“We’re from Nashville as a band but I’m from New York,” said Elena (pronounced EL-uh-nuh) Franklin as she discussed her band Reality Something and their Sept. 13 show at The Saint in Asbury Park. “I am so excited to play in Asbury Park! I’ve not been to the Jersey Shore since I was a kid with a friend’s family, I think it was.”
Assembled from locations all over the United States, the band came together through some spur-of-the-moment actions and the timing of guitarist Kingsley Brock. Franklin laughed as she recounted how it all came to be.
“I met (Brock) while I was living in Los Angeles, and I moved to Nashville like a psychopath after only knowing him for three weeks, so that I could hang out with him,” she said, with a giggle. “He was in another band at that time and we were living with two guys from a band called The Weeks. They were gone all of the time on tour and I didn’t know anyone, so I learned guitar, because there were a lot of guitars in the house. I just started learning guitar and writing songs. And right around the time I was getting serious about it, Kingsley ended up leaving his band, so we started Reality Something and made it our main focus.
“I found Ethan Place, our drummer, because somebody literally mentioned his name and I just started stalking him until he agreed to come over and play with us (laughs). And Bill Grasley, we found through friends of ours up in Wisconsin. He was in a band called The Traveling Suitcase but he really wanted to move to Nashville. Bill is an incredible guitar player and he does us a favor playing bass, but I think he likes it (laughs).”
What’s with the name Reality Something? According to Franklin, it’s about being in the moment, as in looking at things as they are, or just accepting situations for what they are and as they arise.
“If that makes sense, let’s go with that,” she says. “I get this question all of the time and I’ve never really come up with a good answer for it other than, look, if you switched around the name and made it Something Like Reality, that’s what it really is. Like what is this whole thing? We don’t know (laughs). It’s something, something like reality!”
With a self-titled EP in the books that was recorded several years ago, they have recently released a full-length disc. This also has a right-place-at-the-right-time feel to it.
“Life Noise is a full-length. It’s our very first full-length and it’s our debut record. We released it on May 4 on Infinity Cat Records here in Nashville. We found them or maybe they found us; we’ve always probably sort of known of each other … well, we knew of them and I’m pretty sure they had some idea of who we were. And their offices are located in a place here in Nashville called Fort Houston, which is what they call a maker’s space, because people literally make stuff like pottery or woodworking, and there’s a big art gallery in the back which is where their offices are. And I had my first art show there last November in that gallery. So they watched me and my friend, who is a photographer, as we put up the art show, and we’d been doing it all month. And right around that time was when we finished the record, and my friend Jenna, who is in the band Daddy Issues who are on Infinity Cat, gave them the record. They liked it and since they had been watching me all month, it just all sort of fell into place.”
Geologically speaking, the amount of time the band has been together is a blink of an eye. But for Franklin, it’s been a total growth process for both her and the band.
“We’ve been together a little over three years,” she said. “We put out a self-titled EP in August of 2015 and then started playing together a little later that year. I was the principal songwriter for the EP and the record; I sort of wrote the songs bedroom-style, but really I was in a freaking basement where we lived (laughs). It was just me and my guitar and then I’d bring them to Kingsley, and he’d add his guitar parts and help me rearrange them and really bring them to life with his guitar because without him they are just four-chord songs. Then everyone else would add in their parts on drums and bass and we’d work the songs out like that. But the stuff we are working on now is way more collaborative and the next thing we’re going to do is probably an EP and this next one is really Kingsley’s project; he’s doing most of the songwriting and arrangements. So I’m excited to see what we come up with.”
Getting ready to set out on the road can be a daunting task for any band. For Franklin, it’s a homecoming of sorts with dates in Jersey and New York City.
“It’s a two-weekend kind of thing; we’re going to play Philly, Brooklyn and Asbury Park and then the next week maybe Pittsburgh and then Milwaukee and a little festival and then to Appleton, Wisconsin. This is the first time that the band is going to play in New York and then we have a couple of days to hang out; I go all of the time but I’m excited to have them along this time.”
When asked what one can expect when attending a Reality Something show, she offered a very upbeat response: “We’re a rock band. I usually say we’re alternative, but it’s just a really honest rock show and we definitely have fun.”
For more about Reality Something, visit realitysomething.com.