For those who once frequented the New Jersey music scene and all of the halls, stages, and theaters it presented, there was just something about our scene and the energy it presented that was unlike any other. From the Garfield American Legion to Archer Hall, bands such as Senses Fail, Madison, Folly, Houston Calls, and dozens of other acts once graced us with their impeccable taste in music. An era that filled our hearts with passion and a decade that will forever grest in our hearts.
Time has passed and the days have changed since we once logged onto Myspace or Pure Volume in hopes of finding a new listen or gig to attend. People have grown, faces have aged, and these hearts of ours have bled and pumped for quite some time.
The band we are presenting here today is one that seems to have fallen on deaf ears. Franchise, an impassioned style of music comprised of several veteran musicians that yearn to present something that we as listeners have longed for over the years.
For those that remember, this act is made up of members from such bands as Yours Truly, The Murder & The Harlot, Ender (active), and Lady Radiator. Yes, a diverse and eclectic range of music but nonetheless a phenomenal production of music that sways between post-hardcore and melodic driven music.
Empty Medicine is an enticing trance of self-affliction; a poetic prose of validating one’s self-worth and the pain that weighs heavily from existing. Life presents moments where we must decide to put ourselves first or before others. Regardless of whatever personal sentiments we may or may not have towards any given thought. Sometimes our decisions leave us filled with regret or left with a sense of uneasiness. Fuck, we are only human and for what it’s worth? We are but just another creature destined to fail and tire in a world that is both beautiful and relentless.
As of now, Ghost Light is slated to drop on July 14th without any label support. Jesse Cannon of the Cannon Sound Foundation, a prominent and published sound engineer, has led the tireless job alongside Mike Oettinger of recording what is sure to be a nostalgic five track record.
HEAD WALK: Since the days of Lady Radiator, you have displayed an eloquent style of lyricism within your writing. Often, the melodies that are crooned from your warm voice leaves many in awe and mystery. What is it about this project that separates itself from past endeavors? More importantly, what message, if any, are you trying to convene to the listener off of this new Ghost Light?
Kenny: Through my experiences, these past several years after being in Lady Radiator and transitioning into Franchise, I matured a lot with my overall outlook on life and through my lyrical content. I think what separates itself from my past endeavors is that I’m able to articulate my experiences and I’m able to allow myself to be more vulnerable through my words allowing the listener to really get a chance in knowing me more.
With our new track Empty Medicine, I wanted to write something that told a side of me that I wasn’t able to express in my early years. I think the reason being is because I was still growing up. So with this song, it tells the journey of learning from my past mistakes and allowing them to break me down and to define my character. I think sometimes in order to learn certain life lessons you need to experience the consequences of the mistakes you make.
HEAD WALK: Franchise is still a rather young outfit comprised of some seriously well-aged talent. How did this project come to light and how has everything been since the release of Santa Muerte back in 2015?
Mark: So Franchise actually started in the winter of 2013. I was in a weird place in my music career, my band, Ender kind of dissolved after being on the road for about two years or so. I had temporarily thrown in the towel to pursue a career in advertising and to settle down with my long time girlfriend (now wife). Once things calmed down I realized how much I missed playing shows and writing music. Not playing music regularly was really making me go crazy. I wanted to do something new, something fresh and experiment creating music with some of the friends I have made over the years in the Jersey scene.
Before Ender started we were a band called Yours Truly. When I joined YT in 2007, Mush was the guitarist in the band and we had always clicked. I loved the way he would write riffs. During YT he was creating some really interesting pieces in his down time under the moniker “The Girls.” He had left YT around 2008 to concentrate on that new project which unfortunately never got off the ground. Didn’t hear from Mush for about five years but, I never forgot how unique his playing was and obviously always considered him a good friend. I knew that I wanted Mush to be a part of this new venture.
The next piece of the puzzle was Corrado Rizzi, our drummer and one of my best friends. His project, Drift Division was also beginning to dissolve and timing just worked out, as we have been talking about doing a new project together. Corrado and I grew up together in Nutley and played in a project called Bears and Balconies. Corrado is one of the best drummers I have seen play around our area. I knew that he would pair really well with Mush’s unique style. Franchise evolved over many G-Chat conversations that Corrado and I have had over the past four or five years. As far as vocalists go, our first singer, Tony Cincotta (Ex: Throw the Heat) wrote & sang on our debut self-titled release which came out in September of 2014. A few months after the self-title dropped, Tony moved out to California to fulfill his dreams of living on the West Coast. We completely supported his decision but, didn’t want to put an end to Franchise. Being in bands is all about timing and it was actually on our side this time around. Kenny, formerly of Lady Radiator was actually moving back up to Jersey after living down in Baltimore for a few years. Kenny and I had reconnected a few months prior to Tony’s departure. Corrado, Kenny, and I actually all went to high school together in Nutley and were all very familiar with each other’s skillsets. During a conversation, I had told Kenny about Tony leaving and he was all about filling the role. We really didn’t have any downtime while switching up our vocalists, we knew what Kenny could do and he was a shoe in. We got right to work in creating material for what would become Santa Muerte.
The recording process of Santa Muerte turned out to be crucial to the future of Franchise. After the release of Santa Muerte, we played a hefty amount of shows in support of it. A lot of things have changed with us since Santa Muerte was released in 2015 and the team behind that record is the same team behind Ghost Light. Without them, this new version of the band would not exist.
HEAD WALK: What are the plans for Franchise this summer and is there anything slated to drop in terms of a record release show next month?
Mark: So as mentioned in the previous question, the state of the band is pretty unique right now. Unfortunately, at this time there are no immediate plans for any release shows for Ghost Light. Kenny lives in Tallahassee, Florida and is also expecting his first child in September. He does come back up north here and there and when that happens we’ll give Ghost Light a proper celebration. In the meantime, the goal is to start demoing new material. We all are itching to get some fresh ideas demoed for the next release.
Do keep a close eye on our social media accounts though because you never know when a Franchise show is going to pop up. I promise they will happen and they will be very sporadic in terms of when they will be released.
HEAD WALK: Any last words, shout outs, or plugs before we send you off?
Mark: Well most importantly, thank you to everyone for still giving a shit about Franchise. We hit some bumps in the road over the past year but, everyone who has supported this band from the beginning is still there and are just as excited about this new release as we are. We do apologize that it took so long but, I feel like we have found some crucial firm ground to stand on given our situations, which will allow us to continue as a band and to continue to make records. Speaking of which, a HUGE shoutout to our producers and engineers, Jesse Cannon and Mike Oettinger. These are two of the most professional and knowledgeable dudes in the business. I promise all of you that this band would not exist without these two guys behind the scenes. So if you are looking to make a solid record and want to learn from some of the legends from the NJ scene? Hit these guys up.
The members of this band come from different corners of the North Jersey scene and our styles have clashed in a really cool way. If you listen to each record you can hear us formulating our sound and growing as a unit. Since the beginning we made a pact that we wanted to use Franchise as a unit to never stop making music, to never give up the dream. We’re going to continue our growth and get cracking on another record. In the meantime, keep an eye out for some new videos & tracks off of Ghost Light!
Ghost Light drops on July 14th and since we don’t have any shows planned right now, we can use all the help we can get from people who dig it by sharing these songs with their friends.