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Spotlight Interview with Franklin Gotham

A double single release from Franklin Gotham gives off a bright and colorful but smooth contemporary folk-rock undertone that feels good and warm to listen to with a smart and layered set of textures that create a wonderful atmosphere.

The first of the two single sis dubbed "Not Enough" and it's pretty upfront and honest lyrically but also boasts this really swirling and touching classic rock influenced jam that takes you to a different place really.

The track feels cinematic and alive and if you pay attention to it, it's really a love song in a way and it shows some personal aspects that make you feel like the song could be for you.

The song has a bit of a 90's rock vibe to it that feels familiar and comfortable, but it also has this wonderful crispness that really makes it bounce in a way.

Guitars are bounced of off those drums and the vocals lay out memorable melodies that also just plain old feel good to listen to. There is a great little key solo in there too that you don't really expect but give s this live performance feel as well.

Now, the second of the two singles is a cover of Madonna's "Lucky Star" and its actually quite refreshing.

We all really love this track. It's like a guilty pleasure.

Well, Franklin Gotham took it to a whole new level.

It's a ton of fun and a great version of the song.

With the release of the Lucky Enough EP, we wanted to have a sit down with the band to find out where this all came from and what may be next for them.

Here's what happened.

RAG: Okay so let's start with the Lucky Enough EP. This, technically double single, had a vibrant feel to it! Where did this single come from?

We definitely took a different approach with these two songs! Steering away from our typical recording model, we were able to record bass, guitar, and drums live at Omega Studios in Rockville, MD. This gave the songs more of that live, vibrant feel that I think people are responding to — these songs certainly capture the energy of a live performance. Franklin Gotham has typically been releasing 3-4 song EPs the past few years, usually consisting of original songs with one cover tune. Since ‘Not Enough’ (original) and ‘Lucky Star’ (cover) seemed to complement each other, we decided to release them as a pair.

RAG: What gave you the idea to cover Madonna's "Lucky Star"?

We have covered some fantastic tunes in the past, but this is certainly the most recognizable cover we’ve selected. Previous releases have included covers such as: Way Down Now (World Party), Head Over Heels (Tears for Fears), You Can Do Magic (America), and Automatic (Pointer Sisters). That said, we’ve leaned into the 80s theme and selected songs that have always captured our attention. Lucky Star made sense because we knew we could put our Franklin Gotham spin on it. I guess the hope is to pay tribute to classic pop songs while offering listeners a new perspective.

RAG: I'm hearing some great styles on this release. Who are some of your biggest musical influences?

Jarrett and I have always bonded over our obsessive love for R.E.M. and bands from the early 90s. It is always interesting to hear people compare our style to other musicians. We get a wide range of responses when people say “you sound like…” — some of the more notable comparisons being: Paul Westerberg, Nada Surf, Dresden Dolls, Wheatus, Joe Jackson, Marshal Crenshaw, Wilco… with one reviewer stating “imagine Morrissey on happy pills with Johnny Marr-esque guitars.”

RAG: So how did this all begin for you really? When did you fall in love with making music?

Speich, Jarrett, and I have been performing in bands since we were teens. Jarrett and I met during our high school years and he recorded my band “Small Frye” in his parents basement. Jarrett went on to perform with Virginia Coalition for many years, while Speich and I formed a band called Icewagon Flu based in Hoboken, NJ. Franklin Gotham formed when I ended up back in Virginia with the desire to write and record some original songs I had been mulling over for years. Jarrett and I connected and got to work — first recording at Pick-Up Productions in Kensington, MD until Jarrett opened his own studio: Mixtape Studios in Alexandria, VA. He engineers and produces all the songs himself while Speich sends us drum tracks from his studio DrumAttic in Nashville, TN.

RAG: What's next for you as an artist?

Franklin Gotham plans to keep writing and recording! There’s no stopping us now…we released our first EP in 2015 and have been putting out singles and EPs ever since. Keep an eye on Spotify and Apple Music because there’s bound to be a new batch of Franklin Gotham tunes dropping at any given time.

RAG: What inspires you to write a song?

I’m inspired by life struggles, relationships, and every aspect of living from the extraordinary to the mundane. For me, Franklin Gotham songs attempt to capture moments of beauty and sincerity; I want them to be honest. I hope that comes across to listeners. I hope the songs provide comfort and an empathetic familiarity that reassures listener that they are where they need to be, experiencing what they need to, in each moment.

RAG: What are you doing when you're NOT working on music?

The day job keeps me busy. I’m a creative director for an agency in DC; my background is in graphic design. Jarrett runs his studio full-time and Speich has multiple music projects and recording work in Nashville.

RAG: Who are you listening to right now?

Oooo…so many great performers out there at the moment. I was just at the Shaky Knees festival in Atlanta and saw some fantastic acts over those 3 days. But here are some bands on my current playlist: Mystery Jets, Circa Waves, Sea Girls, Bombay Bicycle Club, Blossoms, The Academic, Kytes, Cassia, Razorlight, The Aces.

RAG: Are you doing live performances?

Franklin Gotham does not have any live performance lined-up at the moment. We’re hard to get in one place with Speich in Nashville and Brittany in Florida. We’ll see if we can all convene in one state to start!

RAG: This single seems like a big undertaking. What kind of advice might you have for other up and coming artists out there?

There are so many easy ways to home-record these days. Even just getting song ideas down on your phone is a great start. I believe the appetite for new and interesting sounds is always prevalent. Keep experimenting, don’t be afraid to fail, and be sure to have fun!

RAG: Before we go, what would you like to say to fans of the music?

I want to express our sincere gratitude and thankfulness to anyone willing to give us and listen. We appreciate the support more than you know! THANK YOU.

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