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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Music journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie artists. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Dia Frampton Builds ‘Archis’ & Becomes Her Own Musical Keystone
Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The long and winding journey of Dia Frampton has included time on the Warped Tour, The Voice, and solo jaunts around the world. Now, for the first time, she feels she’s truly found her voice, and with that realization, has created a new project titled Archis.

With vocals that have proven to be adept at working within just about any genre, Dia has explored rock with Meg & Dia, which was her band with her sister, singer-songwriter pop with her solo career, and numerous other styles of music with her guest spots on songs by The Crystal Method, Lindsey Stirling, and tyDi. Archis, which is made up of Dia and composer Joseph Trapanese, is all of those things, and none of those things, at the same time. This is because Dia has discovered she’d rather make something that’s wholly her, rather than present just a portion of herself.

Currently on the road with the aforementioned Lindsey Stirling, I caught up Dia before a recent soundcheck to find out more about what inspired Archis, and what she has in store for listeners.

Adam Bernard: Your time as one half of Meg & Dia, your time on The Voice, and your solo career, are three remarkably different experiences. How have each of them shaped you as an artist?

Dia Frampton: I was actually thinking about this recently because I just started a new project called Archis, and I feel most at home doing this project. I’ve done so many different things. It’s been great. Working with The Crystal Method was really awesome. Ken (Jordan) and Scott (Kirkland) are really really talented DJs who have been doing it for so long. Working with tyDi on a track, and writing songs for other people, it’s all been really really great, but I feel like it all kind of led me to this point now, to doing my own project, and just figuring out what I really love, what I don’t like, and the way I like to record things, and produce things. I think trying out so many different things kind of helped me narrow down my own path, if that makes any sense.

Adam Bernard: Let’s talk about Archis. From what I’ve read this is going to be a very personal project. What’s been going on in your life that’s inspired the creation of Archis, and the songs you’re currently writing?

Dia Frampton: I think the last few years I just went through a lot of changes. I think that every person has, well I hope every person has, a foundation that they hopefully can stand upon to live their life, and do well, and grow from, and I felt like (over) the past three years my foundation kind of broke apart. It can be anything, it can be friends, family, boyfriend, a really steady job, whatever it might be, all those things come together to build that foundation for a person to feel strong, and supported. Mine kinda just fell apart in all different kinds of ways, all at once, and I kind of just felt drifting, and vulnerable, and not really sure what I was doing, and afraid, and fear can make people kinda make crazy decisions, and I just felt struggle with that, and that’s how Archis was born.

Lyrically, (I’m) just kind of trying to pull back broken relationships and fix them, and also realizing that after you try to fix something it’s never the same as it was before. I think a lot of the music is about that. It’s about something happening, and I think lots of times people want it to be the same (afterword), and it’s not, and it can be a struggle.


Adam Bernard: You pointed out that a foundation can be made up of a lot of things, including friends, family, and significant others. Did ALL of that fall apart for you, or were there just specific parts that fell apart?

Dia Frampton: I felt like pretty much all of it fell apart. I think the thing that kinda kept me going was actually my management team. I’ve been with them for like eight or nine years. They were the ones who were always telling me to keep going, to write, to record, always pushing me, always pushing me in studio sessions, and just keeping me going. My management team isn’t like this big building in Los Angeles where I go in, and sign in, and wait. I just go over to my manager’s house, and sit on his back porch, and go into his kitchen and eat his cereal. {laughs}

Adam Bernard: So there was never a time when you felt like you were hitting rock bottom.

Dia Frampton: No. I definitely felt, personally, like “What am I doing,” a lot of times. I still do quite a few times, but I think that might be natural, hopefully.

Adam Bernard: I think everyone in the arts, at some point, has to feel that way.

Dia Frampton: That is true. An acting teacher that I really love said that only a broken heart can let other things in, which I really liked.

Adam Bernard: That’s really beautiful. Speaking of meaningful phrases, what’s the meaning behind the name Archis? I really hope it has nothing to do with McDonald’s.

Dia Frampton: It does not. Actually, Archis, to me, is kind of symbolism, because you start on the ground, and then you can only get so high, (to) your highest point, but I feel like everything beautiful, everything amazing, usually has to come back down in some way. I guess it’s a little bit of a pessimistic way to look at things, but at the same time I feel like there should be a lot of those in your life. It doesn’t symbolize your whole life. Your life is different things that happen in your life. That’s where the name came from.

Adam Bernard: From what I’ve read you’ve been vocal about not being concerned about radio airplay when it comes to Archis. How has no longer having the question of “Will this get airplay?” in the back of your mind made the recording process different?

Dia Frampton: It’s interesting to be in a studio and never have that come up. Joe (Trapanese), he’s a composer, he doesn’t care. He doesn’t even really know radio format because he doesn’t pay attention to it. That’s not something that matters to him. I highly doubt any song will be on the radio, every song on the album is almost five minutes long, but it’s nice to not worry about that, and it’s really not a concern of mine anymore.

Adam Bernard: You are about to embark on a tour with Lindsey Stirling.

Dia Frampton: I’m actually on tour right now.

Adam Bernard: Being a veteran of two Warped Tours, and your own solo trips around the world, I’m sure you already have a plethora of great tour stories, so let’s hear a few of ‘em. What’s been the wildest, or most interesting, thing you’ve seen, or experienced, while on the road?

Dia Frampton: Man, that’s a good question. Whenever I’m touring with other bands they’re usually the ones that have crazy tour stories. Mine are like, get to the venue, see if I have time to do laundry... I really can’t think of anything that strange.


