If you’re a fan of Sufjan Stevens, Sea Wolf, or The Antlers and you’re looking for a new artist to get obsessed with, then be sure to check out The Anatomy of Frank and their latest single ‘La Llorona’. The Virginia-based folk-rock trio are set to release their new album ‘South America’ on September 1st via Polar Islands, and the album sounds like something truly ambitious for the band, both conceptually and musically. Pulling together a wide variety of instruments, the band creates wonderful and evocative melodies that invite you to experience the journey that the band took with the new album, while the personal lyrics and Kyle Woolard’s vulnerable, intimate vocals allow for a different kind of immediacy. Over the summer, the trio will perform at a number of festivals including Wilderness Festival and Camp Bestival.
GIGsoup caught up with The Anatomy of Frank to talk about their latest single, the story of behind ‘South America’, and their future plans.
Why did you choose the name The Anatomy of Frank?
In 2009, I was doing astrophysics work in this underground laboratory in the mountains of West Virginia. I basically stared at a computer screen all day. It drove me crazy because I’m a pretty hyper guy, so at one point I made a list of band names. I have no idea where “The Anatomy of Frank” came from, but it’s come to signify a sort of dissection of the human experience.
The story behind how you recorded your album ‘South America’ is quite extraordinary. Could you describe the idea behind it, as well how the whole experience was?
I became obsessed with different places in high school—first it was Sri Lanka, then Antarctica, then Iceland. I couldn’t properly describe the weird sense of longing and wistfulness that overtook me, so I began writing songs for the places. That turned into the continents project. It gives me a way to pick my way across the planet, one place at a time, and to be able to go and actually live there for a short time while we recorded it.
My best friend happens to be Ecuadorian, and his family has been super supportive of us through the years, which they capped off by offering us their farmhouse to record our album in. So basically we shacked up in this mansion out in theAndes mountains for several months, during which time we recorded the entire album. It was lush and beautiful, and we made frequent trips to Quito and the beach and the Amazonian rainforest…one of those time periods that feels like a dream now.
How did The Anatomy of Frank cope with the departure of two original members? Did you reinvent your sound?
Technically we’ve lost four members over the years. Each time was hard, but the recent ones in late 2015 really hit the hardest. I think I cried harder when Erik (ex guitarist) left than I’ve cried during any romantic breakup. But like 10 minutes after, I was left with this weird feeling of freedom…I could literally do anything at that point. So we got rid of all our gear, bought all new gear, and downsized to a 3 piece. We’ve pretty much reinvented our sound to where we can do a lot more with less people.
What is ‘La Llorona’ about?
Following someone down the well. It’s about that darkness that overtakes us in bad relationships, with a lot of myself thrown into it.
How does it relate to the rest of the album? Is there a similar sound/ theme?
South America deals a lot with relationships with our parents, with the bittersweetness of aging, and with my constant lusting after memories. We brought the volume down a lot on this record, focusing more on fingerpicking and intricate orchestration. We kind of wanted to strip everything away before we got loud again.
What are your plans for the future? Anything else you’d like to share?
We’re touring the UK in late July/August, then the USA in September, then Europe in November/December. Lots of chances to meet you (the reader) if you’re interested in doing so!