Frank Iero (USA) talks Soundwave, Stomachaches LP and his journey as a musician

Being in bands such as My Chemical Romance, Leathermouth and Death Spells, Frank Iero is a creative that is never afraid to tackle a music project that comes his way. Working on his current solo project under the moniker,frnkiero andthe cellabration, fans have loved the energy and experimentation he had put together in his punk-driven debut album, Stomachaches. We had the opportunity to chat with Iero on his LP, how he feels playing Soundwave Festival and how he balances his rock star lifestyle now that he has a family.

I know you’re on tour at the moment, how have the shows been for you so far?

I gotta say, the shows have been fantastic. It’s one of those things where I know I’m really lucky. I feel like at least on this tour, I get to handpick all the bands we get to play with. It’s one of those things where I get to pick my friends and bands that I love. In that respect, it’s cool – I get to curate the show and I feel lucky enough that the people that come to see you play are into them as well and are respectful towards the acts.

That’s amazing, man and especially now that you’re doing all these live shows and  you’re obviously creating such a positive impact on your fan base as well. A while back actually, I read a feature article on Alternative Press and the writer expressed how she felt when she was at your show and how much of a positive impact your music has influenced her. How do you feel knowing that your music inspires other people when it comes to your shows?

That’s amazing. I think about it and I was the same way when I was a kid going to shows and seeing my favourite bands; those were my formidable years. I remember early on, my dad took me to go and see Richie Havens and I remember the small show and the story that he told and the way that he played. Still to this day, it shapes the things that I do and to be that for somebody else is spectacular.

It is and especially next year, you’re doing Soundwave which is really exciting. I know that My Chemical Romance, when they were a band as well, were supposed to come back in 2010, but you had cancel because Gerard [Way] had vocal issues. How do you feel knowing that you’ve been added to next year’s lineup?

It’s amazing. I was really looking forward to bringing this project and especially this record Stomachaches to Australia. Now, I feel like it’s a long time coming – I’ve been looking forward to this for so long [Laughs]. I didn’t get to play Soundwave all those years back unfortunately but shortly after, we’d done Big Day Out on the next record cycle. We’ve always had fantastic experiences there.

It’s a wonderful place to experience and to play music in and I feel like the people there really love music. And that’s awesome – it means something because there are certain places where people truly feel the power of it, in a very special, very real way. Sometimes, there are people who are unimpressed by everything but I don’t get that vibe from Australia and I like that, so I’m very much looking forward to it.

We’re looking forward to seeing you too! Because we don’t have that many cities bands can actually tour in, as you would’ve experienced from Big Day Out, I guess you feel that vibe from the Australian crowd because we don’t get many opportunities for bands to come here as often. 

Yeah, it makes total sense. Sometimes you’ll see in bigger cities in the States where we get a lot of bands coming through and we have our own local acts; people have seen it all and they maybe take it for granted a little bit and that’s unfortunate. I’m not saying everyone but sometimes you’ll see that. It’s refreshing to be in a place where people have a true love for music and appreciates what goes into it when bands come there to play – that’s awesome.

Last year you released Stomachaches and I absolutely loved it – it was very creative and very experimental. Compared to your other projects that you’ve done so far in your career, how was working on that debut album different from your other projects?

It was a night and day kind of thing. Actually, I had a very long conversation with Roger Harvey today. We were having breakfast together and we were talking about this exact thing and it’s strange, you know? In making this record, I very much didn’t expect anyone else to hear it. So when I made it, I wanted a photograph – like an audible photograph of a moment in time; I just wanted to take that memory with me and I wanted you to be listening into the record as opposed to listening to it.

I was gonna make it, put it into a box and then hide it away for however many years until someone asked me if I ever did anything else. And then all of a sudden, life happened and people wanted to hear the record and it came out. That was a very different process – it was a very private process and it was hard but enjoyable. I feel like there is a very fine line with the self-editing of the record. I think one of the biggest lessons I’ve learnt over the years as a songwriter, is that just because you wrote it, doesn’t mean it needs to be in a song; it’s a big lesson to learn. You have to learn what’s best and I’m still learning that. [Laughs]

Obviously now that you look back in your 20’s, because now you’re in your 30’s. I think it’s a rewarding aspect as a musician to see how far you come. How all those projects have shaped you as a person. Now that you’re a father as well, how do you balance between being a musician and a healthy family lifestyle?

It’s hard. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do but I’ve realised that in my 20’s, I thought I had it all figured out – we all do. I thought that I could keep these things separate – my real life, my touring life, my creative life. And then I realised in my 30’s, that they were very intertwined. I came to the realisation that unless I feel fully satiated creatively or if I’m not fulfilled creatively – I’m not the person I want to be in real life. I can’t be the dad, the husband or the man I want to be and that was a crazy realisation that I felt for so long.

I spent so much time separating them I guess but now, I’ve realised that I have to make the time for both sides. It’s a very delicate balance, especially having to be on the road and being far away from the people that you love. That’s the thing – you need that. It’s very nice to be around my family – that’s the life blood. If I were a mailman or something, I think it’d be really awesome because you could go and do your job and then you come home and you don’t think about mail like ever again until the next day. [Laughs]

I guess it’s nice to have that support as well from your family and I guess that continuously inspires you as a musician.

Absolutely. There’s no way I can do this without them. They’re the most amazing circle of support that I could have ever hoped for and I’m eternally grateful.

For sure, man and as you said life as a musician isn’t easy. You spend a long time touring and sometimes you’re far apart from family and it’s very hard on you. I guess with technology nowadays, it’s easy to keep in touch with family now.

Yes. It does help, it’s amazing. I started touring without a cell phone a million years ago. It was hard so I’m very grateful that I have that home really close to me in my pocket at all times.

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frnkIero andthe cellabration will be playing Soundwave next year! Tour dates below:

Saturday, 23rd January 2016
Brisbane
Tickets: Soundwave

Sunday, 24th January 2016
Sydney
Tickets: Soundwave

Tuesday, 26th January 2016
Melbourne
Tickets: Soundwave

To check the full Soundwave lineup, check here: http://www.soundwavefestival.com/lineup 

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