Adam Bernard: What’s the most lost, or out of your element, you’ve felt in a foreign country?

Dia Frampton: Hmm, I feel like anywhere in Asia, especially China, because hardly anybody speaks English there, so it’s really hard to communicate. Even with a taxi driver, you tell him to take you one place, you end up in a completely different place. Going to the UK, you can still communicate easily, but China was definitely a different experience, and the culture is so different there, the way people communicate is so different, so you kind of have to get in with it, and be very respectful. It was (still) really fun. We went on tour with James Blunt in January, and all thought China was really incredible.

Adam Bernard: Had he been there before, and could be an artistic tour guide, of sorts, or were you all just Lost in Translation?

Dia Frampton: Lost in Translation. {laughs}

Adam Bernard: What did you see there maybe because you were Lost in Translation? Like you were lost, and turned a corner, and were like, “This is freakin awesome!”

Dia Frampton: Man, China, anywhere I would go, I think the thing that was most interesting to me there was the street food. It’s very different. It’s not like fancy food trucks in Los Angeles. It’s like a guy cooking yams in a wooden barrel on the corner, but they’re really delicious, or like a woman cooking rice dumplings on a little street. All the little food carts were really awesome, and really cute. I really liked that a lot in China.

Adam Bernard: How many of these food carts did you eat at while you were in China?

Dia Frampton: I actually really like to eat street food. The yam carts were pretty popular, so I would go there a lot, and (there were) lots of tea houses, and tea carts, that you could go to that were really amazing, too.

Adam Bernard: During all of your tours, which foreign culture have you related to the most? Like if you ever had to flee this country, you’d go there.

Dia Frampton: Honestly, I would probably go to Thailand, just because everybody’s so nice there. They’re the sweetest people. Everyone’s smiling, polite. The food is incredible. I felt like that was something different because you know when you go to a Chinese restaurant in America, and then you go to China and the food is so different? In Thailand the food’s actually pretty similar. It’s all Thai curries, and pad Thai, and Thai iced tea, it’s all very similar to America. Their food’s just amazing, and people are so sweet there, and the temples are beautiful, the beaches are beautiful. It’s a really really fun place.


Adam Bernard: Moving from stories from abroad to stories from home, you have managed to keep your love life completely out of the press. I think a lot of people in a position similar to yours would like to know how you’ve managed to do that. Care to share any secrets to staying private?

Dia Frampton: I like to keep it separate. I actually dated somebody, and that really frustrated him a lot, that I wouldn’t post pictures of us on Instagram, things like that. I didn’t really understand, because I was like why would I? I like my privacy, and I don’t really like people knowing about who I’m dating. I feel like if I was really committed to somebody, like engaged, or something, and I was really certain, then I would be a little less shy about it, because it wouldn't be something that would change, but I feel like with my schedule, being on the road all the time, and now I’m on tour until August, and just working, lots of people can’t handle my schedule. I’ve lost a lot of relationships because of that, and so I don’t want to seem like I have a new boyfriend every three months just because the other ones peace out pretty fast

Adam Bernard: That’s a pretty tough hurdle to overcome, and you’re still overcoming it, but what would you say has been the greatest hurdle you’ve had to overcome, either in music or in life?

Dia Frampton: There have been a lot. I think, in my career, being on The Voice was very challenging for me. I’ve always played music because I’ve really loved it, and it’s something that makes me happy, and all of a sudden it became something so serious. I was being compared, and competing. Not that it was vicious backstage. The coaches were all great. Blake Shelton is still in my life, and so incredible, and actually everybody on my season was really kind. It wasn’t vicious at all, nobody had ill will towards anybody, but it was still a competition. I still really wanted to get that record deal, because I felt like I had to have it at that time, so I just got really crazed about it, couldn’t sleep, just would practice songs all day, and work out all day, go back and practice, go back and work out. I barely talked to anybody. I just was so focused on being on the show, and being at my best, and also so stressed about competing in music, because that was a new thing to me. That was very hard to overcome, and I’m still kinda getting out of that headspace of “You have to sing perfect.” Even now, when I get on stage I just want to be my best, and have a good time, and move people, (but) there’s still that little piece in my head that’s like “Oh, that’s a little pitchy,” or “Oh, that’s a little off,” or “You could be doing THIS better,” instead of just doing what I do naturally.

Adam Bernard: Finally, I love your Twitter bio, because there’s as much information crammed in there as humanly possible. That being said, and I say this with the full realization that I share some of your hobbies, if someone were to say “Dia Frampton’s a geek,” your reaction would be what?

Dia Frampton: Absolutely! {laughs} Without a doubt.

Adam Bernard: What’s the geekiest thing you do?

Dia Frampton: I have this dance move shoulder roll that I do sometimes. Whenever I go out dancing, which is very rare, I definitely do that. What else do I do? I think I’m just a nerd in general. I think that’s actually one of the most common things that anybody that I go on a date with, or have dated, (says). It’s just like, “You’re such a nerd,” but it’s nice. I’m just like a homebody. I love to sit at home and read, and cook, and do really nerdy dance moves.

Adam Bernard: That’s the real reason you keep your private life private, you don’t want someone posting up that dance move.

Dia Frampton: I know. That’s the end of the world for me. Hopefully that never happens. I think my tour manager said that I sleep with my mouth gaping open, so I think that he’s gonna take some photos next time, and that might be around. {laughs}


Interview originally ran on Arena.com.

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