Interview: Framing Hanley

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Remember the 1980s hard rock and heavy metal scene where bands could produce a tough, kick-ass sound and have vocals that were melodic? Yes, it seems like forever and a day since those days reigned supreme as we either hear the guttural, rage-fueled vocals matching bone-crunching riffs or faux-country backed up a stripped down acoustic sound.

Then there are bands like Framing Hanley. The Nashville-born hard rock band has harnessed the power of the 80s and channeled them into their sound. Now, let’s be perfectly clear — this is not some sort of hair metal wannabe. No, this is a modern, hard rock band that possesses a lead singer who has wonderfully melodic vocals and a range as wide as the Atlantic.

Recently, Pop-Break.com spoke with Kenneth Nixon, Framing Hanley’s singer about their new record, some dark times and their “FHamily.”

FRAMING HANLEY Press Photo 2

Your new record The Sum of Who We Are was funded completely through Kickstarter. Can you talk about how it feels to have a fan base that’s dedicated enough to help you guys finance an entire project like this?

Kenneth Nixon: Oh man, well I mean we wouldn’t even be having this conversation right now if not for those people. That’s what I hope we’re able to do for the entirety of our career…hell, our lives…is to always make sure that those people know that they were saving grace of our career. It was beyond humbling to have people pledge as much money as what was raised. I hope they listen to this album and think it was money put to good use.

In terms of the tone of the new record you guys are on record saying there was a dark period that occurred during the two years of recording the album. Can you talk about how these times molded/shaped/influenced the record? Also, coming out of that dark time how do you feel it changed the band for the better?

Kenneth Nixon: There was just a period where it felt like we were ever gonna actually release this damn thing. There was setback after setback, and with that came release date push back after release date push back. So it really started to weigh on us. There was an unspoken pressure that came along with your actual fan base being the ones who funded the album. You want to make sure that there’s no question that this is THE BEST album you’ve released as an artist…to make those people happy. Eventually, after recording 30+ songs, we felt we had THE album. That quickly brought us out of that “dark period.” It was just the realization that “Hey, this thing is finally gonna be out there for people to listen to” that was responsible for bringing us out of our self-made rut.

If someone’s discovering the band for the first time what song would you recommend they check out to really get what Framing Hanley is all about?

Kenneth Nixon: Good question. I don’t know that ONE song explains who our band is. I’d definitely say “Collide,” “Criminal,” “Science,” and “Hear Me Now” would be good places to start.

Of course we have to ask the dumb question — can you talk about the origin of the band’s name?

Kenneth Nixon: A close friend of our’s, Ashley Hanley, passed away in a car accident years back. For someone that meant so much to us, we felt the least we could do was change our band name to something that was in memory of her. The “framing” is in the sense of putting a picture in a frame…preserving a memory(ies).

You guys have a definite harder edge to your sound, but there’s also some brighter spots that kinda remind me of a harder pop punk. Do you find that your sound allows you to perform with a wide array of bands?

Kenneth Nixon: Oh yeah. We’ve always been that band that kind of fits in all across the board. We’ve toured with the likes of Good Charlotte, Fuel, and Hollywood Undead…I feel like all three of those bands are from completely different realms of the music world. It’s cool though to really have a sound that allows so many different pairings.

The album dropped in April — how’s the reaction been from the masses?

Kenneth Nixon: So far it seems most has been overwhelmingly positive, actually. Which is good, I suppose. Listen, we certainly feel like this is our best album to date, so it’s nice to see other people think the same. This is who Framing Hanley is in 2014…we’re not the same band we were in 2007 when we released our debut.

Kenneth Nixon: What are you guys really stoked for that’s on the horizon in 2014?
Touring our asses off. That’s the way this band made it’s name, and that’s the fun part of doing this. Going out and connecting one on one with the people that are responsible for us even still being here.

Finally, what do you love the most about being in Framing Hanley?

Kenneth Nixon: Our “FHamily.” We have a very loyal, passionate fan base. We’re lucky dudes. Can’t say enough about those people.

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Bill Bodkin is the gray bearded owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, he is lucky husband, and proud father to a beautiful daughter named Sophie. He can be seen regularly on the site reviewing The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and is the host of the site's podcast, The BreakCast. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites