The last time we heard a Framing Hanley album was in 2010, when the band released Promise to Burn. The band was in full-swing at that point with a steady fan base that followed their every move. After the promotion run with that album was finished, Kenneth Nixon and Framing Hanley elected to go out on their own and release an independent album with a fan funding method. They started a KickStarter campaign and had a huge amount of success raising money for the album - but then it never came out. There's a story behind Framing Hanley's hiatus over the past two years and it starts with that KickStarter campaign the band used to raise money for their follow-up album to Promise to Burn.
"We did the album originally in 2012 after we raised our KickStarter money," said Framing Hanley's Nixon talking with Alternative Addiction. "That's something that we didn't really tell our fans over the past year, because we didn't want them scared that the album wasn't going to come out. We spent all but a tiny morsel of what they pledged on the album. We went to Atlanta, we lived there for a month, and we worked with a producer down there. When we left, we were all pumped on the album being done, but I felt we were trying to talk ourselves into it rather than being genuinely excited about what we recorded. Over the next few weeks, living with the songs, something changed. Not to say that we ever had albums that we ever put out there just to put out there, but when your fans fund your album it puts it on a higher standard. After a month of living with what we recorded in 2012, we decided that it wasn't a step up from our previous stuff. We didn't think we should release it. It was going to be our first album that we released on our own and we wanted to do it right," added Nixon.
This isn't a tiny chunk of money that Framing Hanley raised through their KickStarter campaign. They raised tens of thousands of dollars to record their new album. Putting out an album that wasn't up to snuff would have been the end of any following they had. So making a hard decision, Framing Hanley went back to work on their third album.
"We went back to the drawing board and we started doing weekend runs to fund the album all over again on our own. I never wanted to make it seem to the fans that their money was wasted. But at the end of the day, we did it and the chemistry wasn't there with the guy we worked with, and the songs just weren't where we needed them to be from us. We knew we could do better. The two and half years have been painful for us working one or two 9-5 jobs to keep our lives going while working on the music. I'm glad we did keep at it with this album as much as we did because I feel it's the best stuff that we've ever made."
There are going to be some fans who feel like their money was wasted, and they have an argument. The money they raised was used to record music that wasn't released. There's a counter-argument to that too however, the entire two and a half year period of making this record can be lumped together. Framing Hanley wouldn't have made the record they did without going in and recording that music first.
"We spent a ton of money and then at the end of the day we listened to it and knew it wasn't good enough. It was heartbreaking. We were devastated. The wheels almost fell off of this thing a few times over the past couple of years. We learned a lot about perseverance with this album. I didn't really know what that word meant until we made this record. We had to keep going, and I'm glad we did - it was well, well, worth it."
But what about the producer? Nixon never blamed him for the chemistry - he took that blame with the rest of the Framing Hanley guys. They never tried to recoup money from the recording sessions that almost spelled the end of the band either. That's partly because he didn't blame the producer and it's partly because that's not how things work.
"We made our bed," said Nixon. "We put ourselves in the situation and it was all on us. The chemistry wasn't there and the songs didn't come out anywhere near what we wanted. We kept a few parts from that recording sessions. When your gut tells you that it isn't it, you have to listen to it. I didn't want to release something we weren't proud of."
At the end of this month Framing Hanley will release something they are proud of when they put out their new album, The Sum of Who We Are on April 29th. We'll have more with Nixon closer to the release of the album.