The Flynn Skidmore Podcast

The Evolution of Personal Branding: Insights from Instagram's Frank Bach

April 08, 2024 Flynn Skidmore / Frank Bach Episode 38
The Evolution of Personal Branding: Insights from Instagram's Frank Bach
The Flynn Skidmore Podcast
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The Flynn Skidmore Podcast
The Evolution of Personal Branding: Insights from Instagram's Frank Bach
Apr 08, 2024 Episode 38
Flynn Skidmore / Frank Bach

In today’s episode, I'm joined by Frank Bach, a designer at Instagram and a member of the band Monk. We delve into the intriguing crossroads of art and commerce, the significance of parental support in cultivating self-confidence, and the pivotal role of intuition in decision-making.

Our conversation begins with Frank's role at Instagram, where he's dedicated to enhancing the experience for creators on the platform. We then explore his insights on branding, its transition from corporate identities to personal ventures, and the importance of consistent application over time.

Frank also shares his background in hardcore punk music and its influence on his approach to design and branding, teaching him to challenge norms and embrace authenticity.

We discuss our takes on cultural trends. Frank dives into his unique design aesthetic, shaped by his musical influences and the merging of cultures and influences in the current creative landscape.

Join me for this thought-provoking, sociology-esque discussion with Frank Bach!

Connect with Flynn:

Connect with Frank:

Submit your written reviews to THIS form to be entered into a giveaway to win a 30 min session with me! We'll pull 1 winner at the end of the month.

Show Notes Transcript

In today’s episode, I'm joined by Frank Bach, a designer at Instagram and a member of the band Monk. We delve into the intriguing crossroads of art and commerce, the significance of parental support in cultivating self-confidence, and the pivotal role of intuition in decision-making.

Our conversation begins with Frank's role at Instagram, where he's dedicated to enhancing the experience for creators on the platform. We then explore his insights on branding, its transition from corporate identities to personal ventures, and the importance of consistent application over time.

Frank also shares his background in hardcore punk music and its influence on his approach to design and branding, teaching him to challenge norms and embrace authenticity.

We discuss our takes on cultural trends. Frank dives into his unique design aesthetic, shaped by his musical influences and the merging of cultures and influences in the current creative landscape.

Join me for this thought-provoking, sociology-esque discussion with Frank Bach!

Connect with Flynn:

Connect with Frank:

Submit your written reviews to THIS form to be entered into a giveaway to win a 30 min session with me! We'll pull 1 winner at the end of the month.

Flynn Skidmore: [00:00:00] Okay. Disclaimer Frank's mic is incredible on this episode. And my mic was atrocious. I had a couple little technical things that happened. I ended up having to do this with Apple string headphones. So. Um, the episode is interesting and exciting and valuable enough for us to say, let's just do it anyway, but just know my audio is pretty bad and I'm so, so, so sorry that that happened.

Thanks so much for being here. Hello and welcome to the Flynn Skidmore podcast. My goal is to help you become exactly who you want to be. We're here to help you take your biggest, boldest, most beautiful vision for life. And turn that vision into reality. Welcome back to the Flynn Skidmore podcast. Today, my guest is Frank Bach, AKA Zen Daddy, AKA the Ram Dass of hardcore, incredible nicknames.

[00:01:00] Frank is a designer at Instagram. It's also deeply immersed in the worlds of punk and metal. In today's conversation, we get to go super expansive, taking a look at cultural trends, authenticity, what it means to create, why we create, it's One of my favorite conversations. I can't wait for you to listen. 

Frank Bach: I don't know.

I think maybe when I learned about what the world, what, like it meant to brand something in graphic design school, I started to think, wow, that like, I could see how that applies to like anything you really do in life. Um, and like, you know, consistent effort over time. With, you know, an aesthetic, a tone, language, it's kind of like marketing 101.

Um, but that, that was something I started putting effort into a long, long time ago. And I feel like, you know, I'm 36 now and I'm really seeing the, seeing the rewards of that, um, in so many different ways. But the, um, what lights me up specifically right now, there's [00:02:00] two things. One is I really enjoy working with creators, uh, artists, you know, I think formerly known as influencers, people who make a living on the internet who maybe don't have a nine to five job, or maybe they have, you know, some part time work, but they found other ways to make a living.

That's a little outside of the usual grind. I mean, people like yourself. That is exciting to me, even though I I've only dabbled in it in a in a few sort of ways with with projects. But it is like my main day job is working on on features for creators for the Instagram app. So that's my like actual full time job.

So that that part's really exciting. And Honestly, I think that just was almost a fluke where it happened, where my, my own personal passions working with creators, um, was something I'd been doing for a few years with my, my store with the sunshine shop. And, you know, I was on the job hunt looking [00:03:00] at.

Looking at open roles in certain companies that I thought would be cool to work at and it all just sort of clicked like, Hey, Frank's been doing this work with creators already. Um, and has a product design skill set where I, you know, I used to work in in healthcare and mindfulness kind of world on headspace app.

So all these things came together and it was like, this feels like the perfect job for me right now. 

Flynn Skidmore: There, there are so many things about this that stands out to me. Um, here, here are two of the major things that stand out to me. One is one of the first things that you said is you're, you asked the question, um, where you were speaking about speaking about branding and the application of branding to things other than just branding.

I'm so curious to hear what branding is from your perspective. What, what is branding? And if we're doing something called branding, how do we know? And then the other thing that really stands out to me is, um, is your draw to people, Who are [00:04:00] formerly referred to as influencers. Now we may refer to as creators, like your draw to people who are walking an unconventional path.

Um, let's do this. Which one of those is more interesting for you to answer? 

Frank Bach: Um, I think they're both connected, honestly, but yeah, we can start with, with the branding part. Yeah, cool. 

Flynn Skidmore: Yeah. What is branding? I 

Frank Bach: mean, there's, you know, the way I learned it was in graphic design school, which was basically coming up with, you know, visual design for companies, for corporate identities, for, you know, the logo, the letterhead, the website, et cetera.

