The legendary New York producer and DJ, Frankie Bones, recently performed a rare Drum + Bass set for Bass Movement: Rise. This was hosted by Arietta and Junglist Radio. This radio show seeks to showcase major change-makers in the EDM scene. Before Frankie went behind the boards, journalist Logan Lowrey-Rasmussen sat down with the myth of a man who coined the words “rave” and “PLUR” and the underground scene as we know it.
Check out the interview below to catch up with the Father of Rave himself, Frankie Bones.
On terms of your work with Bass Movement: Rise, how does it feel to be doing a Drum + Bass set opposed to your Breakbeat background?
“I’ve been playing as a DJ for three decades now. So, basically Drum + Bass is still more of a hobby. I’m a big fan of the music. It feels good to get out there and play genres other people play. I have fun doing it.”
Watch Frankie’s full set with Bass Movement: Rise with Arietta below:
Are there any D+B artists you’re deriving inspiration from in this upcoming set?
“Oh, of course! Any genre is going to have artists that inspire. I guess with Drum + Bass, Marcus Trevino. He passed away a couple months back in May. He was definitely one of the guys in the scene who I would like to call an underdog. He was working on a Techno project called Trevino, and I appreciate people who end up doing different genres and different types of styles. But I wanted to list Marcus first, we lost him at a young age. I would also like to mention Deathboy, Bad Company, and I actually like dBridge.
Bailey does Soul In Motion in London. I actually went to one of his shows last year. Great guy. Great DJ. Also, the Metalheadz label, not to mention Goldie, but all of Metalheadz’s artists. Even the old school artists, like Doc Scott, from back in the day are worth mentioning. Another artist would be Special Request, and I know him from house music, but he has this side thing. It’s more break than jungle. It’s definitely old school rave vibes. That is probably everyone I get D+B vibes from.”
Are there any genres you haven’t dabbled in yet but can see yourself playing in the future?
“Well, I mean, there’s a new subgenre every day. I haven’t heard them all [laughs]. Coming from a rave background, house, techno, break, and trance were the four main genres in the 90s. Now you have more Dubstep and Trap. I don’t dabble in any of that. That’s probably the one thing I wouldn’t touch. It’s more for the kids. I’m an old dude now. I’m an old head.”
What normally is the reaction of your longtime fans when they see you playing a genre you’re normally not associated with?
“Well, I’m known for three different styles. I do break, I do techno, and I do house mostly when I play. I come from Brooklyn. When I started DJing in 1979, I played block parties and parks. A lot of music in New York at that time derived from disco. You had a lot of funk, hip-hop, and disco. We were mixing up different genres.
I’m out playing what I like to think is club music, but it could be techno house breaks all smashed into one. If I do a Drum + Bass night, yeah, people tend to think that’s weird. When you go into a genre you don’t normally play and do a set, people don’t really appreciate that. When you DJ, it’s like anything else. When you’re good at what you do and once you prove yourself, people tend to think it’s pretty cool.”
What sort of changes or improvisations do you make in a live setting opposed to being in the studio?
“It all kind of jells together. Usually when we do work in the studio, it’s taking different parts of different tracks, different breakbeats, and the same application. I play out the work I make in the studio and I make in the studio the work I play out.”
From being an industry veteran, what key changes have you seen under the umbrella electronic world as a whole? How do you feel about these changes?
“The largest change was the fact the internet became something everybody kept using after Y2K. People used the internet in the 90s, but it didn’t really explode until MySpace became the main social network around 2004. Everybody’s a DJ now. Everybody’s on the grid. So the change is that it doesn’t take much to be a DJ in present time.
When I started, you had to go buy the equipment, but now any kid can get on the internet, burn, and get out there. There’s a lot of competition, a lot of people doing it, and you’re one person. There are a million DJs and it’s hard to keep the momentum going. I think when you have love for something and you do it for yourself instead of trying to make money, you’ll stick around longer, because it’s a passion.“
Out of your entire catalog, which E.P./LP/Single/etc do you feel influenced the Frankie Bones we know and love today?
“Yes, very. The track would absolutely have to be my track called “We Call it Tekkno!” I wrote this track in June of ’89 before I went on my first tour of London. I wrote this song so I could have something to perform when I was DJing. It actually has words in it.
It’s something over the years that just stuck with me. I have new remixes coming out of it pretty soon. Hopefully we can get a second life out of it. The track describes what techno is and what it meant to me at the time.”
If you could go back to the time when you were creating, would you change anything about the track “Just As Long As I Got You” with Lenny Dee?
“I wouldn’t change anything about it. I loved that it was a loop of an old disco track along with a sample of Led Zepplin’s “Whole Lotta Love”. It was probably the first time anybody put a rock guitar in a track. It was a pop record in Europe. It didn’t go Top 40, but I think it was like Top 100 in the U.K. around #75. But on the dance charts, it did very well. With everything I’ve done, I wouldn’t change anything, but do things a little differently. Maybe I could have become a millionaire and had a mansion with a yacht, but I’m still working on that. I feel like I’m a kid out of high school. I’m 18 and trying to live my dreams still to this day.”
“Just As Long As I Got You” – Frankie Bones & Lenny Dee:
Fun question – It’s 3 AM, you just finished a track, and you’re starving. What’s your favorite late night munchies/party food to pig out on?
“Well, it would probably be some kind of pizza, but I don’t know any pizzeria open that time. So, I mean, if it was 3 o’clock in the morning and I wanted some type of food, I would probably go to the diner and get some breakfast at that point.
When you used to come out of the club and played at 4 am, we would go out to the diner. I would always get two scrambled eggs with bacon, sausage, and then an english muffin. I like chocolate milk with my fucking breakfast. I don’t know [laughs].”
Frankie Bones’s new E.P., Call It Techno, will be released on November 10, 2017 on Beatport.