We connected with Jas Frank & the Intoits, a Croatia based music project, comprised of Jas Frank, Slaven Bolanca, and Marko Gacina, for an exclusive interview. We discussed their debut album “The Girl from Cherry Valley”, the recently released visual for “All the Highs All the Lows", which appears on the album, their musical goals for 2019, and much more.
After reading our Q&A with Jas Frank & the Intoits, be sure to stream and share “The Girl from Cherry Valley” on your favorite streaming platform. Also, connect with them on their website and social media.
Tell us about how "Jas Frank & the Intoits" came together as a music project.
It was actually a very spontaneous thing. I wrote all these songs and at one point I thought it would be great if I recorded them properly just for myself, without any intention of making an album or releasing them. Just about the same time, my friend, Slaven Bolanca, who is an established folk musician and one of the best mandolin players in Croatia, told me over coffee that he was building a recording studio of his own. When I mentioned the songs to him, he offered to have them recorded at this new studio. So I sent him the demos and, after he'd listened to the songs, he showed them to his friend Marko Gacina. Incidentally, Marko is a rising producer in Croatia and the front-man of a successful Croatian reggae band, Brain Holidays.
Anyway, they were both very excited about the songs, so we ended up recording them together as Jas Frank & the Intoits and releasing them as our debut album.
If you had to describe your music to a stranger in three words, which ones would you select?
Quirky, melodic and honest.
Congratulations on the release of your debut album "The Girl from Cherry Valley". What are you most proud of with this album?
Thank you! We are very proud of the overall sound and the vibe of the album. We're also very happy that there are no "lesser" songs on the album or songs intended just to act as placeholders. Instead, each song on the album can stand on its own, at least in our opinion.
What does the album cover to "The Girl from Cherry Valley" represent and who did the artwork?
Hrvoje Silic, a very talented artist from my home town of Rijeka, Croatia, did the artwork for the album. The two drawings depict the concept of the album and are based on the theme of the first and the last song, which are "High in Space" and "The Girl from Cherry Valley", respectively. These two songs basically talk about the same thing - the perception of problems in life and dealing with hardship and disappointment. "High in Space" is written from the perspective of a young girl who is hopeful and innocent and believes that everything is going to be alright in the end. That's why the "Childhood" drawing shows a beautiful day and a cherry tree in bloom, with the girl sitting in luscious green grass.
On the other hand, "The Girl from Cherry Valley" describes this same person who is now well into adulthood and disillusioned, but is nevertheless trying to find that spark in herself she lost along the way. So, the "Adulthood" drawing is gloomy, it is night, the tree is naked and the land is dry. Earth, which is identical in both drawings, is supposed to show that the problems remain the same regardless of the time that has passed, and that the only thing that changes is the perception of the beholder. It is also a play on some of the lyrics in the songs.
We really enjoyed the Ivona Rafailovic-directed visual for "All the Highs All the Lows". Of all the songs on the album, why did you decide to shoot a video for it?
We thought that "All the Highs All the Lows" was a song that most people could relate to. At the same time, it is not as extravagant in arrangement as some other songs on the album, so it can serve perfectly to ease the people into our sound. The other reason for choosing this song was that we had a clear idea of the story we wanted for the video, whereas we are still not sure what kind of videos to make for some other songs from the album.
With the album now released, what are some of your goals musically for 2019?
Hopefully, we are going to play some live shows to promote the album. Since the three of us are quite busy with other projects, both related and unrelated to music, it all really depends on whether there is enough interest to do that. However, judging by how well the album has been received so far, we might start playing live together very soon.
Another goal is to start recording new material. We already have some songs lined up and just waiting to come to life.