101 with Frankey

Frankey is the pseudonym of Frank Beckers, and one half of Frankey and Sandrino, who has been releasing quality house of the likes of Innervisions, Drumpoets, Moodmusic and many others. He shared some thoughts with us prior to his latest release at Poker Flat Recordings which was released on 5th July. 


What was the funniest / most bizarre request you’ve ever had while playing?

Besides the usual “could you play some Rihanna” or “2 beer and one vodka Red Bull” request…

A really funny one happened 1,5 years ago at a beach party in Bahia Brasil: A guy, who actually seemed to belong to the organizers as he was behind the booth, asked me to play a Paul Kalkbrenner track straight from his phone. Not only that. He wanted me to play a YouTube video of a live recording, promising me, that the people will go nuts. 

Can you describe your studio setup for us?

Nothing special. I work mainly inside the computer with some hardware here and there on top. So, I still prefer to take my Moog for the Bass or my Tanzbär Drumcomputer for some hi-hats, but in general, everything stays inside Ableton Live. I still have quite a few controllers for Ableton, as I still believe in more organic live automation instead of static mouse drawings. 

And the most underestimated thing if a studio is a room itself. It has to have good acoustics, but also good energy. You need to feel good and comfortable in your studio to get creative. 

I also have a similar second studio setup at home with exactly the same speakers, so I can switch between two environments.  

Could you tell us the story about your first gig?

More then 20 years ago I started to release my first productions on a German label called Free Form and because of that, they invited me to play at their New Years Eve party. So, here’s the weird part:

Normally most DJs I know started to play at small local parties and grew from there, but this first gig of mine was in front of 3000 people, which was insane. I also wasn’t a DJ in the usual sense as I was playing only my own productions, which resulted in me bringing my Studio Headphones to the gig, where I didn’t hear anything between that huge sound system. It was surreal, but it went down really well… 

Name three artists that currently inspire you

I usually only get inspired by new things or other genres, so if you want me to pick out 3 artists, it´s gonna be:

Jordan Rakei, Ravyn Lenae, and Mr. Bill. All 3 very far away from the music I do…. :-)

Recall the worst experience of ‘killing the vibe’ in the club

I think the worst was when I had 2 people fighting in front of me on a club event 10 years ago. I actually stopped the music till they got kicked out. But nowadays I have to say that a phone is a general vibe killer on parties around the world. The amount of phones in the air is kind of an indicator of how bad a party actually is…

What do you do before and after your set?

Nothing special. Before the set, I try to pick up the vibe and think about the first 2 tracks… That’s it.

What’s the worst job you’ve ever had 

Never had a shit job as I´m doing music all my life. Before electronic music, I earned my money in bands or by playing bar piano. 

What are your favourite labels at the moment?

I can’t think of any label, where I like more than 50% of the releases, so it would be wrong to speak about a favourite label. Maybe one exception: Our own label ‘Sum over Histories’ ;-)

Imagine a cold winter, a fireplace and two glasses of wine—what song would you play?

In that environment, I would prefer something with a piano… smooth and jazzy…. maybe Jamie Callum.

Last but not least. What's the best advice you've ever received?

For DJ’ing I received my best advice on that first gig in front of 3000 people. Of course, I was nervous and then another DJ, also playing that night, with way more experience told me, “It’s so much harder to kill a dance floor with 3000 people, then one with 300 or even 30 people.” And he was right. The small crowds are much tougher to keep going then the big one, but still we tend to be nervous in front of big crowds.

For Producing: An important piece of advice I got in relation to a technicality in compositions is actually erasing things instead of adding. Also, the silence between 2 notes is as important as the notes itself.

By Saša, edited on 10 July 2019