And when you really think about what, what is happening there, it is. adding value to something through a visual aesthetic, through a tone, through content. And that applies to so much more than just a business or a, you know, you're not always going to be designing a, a system for, I don't know, a bank or a, you know, a small business or whatnot.

You could apply that stuff to [00:05:00] yourself or to somebody. And in this new world where people Make a living being themselves, i. e. creators, uh, they are a business, you know, and figuratively and literally like they are, they are LLCs they are, you know, so in a way, like it, it's all sort of come 360 and this thing that probably sounded ridiculous, you know, 10 years ago is a path that a lot of people have chosen today.

Um, where they want to offer the world their unique skill set, or they found a path to making a living being the, you know, sounds kind of corny, but being like the best version of themselves, they can be, um, and that comes together, you know, via social media or, you know, I think the offering like workshops and, and, and courses and things like that have become pretty popular.

But really, I think branding is just a consistent application of something over a long period of time. And that could be, um, it could be [00:06:00] your, your, the way you show up visually on social media. It could be your headshot on your zoom profile. Like it, it could be the way that you dress every day. Um, you know, I think people think of the word personal brand as if it's some kind of like dirty thing we shouldn't talk about, but I always tell people you already have a personal brand.

It's the way people just think of you and perceive you. So. You might as well, you know Try to control that a little bit and and make it work in the best way possible for you because people are people already have an opinion, you know, 

Flynn Skidmore: I really like that take. I mean, there, whether or not we like it, a status game is happening and whether or not we like it, the way the ways in which our value is being perceived is happening.

It's happening. And we can either, we can either, right. It's what exists. And I think some people like in my early twenties, I'm sure like when I was like reading Camus and like Sartre and like wanting to like, say, like, like we're so [00:07:00] caught up in the idea of authenticity and inauthenticity and so deeply wanted to reject something like the commodification of someone's soul and all that.

You know what I 

Frank Bach: mean? Of course. We've all been there. We've 

Flynn Skidmore: all been there. It's the worst. But, um, but now I, I don't, it's very playful for me now. Like I really love it. I love the idea of yes, people are perceiving my value in a particular way. And if I want, and if I don't like the way that they're perceiving my value, then I actually have influence over that.

I, I, there's, there's opportunity for me to create in that space. 

Frank Bach: Yep. A hundred percent. I'm with you. And the, you know, the, I think we all have our own, backgrounds and how we kind of got to where we're at. And mine comes from, you know, sort of hardcore punk music and the DIY kind of world. And there is that pushback of like, you know, wanting to be so authentic, like you said, and not wanting to play the same games that, I don't know, the world of business is playing, [00:08:00] but yeah, there, there is a way I think to do it authentically.

And the way I kind of see it is. Um, I, I just call it like my, my little like Frank universe or like my Frank world. And it's like, there's no one like logo or typeface or anything that is like always static because I think it's always changing, but it's just like following these principles of like, usually, usually black and white with a little pop of color.

And these are sort of like the terms and words. And, you know, this year might be more around creativity. And I don't know, compassion in the next year, I might just be on a totally different, uh, path just personally. So I will shift and change kind of the approach based on, you know, based on how life's going.

Flynn Skidmore: What's your relationship with your taste? So for me, like you're the aesthetic that you present. You to [00:09:00] me seem like I really like your taste. It seems like you have a, an understanding of quality and there's like potency in the quality of your taste. What, what's it like to have taste like yours? And maybe even like, when, when did that tape, when did, when did it start to be clear to you that you have really fly taste?

Frank Bach: Sometimes the best question anyone's ever asked me. 

Flynn Skidmore: Yeah. 

Frank Bach: I should pay you for this. The, uh, you know, I think being, I look back being a, a musician through my kind of like high school, college years, I was never the best, uh, bassist, guitarist, whatnot, you know, I, I could kind of, I could hang with the, with the, the people who actually did this every day and had a passion for it, but where I really came in was being the guy in the band who could help with the artwork and help with the, you know, I hate, kind of hate the word, but the [00:10:00] literally the production, you know, how all the pieces come together and why, and who's included and who's involved and what, you know, why would we do this instead of that?

And I would be bringing those kinds of things. things to the table. And honestly, I, I usually get people rolling their eyes at me, you know, and oh, we should, we should do this, or we should, uh, you know, it was like, Frank, come on, just focus on the music, man. Like this is, you know, it's all about the music.

But I think I had this sense that it's about a little bit more than the music. And. similar with, with anything, e commerce, uh, clothing, apparel, like it's about more than just the garments. It's about the story you tell around it and how that narrative does add value to the thing you've created. And that, you know, in, in, in the long run might make the difference between somebody giving you, you know, 10 bucks for the album instead of just walking past the table and, you know, not even, not even looking at it.

So I think that's kind of where it came from. Um, 

Flynn Skidmore: [00:11:00] I can I just summarize what I'm hearing? Because I love this. I fucking love this. Okay. So part of this world in like, and this is what, in the bands you were in, it was like, like punk music, punk and like metal. 

Frank Bach: Yeah, exactly. 

Flynn Skidmore: Okay. So punk metal world. 

Frank Bach: They hate this stuff.

They don't like it. About it. 

Flynn Skidmore: Rejection of operations and production. Right. Which is like part of the ethos, which is hilarious. I like, I love that. But you, so for you, like you weren't necessarily, you weren't playing the way that you would have liked to play in order to kind of carve out a role for yourself and, and access maybe even the, like the level of status and belonging that you would have liked as a base.

Something like that. 

Frank Bach: Yeah. I think it, it, it was just what came naturally because I was, I was not super able to contribute musically, like even just talking about like song structure, like [00:12:00] I could tell what I, that I liked what I liked when I heard it, but I couldn't tell you like that needs a new bridge or that like chorus should be repeated a couple of times or like, I just didn't even have the words back then talk about it.

