T-SQUAT chats to Brisbane’s Helen Franzmann, or McKisko, as she gets set to release Good Grief, her latest seven-inch after her gorgeous debut album, Glorio. Franzmann’s voice- and acute, human lyrics which it carries- is the stand-out feature of her recordings; simultaneously sad, and strong, and pretty, she channels the kind of concurrent, gossamer bitter-sweetness that we love in people like Patti Smith and Joni Mitchell.



I’ve heard a bit of negative hearsay about the music scene in Brisbane: what’s it like compared to that of, say, Melbourne?

I think it’s hard to comment on a city that you don’t know intimately. I love playing in Melbourne; people there have really supported me and my music. Here, it’s obviously smaller and I’ve found it’s best not to play too many shows. It’s hard, in that you have to travel great distances to reach an audience beyond your city, but that’s the same for every city in Australia. I really enjoy making and playing music here.

Great venues like the Hangar and the Troubadour brought something unique to Brisbane. They’ve now closed, but the people who ran them are shifting about and working on new ideas still connected to live music.


I noticed you’ll be releasing your upcoming tracks through Bandcamp and Soundcloud. Do you fully embrace the advent of the online in regards to music? Many musicians loathe it.

I think it’s great. I’m glad to be able to sell my music directly to people who want to buy it. I’m happy for people to have my music digitally for free. I just hope that they buy the vinyl and come to the shows too.


Read any good books lately?

Reading Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut at the moment. I love and hate it simultaneously.



Do you remember your dreams?

I often remember my dreams. Once I had a dream that I gave birth to a tiny stick and had to drip feed it until it was big enough to come home with me. Another time, I dreamed about a huge stack of blocks that were about to fall and, as I reached out to catch them, I woke up. I had to check my entire house after that one. Something felt wrong about it. Birthing sticks on the other hand- completely normal.


How important is making money from music?

It depends on the individual. I don’t make a living from it, but I quite like my other work. I don’t know many people who aren’t working another job of some kind alongside being a musician. I do think it’s important to be paid something for performances. We hold gigs sometimes for interstate acts in our backyard and it’s sad when people watch and don’t want to give anything for the musicians. Ten dollars isn’t a lot of money when you take into account the band’s expenses to get there.


You’ve been travelling in Europe recently. How was it?

It was excellent. I was there for three months; I played shows in Berlin and Paris. People really listen, and the days are beautiful and long in summer. There is art and history and music everywhere you turn. I loved it. I wrote a lot.


What’s on the horizon?

Mountains, and three electricity poles.



McKisko is coming soon to a city near you…

Sydney   – Sunday October 9 – FBi Social
Melbourne – Thursday October 13 – Toff in Town
Melbourne –  Saturday October 15 – Pure Pop in store
Adelaide – Sunday October 16 – Grace Emily
Brisbane – Friday October 21 – Visy Theatre, Brisbane Powerhouse
Cooran (QLD) – Saturday October 22 - Cooran Hall



Words: Lisa Dib


Tags: Adelaide, brisbane, brisbane powerhouse, cooran hall, el nino el nine records, fbi radio, fbi social, grace emily, helen franzmann, mckisko, melbourne, queensland, toff in town

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