Interviews

Dan Frankowski (Weight, Spawn, Eyeball, Damage Control, Common Cause)

Weight (Photo: Michelle Olaya)

In his latest contribution to the site, Ed Crooks speaks with Dan Frankowski, a veteran of the European hardcore scene. Enjoy! —Carlos Ramirez

Hi, Dan! How is everything going on your end?

'Sup, Ed. I am doing OK, I would say. Trying to stay busy with work and the band. Spending my time with the family and the other few people we can meet and just in general trying to get throught this mess and stay sane.

For anyone who doesn’t know, please tell them a bit about some of the other bands you’ve been in and your beginnings in hardcore.

The whole thing started for me around '89/'90 when I made the transition from metal to hardcore. I have to give thanks to the German TV metal show Mosh for that, for playing the "We Gotta Know" video. I heard some punk and hardcore before that, mostly british bands, Ripcord, Extreme Noise Terror, early Carcass, but I have to say that the Cro-Mags sealed the deal for me.

After that it was more exploring, trying to get to shows and trying to get my hands on anything related to hardcore. I discovered Youth of Today around the same time and got really into straight edge throught them.

My first band then was Inner X Circle, who turned into Spawn. We lasted from '91/'92 until 1997 and released records on Emblem, Crucial Response, March Throught, and then New Age Records.

After that, I sang in Eyeball from '97-ish until 1999. Thats when we broke up and i moved from Germany to Norway. I practiced then once or twice with Sportswear to play second guitar but nothing really came out of it.

Then I started Damage Control together with Espen from Sportswear. I think we played from 2002-ish til around  '06/'07 and did some records on Crucial Response Records, Livewire Records, and Cycle Records from Barcelona (whats up, Gabi!). 

After Damage Control broke up, I started Common Cause and we released our demo around 2007 and stayed together until 2012, I think. After that, I didnt really play in any serious bands for a while until 2018 when we started Weight. We released a 7 inch on The Essence last year and it came our right before the whole world shut down, so there is that.

So, who else is in Weight? Are they all Norwegians bar you?

All Norwegians besides myself. Our singer, Andreas, used to sing in a band called Giant, then we have Petter our bass player, he used to be in a band called Dead Serious in the early '00s, and then we have Jon, our other guitar player, who was also in Common Cause and now also playes in Shipwrecked.

Right now, we are inbetween drummers but I think we found the right guy and gonna start practicing soon.

Photo courtesy of Weight

Killer! So things should be taking off again soon then for you guys? Also, Shipwrecked are great and I forgot about them. I actually saw them in Sweden about 7 years ago.

I mean, we are ready. We werent lazy during the last year to put it like that. Was that the show with Cro-Mags when you saw them ? I dunno where they at right now but it's downtime for most bands so who knows.

Yeah, with JJ’s Mags. The show itself was horrible with guys throwing beer everywhere and it was so packed. If you wanted to leave the venue it was smoking area or nothing

Yeah, the venue was weird, remember the no renentry rule, that always sucks. Also remember that Hungarian kid getting knock out during the Mags set. I think that dudes was so out that he couldnt remembered where he was [laughs].

Weight (Photo: Michelle Olaya)

Yeah, to be honest, all the shows I went to while I lived in Malmo were awful. I saw Stick Together in some tiny youth club thing next to the prison and was about 40 people there, maybe less. I literally couldn’t find the place, also there was no promotion for it.

That Einsberg band played and the Swedish band The Hammer? Most went home after they played.

That sucks. I saw some great shows there but i guess it depends on the bands playing and how the scene is at the time

So anyway, how do you guys write music for Weight? Is it a solo thing or do you all get involved?

I mostly come up with the foundation and the basic riffs but as soon as we start trying them out everyone chimes in and works on the arrangements so then it becomes a group effort.

Do you all have similar tastes in music?

For the most part, and when it comes to hardcore, I would say yes. I think there is a common thread due to all our love for NYHC. But i know that Petter was always more into the harder bands off that area while me and Jon also really embraced the Youth Crew bands, and the same goes for Andreas.

