We recently caught up with songwriter Frank Kilpatrick to talk about his transition from marketing to music and the influence behind his work. Read the full interview and then check out his music for yourself. Enjoy!
What was your connection to music like growing up?
Not too much: “Mandatory Clarinet” in sixth grade. I was in a rock cover band somewhere around college. And my Dad worked at a radio station and brought home symphony records for us to listen to. But I was fortunate to fall into a basic music theory class in high school; it gave me just enough knowledge about sevenths and diminished chords to be dangerous.
Can you describe the transition in careers from owning a marketing agency to working in music?
Songwriting has been a new exploration for me recently. Running an advertising agency, I had written ads (and shot video), so I knew something about the power of words. But song lyrics are different: There’s a fairly consistent format for songs to be accepted by listeners; it requires a sparse narrative and strict discipline as to format – while endeavoring to make a piece universally appealing. So this was a new learning for me! My motivation is always to create music and messages that are memorable and connect with listeners emotionally -- to encourage them to think about a topic from a new perspective, if only for a moment. I always aim to achieve some level of “Social Contribution.” As such, one of our most important current projects is Gender Genocide, a song the highlights the issue of women’s abuse: Based on my collaborator’s personal observation, we put together the song to raise awareness, shift behavior and empower women; we hope that it can become an “Anthem” for this movement.
What have been the biggest challenges launching your music company, FrankiK?
The big trial is that there are million talented songwriters and musicians out there with great music: So it is competitive to be heard by Music Supervisors and Producers. And also that the industry has changed -- record companies no longer “invest” in new artists, revenues from music streaming are in micro cents per play. Plus the trend away from songs that contain much real thought content. And finally, though people in the music industry say that to be successful you have to concentrate on creating a brand around a single genre, I have found that messages and melodies come to me and my collaborator, Rayko in so many musical styles!
Where and how do you find your inspiration when creating music?
For the song Gender Genocide that I mentioned, Rayko and I were talking about the issue of women’s abuse: The experiences she had seen with “Mighty Moguls’” in the music and entertainment business came pouring out. Based on this, I worked to refine Gender Genocide’s words; Rayko added the attitude and melodies. Then Rayko’s band, Lolita Dark, recorded it.
Which artists have most influenced you?
I would start with Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys: His harmony work and unique chord structures and arrangements are pure genius! From a more contemporary standpoint, I would say Pentatonix, who continue these melodic themes. I also hear stuff from Maroon 5, Rhianna, Pink and Muse that I can’t get out of my head. I also like John Lindahl -- an “Upcoming Justin Bieber (but nice)” for his great contemporary sound. He has performed on the Grammy’s as well as appearing on the current Logic’s tour. My very talented songwriting partner, Rayko is also a great influence.
Your writing partner is Rayko, tell us a bit about her and her music.
Rayko and I began working together about two years: We first met when I needed an artist to sing the controversially-titled song Yellow Fever, a song about Caucasian guys who are obsessed with Asian women. From first knowing of Rayko as a “Growling” singer in her symphonic rock band Lolita Dark, I was floored to learn of her musical gifts in so many more diverse genres – from Pop to Jazz to Classical Music. And remarkably different vocal and composition styles -- “From ABBA to Zappa,“ as she describes it -- including singing in both English and Japanese. I also learned that she had written two songs for the Amazon Prime network’s “Man In the High Castle,” had completed a Japan tour the prior summer, was signed to a record label there, and had also done a bunch of film and music video stuff. And often performed with a symphonic orchestra backing her up!
What are your goals for the next year?
We would like to continue on our path of making “Meaningful Music” – and expand our placements on TV, Films and Commercials, both here in the US and globally. In the short-term, though, we would like to get Gender Genocide out there to millions: We would love support from all quarters!
Where can people hear your music?
The best bet is through our web page, www.FrankiKMusic.com: We’ve linked to all of our songs there through SoundCloud.