So I guess just naturally, like, where can I. Add value to this thing so that I don't get kicked out of the band. Cause I suck at playing music. That's fascinating. So, so, so 

Flynn Skidmore: like in, in the pursuit of continued belonging and getting to be part of this thing, where's my role? Where can I add value? Oh, this thing, this thing of like operations and, and how we're producing all of this, how these pieces come together.

I have this natural sense of how to do this. Like what's right about this, which. Yep. To me, I love that you're answering the taste question with that, because in, in, for me, that is taste like, oh, this is how the table should needs to be set up. This is how the merch needs to be set up. This is how we're going to communicate what this like, that's taste.

It's like a, [00:13:00] a sense of inspiration of rightness. And then you listen to it, and then you do it. And then it sounds like it worked out for you. 

Frank Bach: I think so. Yeah. Yeah. It's, And it's, it's also like, what if we combine this thing and that thing that are, you know, they're both not connected and nobody has really done that before and someone might think that's an insane idea.

Why would you do that? You know, I just, we're not trying to reinvent the wheel. We're trying to just do like, you know, status quo stuff. Um, but just having this belief that, yeah. If you know, so if nobody doesn't like it, then probably no one's going to love it. So, you know, if you just play it right down the middle, um, you're going to get, that's the result you're going to get is something that's like pretty good, but nobody's like crazy about it.

But yeah, I think that's, that's, that's kind of where I've, I've come at it from. And, you know, being a designer, I think the, that kind of like classic. Um, Swiss like minimalist style is something I've always [00:14:00] been drawn to. And then probably the kind of the grittiness of like the punk world and like, you know, cut and paste posters has sort of made its way.

into it. And I like to think that I've come up with something that kind of uniquely represents me. And I think it's cool because if somebody tries to like copy it and do similar, like, it's just, it's so baked into who I am that I don't even know if it probably wouldn't even bother me because it just would be, that's, you know, it's my, it feels like my thing.

Flynn Skidmore: Yes. Right. So there's no, there's no like threat to someone not resonating with it because it's your thing. 

Frank Bach: Yeah. Yeah. If you don't like it, it's fine. I can't change who I am. But that 

Flynn Skidmore: I imagine though, that that comes with a sense of you knowing that your thing is cool. 

Frank Bach: Yeah. That's fair. That's fair. Yeah. I guess I've had enough.

I've had enough. Um, what do you call it? Confirmation that I'm making some cool stuff. Um, whether that [00:15:00] be like. We've been talking about music a bit, but like other work I've done, like being a designer on the headspace app, um, you know, running, running design studios in the past, like, I feel like I've gotten a lot of good, just good, consistent feedback over the years that, um, I can trust my gut.

I can trust my intuition. And if I, you know, if I, if there's a moment where I don't, then I have ways to test and validate that stuff. 

Flynn Skidmore: Mm hmm. I'm um, so I want to ask you a little bit about. What you, what's some of the, what are some of the ways that growing up in the metal and punk worlds have influenced your worldview?

So I, when I was, uh, I grew up in Brooklyn and on my, on my block, grew up in a neighborhood that was mostly black. And one of my friends on my block was this other white kid. His name is Jared. And, um, and, and when we went into middle school, when it was time to like pick identities for the first time. I [00:16:00] sort of went with like Wu Tang Cameron skateboard, and he went with punk, punk metal.

Um, and so we kind of parted ways for a little while. It was amazing, right? And those were like two of the only options for being white growing up in Brooklyn. You either go like metal, or you go white. Um, so we parted, we veered ways for a little while. We parted ways and then he came back to high school and it was so cool for me to emerge with him or reemerge with him.

Um, because I got access to his friend group, which are these like New York city punk metalhead kids in the two thousands and the, their perspectives, their, their worldviews, how they went about things was. fascinating to me. It was so different than anything I'd been exposed to. So I'm just really curious to hear about your experience with that world.

Frank Bach: Yeah, I think it's a very empowering world in the way that like, you're you're motivated to make things. [00:17:00] you know, make things come to life. Like if you, if you see some, if you think of something and it doesn't exist, you know, you can make a magazine, you can make, it can, it can be shitty. It can be like a photocopied thing of like poetry or it can, you know, really like whatever you want, uh, you can kind of make happen.

And there is this feeling of like, Not having to ask for permission to do stuff. I think that stops a lot of people just in like everyday life, even outside of these like subcultures where they think someone has to ask them to do something for them to do something, you know, like I've, I've spoken at some of the top design and tech conferences in the world.

And. You know, I, who am I to do that? I don't know. I just sort of assumed the role and, and built the confidence that I could do it. And if not me, then who else is going to, you know, why someone else? Um, so I think just like constantly asking questions, I think that comes from that. It comes from that world.

And it probably helps a lot being a person who's in [00:18:00] kind of the design and research world as well. Cause that is kind of part of the job of, of, Like the work I do, uh, nine to five is asking a lot of questions and using that to, to kind of move a project forward. Um, something I wish I'd seen more of in the punk and metal world was, um, it's a lot of like grandstanding around like everybody's welcome and it's, it's a very diverse environment and things like that.

But I think that's only really coming to life in the last Kind of like five. 10 years is that you're actually seeing like, um, it's not just an audience full of dudes, you know, it's like, you're actually seeing like young women come to come to the gigs and, you know, people of all shapes and sizes jumping in the pit.

And that stuff's really fun to see. I make, you know, as a, as an elder elder, uh, audience member, it's kind of cool. It's cool to see how that's happened. Like, Oh, it's not like as dangerous as it once felt. [00:19:00] Um, but I think also being like the comment around, um, the two, the two choices that you could kind of make, uh, growing up in Brooklyn, I think what's really interesting is that those cultures have all kind of mashed together now.

Flynn Skidmore: Yes. And 

Frank Bach: like, I go, I don't know if this is, if it's just like in, in like larger cities or what, not, but you go out to go out to a gig, you go out to a skate park or, you know, just, just to, to wherever, and you can't really pinpoint where somebody is sort of drawing from. Um, or the sort of life that they're, they're living because you could see somebody who, you know, who looks like a nineties hip hop head, but he's like a creative director at an ad agency or something.

