With his feet firmly in the centre of the London underground scene, Tom Frankel has honed his skills at venues like Egg & Fire, while at the same time building a solid reputation for his eclectic productions. He makes his debut on Constant Circles with a deep groove led track “Atlantis”.
What is your background and how did you get into music?
Well really it all starts with my Mum and Dad at home as they are both musicians. My Mum plays bassoon in an orchestra and my Dad is a music teacher. So there’s always been a lot of music around me from a very early age. Props to Mum and Dad! Electronic music came later as I started to hear stuff on the radio as I got older and became obsessed with early house and garage I heard, later moving onto Drum N Bass which is where my DJ and Production career started. I owe a lot to friends for introducing me to artists and genres and influencing me in the years. I’ve got a very eclectic taste which is what influences a lot of my sound. If I’m at home I can be listening to anything from James Brown or Aphex Twin and anything in between.
How would you describe your sound – do you think your music falls into a particular genre?
Definitely not a particular genre. In fact I pride myself on not being stuck in one box, in a 2-3 hour set I’ll regularly play through deep, minimal, techno, tech and whatever other sub genre stuff has been labelled as. My sound is dancing music. Anything that makes you want to move your hips or gets your hands up, stuff that makes you want to dance like no one is watching! Whether it be 116 bpm or 132 bpm!
You are about to release your track ‘Atlantis” on Constant Circles – how did you approach the track and what was your process in creating it?
‘Atlantis’ was a bit of a different process to usual, normally I start with drums in my tracks, but I’d found the patch that I use for the main synth line and knew I wanted to build the track around that. So after some processing and messing around and making the sound my own a bit I built a bass line which sat well with the synth. The bass then really became quite a driving force in the track! So the drums were actually made last with the track to just compliment the synth and bass.
What are your key pieces of studio kit?
I have a very minimal set up and work mainly in the box. It’s literally a midi keyboard, my macbook and an interface and monitors currently. So really my key pieces of kit are plug ins. A lot of Waves stuff that I use a lot for mixing, the SSL Bus Compressor and a lot of the CLA plug ins and also a lot of Rob Papen instruments such as Raw and Sub boom bass. Also Dayne Harper, I don’t really do much collaboration work at present, but he is my production partner and we have lots of new music to get out soon! He’s definitely a key bit of kit!
You are based in London – have you always lived there?
Yes always lived in London apart from 3 summer seasons in Ibiza in 2011, 2012 and 2013 which were an incredible experience. Back in the big smoke now though! Slight change of scenery to Ibiza!
How would you describe the scene there right now?
The scene in London is constantly changing as it is such a fast paced city. In recent years there have been big changes such as the closure and reopening at Fabric and the tragic fire at 338 which forced a closure for a bit. Both are back in full swing now though and throwing huge events. Venues are pushing really cool line ups recently and bringing on fresh talent for parties. Which is a great thing as there a so many fantastic up and coming DJs and producers who deserve a chance. There is always something going on in London, almost too much to choose from sometimes. The only down side is the inherent politics of the industry but that is the same in any city I imagine.
Aside from music & clubs, what is the most important thing for people to see or do when visiting London?
London Zoo! Go and watch the penguins and the monkeys! Love the zoo haha. Also the museums can be rather interesting after a night out. Nothing like the natural history museum at 9am on a Saturday after a night on the dance floor!
What’s your dream label to release on and how close do you think you are to achieving it?
Wow tough question. Both picking one dream label and knowing how close I am! I make a variety of genres and am influenced by a huge range of sounds, so narrowing it down to one label is really hard. FUSE would have to be the main one as their music is such a London sound and has such a unique groove. But I have to also mention R&S and XL who I’ve been a fan of for years due to their eclectic output and no fear approach to releasing music way ahead of it’s time . If I’m to be optimistic, hopefully with lots of hard work in the next two to three years I’ll tick one of these off! There are a lot of powerhouse labels out there I’ve looked up to for a long time though so it is very hard to isolate just one or two!
What is the coolest or craziest gig you have ever played & why?
Any of my residency gigs at Plan Be in Ibiza as it was an absolute bucket list thing for me to play there after the infamous and mythical one off party there in 2012. So when Sam asked me to be warm up resident in 2013 I was gobsmacked. It was such an amazing venue. Outdoor day parties in Ibiza with Steve Lawler, Julian Perez and Bushwacka were insane to play at!
Can you tell us something most people won’t know about you?
I’m currently and have been on and off over the years, a landscape gardener by day! And I hate peanut butter.
What do you have coming up in terms of releases and gigs?
The aforementioned release with you guys ‘Atlantis’ on Constant Circles which I’m hugely excited about, plus a release lined up with Mirror Numbers which is the new label from SEFF, an EP called Body Moves with a great remix from Ben JS. A long awaited follow up release with the lovely guys at Oleeva Records with an insane remix from Felix Wittich. Gig wise the biggest thing to mention is my booking at Boomtown Festival with Pantheon London this summer playing alongside Charlotte De Witte, Enrico Sangulliano and more! Plus regular gigs with the Care3 team and Private Life family who I am a resident for in London.
How did you put together your guest mix for the radio show & what have you included – any exclusives or surprises?
I generally try to include a variety of styles as I like to when I play out. A mixture of genres and vibes and a bit of a journey albeit a short one being an hour mix. There’s my forthcoming release on Constant Circles ‘Atlantis’ and also an unsigned and unreleased one from me and Dayne Harper called ‘Berzerka’ which I’m really excited to give its first play! Plus a truly stunning remix of my next release on Oleeva Records, the track is called Deconstruct, and the remix is by an absolute gem of a producer called Felix Wittich, who is one to seriously keep an eye on. