Seerauber Jenny Interview
Posted by Hunter on Mon, 13 Sep 2010.
I was first introduced to Seerauber Jenny by way of this quote:
SEERAUBER JENNY was founded by young Fran Barker in a leaky conservatory with a 4-track, a miscellany of instruments and a bag load of fuzzy influences including Sonic Youth and My Bloody Valentine. These raw acoustic creations, earthy and shoe-gazey, captivated the interest of fellow band member Neil Claxton, formerly of Manchester based Mint Royale. Fran’s woodland musings - with its feet on the floor and its heart reaching for the stars - fused with Neil’s electro pop ideals are what give the band their distinctive edge and charm
As an intro this certainly got my attention, so with the vast power of the internet at my finger tips I searched for the collective musings of Fran and Neil, and they've had me hooked ever since! Naturally when offered the chance to quiz the duo behind this wonderful project, I jump at the chance.
Firstly, thank you for taking time out to speak to us (and a belated Happy Birthday for the 30th!).
I have to ask, “Seerauber Jenny”, how / when did you come across that name? Was it the “Threepenny Opera” or one of the covers?
It is indeed based on the “Threepenny Opera” and in turn a story inspired by the song “Seerauber Jenny” called “The Black Freighter” about a man, shipwrecked by pirates, trying to return to his family. I guess I was hoping to wrangle both some of the musical intensity that surrounds the opera and some of the desperation linked to that story in the hope it might eventually filter through into my own music, like a sort of triple distilled musical vodka perhaps.
Neil, how did you find / discover Fran and how did the music collaboration come about? Did you send Fran a track first with “what can you make with this?” or did you send her a track of her you had worked on?
Fran actually sort of discovered me by sending an acoustic demo to my label at the same time as I was looking for a new musical project to get my teeth into. When I heard it I thought straight away there was something unique about the songs and Fran's voice, but that neither were being done justice by just having acoustic guitar for backing. I had loads of ideas of what to do with the demo so after a chat with Fran she sent me the songs to play and it turned out that what Fran knew was missing but couldn't create herself was what I though was missing but could.
Fran, your debut single is due out on the 27th of September. Neil comes from an experienced background of working on high profile projects and remixing for the likes of Gabrielle, Boyzone, East 17, Stone Roses, and you approach things with a fresh outlook, were there times you didn’t quite agree, and did compromise end up with something new, and possibly unexpected, for both of you?
Because we're both happy with the music we're making it's not really a compromise for either of us. I've always been involved in a very wide range of music so some bits have a bearing on Seerauber Jenny, but others certainly don't. Having said that, the Ronan Keating duet is sounding great.
Can you tell us a bit about “Push It Away”, and what the inspiration was behind it?
Erm, well it’s a little silly perhaps but just roughly speaking, it’s about really wanting to help someone and maybe a little about the trap of having a problem to deal with and categorizing it, which seems to be a bad idea a lot of the time. Neil did some really great stuff with that song, like there is a hospital ventilator beeping all the way through, I love that.
Fran, love the video, I think I read somewhere that it’s your artwork, or am I imagining things?
Yeah I think there is a little imagination at work there but not too much. What happened is I sent the animation guys Carl and Sian, a load of images of stuff I like ie. trees and foxes and reindeer etc. so they could get a feel for where we were coming from. Then they got up to all sorts of shenanigans and produced the final video, which is different but imaginative, I really like it.
Neil, you mentioned the “hibernating beast”, Mint Royale, might be prodded back into life, given your collaboration with Fran, do you think you might take that in a slightly different direction?
If Mint Royale does awake from it's slumber it probably will be different to the Mint Royale of old, but I have no idea in which direction it would head. It was always a fairly changeable project but certainly wouldn't be Seerauber Jenny 2 – that would be pretty pointless given Seerauber Jenny 1 works fine.
Fran, “Myspace is THE most frustrating thing on the planet”, is it still the most frustrating thing on the planet, or has it been superceded by Facebook?
Facebook has over taken Myspace on so many aspects of being a social networking super giant but it will never super-cede Myspace when it comes to generating the kind of user frustration that eventually leads to mildly injuring yourself. They are kings of that. I maintain a sort of firm affection for it though, like you would for an old, disabled family dog.
Many Thanks for your time!
Seerauber Jenny's Myspace page can be found here: