Classically trained and playing in bands wherever she’s settled in the world, Berlin-based Eilis Frawley (Party Fears, I Drew Blank) may have bags of experience but has only been creating as a solo artist since August 2018. A fast worker, ideas went to recordings and on to record label Reckless Yes, in just a year and debut single ‘illusions’ was released last autumn followed by ‘strangers’ and final single ‘intellectual men’. Quite unlike anything you’ve yet heard ‘Never Too Emotional’ is the debut EP from Frawley. A solo drummer and percussionist Frawley layers her Krautrock-precision rhythms with spoken word vocals for a release which is at once avant-garde, yet resonates deeply with experiences of modern life.
Speaking about the release Frawley said: “The seeds of ‘Never Too Emotional’ were planted in late 2018 out of the desire to create a project with drums at the focal point, paired with spoken word, synths and samples. ‘Never Too Emotional’ touches on topics of social structures, feminism, mental health, creative insecurities, personal tragedies, and the psychological impacts of living abroad. Playing drums in multiple bands over the past eight years has been, and continues to be, a source of inspiration for my solo work. The contrast allows me to challenge the role of a solo musician and to embrace the endless and unexpected possibilities of creating alone”.
1: Recreational playing of drums lowers stress hormones in our body.
2: I come from Gumeracha, a town in South Australia that has the world’s biggest rocking horse.
3: Snails can sleep for three years.
1. What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
To tell stories, and to challenge social norms and stereotypes. I want to raise questions and at the same time show support for those going through difficult times. I want to normalise feelings we often see as an ‘overreaction’.
2. How and when did you get into making music?
I started playing drums in high school and went on to study classical percussion. University (almost) killed my passion for music and it took a number of years before I returned to the drums, the second time round I was in Seoul, South Korea and began practising regularly and playing in local DIY bands. Over the past 7 years it became an integral part of my life.
3. What are 5 of your favourite albums of all time?
Tune Yards – nikki nack
Personal Best – What You At
Battles – Gloss Drop
Olympia – Self Talk
Camp Cope – How to Socialise & Make Friends
4. What do you associate with Berlin?
Friends. I’m so lucky to have such a nice foundation here, without my friends this city would be a concrete jungle. I also really appreciate the freedom to be who you want to be, and to pursue a career based on passion not money.
5. What’s your favourite place in your town?
In my hometown, my favorite place is Port Willunga, the most beautiful beach in the world.
In Berlin my favorite place is probably Tempelhofer Feld.
6. If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
Probably spend a lot of time cooking and taking baths. Career wise, I would do something social, or active, I couldn’t imagine to sit in an office.
7. What was the last record/music you bought?
I recently brought ‘Horizon’ by Trash Kit.
8. Who would you most like to collaborate with?
I would love to collaborate with Merrill Garbus of Tune-Yards, she seems so easy going and passionate and also David Byrne, that would be a great time.
9. What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
As a performer my best gig was my last, my project is still (hopefully forever!) developing, and with each performance I feel more confident to make changes, to add more live elements and to add new music. As a spectator for sure Tune-yards, she’s powerful, clever, playful and her stage performance is mesmerising.
10. How important is technology to your creative process?
Hugely important. In the creating process I sit for hours on my bed with a midi keyboard experimenting with various sounds to create the right feeling. It’s a new element to me, and being solo a drummer until recently, I’m in love with the possibilities and how accessible music feels with a few tools.
11. Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career/art?
I do, I have a sister and a brother in Australia, they’re both very supportive of my artistic pursuits.
Image credit: Nina Gallert