Or like you could see a kid who looks like a, a total metal head, but ends up, he's just really inspired by Kanye West and like, doesn't listen to metal at all. So there's like, it's like all, it's all this big mashup. And it's kind [00:20:00] of amazing. 

Flynn Skidmore: Do you remember when that started to happen? When like metal skateboard, hip hop culture started to merge together.

Frank Bach: And yeah, it's like, I feel like it was like mid two thousands. Yeah. Like I really, I used to be so split, right. It was like, you're either metal or hip hop and that's it. And yeah, no, it's, it's amazing that it's all, you know, There's not that like hard divide anymore. 

Flynn Skidmore: I remember, uh, Lil Wayne being a huge catalyst.

I thought, I think that's what it's like. It's been interesting for me to track that. It's also like the merging of black and white culture, like, um, um, Like basketball and soccer and soccer is not really white, but like it's, you know, it's, it's, it's been so interesting to see that and it's interesting that you're seeing that reflected in the metal and punk worlds now there's not one particular type of [00:21:00] thing.

Frank Bach: Totally. Yeah. I, I mean, I think I'll go out on a limb and say like skateboarding is kind of the, the, maybe the culture that brings them both together. Yeah. Um, maybe you're, you know, skating with skating with your hip hop buddies and your punk rock buddies and somebody throws on a playlist and it's just, you know, it's Spotify release radar or something.

And then it's a P it's appeasing both crowds and hey, there's, I kind of like that, you know, I kind of like that. I don't like that metal song. I kind of like that, you know, I kind of like that rap song. 

Flynn Skidmore: Um, it's really cool for me to get to speak with you in particular about this because, okay, so. There's there's this phenomenon happening of the merging of these cultures, the merging of these identities, one person is curating a personal brand, but they have so many more options to pick from, it seems to me like, and I think in some ways, that's producing homogeny, like it's the [00:22:00] same, but in other ways, it's producing like high levels of Freedom, personal freedom, it seems to me, um, and I'm really interested in the relationship between that and something like Instagram or tick tock.

Um, and I just love to hear about like what your take on that is, like how Instagram might be related to that trend. And then also what you see as the trajectory of, of that thing that's happening. 

Frank Bach: Yeah, I mean, I think you, you, you kind of said it, I mean, social media has given people access to so much more that used to be hard to find when we were younger, you know, having to, having to hit the record store and dig through crates and ask, you know, ask dumb questions and be, feel embarrassed that you didn't know what that thing was, or you didn't, you never heard of that band or, you know, you didn't know that, that person.

Um, you're able to kind of access so much on social media and, um, people are also [00:23:00] sharing, sharing a lot of it where it's a little bit less gatekeepy feeling than it used to be. Um, and then sorry, the part two to, to the question, can you repeat it again? 

Flynn Skidmore: Like I'm curious about, because if some people I hear, um, like I was just speaking to my friend the other day and he's got great taste.

He's very smart. He sees patterns. He, uh, and he was speaking about like, you know, well, you'll be in LA and there'll be women who are wearing, um, like loafers and a blazer. And you go to Paris and women are wearing loafers and a blazer. And maybe it's like a little bit flyer in Paris, but it's like the same thing everywhere.

And I don't, and I don't know if like, we're being romantic about some time that existed where like everyone was like expressing themselves and now everyone is the same. Um, yeah. 

Frank Bach: Yeah. 

Flynn Skidmore: And I don't know if there's any truth to that or what, but I'm curious to know, like [00:24:00] your, your take on that, if you see the same thing happening and then also like where you see it going, like, is this a coming together of cultures and then cultures are going to like spread out and then become like hyper micro niches.

I don't really know, but I'm curious what you think. 

Frank Bach: Yeah. It's you're, you're Reminding me of this really old memory that I, I almost forgot about, which was, I don't know, maybe 15 years ago being in not Paris, but it was, I want to say it was, was, was this Oslo. And I remember seeing a lot of women wearing Chuck Taylors.

And I thought, you know, that's kind of strange. I thought, like, I, you know, it's, it's a type of shoe that I've worn, but I haven't really seen it be. Like on trend in a little while at the time, you know, and it's kind of like, whoa, this whole like Chuck Taylor thing is happening Norway, you know, also like really weird.

It's like very cold, very slushy, watery, like, you know, [00:25:00] wet environment. So like kind of a terrible shoe, honestly, like, that's weird. I haven't seen that in a long time. And I, you know, You're kind of making me wonder if, if those days are gone and they're probably gone and another way I'd relate this is, um, I hear people talk about coffee this way about like the, you know, the, this wave of.

Of coffee, like the blue bottle of vacation of the world, sort of like you can find a blue bottle coffee in any major city and they're all the same and they're going to taste the same. And it's kind of nice because you can always rely on it. And, you know, it's going to be tasty and it's going to, it's going to be great, but we're maybe missing.

The cultural nuances of, you know, what are you doing in Paris, buying a blue bottle of coffee? I know it's like a comfort of home and that's great when you're in. San Francisco, New York, LA, whatever. But, um, [00:26:00] if that's happening to coffee, it makes you wonder what's happening in other, in other aspects, you know?

Flynn Skidmore: Yes. That's such a cool take. I love that. When I was in, um, I studied sociology and anthropology in college. Um, I don't even really know how it happened. I just, I just saw some classes that were interesting and I was like, yep. And then I got too deep into it and then just decided for that to be my major.

There was no forethought in my life before like three years ago. Um, and, but I did love it. And in one of the classes, um, It's like an upper level class. I can't remember exactly what it was. Um, I read this paper called the McDonaldization of culture or society or something like that. And it's exactly what you're saying, which is like, there are these elements of standardization and expectancy and like quality control that I guess is attractive to people in some way, like if we're not having to invest energy or to invest calories into, um, [00:27:00] taking risks and, and navigating nuances.

