An Interview with Frames

“I’m one degree of separation from you baby, don’t be patient. Say my name,”

Cries out lead singer and guitarist Sarah Phung of Richmond-based band Frames in Stay. The debut EP, Cursed, is a short and sweet selection of songs written about fleeting crushes and broken relationships. The band is signed to Philadelphia-based independent record label Know Hope Records. Sarah took the time to tell us about the band, as well as share the music video for Stay.

Welcome to Positive Publicity! Tell us a bit about the band. Where did the name Frames come from? 

Frames started as my solo project. I knew I wanted just one word, with one syllable, that sounded neutral and unassuming. I started thinking about my best friend Framerz who has been there for me through everything since we met in 2010. He has been nothing short of my guardian angel and emotional rock. He introduced me to a lot of artists that shaped my identity and musical taste and he has always pushed me to create and share and pursue music, so I thought it was only fitting that the name of my project be attributed him. When I brought the band together, the guys understood the origin of the name and were totally on board with it. I’ve never been more proud of a name.

How did the band meet?

I have been friends with my lead guitarist, Carter, for years through friends at parties and shows. We had gotten together to jam a few times and didn’t think much of it, until I asked him if he would actually write and play with me for Frames. Then after borrowing musician friends from other bands and states for one off shows, Alex swooped in to save the day and became my drummer. We still needed a bassist, so Alex conjured Blake – an absolute gem of a human – and now they are my best friends. I feel like I hit the jackpot with them.

As being the lead singer of a female fronted band, what makes you feel powerful?

I think a lot about the “girl in a band” rhetoric and what that means to me. On one hand, I want to avoid these types of questions because I don’t think being a girl has much to do with our band but at the same time, it also means everything. I think women in music should be normalized but at least in the current social climate, it should kind of be applauded. We thrust ourselves into male dominated spaces and are susceptible to being underestimated, being underappreciated, double standards, and being dismissed like, “Aw, she can play a couple chords and sing, how cute,” when men have been winning Grammys for that since the inception of those awards. I could talk circles about this all day but ultimately, I feel one with my band and that’s all that really matters. If I get any kind of unfair treatment because of who I am, I will act oblivious to it and move on because what else can I do.

I think women in music should be normalized but at least in the current social climate, it should kind of be applauded.

Who are your musical influences? What art inspires you?

There are so many fantastic artists and bands out there that heavily influence my personality and writing. Paramore, Now Now, Daughter, Lucy Rose, Bully, Phoebe Bridgers, Clairo, Yumi Zouma, Oso Oso, Meg Myers, Bay Faction, Citizen, Gregory & the Hawk, Lights. I’m really drawn to music (or any medium of art) that stirs my emotions, in a good or bad way. I’ve felt knots in my chest from heavy hitting lyrics, but I have also been moved to tears by instrumental music. One time, I listened through an iteration of Chopin’s Nocturnes and wept into my spaghetti. Destroyed the sauce consistency. That’s what music is all about.

Haha, I am familiar that the effect classical music can have on you! I’m so sorry for that spaghetti incident. So, what is next for Frames? 

We have been writing like crazy and have set a weekend in April to track our next record, a full length. Having a whole band to write with has brought Frames to where it should be; fuller and heavier without compromising any of my core folk+pop roots. All the 4 of us want to do is make and play music full time. Music is our favorite thing to do and sharing our sound with as many people as possible is all we need to feel like we’ve made it. I think this is the year that each of us is pouring everything we have into this band because we believe in it and love it and want to see it through.

Where can we see you perform live?

So far, we’ve only played shows along the East Coast — Richmond (our hometown), Philly, Brooklyn, etc. We’re currently planning more shows and tours in that region, but who knows, maybe we’ll branch out this year.

Want to check out more? Frames can be found on YouTube, Spotify, Apple Music, and several other streaming services. Check them out on social on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

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