Jon is also way more into early hardcore then the rest of us and Andreas is also really into bands like Celtic Frost and early thrash and speed metal.

Weight (Photo: Control Records)

You said earlier that you went from metal to hardcore, as I did. What bands were listening to metal wise? I’ve found myself listening more to black and death metal in the last few years, actually.

I bought my first AC/DC record in '86 or so and I still love 'em to this day. From them, I went to, I guess, typical road that led to Iron Maiden, then Metallica, Anthrax, Testament, and so on. Then the bands got harder and harder and more extreme, so from Slayer and Sodom it was a short way to Death, Morbid Angel or Bolt Thrower.  

To be honest, I really cant stand black metal. I think it's corny and for the most part, it sounds horrible [laughs]. The funny thing is that I live across the street for where Darkthrone (and I think Mayhem) recorded their first output.  

I dont listen to too much death metal anymore, but if I do, I go straight to Altars of Madness (the best death metal record) or Left Hand Path. Other then that, I spin early Metallica, Slayer, and Terrorizer.

Controversial! [Laughs] It’s definitely an acquired taste, I guess. I love the lo-fi sound and oddness about black metal. Entombed is definitely a big one for me as indeed Morbid Angel, so I’m with you there, lots of great black metal around at the moment though.

Do you plan to get out on the road with Weight? Obviously, if this shit clears up.

We would love to. It's not as easy as it was before since almost all of us have kids and full time jobs but we absolutly wanna do a lot of weekends and maybe a longer trip too. I really wanna play Finland and Sweden, a weekend in the UK and also go back to Spain. But for the most part i just wanna play.

It's also something that we said when we started with Weight that we dont wanna limit ourselves and basicly play with any bands and any venue thats avaiable. I think diveres bills are the way to go.

Yeah, that’s cool, I also think there isn’t much chance of any shows really any time soon, it all just seems to pop up and be cancelled, very sad. Is there much of a hardcore scene if at all in Oslo these days?

I guess when it comes to hardcore shows we gotta wait til at least Spring 2022. Maybe by the end of the year but I kinda doubt it. No one wants to play a show with people having to seat in special places and keep 6 feet apart. 

If you ask me about a scene in Oslo, I have to say no, someone else might disagree but I dont think so. Most of the bands are more punk orientated and right now (or at least a years or so ago) there were not many people at shows.

Knuste Ruter and Problems are 2 bands that are active and they are more on the punk or early hardcore side, and then you got Modern Love that are more DC-ish and melodic and thats that for Oslo as far as i know.

There are more hardcore-sounding bands spread around the country but I dont have so much knowlede of all the bands. I guess we are kinda the odd man out as of now.

Let’s do a couple of fun ones:

Top 5 hardcore bands and records?

Top 5 hardcore bands and records. These are always tricky cause there are so many brilliant records out there that it almost seems impossible. I am glad we are just doing hardcore:

  1. Youth of Today, We're Not in This Alone (the best hardcore band and their best record)
  2. Cro Mags, The Age of Quarrel (a monster of a record)
  3. Bad Brains, Quickness (no list is complete without the Bad Brains, and Quickness might not be their most classic record but its their best)
  4. Leeway, Desperate Measures (tomorrow I might say Born to Expire, but this one has maximum groove)
  5. BURN, Burn (maybe just maybe the best hardcore record out there)

Which bands would you say directly influence Weight?

When we started, the band we wanted to go for a harder sound then any of us did before and i think even thought it doesnt shines throught all the time the records that influenced me for this band were Best Wishes/Alpha Omega, For Those Who Fear Tomorrow, Quickness, and a dash of Kill 'Em All.

Wicked. Is there anything else you want to touch on?

Just want to thank you for doing the interview with us, it's really appreciated. Also, I wanna thanks Adam [Malik] from The Essence for doing our record that sadly came out at a very unfortuned time, and Patrick [Kitzel] from Reaper Records for the Still Alive comp.  

We have like 9 new songs right now and wanna start tracking the new record early summer.

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Weight on social media: Instagram | Bandcamp | Spotify

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Tagged: common cause, damage control, spawn, weight

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