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    Posted: October 19 2010 at 10:22

Portuguese outfit  FramePictures was formed back in 2004, initially as a band seeking to blend the musical styles of bands such as Planet X and Tool. As the band settled they started reaching out to broaden their sonic palette, incorporating references from the progressive rock acts of the late 70's and early 80's into their sound. The choice of moniker is a direct reference to this development, with the former serving as the frame and the latter as the pictures.

They hit the studio to record their debut album in 2009, and in 2010 their initial effort Remember It was released by Galileo Records and their US partner label Progrock Records.

I got in touch with Arthur in FramePictures through ProgRock Records for this interview and he kindly answered my questions. 



Your biography has been covered in your ProgArchives profile so let's bypass the biography details.
But why did you wanted to play this type of music instead of any other form of music ?

Well. This is kind of tough because I guess that none of us trully desired to be involved in a prog-rock band like FramePictures. But, in a way, all of us wanted to perform music that would be the most creative, independent and conceptual as possible. This is due to the origin point of all the guys here, which are very different. Mafalda hails from the pop community and has a jazz background, Drumond was a young bass player who admired the U.S. Nu-Metal scene, Tiago was deeply interested in the traditional Heavy-Metal, Helder was a guitar teacher that dreamed of being involved in a "british style" hard-rock band and, as for myself, I had pieces and ideas in the drawer from the last 10 to 15 years for progressive music that could blend all of the above with some electronic "Depeche Mode" ish backgrounds. So, as we went along with our early experimentations and jammings together, we decided to give everyone some slack in what pre-conceived ideas were concerned and allow everything to be experimented and tried out. We saw a tiny window where everybody could be pleased and that's where FramePictures started from. Our music is the result of a broad bag of influences that we simply want to mix together instead of chosing a pre-conceived orientation.

What is your musical background and were you involved in any other bands before you started FramePictures ?

Yes. We've been here for quite a while.
Tiago was very prolific in the Portuguese heavy-metal underground and had recorded and performed with multiple heavy-metal bands here in the past, such as "The Whisper" and "Cycles". These were oriented towards the traditional heavy-metal, with Nordic influences, so Tiago was more a "Stratovarius" like type of singer. He evolved, I think, towards a more interpretative and relaxed musician and his voice in FramePictures covers a broader range of stylistic choices.

Mafalda is yet in her career beginning and has trully a great potential to become an incredible over-the-top musician in the future, although she already acomplished a lot. She studied classic piano and soon was dwelling with jazz and writing her own instrumental music until she became a session player. Before entering in FramePictures, she was a freelance keyboardist for multi-platinum act "EZ Special" and was touring throughout the country on a daily basis. Actually, now she's one of the cornerstones of our band and much of our musical ideas start off from her solo compositions.

Drumond is also in his beginnings but he performs like he's in the business for decades. His talent was scouted many years ago, but his interest in architecture kept him away from being commited to music full time. So,
he played in some garage bands before FramePictures, nothing that could take off seriously, but now he's really out there shinning.

Helder is a talented guitar player that started very young. He took lessons in his teens, either from classical or from rock teachers, and started himself a teacher career that keeps him busy still. In the 90's, he was lead guitarist for a rock band called "Morgana" and had a touring schedule with them, although they'd never signed a record deal. I think that he's a driving source of inspiration within FramePictures and we seem to never find his musical limitations, which are none.
I'm the older guy in the band.

I've been in the music business in Portugal for about 20 years now, started with some infamous indy-rock bands in the 80's and passed through the only "Hair-Metal" band that hailed from Portugal in the early 90's, which was called "The Fire". I did 3 records and many Iberican tours with these guys but then came the grunge era and we split. At this point, I was gaining experience in sound design and engineering and was interested not only with drums but also with producing records for other bands. So I was involved with jazz, pop and mainstream rock in the last 10 years, either playing or producing, but rock 'n roll runs deep in my blood. So, many leftovers from the past that couldn't fit in the music that I played then have found a way out through FramePictures.  

Please give us your long or brief thoughts on your only album Remember It released earlier this year. How would you describe the music ?

Our music can be described as a hand with fingers widened, like in the cover booklet of the CD. These 5 fingers represent the musicians that have independent feelings and
identities but belong to the same hand, or band, and have to work together. In what music and arrangements are concerned, we try to keep a balance between these different approaches as we feed off each other of ideas but, as we put these to performance, we want to be as cohesive as a single-minded unit. The concept behind "Remember It" is more of a combination between a story that could easily be told through a book or in a cinema theater, with lyrics that relate to each other throughout the songs, with a background of music that could singlehandedly express the mood variations of that story. I guess that all great prog-rock music accomplishes this "cinematic" effect, one way or another.  

How is your writing and creative processes ?

Good question. It's tough to explain, really. But I'll try.
We commit ourselves to be in specific phases, which affect our attitude towards what the band needs at a specific moment. When we are in what I call the "experiment phase", we simply let go of discipline and band ethic and play to a tape machine whatever comes. Then we shuffle through this chaotic mess of sounds and pick up some pieces that can be worked out and refined. Then we start our "creative phase", which then develops these ideas to a more structured and intrincated step in order for us to understand their potential and what can we do with them. When we amass a large quantity of these bits and pieces and all is coherent, then we enter the "conceptual phase", in which we design a kid of blank picture to be filled with the pieces that suit the best overall image intended. We need to have material that can influence our imagination towards something we wish to play and then, when we know what we really want to do, move around the
pieces that are suitable to the idea and then polish it.

How is your gigs situation. Do you play many gigs ?

We are semi-professional musicians but we're really commited to FramePictures and its future. We keep an opened agenda for sessions and touring, but our main goal is to put FramePictures out on the road! And that's not easy, because we're far from the music business core, at an international level, hailing from a small remote European country. We're scouting and negotiating around different booking agents in different areas of the World and we're almost at the point of achieving this last goal. From our part, we're absolutely ready. Our stage performance is rehearsed, our tech crew gathered and ready for the call and our logistic requirements are more than planned and figured out.
We don't want to play only in Portugal. In fact, we want to play internationally first and then we'll do some gigs over here. We're taking our time.  

What is your plans for this and next year ?

First, we need to secure a booking or even a management deal. We need to prove that FramePictures can be perfectly suited for the guys who are professionals and work in the business. It's the last missing piece in the whole process that put us where we are. Obviously that we want to fulfill the "Remember It" cycle by promoting the CD on tour before thinking of the next album. With hard work, I think we can do this in 2011. We are definetly here to stay and a 2 and a half year cycle between albums is what we're aiming at for the time being. We have new ideas, but this is not the right time for exploring them.  

To wrap up this interview, is there anything you want to add to this interview ?

Well. I just want to say that we're overwhelmed with the praise and acclaim that "Remember It" is having all over the World.

We're multiplying a legitimate worldwide fanbase by the second and our CD is allowing us to be respected internationally, which for us is a dream come true! We're truly thankful to all the people out there that took time to listen and write good things about us and we're looking forward, more than ever, to be out there too, at a stage near them! We work better under pressure, so we want to expand ourselves out of our borders in order to build a good reputation at an international level. We're making baby steps towards that goal!

Thank you to Arthur for this interview

Their PA profile is here and their homepage here

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