Six years after Please Don’t Give Me What I Want, Sydney-born, Berlin-Based singer-songwriter and musician Kat Frankie has announced the release of a new album. Bad Behaviour is out on February 23rd via Grönland Records. We have the pleasure to introduce the new work with her words about each track. Watch also the official video for “Finite“.
I’ve been performing this song on the loop station for a couple years now, but the album version is pretty true to the first demo. I wanted something that sounded light on the surface but had a threatening element lyrically. And I’m the one behaving badly.
Swallow You Whole
Not too long ago I was feeling a bit overwhelmed by a rollercoaster of very happy and unbelievably sad stuff all happening at the same time. This is me just trying to process those emotions. It’s the most chaotic song on the album, which is a reflection on how I was feeling at the time. The whole thing was built around the hi-hat that runs through most of it – I originally wanted that to be really aggressive and annoying, but I toned it down eventually because there’s so much other stuff going on.
When I wrote Home it was a little bit after the #blacklivesmatter protests were gaining traction, and the debates about marriage equality were heating up in Germany and Australia. I was just getting sick of people trying to control the lives of others out of fear, or because of their religion. I was thinking about how protests are silenced or dismissed. And I was thinking that we all just want a place to ‘be’ – and about how we are when we’re in private, away from society’s controls. I thought about the idea of home, not as a physical space, but as a concept of social- and self-acceptance.
I borrowed a friend’s moog synth, and after some knob twiddling, this beautiful loop just came out. This could be chapter 2 of a song from my last album, ‘Too Young’. You know them: those bored kids with rich parents that need a little love. And probably some better parenting.
I was reading about the women’s march that helped kicked off the french revolution. Bread had become very expensive and scarce at the time and some women working at a Paris market began to protest. People were hungry and angry at an out-of-touch monarch. They marched from Paris to Versailles – gathering momentum, weapons and a huge crowd of thousands of people along the way – and forced Louis XVI to come back to Paris with them to reside among the people. Although he wasn’t around for much longer. It might be a bit pretentious of me to say this, but it’s not irrelevant to what’s happening these days… austerity, income inequality etc.
Headed for the Reaper
This one is based on a story I read in the new York Times years ago about an amateur cage-fighter who owed drug money, faked his death and then bungled a robbery. It was like a Coen brothers’ movie. He was so bad at cage-fighting they called him the tomato can. I wanted it to sound funky and a bit obnoxious; every time I hear the trumpet melody in the chorus it makes me laugh.
This one’s a break up song. It’s a bit more like my older stuff. I used to write a lot in 3/4. You know those relationships where you look back and ask yourself, “How? How did I – a fairly smart person with healthy self-esteem – how did I let that one happen?” At least it was relatively short. Could have been shorter though.
This song has had many lives: I re-wrote it several times and it took years to finish. It’s had a lot of different parts and lyrics. It was originally built around that organ arpeggio that’s in the background in the chorus. And the long notes in the chorus and the a cappella parts are just fun to sing.
Back to Life
This started its life as some production experiments with cutting and pitching vocal samples. I think of it as vocal drag. I don’t think I could sing this with my real voice. I feel almost like I’m playing a character that allows me to be cheesy and seductive, but also honest and straightforward about how I’m feeling.
After writing Back to Life I felt like I could/should be a bit more direct communicating desire. I honestly hope people make out to this song. For me it took a bit of courage because it’s usually a musical territory for teenagers but somehow not for grown-ups. Which is weird because we’re getting laid more.