Open for business: Frankie & The Heartstrings

There seems to be a consensus that Frankie & The Heartstrings have riased their game with second album, The Days Run Away. Not content with that, the band have also just opened a record shop in their hometown of Sunderland. We caught up with frontman Frankie Francis during one of the few moments of peace he’s had since the simultaneous record shop opening and album launch in May. OK, the obvious question first... A record shop? Yes, remember those things, where people used to go in and buy records they loved or had yet to discover. The ritual of browsing through the racks and discovering something truly special that you treasure forever. We are also a coffee shop that sells our own roast. And an art space. image How did you find writing the new album? Writing the album was easy and fun. We wrote it all up in Sunderland. Recording it was different, we did that in London and Newcastle. At times it was testing but only because we wanted to make the best record possible with our producer Bernard Butler. What are the differences from first album 'Hunger'? It’s better, and we are all better on it! We considered decisions a lot more, with time and reflection to get the best possible outcome. If you think we are gimps then judge us on this record. You’ve got Sarah Hall from fellow north-easterners Lets Buy Happiness guesting on the final track. What’s the music scene currently like in the north east? There are many bands in Newcastle, but not as many in Sunderland - although our bands seem to be better on the whole! And we don't have any venues at the moment. I've never felt there is a scene in Sunderland, just like minded people that like to get stuff done. Was there a particular moment, record, or gig that gave you the inspiration for doing what you do? Not really. We started our band because we wanted to see a band like Frankie And The Heartstrings in Sunderland. What’s your favourite, or least favourite if you’re feeling brave, city to tour? Not including the North East obviously! We like loads in UK: Leeds, Manchester and London are always good to us. image Have you got festival plans this year? And a favourite festival? Yes! Reading & Leeds, then back to run our shop. And Glastonbury is a favourite for us. Who’s got the most interesting taste in music on the tour bus? Ross, our tour manager, plays nothing but the golden Queen period of 84-87. Is the band at its best heard live or on the CD? Always live....always. It’s where we are better than most.Check out what we thought of the new album, The Days Run Away and find out more about the band and their record shop on Twitter @FrankieStrings

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