I don't even know really what the benefit is. I'm not sure why people are so drawn to that. And maybe people aren't even drawn to that, but it's just because billion dollar companies are like making people drawn to it. I'm not sure, but it's a really interesting cultural phenomenon that we're all, we all participate in the.

In the orientation towards standardization and and it brings up, um, a thing that that I'm curious to hear your take on because if that's the larger trend, the blue bottle ization of the world and Chuck Taylor's in Oslo, but then at the same time, we have this opportunity for everyone to capitalize on a personal brand and to do it really well and to use tools like Instagram to do that.

Like what's happening there. We're like simultaneously getting homogenized in a large way while also differentiating ourselves in a smaller way. 

Frank Bach: Yeah. I wonder if there's like a, [00:28:00] like a baseline sort of homogenization and then like, we'll all find our own small ways to stand out in that. Um, and maybe that's, you know, maybe people are, people are dressing and talking the same in, in different areas of the world, but we're all able to pull certain influences that make us uniquely us.

And maybe, you know, maybe for me, it's, it's kind of some of the stuff that I've been talking about. And for you, that's going to be different as well. But yeah, it's such a unique time to, I mean, just weird state, unique time to live, I guess. But the, the speed at which this stuff happens now is really insane.

Um, and I think it's also happening. Like, it's not just that, I don't know, bell bottom jeans are, are back in style. It's that they come back in style for like three months and then they go away and then they come back again. And it's not, it's not, it's not taking like, It's not taking like 10 years for a thing to come [00:29:00] back.

It just takes one person to express themselves with that old thing in a new way. And all of a sudden it's back. 

Flynn Skidmore: It's a really cool take. I love, I love that you're bringing this up because I've noticed The same thing. Okay. Remember when you're saying 15 years ago and like Chuck Taylor's were becoming a thing.

So when I hear that, I'm, I'm remembering like the J crew, like special section of the site where it's collaborations and this stuff is a little better. You know what I mean? And they had like J crew converse collab. And that what I remember in that era is like, Oh, that's the, um, that's the, that's the wayfarer error, the era.

So that's when we're like, we're, we're going back to like sixties aesthetic. You remember that? And that lasted a while, right? The sixties, the sixties J crew thing lasted a long time. And then I remember we got into the seventies and like, I don't think we did much of [00:30:00] eighties, but then we got to the nineties and now we're in the two thousands again, and it feels like each time we're returning to a previous decade, the time we spend in that decade is way shorter than it was.

In the, like spending our time in the nineties was way shorter than we spent in the, when we were in the sixties over the last 15 years. You know what I'm saying? No. And so then I'm like, what the hell is going to happen when we catch up to ourselves? 

Frank Bach: Yeah. Yeah. It's like the timeline is just going to get like tighter and tighter and then we're going to have like some kind of weird big bang moment or something.

Flynn Skidmore: Yeah. I know. I know. That's yeah. That's how I think of it too. You said it. You said something about, um, before earlier, you said something about finding authenticity or like, um, being authentic in the process of, of creating a personal brand and I'm, I'd love to hear about what, what you see authenticity as, and if you are being [00:31:00] authentic, what's the evidence that lets you know you're being authentic versus when you're not, what's, what's inauthentic?

Frank Bach: Yeah, that's a good question. I think the being authentic part is. You know, if you having, having a, having a thought or having a wanting to do something and it feeling like an itch, you can't, you know, and it, you, you can't not scratch and it's just feeling so like a direction you need to follow or something you need to try.

And probably the evidence sometimes is that for some people, um, they might judge you for it, or you might feel judged for it. And it sounds kind of funny, but sometimes feeling judged for something that you sort of. Can't not do, uh, that might be some proof that you're being authentically you cause you're not letting like weird pressures or judgment of other people stop you from doing the thing that you, you really want to do, you know, I mean, I guess nowadays people would sometimes call it being cringy.[00:32:00] 

Flynn Skidmore: Um, 

Frank Bach: you're just like, well, you know, fuck it. I don't care. I don't care what, what you think. I, I got to follow my own path and what feels right for me. So that, and everyone's free to do that themselves as well. 

Flynn Skidmore: I kind of have a hot take on that, which is, yeah, I, I don't think that all veering from the norm is cringy.

I think that some cringe is cringy and other things are not actually cringy. You know, like there's a different quality to it and it's not all cringy. 

Frank Bach: No, I mean, I think there's, yeah, there's different levels. And I think, I think the. you get from people sometimes is that you're doing something they wish they had the guts to try.

Flynn Skidmore: Mmhmm. 

Frank Bach: And. I'm sure you've seen this as a creator yourself as somebody who, you know, you're not just like a person who does one thing you, you know, you've got a lot of a lot going on as far as like your day job, you're running a podcast, have sort of a media [00:33:00] thing going for yourself, like that's not for everybody.

And I'm sure you've faced some level of judgment. By, I don't know, even sometimes people closest to you, uh, if not them, then I'm sure you get some feedback in the comments that like someone, someone didn't appreciate the thing you shared. And it's like, um, yeah, I think that usually comes from somebody's, um, what'd you say?

you, whatever you said or did made somebody feel bad about themselves, even though you didn't mean to do that. And you're getting this like backlash reaction from them. And we can't take it too personally. Cause that's, you know, that's just one person. 

Flynn Skidmore: And, you know, one of the things that I'm really fascinated by that, uh, I think my, what I want to believe is that everyone has access to this.

I'm, I don't know that with certainty. But when you're talking about like, like, you know, when you like something, you know, [00:34:00] when the idea of putting together the operations and the production for the band is the, is the right thing. And I hear from so many people who, who, Um, I, I think it's in them, whatever that thing is, like taste, preference, understanding of quality.

So you're this, the compass of your soul. I don't know exactly what it is, but you seem to speak as if you're very in touch with that thing. And I think a lot of people are very confused by what that thing is and how to get in touch with that. Do you have any insight in that? 

