Fortune-Telling with Frameworks
Only $10 to know the band's future.
Photos by Mitchell Wojcik.
Walking past a rotation of butcher shops and shoe stores in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, or "Little Poland," Frameworks is detailing their most recent stint of bad luck and they're blaming it on Taylor Swift.
On the way to New York, they ended up tailing her colossus of a tour bus and might have pushed the engine in a van, probably older than the average age riding in it, a bit too hard in an attempt to... actually I'm not really clear on what exactly they were trying to achieve. But they caught up to it with megaphone in hand like a dog chasing a car with no intent to catch it. At that point a rumble started in the engine and may or may not have eventually landed the vehicle in the hands of a mechanic. Eventually, they made it to Brooklyn in the aging van complete with faded church decals and just enough spare time for me to convince them they should have their fortunes read in hopes to see what other awful fates awaited them.
The tiny storefront hid beneath a bright purple awning with a "$10 Reading" sign next to an open door. Only four of us could fit in the room which was outfitted with a single table, two chairs, and a deck of cards. The psychic came in from, presumably her apartment, in which I saw an older man watching day time television in a tank top with an ashtray on his knee. With a cloud of smoke in tow she closed the door behind her while we all crammed in. She started dealing the cards with a cigarette between her lips which would eventually become almost completely unashed. The entire room was purple and filled with smoke and light coming in from the street outside, it was like we had stepped inside the band's album cover. What began as a novelty trip ended up increasingly and eerily appropriate.
Frameworks' vocalist, Luke Pate, sat down first while our own personal conductor in divinity dealt out her cards. Subsequently, almost every member was told similar things. They all had issues with their family, love life, or success. It became difficult to look at her process without cynicism given that, according to her, "predictions" could be applied to either the past, present, or future. To her credit, she did say readings were more effective when done one-on-one, and in a more private atmosphere, but that was also probably because she was maybe a one-trick pony. Eventually though, we began to realize why people might come to these places, and more importantly, return.
Despite whatever suspicions we had before or during the readings, it was impossible to ignore the fact that while every one started out with vague assumptions, they all eventually led to some really personal shit. I watched as the guys went through their decks and with each card they seemed a little more willing to open up to the stranger dealing them. A stranger who they were paying to sit across from them, with a face like a catcher's mitt and a deck of cards, in a bright purple room. "It's like mental prostitution." Guitarist Cory Fischer says. "I think it has to do with her being someone we'll never see again in our lives. We could just say whatever bullshit to her and she didn't care, she was making money."
"I think I definitely would have been able to open up more one on one." Luke says. "Maybe it's better I didn't. She singles you out, puts you on the spot and everyone's waiting on your response to very personal questions. The whole scenario was weird."
The trip becomes even more ironically befitting when talking to Luke about the concept and lyrical content behind Loom.
"It all fits the theme of this poem that I really liked called "The Tobacco Kiosk." The author is basically looking out his window and wondering if the people he sees are real. I was looking out my window and looking at every car and person and realizing that I'll never connect with 99 percent of them. That's way overwhelming to me. So we wrote the album around that idea."
The album's anchored by feelings of disconnect and solipsism and like Pate said, illustrated by moments and lines borrowed from poet Fernando Pessoa's poem "The Tobacco Kiosk". More strange parallels are drawn by noting that (unknown to at least me beforehand) Pessoa also believed himself to be a bit of a clairvoyant. But by opening up to a complete stranger, one by one, the band was doing what they wrote an an entire album about feeling unable to. Although their shared cynicism didn't necessarily seem like it had disappeared after each reading, it did seem like they all began to appreciate their shared circumstances which were brought to the surface during the experience. "I feel like she used really broad strokes." Luke said afterwards. "Like 'Are you having trouble in your relationship?,' or 'Are you having family issues?' Those are so big, they could cover anything." Corey responded, "I did think it was strange what we did all have in common though. The first thing she said to each of us was about coming from 'broken homes.'"
"We definitely do have similar backgrounds. Family-wise, at least." Andrew says. "It helps us as a band to recognize and separate real problems from the shit that we can, or should, just let go off. Letting go of conflict, even when you don't want to can take you in so many new directions. I think that's why we work well together. And that's definitely how we write." If anyone in the band kept up their pessimism, it was Luke, who seemed stuck on discounting the psychic's process. "I think she either goes with relationships, success, or family. And when you've got problems with any of those she runs with it."
Andrew laughed and responded "Well, we're on tour so all three applied."
Loom is out today from Topshelf Records. Listen to the whole thing below.
Lukas Hodge will read your fortune for a follow on Twitter - @lukashodge