On September 19, the new work by NICK FRATER will be released on the Big Stir Records label, under the title of FAST AND LOOSE and on the occasion of it we not only review it but also kindly has lent us to answer some questions for rockthebestmusic . So lovers of Todd Rundgren, Elliot Smith and so many other pop art wizards should keep reading.
FAST AND LOOSE, is the second work released this year by this melody magician who is NICK FRATER. A job that will allow us to rediscover a dream world full of sonic delights from the 60s and 70s. A feast of melodies recorded in an artisan way, but with an unusual richness of ingredients.
An impressive instrumental opening, “Fast and Loose,” in the form of sixties pop fanfare typical of a pop variety show of that decade shows us the yellow brick road to Oz’s paradise. “Let’s Hear It For Love” is the perfect powerpop hit with those echoes of Rundgren and with that chorus that is pure bubblegum taken from Gouldman’s signature that puts us in the right orbit to receive Luna, another part time piece of bubblegum with that acid touch of a few lemon seeds. “That Ship Has Sailed” rocks us around the Beach Boys’ cradle in the form of Surf’s Up lullaby and gives way to the dreamy “Moonstruck”, which operates as a light bulb with its rotating moons projected on the ceiling of the room. . “Cocaine Gurls” is the perfect morning wake-up call, high school vitamin pop, while “So Now We’re Here”, with its captivating keyboard, takes up the sounds of the Zombies of the 60s. “California Waits” is a cheery sunshine pop tune as sweet as fresh strawberry bubblegum that grows huge and explodes with the gem of the lp, a tremendous Curt Boettcher inspiration called “Would You Like to Go?” a record by Sagittarius or Gary Zeckler. “Buy You Time”, a high-end pop operetta and “Endless Summertime Blues”, another evocative crossover song by Van Dyke Parks and Burt Bacharach orchestration to end this fifth work by Nick, undoubtedly his highest achievement.
“Fast and Loose” is the ideal epitome of pop culture: Melody, Chorus, Jewelery and Bubblegum An architectural work of Magnifico chords.
1.- For those who do not have the pleasure of knowing your work and mode of presentation, who is Nick Frater and how would you frame or define your musical proposal?
Nick Frater (that’s me, by the way!), Is a songwriter, musician and producer from Croydon, UK. If you like Wondermints, Cheap Trick, Jellyfish, Elliott Smith and all the bands that influenced them, chances are you will enjoy my music.
2- How did Nick Frater start in the world of music? What was the first thing that made you want to be a musician?
I think my first beginning in music was quite formal, learning piano and violin. My violin playing was, and still is, terrible, but I kept playing the piano until I left college.
Starting high school I start picking up a guitar, getting into the Beatles, and realizing that I wanted to be in a rock band. Our high school music teacher was probably the most deranged person I’ve ever met, but she gave me some good advice, which was learning to play the bass. So I did, and certainly in high school, every band needed a bass player!
3.-You already have many recorded discs. How is your working method?
There is an increasing volume of work! “Fast & Loose” is my fifth album, but there are also many side projects.
I produce most of my music in my home studio and have accumulated an incredible amount of study hours over the years! On this album, most of the songs were recorded about an hour after they were written, so this album probably sounds like it does, as every part is fresh and has the excitement of a new idea.
4.- One of your works is Something / Nothing clearly inspired by Todd Rundgren. How did the idea come about and what does Rundgren mean to inspire your work? For my part, he considered that there is a lot of Todd in him and I hope I am not wrong.
Like most musicians, I have some musical heroes and Todd Rundgren is one of mine. I like to hide obvious and obscure references to Todd Rundgren, The Beatles or Richard Brautigan in every album. Something / Nothing Nothing started like most fun things do, having a pint with Adam Mallett, who makes my artwork. My partner Gemma then painted the flowers and we finished with the cover! There is a long tradition in rock music of bands making parody / tribute album artwork, hopefully mine adds something nice to that tradition.
5.- Your first album this year is 59 VIGNETTES made up of 59 songs of less than 59 seconds. How did such a recording come about and how was its gestation?
59 VIGNETTES is the world’s first Instagram concept album. Each of the little songs has a movie made from 8mm home movies that I have been collecting over the years. I’d been toying with the idea for a while, but the confinement seemed like the time to share it with the world, so I posted a new song / movie every day for 59 days. You can see them by searching @ 59vignettes
6.- Your next album that will come out on September 19 on the Big Stir label is Fast and Loose. First tell you that you are brave to release another album this year with what falls around the world with COVID and now, could you tell us what we can expect from this new work?