Frank Bach: Oh man, yeah, it's, I don't know if I have insight.

I don't, I think it's like, maybe some of us just don't second guess as much, or we're like a little bit less in our heads about things. Um, if I look at the trend in my life, I am pretty good at commitment, um, even relationships, jobs. I don't know, I think when I see something and I like it, I take it. I know I like it and I don't, I don't know if it's, it might [00:35:00] be a naive thing and maybe I'll regret this later, but I just feel like I'm, if I, if I like it, I know I like it.

I'm not thinking too hard about it and I just sort of go for it. And I guess I've, I've learned that not everybody has that, like you said. Um, and I wonder, not just for me, but I wonder where that comes from for, for others. Like, is it, is it the result of having, I will say I, my whole life I had extremely supportive parents who backed me in like whatever I wanted to do.

You want to play ice hockey? Here's all the best equipment. You want to, you don't want to play, you want to be a goal, a goalie now? All right, let's sell all the stuff and get you all the goalie gear. You want to skateboard this summer? You want to snowboard? You want to, you want to sell out? Thousands of dollars of hockey equipment.

We just bought you. Okay, let's do it. And we'll buy you a snowboard and we'll buy you, you know, we'll make sure that you can get out and do that thing. similar, like I have a younger sister and she got into like ballet and jazz dance and stuff like that. And, um, you know, we, [00:36:00] we still, our family came from a, still a pretty modest upbringing, but my parents put everything together and they actually, uh, bought a dance studio.

So that became our life for many years. And all of a sudden it switched from like supporting me and my activities to supporting my sister. And we became a big dance family and we did, we went all in on that stuff for like, You know, five, six years. And so I think. Like not to get too like, you know, like psychoanalyzing like childhood about it, but I'm sure there's something there around feeling supported by your parents, no matter what decisions you make that give you some confidence in life later, um, that you can trust your intuition, that you're like, you know what you're doing.

Flynn Skidmore: Uh, I, I don't think that's too psychoanalyze y, I, I, I'm listening to you and I'm like reflecting on my own experience and I'm like, wow, that, because, I mean, that one of, one of the things that like in my work with people one on one, one of the things that, One of the [00:37:00] things that people struggle with the most is that they didn't have experiences in particular with their parents, where they learned that their intuition or their sense of direction, their compass, their internal experience was correct, like a lot of kids are getting like, like, I guess the word would be gas lit.

And so it's not correct. So not only is it not correct, You're also learning that it's not valuable. Whereas for you, you're like, Oh, I want to be a hockey goalie that you're getting, uh, evidence that the direction that you want to go has value to it and is going to be supported and is going to be a thing that like maintains the bond and maybe even strengthens the bond with your parents.

And a lot of people don't get that. 

Frank Bach: Yeah. Yeah. That's, that's probably spot on. And like, even people ask, like, how did you decide to go to design school? And what, how did you know that would be like a path for you? And. Like I found out you could make a living doing something that was, that seemed, you know, artistic enough.

And [00:38:00] I knew that I, on most days, you know, enjoyed spending time sitting at a computer. So those seemed like two, two things I could put together and, you know, have a pretty decent life doing and brought that back to, you know, brought that back to mom and dad. And they were like, that sounds like a good plan.

Like I see that in you. I, I don't entirely understand what that all means, but, um, We trust that you make good decisions. So, um, you know, let us know what you need and you can, you can stay at home while you go to school. So you don't end up in a ton of debt. Um, but yeah, that, yeah, I think you're, you've definitely got more of the, uh, more of the credentials to, to say, to say those things than I do, but I appreciate it.

Flynn Skidmore: Well, it's, it may not even be so much about credentials. I just get access to people's inner worlds all the time. You know what I mean? So it's just like the, yeah. The patterns that I see, but yeah, that's, that's really standing out. And I, um, it's something that I [00:39:00] really want for the world. Um, is to, I want, I really would love for everyone to have an experience of, Oh, the, the sense that I have that the thing to do is to set up the merch table and like take care of the operations.

Like that's the right thing. So I'm going to go do that. And it's not like it's right in an objective sense. It's not like it's written in stone by the hand of God, and it's in the Bible and it's like universally true, but like a sense of conviction about what to create without also tricking yourself into thinking that whatever you're convicted by, it like speaks to some kind of objective truth.

Frank Bach: Right. Totally. And I wondered if you had thoughts around like, how does somebody get to that level of clarity? where they're, where they have that certainty and like confidence that what they're doing is, is the right thing. I'm sure in your coaching work, you've, you've kind of helped navigate people toward that.

Flynn Skidmore: You know, so if I can speak about the [00:40:00] principles of it at play, um, I actually think it has a lot more to do. And it's interesting to hear your take on this as a musician. I think it has more to do with sound dynamics than it does psychology. Like I, the way that I think about this kind of stuff is let's say a person, um, has experienced like a repeated trauma over their life of like, I dunno, being abused in some kind of way.

Learning that their experience doesn't matter. It's not valuable. It's not real. Um, I see that as like forming an out of tune or incoherent or dissonant note within their psyche and their body. And, um, what seems to be the case. Is that when we find those dissonant notes within us, and then we approach them as an in tune and coherent note.

Um, so with curiosity, with warmth, with love, seeking to understand, [00:41:00] it's like the, it's like the coherent in tune note. Helps the dissonant note remember what the music within them sounds like and and then creates this like intrinsic Understanding of how to harmonize and to become coherent again Does that make enough sense to for you to do something with?

Frank Bach: Yeah. Yeah. No, I love the way you put that 

Flynn Skidmore: so for so for I think for a lot of what I find myself, what I'm doing a lot with people, especially when it comes to this kind of thing is helping them find the parts of themselves who have learned along the way that their experience doesn't matter. It's not valuable.

It's not real. And, and actually not forcing like no force, no convincing that part. We're just looking to see what happens when that part of them is met with coherence. Um, And then when it's met with coherence, we see who that part of them wants to become. And usually it's the case that when a person is learning to meet their inner world in that particular way, they, they become [00:42:00] reconnected with the, with the sense of like, Oh yes, I want this.

