PHOTO CREDIT: Kodiak Photography
I have been speaking to FRASE…
about his new single, The Weight. He discusses its story and how the song came together – and the artists that have inspired his sound/development. I ask about the album, FRNZ, and the sort of themes he explores in it. The Montreal musician explains why The Weight’s lyrics were gestating for a while; the city of Florence and its relevance – and what is coming up for him.
I ask about the artists FRASE holds dearest; whether he is coming to the U.K. soon; the new artists worth more time and investigation – and the advice he would offer new musicians.
Hi, FRASE. How are you? How has your week been?
Hey. I'm great, thanks! My week has been pretty busy. I launched my new album, FRNZ, last week and have been promoting that and playing a lot of shows.
For those new to your work; can you introduce yourself, please?
Well. My real name is actually Fraser. I grew up in Montreal and lived there up until recently - when I moved out to Nelson, B.C. with my girlfriend. I am a singer/songwriter/producer/multi-instrumentalist - and have been writing and recording music for over a decade now.
I want to know more about The Weight. I am guessing it shares little in common with The Band’s single (of the same name)?! What is this one about?
This one is about a man who looks back at his past relationships and feels the burden of remorse about how he has treated some these women - ‘the weight’ of these relationships are heavy on his mind...
I know the lyrics were circling in your head for ages! Why did it take so long to get them down on paper?
That happens a lot with me: I write a little hook or some verses and never quite get to record them. This was during a period when I was touring a lot and it was not until I met Sickflip (in Mumbai, India) that I recalled these lines - and started writing the music for the words and melody.
FRNZ is the new album. Talk to me more about the stories and themes that go into the record…
The idea to call the album ‘FRNZ’ came about shortly after I wrote a song called FRNZ. It came out of nowhere really. I woke up at like 4 A.M. with some lines in my head and, by noon, I had the whole song done...
I was living in Florence, Italy at the time. The city of Florence - or ‘Firenze’, to the locals - was so friendly to me. I would say the city's name fast and it kinda sounds like ‘friends’ - FiRenZe - when you cut out the vowels, it's ‘FRNZ’. The connections I have there helped me to finish my first full-length album. Because of Facebook and social media the term ‘friends’, to me, has become too broad.
I wanted to come up with a phrase that could be more specific to the people in your life who go beyond superficial friendship - to the point of changing your life for the better and helping you realize your greatest potential self.
PHOTO CREDIT: Kodiak Photography
It seems like it has been a labour of love putting together? How much of your heart and soul went into the record?
Pretty much all of it. Ha.
I do have some left, though, in case I am inspired and I keep writing and producing - and I’m on the follow-up singles already. I always put a lot of soul into my music and I hope it resonates with people.
Montreal is where you are based. What is the city like in terms of opportunities for new artists?
Montreal is great for a developing artist because it pushes you to be really f*ucking good!
There is a lot of talented people there and, every night, there is someone playing right around the corner who is more popular - and has a crazier show. So, for me, it exposed me to so much great art, music and culture - and then made me put in the work on my own music to get booked and get noticed.
(Side note: I was based in Montreal for most of my life - but I left in early-2015 to travel and tour in India and Europe. I came back for a bit in 2016 - just long enough to meet my girlfriend, Em).
We moved out to British Colombia last winter and have been here since.
Can you tell me who the musicians were that inspired you growing up?
I really have always loved Dance and Pop music; from Michael Jackson to Dance Mix '93. My jam after that was Hip-Hop - artist like the Fugees, A Tribe Called Quest - and Soul singers like Erykah Badu and D’Angelo
IN THIS PHOTO: FKJ/PHOTO CREDIT: Jack McKain
Who are the new artists you recommend we check out?
I’m not sure how new he is, but I love Beat Machine Aron out of Iceland. I listen to his beats for days.
Also; my homie Atamone - for that lo-fi, jazzy Hip-Hop style - is great.
IN THIS PHOTO: Atamone
If you had to select the three albums that mean the most to you; which would they be and why?
Oh…that’s hard! Hmmm…ok:
Fine Young Cannibals - The Raw & the Cooked
I was six or seven and had this album on tape-cassette - and listened to it on my Walkman so many times. It’s so catchy and cheesy: I don't really listen to it anymore but, man, it was huge for me as a kid.
A Tribe Called Quest - Beats, Rhymes and Life
J Dilla-era ‘Tribe’ is the best; it was a huge influence on how I hear drums, now.
Anderson.Paak – Malibu
This album blew me away last year and I was like, yes: finally an album I can listen to on-repeat!
What advice would you give to artists coming through right now?
Don't wait for someone to do it for you...
There is no incubator anymore: you have to go work it and be slaying every show for people to care. So; keep at it, make the best music you can and keep ya head up!
Where can we see you play this year? Any new dates coming up?
Well. I have played over ten festivals in 2017 and toured all over Europe (Italy, Germany; Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Belgium) and Canada - and now I'm gonna take it easy for this month!
I have some exciting touring news for December - but I'm not sure I'm allowed to say yet…
Do you think you will visit the U.K. soon?
Hopefully. I always pass thru Gatwick on the way to Europe. I’ve always wanted to book a gig there - so let's make it happen!
Do you have a game plan for 2018? What do you want to achieve next year?
I hope to release a couple more singles early-2018 and then start to work on an E.P. before summer. I want to share with people my recording process more; so I’m gonna start filming live videos in my home-studio.
I have played a lot on the West Coast (Canada) festival circuit and I hope to get out and play in the U.S., U.K.; Australia and New Zealand festivals scenes, too.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).
pass dat by Marteinn!