Interview: Adam Franklin’s Magnetic Morning

“It’s certainly been a busy old year musically,” explains Adam Franklin.

No kidding. After releasing a solo disc with his band Bolts of Melody, he reunited with hallowed guitar avengers Swervedriver and hit a tour circuit thick with noise and remembrance from My Bloody Valentine, Mogwai and more. Now as the year closes, he’s firing up a collaboration with Interpol’s Sam Fogarino called Magnetic Morning. Next comes another solo disc, and then perhaps more Swervedriver.

Or perhaps not. That’s down the road, he says.

No worries, the wait is worth it. Franklin, pictured above at left, continues to trip the tightrope between psychedelia, rock and wall-of-soundtracking without missing a dazed beat. Magnetic Morning’s debut A.M. is another surround-sound notch in his underrated belt, as he and Fogarino trade tropes, riffs and ideas all the way to cloud nine. It’s the perfect daydream release of 2008.

I chatted up the friendly Franklin about Magnetic Morning, Swervedriver and why he’s always on the wrong side of the Atlantic when it comes to the zeitgeist.

Magnetic Morning is mesmerizing. Who did what here?

Adam Franklin: Most of the earlier tunes were Sam’s, and mostly started with simple guitar lines, to which I would then place chord sequences beneath or counter-melodies on top. Sam also gave me a nine-minute Mellotron jam, which I cut and arranged into a verse/chorus/verse arrangement. I also wrote the lyrics and vocal melodies. Although 90 percent of the lyrics are mine, probably 50 percent of the titles are Sam’s, due to the fact that he tends to name his demos. This makes it interesting for me, because the lyrical threads follow paths suggested by the titles. After we established a sound aesthetic, I began bringing in some song ideas to which Sam would add keyboards, guitars, atmospherics, rhythmic patterns.

Sounds more collaborative by far than your Bolts of Melody work.

Adam Franklin: Getting an idea of what the Magnetic Morning sound is all about was quite crucial. I wanted to differentiate this work from my other material. There are one or two songs that maybe overlap and could be in either project, but there are tunes at either end of the spectrum that are stylistically very different.

Any plans to continue Magnetic Morning with further projects?

Adam Franklin: Absolutely. We’d like to do more.

Who are you taking on the road for the tour?

Adam Franklin: The live show should be fun. Myself and Sam essentially inhabit the engine room of a kick-ass live unit. The band sounds out-of-this-world after a week or two of rehearsal. Bolts of Melody’s Josh Stoddard is on bass; Blasco, who has previously played live with Interpol and SecretMachines is on guitar, melodica and psychedelic banjo; and The Album Leaf’s Jimmy LaValle is on keyboards. He was an obvious choice, as Sam and I have both known him separately for some time.

Are you working on a follow-up to Bolts of Melody?

Adam Franklin: My next solo album is recorded, mixed and ready for an early release next year. It sounds really good; there are a lot of different textures going on there.

How about overt guitar noise?

Adam Franklin: There are some pretty noisy guitars, but going off at odd tangents, like heavy guitars appearing over a Scott Walker-inspired song. There’s another that sounds a bit like a psychedelic Temptations tune with Shuggie Otis. I’m looking forward to taking that set out on the road after Christmas, for sure.

Any plans to rev up Swervedriver again? What are your thoughts on the comeback’s eventful year?

Adam Franklin: The Swervedriver tour was great and the reception we received from the crowds was totally amazing, all the way through. Plus, everybody seemed to feel we actually sounded better than ever. One of the things that made Swervedriver’s situation so cool is that it felt like we had stepped outside of the music industry. We had no label, no management and no commitments, other than to totally rock the house every night. The future is unwritten with that band, to quote the Joe Strummer movie. In theory, it would be fun to do something more with it, wouldn’t it? But I really don’t know what everyone wants to do.

How about the other noisy tours this year? Did you get to see Mogwai? Stuart was pissed he missed Swervedriver’s return.

Adam Franklin: We were wondering if we might see the Mogwai chaps at some of the shows, particularly Glasgow, but I guess they were already in the United States doing All Tomorrow’s Parties at that point. The first time I met Stuart was in the line-up outside the Shepherd’s Bush Empire in London for a Tindersticks/AC Acoustics show. He came up and introduced himself and told me how much of a Swervie fan he was, and then later we hung out in New York City. Curiously enough, that was when Swervedriver’s Steve George and I were playing in the band Sophia and opening for Mogwai at the Bowery Ballrooom. First on the bill that night was Interpol. But that was before Sam was joined the band.

How about My Bloody Valentine? Did you get to see them this year? They tried to kill me.

Adam Franklin: I didn’t see My Bloody Valentine. I’m always on the wrong side of the Atlantic. Swervedriver’s Jimmy Hartridge took his two boys to see them; his kids also got to see Swervedriver for the first time properly in New York and London. It’s certainly been a busy old year musically. But it’s good to be busy, right?

This article appeared at Wired

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