Covid played an unexpected role in Fast & Loose, as I’m sure it did in all of our lives. On the day of the last album overdubs, I went to a photoshoot for the album cover. Here in London, the expectation was that the Covid could hit us badly at any moment, so I was extremely cautious and even drove instead of taking public transport. It happened the next day that the photographer had Covid, so we all ended up isolating ourselves afterwards! Soon after, the entire UK was locked down. That cover photo has taken on much more meaning than I expected: the last day of the old world.
The album itself was created at a completely different time, in the late summer of 2019 I became a father for the first time. In the weeks before and after the birth, I wrote and recorded most of Fast & Loose. Strangely, now that I spend most of my time in family life, it has actually made me more productive. Somehow, being limited to short periods of time to work on the music, when they do happen, I have already thought about exactly what I want to do, and I have achieved it in one of two takes! However, I’m not really sure what my daughter thinks when I sing her half-written songs along with the nursery rhymes.
7.- I have seen that you have collaborated with the band Super 8 in a tribute to Steely Dan. How did you choose the band to cover and the theme? And how did the recording come about?
I have been collaborating quite a bit with Paul Ryan (aka Super 8) over the last few years. She helped me write Mermaid Street on my latest album and plays some guitar on the new album. I’ve also done some keyboards, basses, and bits on their albums. Collaborating with people is something I love, especially if there is enough room to explore ideas. The Steely Dan cover faced so many obstacles that it almost didn’t happen, but I’m really happy with the result. It strikes the perfect balance of fidelity / infidelity to the original, and it ended up sounding like Beck knows Prince!
8.- I have also seen that you have even been with Ray Davies, what is it like to be next to a God of Music like him?
That was a very strange night, Ray Davies was being interviewed on stage by Mark Hamill! Kinks meets Star Wars! At the last minute I was hooked to be a guitar tech, restricting and fine-tuning Ray’s acoustics, and helping behind the scenes. He’s quite a character, that’s for sure, it’s no wonder he and his brother keep having fights! Mark Hamill, on the other hand, is the most charming guy you could ever want to meet.
9.- Do you transfer your songs to the stage? In that case, what are Nick Frater’s live performances like?
My music career has been a bit the other way around in many ways. I’ve been in too many bands to remember, good, bad, and everything in between. But most of my experience on stage is as an accompanist. In fact, I’ve only done a handful of solo shows. He was supposed to be playing a prime space at IPO Liverpool at The Cavern this year, which was canceled due to covid, along with most of the live music around the world. When the live music starts again, go and support the local concert venues. Those smaller venues are a vital part of the world music scene!
10.- A bit of curiosity so that people know you better and that we generally ask at rockthebestmusic. What was the first album you bought? What music do you usually play? And could you tell me at least 5 essential albums that you would take to a desert island? Could you recommend a new artist that catches your eye?
I spent a lot of time as a kid borrowing albums from the library and copying them onto cassettes, so I didn’t buy that many albums… Even though I made up for it in my late teens! I think the first album I bought with my own money was Nirvana Bleach, on cassette, from Tower Records in London. I may still have it somewhere. I’m pretty sure it came with a card that shows the best way to set your Hi-Fi EQ for listening.
The music that I normally listen to is incredibly varied. I am trying to play as much “complicated and unpredictable” music as I can for my daughter, to help her develop her hearing. Which is the perfect excuse for a Keith Jarrett afternoon. However, the music I have the strongest emotional response to tends to be pop rock from the sixties and seventies, or something more modern that sounds like that. There is something in that era that has clearly lived far beyond. In the same way people still like to play Jazz, Classical or Ancient Music. Some art forms live beyond their creators.
As for this week’s Desert Island records:
Cilla Black “Alfie” (single)
The Band “The Band”
Beach Boys “Pet Sounds”
Beach Boys “Smile” (my old bootleg CD of the tapes, and Brian Wilson’s re-recording)
Elliott Smith “Figure 8”
I know Cilla is a wild card pick, but that song is the best song Bacharach wrote, and also the best song ever written!
There are many great new bands, most of which go unnoticed. A band called Whelligan is great, and I’ve been producing their music for a while (cheeky plug), there are rumors of a Big Stir single in the near future. The best place to listen to new and interesting music is the I Don’t Hear A Single blog. There I found two of my favorite recent albums (Caddy and Bird Streets). It’s so easy to just listen to family favorites, but there is still great songwriting – diversify, and listen to something new every now and then, you might be pleasantly surprised!
So far the interview with Nick to which we thank for his kindness and we urge them to order their new album FAST AND LOOSE in their favorite record stores or in their case directly to https://nickfrater.bandcamp.com/ or https: // www.bigstirrecords.com/ assured them that they will not regret it. Fast and Loose will be released on September 19
Scribe’s note. Cilla Black is wonderful