FRENSHIP Talks New Single “Remind You” & Debut Album ‘Vacation’: Interview
2019 is shaping up to be a big year for FRENSHIP. The duo – comprised of James Sunderland and Brett Hite – found breakout success with the release of “Capsize” back in 2016. With more than 486 million Spotify streams, the Emily Warren-assisted anthem kicked off an impressive hot streak that has yet to cool down. It continued last month with the release of “Wanted A Name” featuring Yoke Lore and picks up even more speed today (February 27) with the unveiling of their latest bop “Remind You.” Over a smooth groove, the hitmakers address those infinitely relatable insecurities that pop up in any relationship.
“Let me remind you if you don’t know what I’m feeling. I’m right beside you ’cause I could do this every day,” they croon on the chorus. In all, it sounds like another hit. But that’s not all. James and Brett also announced plans to drop their debut album – Vacation. The highly anticipated project includes a collaboration with former tour-mates Bastille and arrives May 17. And plans are already in motion to commemorate the release with a North American tour. The show kicks off May 18 with pre-sale tickets available now.
Recently I had a chance to ask James some questions about “Remind You” and the forthcoming album. He opened up about how the infectious song came together. Here’s a hint: The creative process involved plenty of salsa dancing in the studio. He also shed some light on recording with Bastille, shooting the video for “Wanted A Name” featuring Yoke Lore with A Quiet Place actress Millicent Simmonds and opened up about their LP’s title. Listen to “Remind You” and dive into our exclusive Q&A below!
I wanted to start off by congratulating you on the release of “Remind You” and the forthcoming release of Vacation! Things are really coming together for an exciting rest of your year. By the time this interview goes up, the song will be out. But how does it feel now being a couple days out from release?
Thank you kindly! It always feels good around release time — things ramp up, announcements happen, no more sitting by idly. It’s a very sexy time – electric.
Why did selecting “Remind You” as the next single off Vacation feel right to you guys?
Honestly, we’ve been sitting on this song for a long time and been playing it out for half a year. It’s one of the more fun ones to play live. It just makes me feel alive, like really fucking alive on stage. It has a ton of energy and some VERY solid choreography. When we made the first version of the song, we were practicing what we thought the choreography was going to be live – two grown men doing salsa in the studio always creates a good song. This one hits very close to home for us as well — it was inspired by the two people closest to us.
In relationships there can be moments of doubt, insecurity, not feeling like you’re enough, etc. This song is a response to those feelings and an attempt to reassure someone that you’re going be there for that person throughout time. I’m so happy we ended up getting this song back from our old label as it’s a really personal one. It’s the total embodiment of the feeling of our Vacation album. It feels worldly or foreign and just instantly puts me in a little mental vacation every time I listen to it. Even though it’s about something very intimate, it’s freeing and gives the feeling of escaping off to some far away land.
The song has a very smooth sound and feels instantly relatable thematically. What was it like working on it in the studio?
This one went through quite a few revisions. We had a different chorus originally, and ended up scrapping it and doing a new one altogether. For a lot of our songs, Brett and I start separate then come together on it. If I remember correctly we actually started this one together and then finished it separately, so it was an oddball in that sense.
Do you have any ideas for a video yet?
Maybeeeee. Shhhhh. Probably just film our parents dancing to it or something.
Speaking of videos, I wanted to ask about the “Wanted A Name” featuring Yoke Lore video, which came together so beautifully. What was it like seeing the final product after shooting with Millicent Simmonds?
Thanks so much, we loved how it turned out. It’s always nice when a video exceeds your expectations. Millie brought it to a new level and turned it into something special. It was cool seeing this sign language journey come to a head in this video. We were originally fascinated by the sign language interpreters that performed alongside us at festivals. We had no idea that someone had to request an interpreter for our show. That lead us down a road of how the Deaf community experiences music and sound in general. This video is meant to shine light on ASL as a language. We love seeing two languages, one heard and one seen, play out on screen – the greater takeaway here is that there are so many ways to experience music.
I also wanted to ask more about Vacation. Can you talk at all about the inspiration for the album’s title?
The record was written over a somewhat tumultuous period of our lives. We were pretty unhappy with our label and ultimately ended up leaving the major label system during that time. We just felt kind of beat up and tired from that process, so a lot of the songs ended up being about leaving, escaping or getting away from LA. We just felt like we needed a vacation.
Are there any songs that you’re most excited for your fans to hear on the album?
“Keep You Close”, “Get Out My Way,” “Anywhere But Here,” or “Swim”. All of them really, even the interludes should be real tasty live.
One of the songs I was most excited to hear on the tracklist is “Won’t Let You Go” with Bastille. Having toured with them back in 2017, can you talk about how the collaboration came together?
When we toured with Bastille in Europe, we became good friends and always talked about doing a song together. During one of their U.S. tours we flew out and did a few hotel room writing sessions. We cranked out three rough songs and this is the one that made the cut. I remember having a nasty cold and the only medicine that worked was [Bastille frontman] Dan’s sweet voice.
Building off that, what was it like working in the studio together?
Super easy. It’s always easier working with people you’re already friends with. And we have yet to work in a studio together – that song came together in a hotel room and a green room in Raleigh, NC.
Speaking of touring, you’re back on the road this summer. Have you started thinking about how you’ll be bringing songs like “Remind You” and “Wanted A Name” featuring Yoke Lore to life yet?
We’ve already played “Remind You” live a bunch so we feel good on that one. We’ll add some new choreography to it though. But “Wanted a Name” and the other new ones will take some time to bring to life. We just started putting together our new live show as we’ve been busy writing our second album. All we’ll say at this point is it’ll be a bigger show, and you’ll feel like you’re on vacation (laughs).
What is your favorite thing about performing live?
Aside from losing weight because we dance our asses off – connecting with our people. We really come alive on tour and seeing our fans/our people come out and sing our songs with us never gets old.
Things really took off for you after “Capsize” in 2016. Do you ever feel pressure to replicate that success?
Of course. Big songs make life easier but we definitely don’t aim to write a hit when we sit down and write. We do our best to let new songs happen and write in the moment. With that, some songs will be more popular than others.
You’ve mentioned that the song gave you a renewed sense of hope in your careers. Have there been any other moments that have made you feel similarly since then?
Tons. Every sold-out show, every time someone cries at a show or says “your music got me through low or high moments in my life.” A photographer that recently shot us had a brief stint in jail, and during his time “Capsize” would play every day. He said that song got him through a tough time. That’s the kind of stuff that makes you push forward. Also, we just love playing music.