Frankie And The Heartstrings

‘We blame the tories’ - Sunderland rockers Frankie and the Heartstrings on the plight of the indie venue…

Jim Ottewill
  • By Jim Ottewill
  • 28 Jan 2015
  • min read
Sunderland rockers Frankie and Heartstrings are the very definition of hard working.

While they run their own record shop and arts space in their home city, the band are currently recording and writing their new album, a follow up to the warmly received, The Days Run Away and debut Hunger. Since first getting together in 2008 they’ve caused quite the stir, with celebratory gigs at Glastonbury and their own sold out tours helping them become favourites on both BBC 6 Music and the live circuit. With the launch of this week’s Independent Venue Week, the group have pinned their colours to the mast with a week-long tour of the UK’s smaller stages. We quiz the band on why the Tory government are to blame for the challenges currently faced by the UK's network of small venues...

How did you get involved in Independent Venue Week (IVW)?

We found out through Huw Stephens and our booking agent, and we instantly thought, this is brilliant let’s get more involved, so booked a full week of shows.

Do you remember the first gig you went to?

Yes it was a gig in Sunderland put on by a collective called Beats Happening. Three local bands played and it changed my life forever.

How important has playing live been to your career?

Probably the most important because I believe seeing us live is a different beast to hearing our records.

What’s the most memorable gig you’ve played?

Festivals are always great but we played at Salford Lads Club once and that was special.

What are your views on the live music industry in general at the moment? 

Well it’s a strange time. It’s hard and expensive for bands to tour but also essential, also loads of great small venues are closing - we blame the Tory government and Ed Sheeran.

What can playing live do for new artists?

Make them realise if they are good or not. If they can cut it, playing live is essential.

Which new musical acts are you currently excited by? 

Personally I’m listening to Perfume Genius, War on Drugs, Menace Beach and Martha.

What’s keeping you busy/what’s next for you?

Well we own and run our own record shop/cafe/arts space called Pop Records in Sunderland. Our third album is also due out this year.

Visit the IVW website to find out more info and pick up tickets.

Check out our interviews with IVW ambassador Frank Turner and rockers You Me At Six on how playing these small stages helped give them a leg up on their careers.