Frances Quinlan | photo by Julia Khorosilov | courtesy of the artist
Checking In With… Frances Quinlan of Hop Along
In times of crisis, it’s more important than ever to check in on your friends and loved ones. Here at XPN, we’re Checking In With our extended musical family to see how they’re holding up during the Coronavirus quarantine…and what music has kept them grounded. Today, John Vettese chats with Frances Quinlan of Hop Along.
“We’re all confused, you can hear it in my voice,” said Frances Quinlan of Hop Along when we caught up with her in her Philadelphia home, where she’s been self-quarantining these past few weeks. “I’m confused about what’s going on and how to be useful in a time like this.” Quinlan released her first solo record, the fantastic Likewise, on January 31st via Saddle Creek Records, and though her spring promo run in support of it was cut short, she tries to remain optimistic and hopeful while surrounded by such uncertainty. “The days are up and down,” she says. “But I’ve been trying to get up a little earlier, I feel like the morning has the most promise.”
Thankfully there’s still music to get us through and, Frances shared some of her current musical picks for our Checking In series. Check them out and listen to our entire conversation below, and grab yourself a copy of Likewisehere.
Favorite Song Of All Time: “Nobody Wants A Lonely Heart” by Arthur Russell
“I didn’t want to pick one of the staples of my youth because they’re so often played. So the artist I’m picking now is someone I’ve only really gotten into in the last few years, Arthur Russell. His work transformed so much throughout his career. And he unfortunately didn’t live to be very old at all. I keep forgetting he was also a cellist. The fact that he has evolved and trans so much in his lifetime is mind-boggling and cool.”
Song That Raises Your Spirits: “Time Tough” by Toots and the Maytals
“That song kicked on during one of my jogs when I desperately had to get out of my house. It came on shuffle, and as soon as the lyrics hit, it felt so incredibly pertinent. The first couple lines are ‘I go to bed but sleep won’t come / Get up in the night, I couldn’t stand my feeling / Early in the morning, oh mercy, it’s just the same situation.’ And it goes on talking about trying to make rent and everything. It just hit me real hard, but it’s such a hopeful melody. That’s one of the things I love in songwriting, is having this hopeful melody and dark lyrics to paint this whole mood.”
Song You’re Most Proud of Working On: “Detroit Lake” by Frances Quinlan
“I remember what a challenge it was to finish. It went through some transformations. It’s one of the earliest ones Joe [Reinhart] and I recorded, it came out of a trip where I got to stay in this cabin in Oregon in summer 2018, and as soon as I got back to Philly I wanted to lay that down with Joe. So we got together, we laid it down, and things were added to it — and there’s some beautiful strings on it from Molly Germer and Thea Mesirow. And once we had added those, we realized it needed to evolve even more. Mary Lattimore played harp on it, it went through the greatest amount of evolution on that record. And Joe is so much fun to work with, I miss that time in the studio.”