Featured on IDIOTEQ in late 2013, NJ melodic post hardcore band FRANCHISE just released a new EP called “Santa Muerte”, produced by Jesse Cannon (SENSES FAIL, SAVES THE DAY, MAN OVERBOARD). The new offering is a progression in all aspects when compared to their previous work and the band continues to prove that the FRANCHISE consists of some of the most qualified people out there to bring catchy and heavy tunes to your ears. We caught up to talk about their line-up change, the essence of being a band, live shows, vinyl records and a bunch more. Stream the full record right here and scroll down to read the full interview.
Ho ho ho. We meet again guys! How are you? How’s FRANCHISE? How’s the band developed since we last talked in late 2013?
Hey! We’re doing good… A LOT has changed over here at the FRANCHISE camp. The last year has brought on a lot of changes for us both personally and as a band. To make a long story short our original singer, Tony Cincotta left the band last year and we recruited our long time friend, Kenny Ramirez. Our guitarist, Mush had a baby girl, I (Mark) got married and closed on a new house, Corrado, our drummer is in the midst of a career move/moving into a new place and Kenny is actually getting married this August. Regardless of all this we managed to release a new EP on June 9th called Santa Muerte. We all did a lot of growing up this past year and I think this EP embodies that.
Awesome! Family men, huh? :) I’m glad you’ve all developed. Weren’t you tempted to change the name after “losing” a vocalist? Was it obvious to continue with a new singer regardless?
For sure, family comes first with this band. Every band says it…”our band is our family” but, we really like to act on that as much as we can. Our wives/fiances/girlfriends all play big rolls in this band. Whether it be slinging merch, helping us promote by bringing new faces to shows, analyzing important business decisions, giving honest feedback on new music, even providing album art (Corrado’s girlfriend did the artwork for our debut full length) and most importantly being a support system. We are a true family and we support each other, its a really cool thing and it works really well.
As for the name change.. .I don’t think it ever crossed our minds. Loosing Tony was a big blow because he was a really great friend. We were bummed obviously but, we knew he had to do what made him happy and we supported that. When we started FRANCHISE we were in it for the long haul. I think one of the biggest fears of any musician is the idea of not playing music…. We want to be in a band for as long as possible. And FRANCHISE is here to stay. We try and run the band similar to a sports FRANCHISE so if you think about it, an American football team will get a new quarterback to run their team or a soccer club will get a new player to wear their captain armband. When this happens the team/club never changes their name… never changes their goals or their culture. Same idea here. FRANCHISE will never change our name, goals or culture. Kenny being a shoe in with us made it a lot easier too haha. We go way back with him so it was a natural transition.
Photo by DeadBolt.
Sounds very fair. So, what else have you managed to accomplish with FRANCHISE throughout 2014 and this year so far? Have you played a bunch of gigs? Are there any cool new venues and bands that popped up recently in your area?
We spent most of 2014 getting used to the new line up and bonding with Kenny. We would just lock ourselves in the rehearsal studio and work on new songs. We tried to shoot footage of everything we did during that time and post it through different vehicles to stay relevant during our transition period. Once we had a good amount of new songs under our belt we started to play shows again. We played some really cool spots and checked a bunch of venues off our venue bucket list including Webster Hall in New York City.
I think March was the big turning point for FRANCHISE. We played our first ever sold out show at Webster Hall with the guys in HAWTHORNE HEIGHTS. It was one hell of an experience…and then later that week we entered Cannon Found Soundation to record our new EP, Santa Muerte with the infamous Jesse Cannon.
There are a few awesome up and coming bands in our area that we’ve gotten to play some shows with recently. The scene here in Jersey has been in a state of transition of some sorts for a while know and I’m hoping we’re at the tail end of it. I think partnering up with these new bands could maybe jump start the community. Well at least we hope it will haha.
You should check out our friends in SISTINE and DECADES. Both are killer bands and great dudes. Decades is comprised of members of a band from back in the day in NJ called GUNS LIKE GIRLS also formally known as EMMA. I remember being in high school and looking forward to seeing these guys play on the weekends at the local VFW. SISTINE is also made up of some members of a Jersey band of the past called DAY IN DAY OUT. It’s cool to see these guys still making music and everyone being together in a place in time again.
