Recorded in Brooklyn, NYC @ Rola Pola Studios
Songwriters: Dallas Frasca / Jeff Curran / Pete McDonald
“Great vocals, riffs & groove!” - SLASH (Guns & Roses)
As far as accolades for Rock N Roll music go, it doesn’t get much better than legendary Guns & Roses guitarist Slash not only spinning a copy of your album all around the USA in his tour van, but actually taking the time to let you know he digs it too. That’s exactly what’s happening right now for Melbourne’s Dallas Frasca and their sophomore album “Sound Painter”.
After much hullabaloo, build, anticipation, blood, sweat, tears, money, lust and lunacy, “Sound Painter” was released in Australia earlier this year. Lead single All My Love carved the way, blasting out across Australian radio waves and taking out 3rd place (from over 16,000 entries) in the International Songwriting Comp.
All My Love is the first track to be lifted from Dallas Frasca’s forthcoming 2nd album “Sound Painter”. Recorded in New York with Australian producer Andy Baldwin (Bjork, Chrissie Amphlett, Living End, Kram, Cat Empire) at Rola Pola Studio’s in Brooklyn – check it: www.youtube.com/watch?v=IO3b4w5lBPs
Recording next to the Williamsburg Bridge in Brooklyn in a warehouse shared by the Jewish community, the band did the entire album with no click tracks for that true honest rock sound and the intent of being able to show they can perform it live. After 4 months of writing and rehearsals in Melbourne, Dallas, Jeff Curran (guitar) and Samuel Lukies (drums) hit The Big Apple and tracking wise, smashed down eleven songs in 3 days. All guitars and drums and most vocals on the album were live takes with next to no over dubs and most songs were captured in their first or second takes. The entire record features no bass; just Dallas and Jeff dueling gargantuan slabs of riffs on 2 Les Paul’s through 1960’s Fender and Silvertone amps. The sixties permeates throughout in fact, all drums were 1960’s Slingerland and Ludwigs and the vocals were also all done though 1960’s mics.
In Frasca’s own words: “Recording in New York, we had to ride our pushies 7 km’s through Manhattan and across the Willamsburg Bridge every day, from our accom to the studio, and then back again at night. New York was spread out in front of us. That change of scene, from writing in Footscray, Melbourne in the middle of winter to then living in Soho, Manhattan in summer - was inspiring. It gave me, Jeff and Pete a chance to be anything we wanted to. You can hear the confidence on the record.
All My Love was the first song that we wrote together, when it happened it was like a lightning bolt that inspired us and gave us the strength to push through as we wrote the rest of the album. Every song on the album has its own individual personality and sound and hence “Sound Painter” as a whole is like a giant painting with all colours of the rainbow being used. It tells so many stories and yet it is obvious that the strokes across each one were from the same brush…..”
When it came to selecting the first single to be released from the album, the band threw it too public opinion, literally. As Frasca explains:
“We held a listening party in Melbourne and played the entire album to 'fans and industry only' (around 400 people) which was received by roaring cheers and clapping after every song and a standing ovation at the end of the evening. Our producer even surprised us and flew out from NYC for the event! Afterwards we asked our captive audience to pick out the first single.”
Indeed, from the comedic to the heartbreaking, the making of “Sound Painter” has been beset with challenges and journeys. Firstly, following a run of national shows to help pay for the record, Dallas and band mates Jeff Curran (guitar) and Peter McDonald (drums) arrived wearily home only to have all the takings from the entire tour stolen at Melbourne airport. Enter fan based damage control with Frasca fans banding together and raising over $4500 for the band, $4500 that meant “Sound Painter” could actually be finished. Then, when it was finished, it was stolen. That is to say – upon returning from New York, the band held a listening party to pick the first single and the laptop with the only completed version of the album was stolen by someone at the party. Long story short is that the laptop was returned with ‘no police involvement’ after simultaneous mild heart attacks from all three band members.
