Phillips and we will be supporting Holy Holy for a national OZ tour now in January.
What is the vision/style you strive for when developing each track, music video, performance etc.?
It really started as an organic honest sound and visual but now things have developed and things are changing. We are trying to enjoy and experiment with all the new influences in the show and the new material we are starting to work on.
How did the album This is How I Let You Down come to fruition? How does it differ from similar releases in the genre?
This is How I Let You Down was almost an experiment; I like to see it as a snapshot of a moment in time captured on tape performed mainly live off the floor with simple instrumentation. The songs had an honesty and didn’t call for much more.
Has there ever been a moment where you realised you have achieved success in your field?
We sort of felt something one night in Montreal back in 2014 when we played a sold out show and felt the whole crowd singing along to lyrics from there it just continued to grow the more we toured and worked hard.
What can we expect from your latest tour? How does it differ from previous adventures?
Hard to say…the quality of tour life here is amazing, we are simply introducing people to our music. The adventure started at Woodford Folk Festival which was the most beautiful and magical start to the story. We will continue all over the country and hope that our music finds a home down under.
What are you currently striving for as a group? What would you have to do to get there?
We are in the middle of writing and producing a new album and have started creating a story overseas in Europe, our home in Canada and here now. We are just looking forward to sharing the new material with all our new fans and hope to see the numbers continue to grow.
The Franklin Electric will play the Indi Bar on January 20th and The Rosemount on the 21st. The group will then head to Adelaide and Melbourne before their latest tour of Canada.