Last week I talked to Danny Bateman, founder of NYC indie band Frog, about the band’s fourth release, his ambitions for the future, and more.
Discussing how he first got into writing and playing music, Bateman explained “I took piano lessons as a child. I got good around 12, but then I joined a rock band and lost interest kinda. I still really love the piano, it’s probably the greatest instrument ever made. It has the whole orchestra inside of it. You can even get percussion type stuff out of it. I’ve been in bands ever since. I wrote my first song at age 7 – I still remember it!”
Bateman stated that his creative process ‘changes a lot’. “I have a studio at my mom’s house in New Rochelle, there’s a baby grand, my tape machine, drumset, mics, guitars, everything you need. Usually I’ll find something I like when I’m just playing the piano or the guitar when I’m not paying attention to what I’m doing. Then I’ll hum over it and get some sort of melody, and start mumbling. Usually a melody has the words encased in it, you just have to coax them out right. You can’t overdo it, otherwise the magic gets lost and you have to find it again somehow. A good trick is to change the key, it sounds different enough to be new.”
“The recording process was just fill up the 8 tracks with whatever your fancy might be on that day and then dump into Logic to mix. I kept it as simple as possible on this one, I only added shit that needed to be there. It’s sometimes easier to make music with tape because the way the tape sounds makes a lot of the choices for you. Modern recording requires too many decisions. I like to have the record tell me how to make it.”
Talking about his musical influences, Bateman discussed how “..moreso than any artist or music, I think the movies I was watching really influenced me heavily. Almodovar, Tati, even Spielberg in the 80s. ET is the best. I also really love this movie Paris, Texas. Count Bateman lives somewhere inside of those movies.”
But if he had to pick one song from the album for someone to listen to, what would it be?
“Black Friday or It’s something I Do! That’s why they’re the singles! It’s Something I Do came out really well in the end, I think. It’s my little brother’s favorite song and he helped me make the record just by listening to the mixes and giving me feedback. It’s a very simple song, the piano solo is one note, but I think it really packs a lot of punch with a few elements.”
Bateman focused his future ambitions on developing his live set, noting “I bought a loop pedal and I’m having a blast with it. Hopefully I don’t annoy the audience too much. Tom moving to England made my shows a lot harder, but I’m still experimenting and hopefully I get somewhere cool even if it’s not where I wanted originally. Tom and I are gonna try to collab over the internet and see how that goes. I miss him every day. I love frog and I love being in it and I hope that I will have enough bandwidth to give it what it needs!”
Count Bateman will be out August 16th. Listen to Frog’s latest single here, and pre-order the album from the link below.