Says Frasca: “It's been 2 ½ years since our first album, (2009’s “Not For Love Or Money”) but we took away any deadlines and pressure and let the songs dictate when they were ready to be recorded. By way of just playing, we overhauled the band’s sound. Jeff(guitar) and I have been playing together for over 6 years now, and we made the decision that this album would be about capturing everybody's true strengths as musicians. Jeff had his last alcoholic drink, we got serious about what we wanted to achieve and when Pete (drums) came into our lives, it was like our stars has aligned. I feel people have only been able to hear 10% of what we are capable of on our previous recordings compared to this one.”
And so, after months of rehearsal’s in Footscray, the band headed off to record “Sound Painter” next to the Willliamsburg Bridge in Brooklyn, New York with a producer they had met after playing a raucous 2 am set at a hippie festival in regional Victoria. Within the first 10 minutes of leaving the airport in New York, a rock was thrown from an over pass, smashing their cab window. It was on.
Using no click tracks for that true honest rock sound, all the guitars, drums and most vocals on the album were live takes with next to no over dubs and most songs were captured in their first or second run through. The entire record features no bass; just Dallas and Jeff dueling gargantuan slabs of riffs on 2 Les Paul’s through 1960’s Fender Silvertone amps.
Dallas explains: “Being in the studio making “Sound Painter” was the most challenging and rewarding artistic endeavor I’ve ever undertaken. The songs were never controlled by traditional laws of timing or "right", as each song grew we took its lead and let "it" tell us what it needed. We always knew when they were finished. I remember Pete creating each drum sound with Andy before every new track, we would lovingly butcher the kit each time before we started to record, taping tambourines onto bass drums, wallets onto snares and tuning the kit to the key of each song. It was groups of special little moments like these that still stick out to me.
When we first wrote 'All My Love' (first single) together as a band it was like a bench mark for what we wanted to achieve. We kept beating tracks together and ended up with well over 100 songs to choose from. We whittled that down and the entire album was then tracked in 6 days. Recorded, mixed and mastered by Andy Baldwin, there are very few people on the planet like Andy. A gifted musician himself, I learnt so much from him as a producer and a person. He pushed us and got more out of us as musicians than we ever expected from ourselves.
For example, album closer ‘Ain't No Fury’ was the last song I recorded. I did it by myself before I flew to India and then left the acoustic skeleton with Andy. I remember my world being blown apart when I heard the vocal line that Andy had put on the chorus line when I was in Udaipur, Rajasthan. I had a cow resting next to me and a goat at my feet in an internet cafe and I couldn't believe it was my song. I wrote the song for my best friend and she cried right there with me with happiness when we heard it.
“Sound Painter” is tough, heavy, big and loud. Tougher, heavier, bigger and louder that anything Dallas Frasca has done before. Though the themes are universal, lyrically there’s a feminine strength that runs throughout. Musically, it’s an album that angles for the knockout punch, no dancing around for the points decision. Searing riffs give way to melodious break downs, blues progressions careen their way into sludged Zeppelinesque builds. Curran’s dynamo riffage constantly chops away throughout – as authoritative in the notes he doesn’t play as to emphasise the ones he does.
Frasca: Each song on the album is a part of the story of a crazy upside down year. A relationship break up, feeling destroyed but overcoming and feeling free and positive again – sometimes all at the same time.
‘Coming Home’ is about Melbourne Town, I recently moved back here and it was like I had moved back in with my tribe again, in the right place surrounded by good people. The lyrics for ‘Coming Home’ flowed freer for me than any other track on the album. ‘Better Without You’ was one take start to finish. It was intentionally the moment on the album where the band truly got to jam out with no 3:30min restrictions, just spirit. The end jam was so exciting to watch the boys connect and create. None of us knew when or what Jeff and Pete were going to do and that’s the point.
The recording of ‘One Man Woman’ is the track that stands out for Curran, in his own words: whilst recording it, we just hit this major halt one morning! Andy took us all downtown Williamsburg for some time out, at which point I left the table frustrated and just wandered around a bit, trying to find inspiration. And did, the feeling of hardship and bare minimum standard of living that in that part of New York was the feeling I wanted to encapsulate. I also kept thinking soul, rock, nut-bush, Tina Turna vibe and what it must have been like recording back in those days and what they would have had to make do with. I went back to Andy and the band and said, lets capture that vibe, but lets strip everything back rather than add it on and use things we never would normally. So together we all bashed our hands on snare skins, made mouth percussion sounds, stuck pens in glasses, wailed mouth sirens; and the track came together.
