In 2008, Random Recipe was hailed by Spin Magazine as one of the top 5 up-and-coming Montreal bands. A decade later, the band hasn't lost its identity or originality.
Expect the unexpected from this band's music, which is everything but ordinary. Its name says it all: Random Recipe. A recipe that includes ingredients like pop, funk, rap, and a hint of electronica. Put all of those together, and what do you get? A mix of eclectic beats and organic sounds that blend pretty well together. I happened to meet the founders of this Canadian band (Frannie Holder, vocalist and guitarist; and Fabrizia Di Frusci –aka Fab–, rapper, beatboxer, and steel drummer), while they were in Mexico City – right after the Italian leg of their tour. They released their newest album Distractions on March 2018, and we talked about their origins, inspiration, style, presentations, and the latest changes in their lineup, which bring the group down to three members. Here’s our full Q&A, followed by a transcription.
How many members are in the band?
Frannie: We used to be four for the first three albums, and then for the third one we had so much trouble writing it. We kept on starting over and over again, and at one point we just sat down and had a talk between the four of us together to see "Where are we now? Where do we want to be? And where do we want to go? ... Why this and that?" And at one point, one of the band members decided that it wasn’t for him anymore.
Fab: He left on good terms like it was all good, it’s just a realistic decision … We’re still friends, but he just didn’t want to tour, he is not a tour guy, and we are a tour band.
Frannie: So, now it’s just the three of us, but we have musicians that come onstage and play bass and stuff like that, but the band and writers, it’s just composed of three.
Let’s talk about your new album: Distractions. How is your band different from all the others out there?
Frannie: I don’t know, it’s just that opposites attract.
Fab: We got together not thinking we would be a band. We met (FAB and Frannie) at a show, and we would talk for hours on MySpace and on the phone about music. We shared so many influences, and we would just jam. [Frannie] had a little guitar she bought in Latin America and I was like beatboxing –someone forced me to beatbox because I was too shy– it was just like so fun and funny and like random shit. We would be at a bar, and it was someone's birthday, and they'd say, “Yo! I’ll give you a birthday rap” and do things like that.
Frannie: I love CocoRosie, and [FAB] is like the biggest Snoop Dogg fan, and we were like: “We should put them together,” they should sing together. So, we started imitating them, and I would sing like CocoRosie and [FAM] would rap. We said, “let’s do a song," and today it's way more common to see those combinations, but we started a few years before let’s say Julieta Venegas and Ana Tijoux would rap together in “Eres Para Mí.” But we were so happy when that started. We were like, wow, it’s exactly what we wanted to hear. So, I think we started music to do what we didn’t have. We created a sound that we wanted to hear but wasn’t out there as an offer. And now, it became our trademark, but it’s not something we actually consciously think of doing, it’s just naturally that the three people that are in the band, even the four of us together before put our influences together, and what we play is just the sound that comes out.
We tried making another type of album, making it more electronically produced and more like beats, what DJs put out, more like house, on the computer with plugs and stuff. We were like “There’s no soul there,” and our producer listened to it and said, “it’s cool, but why don’t you guys just go back to jam?” But we had like our percussionist, a shitty guitar player, and a steel drum player. We don’t even have base or like … “Who cares, play together and that’s what you always have.”
So, we went to our practice, and we were like, “okay,” and we started jamming, and that’s what came out, and then we would be like, “The song needs a bass,” and we would just write to bass players… We would fill the gaps that were missing from our original and just the three of us jamming together. But it’s not a sound that we really think of doing.
Fab: It just happens. It's like whatever our lifestyle, whatever we are living in that moment those years. Whatever our influences are, the type of parties we go to, the fact that we love Latin America, the rhythms, this and that… And we like to joke around and just imitate stuff. We realized we were very comfortable in something organic, and we collaborate with people to become tools around us to help us tune sounds, curate sounds, add another type of rap on another flow, add another bass that would sound more this way instead of that way, you know?
How did you guys come up with the name "Random Recipe"?
Frannie: Well, it was that, we were talking about the music we love, and we wanted to create before we even started creating music, and we were probably high one night, and we were like “You think it’s like a recipe, it’s just random stuff,” and we were going just through random stuff in our lives at that time and we would call each other everyday with “OMG the most random thing happened to me,” and it became and expression we liked a lot, we liked food and we thought music was like that. A random recipe.
Tell us about the languages you use in your music, like the song “Sultan,” where Fab raps in Spanish.
Fab: Yeah, and then there’s the Japanese guy that comes in on the second verse… Like we’ve always said, language for us is a texture, and it’s like, if we enjoy this texture, we try to figure out how to put it in the album. I studied Spanish in school and I really looked up to a lot of Latin singers and rappers back in the day, and I was like “Man, I really want to try something in Spanish” and the minute I did I was like “Wow, my flow is different.” My tone of voice sounds different, it just dropped like this whole personality out of me, and I was just like “Really? Is this possible? It’s pretty cool. Now, what does it sound like when Frannie does it in Spanish? Okay, let’s do it in Italian, let’s do it in Spanish..." It’s like: why not?
For more information about the band, and their upcoming albums and presentations, follow them on Instagram: @randomrecipe
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