I desire this. So I'm going to do it. It, it seems like it's just there waiting to be had. They're just, they're just requires like minor little tweaks internally. 

Frank Bach: Yeah, that's remarkable. That is, yeah, it's, it's, you saying that and making the like, the musical, sort of the, the sound comparison. And I wonder if, If you felt the, you know, the out of tune notes enough times in your life, you start to not trust your own, uh, your own intuition or, you know, start to just question yourself a lot.

And obviously that can be a bit of a cycle people get into where, you know, I have an idea. want to act on it, have this history of, you know, questioning myself and, and, and then just sort of the cycle continues and you never, you struggle to kind of get anything off the ground. Um, and then when you do, you're not sort of putting your best foot forward.

Flynn Skidmore: I think that's right. And, and then I think what happens [00:43:00] for people is then in that version of life, They're not getting to accumulate experience that allows their psyche, their nervous system to know that actually following the intuition or the creative taste or the preference is the safer thing to do that, that it creates safety.

So then people think that like control and predictability and like whatever it is, is, is the safer thing. Um, and they, and they just, their, their bodies don't trust. That actually the intuition is the safer thing. Um, and then once you start, once you take that leap and you break through and you're like, Oh fuck, I listened to myself.

And then these are the results that were created. Then I think I see a lot of people creating a lot of momentum with that. It's like, Oh, well now the next time I'm going to do it, it's going to be easier and easier and easier. And then it's more and more and more beautiful. 

Frank Bach: No, you're, you're, that's, that's spot on.

It's like the momentum can happen in either direction. It can start to go like, like in a [00:44:00] snowball, like awesome way, or like in a downward spiral sort of way. Um, sort of, uh, not that you always get the choice, but if you can choose which direction to go, you probably want to go in the snowball kind of accumulative, like how I think that I can kind of tie that to some of the things.

That I do and how I kind of see it as Um, I have like this baseline, pretty incredible day job. I love the work that I get to do, the team I get to work with and the projects we work on. And I've been able to have a few of these like side projects, whether that be like, you know, running courses and workshops or speaking engagements or having this online shop where I'm working with other artists.

And I definitely can't be firing on all cylinders. all the time. Like sometimes these things take a backseat for a little while and I focus more on on whatever is important at the time. Um, [00:45:00] but the, I do kind of see it as like additive, like, yeah, let's say the online store like for sunshine shop, for example, that's kind of a baseline thing where it Even if I don't work on it for six months, it still exists.

And it's still like does a reasonable amount of, um, you know, just sales. Like, of course it'll start to dip if I stop putting effort into it, but that's okay if there's other stuff that needs, that needs focus, it never goes away. It's just, it's there. And I feel like because I've, I've taken the like branding thing pretty seriously.

Um, it doesn't feel super randomly. It doesn't feel like, Oh, Frank's like running this. I don't know, like. convenience store, like a coffee shop or something on the side. Like, no, he's running like a, uh, cool online store for artists and creators who are like, you know, selling merch and books and things like that.

So it all kind of fits into the story of like me. And some people [00:46:00] ask, you know, how do you have the time to do all these things? And it's like, well, they usually come in like bursts of, of, Creativity or productivity where like getting a store up and running, you can, you know, with tools nowadays, you can get that going in like, in a long weekend, you know, if you really put the time into it and really focused on it for like a good day's work every day, you could get something really solid going.

And, um, The beauty is once that's up and running, you can kind of walk away from it for a sec until you're ready for that next burst of inspiration. And um, like there's no, there's no world where I'm working nine to five at Instagram and then working five to eight on the shop. And then, you know, eight to 10 rehearsing music.

And then I still get home and tuck my kid, uh, to bed every night, you know, like that's not the reality of it. It's, it's like, it's a lot less, um, It's not a relay race like that, you know, it's, it's, it's more of just [00:47:00] like bursts of productivity every here and here and there, and just knowing where to apply that creativity and that inspiration, because I've got so many little avenues that I can apply them to.

Yeah, so long, long thing, long, long statement. But, um, I think it is nice when you have a lot of like little projects going, because when you get that, when you get that feeling that you just want to create and make something, you kind of know where to put it. 

Flynn Skidmore: What's really cool. what some of the things that I'm hearing in there is like, the things that you sounds like you're very, I can't think of the right word, but let's just say wise with your with your choices about where you're investing your attention and energy.

And you're like, there's that speaking, speaking of Wu Tang, there's a, do you did you ever listen to any Wu Tang? Of course. Yeah, okay, obviously. Okay. So you know, the album Wu Tang meets the indie culture. Yeah. Yeah. [00:48:00] Okay. Biochemical equation, all that. One of the, um, intermission songs, which I actually think are like the best songs on the album, there's, uh, one of them, it's, there's this guy on there and I don't know who the guy is, but he says, um, playing any instrument, musical instrument is easy.

All you have to do is touch the right key at the right time and the instrument plays itself. Yeah. Yeah. I love that. I remember being like 15 and so high and hearing that it's the greatest thing ever, but that's actually what I'm hearing. You talk about like, like you just know how to touch the right key at the right time.

And these things grow and they blossom and they, they form themselves and you're just trusting your sense of which is the right key and what's the right time to touch it. 

Frank Bach: I think so. Yeah, I think that's that. I don't, I probably wouldn't have thought of it that way, but it definitely resonates. And the, for like, the, I think we're talking about the shop a lot because it does, it does come up quite a bit.

And [00:49:00] when you talk about taste and, um, putting all the pieces together and creating something from nothing, I think that's maybe my best example of that. And, you know, when we started, it was, it was just myself making some merch for me. And I realized quickly that like, there wasn't a huge audience of people who wanted to, you know, to buy the stuff that I was making.