Frasca sums it up: Ultimately - the universe brought us altogether at exactly the right time in our lives, we were all ready to work hard, we were all ready to share our ideas and no one had any delusions of grandeur.... We just wanted to make a powerful f**cking album that would be listened to for generations to come!”
The “Sound Painter” Tour
With lead single All My Love still blasting across radio airwaves, as well as being voted in the top 15 finalists out of 16,000 entries in the International Songwriting Comp, and straight from blowing audiences away at Byron Bluesfest a few weeks ago, catch Dallas and the band launching the album across a national tour of gargantuan proportions, doing what they do best: TOUR DATES – www.dallasfrasca.com
Dallas Frasca - BIO
By the age 18 Dallas Frasca was on the road, channeling all the sass and irreverence of Chrissie Amphlett and Suze Demarchi. Armed with power and torque reminiscent of Aretha Franklin and Betty Davis her stand out voice didn’t take long to get noticed. After developing nodules and being forced not to sing for 18 months she turned her gaze to the guitar, and her evolution was complete.
In 2006, she won triple j’s “Light Your Fuse” competition from over 500 entries. Her career exploded from there. Dallas won the 2010 ‘Artist Of The Year’ at the Musicoz Awards and her album was voted in the ‘top ten’ best roots releases on JJJ in 2009. She has also stormed the stages at countless major festivals (Big Day Out, Falls, Bluesfest, Pyramid Rock, Festival of the Sun, Queenscliff, Southbound, and major French festival – Blues Passion Cognac). The bands tribal and stomping roots performances have earned them a large, loyal fan base.
In 2008 Dallas sang for Aussie Alt-Rock royalty Midnight Oil in Sydney, in support of Amnesty International. In early 2009 Dallas was invited to perform as one of seven artists from seven continents of the planet for International Earth Day in Montreal. It not only allowed her the thrill of holding a dialogue with fellow-artists about social and environmental issues, but she caught the ear of Canadian promoters who have invited her to come
back and tour there.
Dallas Frasca is a hard working independent juggernaut who, with her band and this yet to be released album, is carving her own path, both here in Australia and internationally. From the new album, “Sound Painter” - expect huge slabs of guitar riffage, rock slamming drums and heavy, soulful vocals strewn across an album of heartbreak and comebacks.
"There is no doubt that Dallas Frasca is one of Australia’s legitimate female rock stars". Warp Magazine June 2012
Anyone who thinks rock ‘n’ roll is dead needs to go and spend some time with Dallas Frasca. – TONE DEAF
“Currently one of the most successful independent musicians in Australia.” Time Off
"So next time you hear of a Dallas Frasca show close to where you reside, buy tickets, venture out and be prepared to have one hell of a night." - AMN
"The best Australian female fronted act going around." AAA Backstage
“There is nothing that will prepare you for the sassiness and might that is Dallas Frasca...” The 59th Sound
“The bittersweet vocals of Dallas Frasca begin. By this time the chair cannot contain your excitement, as what your ears have been deprived of hearing, since the likes of Janis Joplin; have finally returned. Sound Painter is a record that you can’t miss out on.” Sam Cuevas - Dearhead Press
"A guttural blues howl laced with demonic slabs of guitar riffage." Rhythms Magazine
“Frasca’s voice seems to be getting more versatile and refined – she has the makings of a superstar.” Inpress Magazine
"All her hard work and sacrifice is going to pay off.” Australian Music Network
"Every now and then a gem pops to the surface of the Australian Music Industry, and Dallas Frasca's, Sound Painter is one such jewel." Reverb Magazine - 4/5 stars
"A battering, bruising, brilliant performance from one of Australia’s most commanding artists." 13Notes
All My Love is available for free download at www.dallasfrasca.com