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Interview: Five Island Drive Talk Up Their Debut Release, ‘The Record’

Sydney-based heavy-wave group Five Island Drive have just revealed their enthralling debut single ‘The Record’ – produced by the band themselves – and its accompanying video, directed by Elderand band member Kim Quint. We sat down with the band to get behind the debut single, the bands history and more!

Congratulations on your debut release ‘The Record’! Can you talk us through how this song came about?

Thank you so much! This song was by far one of the quickest songs that has ever come together for all of us individually – Kim put together the instrumental in a matter of a few hours before sending it over to Frankie who wrote the entire song on the train ride between Sydney and their home in Wollongong. Once home, Frankie recorded the vocals in the space of 45 minutes and the entire song was completed almost exactly as you hear it now! We re-recorded everything on proper mics, equipment and drums, and it was all done in a flash; it was truly a spark during a moment in time that we happened to capture.

You all seem to have an extensive musical background! How did you get to where you are now?

Frankie Jean’s father was in a touring band, and they followed their dad around as a kid from venue to venue to recording studio to rehearsal space and soaked it all in. At 10, a neighbour who was a DJ started handing Frankie CDs of east coast hip hop artists like Nas and Naughty by Nature which began Frankie’s journey into writing lyrics, flows and bars. They then started as a bass player in a rock band in their teens when their friends chipped in to buy them a bass to fill the final member spot in their lineup, before going on to co-found RedHook before leaving for a genre-fluid solo venture under the name Suburban, touring the UK and collecting multiple label-offers, all whilst continuing to write with other artists.

Kim Quint’s father was one of the first German trance and techno DJ’s who toured with the likes of NWA, was the youngest winner of the DMCs at 16 and produced & DJ’d on a song that ended up being used in the opening ceremony for the Sydney Olympics. Kim was always on his father’s lap who used his son’s hands to air-drum to AC/DC, before handing Kim his first drumkit at 3. Each year he would receive a new instrument, starting with piano, then guitar, then bass, and eventuating in Kim beginning to record his own music on Garage Band at 10 years old. Kim continued performing, producing, recording and deejaying through school for the next decade, whilst becoming an accomplished photographer and videographer for the likes on Thy Art Is Murder, Polaris, Northlane and other huge bands and brands.

Bradley Michael de Leon grew up with his mother playing everything in their household from jazz and blues to country and soul, and his siblings playing everything from metal to hip hop. He started on piano before moving to guitar and finally following his brother into learning drums. Brad played in everything: high school bands, jazz groups and church bands, and being one of the only drummers at school made Brad the go-to for everything. He started out his career in punk and hardcore bands, moving onto prog rock and then hip hop, R&B, indie rock and folk acts, settling into a role as a session drummer prior alongside his work in video editing, graphic design and content production for acts like Tame Impala, Hilltop Hoods, Crowded House, Polish Club and many more. 

Frankie & Kim met when Kim moved from Germany to Australia and began collaborating on some heavy material before the pair decided that their chemistry and goals were too perfectly aligned to ignore and agreed to merge forces to create a new project. They immediately brought aboard Bradley Michael de Leon, who had recently performed live drums for Frankie’s solo shows in Australia, and thus Five Island Drive was born.

Bands are blurring the lines between genres more and more these days. There’s such an eclectic mix of influences and sounds in your music. Is this your way of giving back to every genre that you’ve found a part of yourself within at some point in your life?

I think that’s accurate to an extent, although our songs are a little less intentional than that might suggest; writing a song is always such a spontaneous moment between all of us and a song virtually pours itself into life. Frankie has roots in hip hop, Kim has roots in trance and electronic music, Brad has roots in everything from jazz to soul; but individually our musical histories all intersect in rock and metal, so naturally that forms the basis of what we create. Those other influences naturally form the aspects of Five Island Drive that are unique to us.

What are some of the greatest subjects you want to address with your music? What do you hope listeners will take away and spark conversations about?

Allyship. In all spaces. Frankie is nonbinary and about to start the journey into transitioning, so that has a personal attachment to Five Island Drive, and in a genre that is so hetero and male dominated, representation is also something we’re really striving for. Ultimately, we are three human beings who enjoy being happy, and that is going to come out in some of the future songs you’ll eventually hear, but happiness should be universal and allyship is an important trait that we all need to take responsibility for, whether it be in spaces around gender, race, sexuality or any manner of social areas that need help and attention.

In this current climate, a lot of people are itching for the gradual return of live shows. Do you have any upcoming plans you can tease for us?

Currently we’re in our genesis and simply searching for ears, eyes and minds to connect with, but we’re already having some very early conversations and hope to have some news for everyone soon!

Written by John Zebra