“Santa Muerte” was produced by Jesse Cannon (SENSES FAIL, SAVES THE DAY, MAN OVERBOARD). How did you guys team up for this cooperation and how was it comparing to your previous adventures at the Treehouse Studio?
Kenny and Jesse have known each other for a while. Jesse produced/engineered Kenny’s old band, LADY RADIATOR. We cut some live demos at Treehouse in the spring of 2014, these were the first tracks that Kenny did as a member of FRANCHISE. We sent them over to Jesse to have them mixed and mastered and he liked them. Once we had the songs written for Santa Muerte we thought long and hard about where we should go to record it. We love the guys at Treehouse and we love playing in that building in general but, we felt that we needed a fresh start and working with Jesse was the fresh start we were looking for.
It was definitely an experience we haven’t had before as a band. Jesse really picked these songs apart with us. I remember finishing my part on a track and he would come in and critique it. It felt as if one of my college professors were grading my term paper in front of me. I always held Jesse Cannon in very high regard, so I held my breath every time he listened back to my work.
Jesse and Mike Oettinger are two of the most efficient engineers/producers I’ve ever worked with and I’m not trying to kiss anyone’s ass or give them some free advertising, I really mean it. We finished this EP in record time and it sounds great (at least I think so ;) ) . It was all business from the get go. Jesse and Mike have become real good friends of ours and we look forward to working with them again very soon.
Will you make your dreams a reality and release a vinyl? What are your thoughts on putting put music that way in 2015?
I think it’s definitely a possibility in the near future. It’s just a matter of planning for it. Pressing vinyl as a DYI Independent band doesn’t exactly come easy. Over the past 2 years I’ve learned that even if the funds are there it’s always not the best idea to drop all this cash on unnecessary stuff like 100 units of a 5 color print shirt or 1,000 units vinyl…Supply and demand go hand in hand however, what people seem to forget about is the fact that there needs to be a big demand before you can talk supply.
I obviously want as many people to like FRANCHISE as possible but, I also know that it takes more than just a year or two to build a solid fan base. The demand is still not anywhere it needs to be yet for pressing vinyl for us. Maybe the next full length? We’ll see how people react to Santa Muerte and where we stand when we get closer to talking new music.
As for putting out music on vinyl in 2015 in general…I think it’s pretty awesome. I’m pretty sure we talked about this last time. Its bringing the art back into being in a band. I think music lovers are starting to appreciate albums more this way. Bands on labels obviously have a little more of an advantage when it comes to getting their music pressed on vinyl but, smaller DIY Independent artists can still do it… It’s just a matter of making a smart business decisions. Making sure there is a demand for their product and whether or not it’s going to break the bank… Like there’s absolutely no reason why a band should drop all their money on pressing vinyl when they recorded a shitty demo in a friends basement and now can’t even pay 20 bucks for a Facebook ad to let some people know they are releasing new music. In other words, to be somewhat successful don’t put all your bread in one basket.
Haha, well said. And how about finding a label? Are you busy finding one?
I wouldn’t say that we’re actively looking for a label…We have a solid team behind us and all the aspects provided by a label are actually fun things for us to do as a band. We enjoy releasing records, marketing, experimenting with advertising campaigns, we just like to get our hand dirty. If the right label came along we would obviously entertain the idea. But, we’re happy where we are now, so we’ll see.
Ok guys, so what else? What are your next steps and nearest plans for FRANCHISE?
The most important thing for us right now is to build off of Santa Muerte. We’re really happy/thankful about all the positive feedback this EP has received so far and we don’t want to loose the momentum. It was a really cool thing to hear people singing with us at our CD Release show just days after the EP dropped… Always a good sign, I guess we did something right with this new EP.
It’s always been just about making as much music as possible for us. The next step would be wasting little time and jumping into this next record. We are also in the works of networking in other areas and playing some places we haven’t been to yet.
Great! Thanks a lot for the update. The last words are yours!
Thanks Karol, always great talking to you!
For those who have been fans of FRANCHISE over these last 2 years, thanks for sticking around and supporting us. For those of you who have never heard us before give us a shot, maybe you’ll hear something you like. We’ll be busy working on the new album but in the meantime help spread the word about Santa Muerte!