So I thought, okay, well, that's, I learned something there, you know, sort of trial and error, um, maybe put your effort into, into something else. And. Then started working with, with other artists and started to make more collaborative lines with them. And eventually started to put together this little bit of a roster and like relating it back to music.

I kind of saw it as like, you know, a record label puts together, um, a roster of artists or bands and people learn to trust that record label that like, you know, Matador records is going to be different from, you know, [00:50:00] You know, from, I don't know, any other fat records, like, is there going to be two totally different worlds of music and you, you learn to trust that curation, um, that they're going to give you the stuff that you're looking for.

Because you've kind of, you, you, you're bought in as a, as a customer to that. And even at one point, maybe when we had about five or six. artists on the shop, one of them texted me and was like, you know, asking like, where do I, where do we, where do you find the people that you're bringing into the shop? And, and, you know, how, what are like cool little world that you've created of, you know, of people who were not connected, but are now connected through this, this new thing.

And that was probably the first sense of like, Oh yeah, I guess maybe I. Maybe there is something to this curation aspect that I'm kind of good at, you know, um, yeah, that's, that's been, that's been a good, like a good learning over the years working on that project. And, um, I [00:51:00] guess I didn't really, I didn't really plan it that way, but focusing on a place to sell stuff is pretty cool.

Not the worst move because it kind of gives you a place to put whatever you've got going. And not to say that like selling is going to be the measure of success for anything, but, um, you know, you can also give it away or not do anything with it, but it is a good way to gauge whether or not something is desirable, or if anybody cares, uh, if somebody is willing to even spend, you know, a dollar on it.

Flynn Skidmore: I really, I really like that take. It's, it's, um, I know that a lot of people won't like that take, but I guess there are different types, you know, like, because what we're talking about is like, okay, what's, what's the value? How are we measuring the value of art or success of something artistic? And is it, is it the process of creation in and of itself?

Or is this, or is there this other added element of like, yeah, art is about you getting what you want while other people are also getting what they want and they're voting with. Their dollar about what they want, um, it's, which is [00:52:00] kind of an artistic process in and of itself. Um, and I don't think people like to associate like anything commercial with art, like making money with artistic, but it is artistic.

It's creating something. 

Frank Bach: Totally. No, I think so. And it, I mean, my hot take is that the people who have a problem with that are often the first people to complain that their artistic pursuit is not. They're not able to make a living doing it or that somehow they like want you to feel bad for them being, you know, being the starving artist, which, you know, I get it, but you got to survive somehow.

And, um, I don't think there's anything more like cool and punk than making a living off of, you know, You know, off of art or things that you made yourself, like that's everyone, like, unless you're coming from an extremely wealthy background, we all have to make choices on how we're going to make a living and survive.

Um, so I can go work at the, you know, go work at the gas station, or I can try to make stuff and, you know, that's, you know, obviously there's nuance there and that's [00:53:00] that there's some privileges on, uh, in that statement. But. You know, I, that's why I think this, this day and age of like people getting mad at artists or bands or whatnot for selling out.

I think that's over. Like, I think especially nowadays, honestly, like selling out is kind of like the goal in a funny way. Um, I don't know if that's just the way the world has changed or like social media has, has affected us, but I see more people get excited. Um, you know, when, when people are, are becoming successful with the thing they love to do, you know, 

Flynn Skidmore: So that's a really fascinating thing to consider that potentially selling out is the goal.

So then maybe have money to go and move on to the next thing that is lighting your soul on fire. 

Frank Bach: Totally. Yeah, I think so. And it gets, it's taken a lot of time to get there. Um, and maybe it's because I'm so exposed to the world, like startup, like venture capital world where like [00:54:00] literally there, and there is no hiding selling out is the point.

Like the point is to make a thing, you know, make this app, make this service, get some money, try to like multiply your investors money and then cash out and, you know, retire on the beach in Portugal and never have to do it in your life again. Like literally people are, people are hustling every day to make that happen.

And, um, it's definitely not the, Not the cool thing to say when it comes to like music and art and whatnot, but I don't think you need to take it to that extreme. But if you can have some freedom in life doing, you know, being able to survive and art and stuff that you enjoy, like that's incredible. Like you're, you're winning.

Flynn Skidmore: I, I really, really agree. I really agree. Hey, before we wrap up anything that feels exciting or, or important to share. 

Frank Bach: Um, man, uh, we talked a lot about like work stuff, I guess, like in the, in the realm of things [00:55:00] that don't make me any money. Uh, I play in a band called Monk. We're a hardcore band based here in LA.

And, um, that is lighting me up right now. Cause we're about to finish another EP and, uh, I still got some lyrics to write. Um, I've been putting that off. I probably need to just like carve out some time on the weekend to do it. Bye. Then again, I think when the inspiration strikes, you kind of know, and you feel it.

And that's, there's no real like urgency to a project like that one. So maybe a reminder to people who are pursuing artistic endeavors that like, when you know, you'll know. And, and, you know, the, the, you can, you can trust your gut in that way. And I hope, I hope everybody Can feel that because I think it's a really special, special feeling to have.

Flynn Skidmore: I love that. I really, I think it's the most special feeling to have. I can't think of anything that feels better than that. Same. Same. It's the best. Awesome, man. Well, hey, thank you so, so much for being on here. I, this has been incredibly fun for me [00:56:00] to get to go to these places with you and get your takes on these.

Thank you so much. 

Frank Bach: Amazing. Thanks, Flynn. I appreciate it. You made my day. 

Flynn Skidmore: Yeah, good. I mean, you made my day. It feels so good. Culture to me is so fascinating. I, I love culture so much. I love the relationship between art and commerce and psychology and sociology. I love taking a look at how trends emerge over time.

Um, and I hope that what came through was, was frank in my appreciation for culture. For these trends. I think he and I are both in a state of awe and wonder and fascination as, as we speak about this stuff. It's so beautiful to me. And Frank, I appreciate you so much for being able to go there to these places with me.

That was incredibly satisfying. Thank you all for listening. I hope that was expansive and resonant for you.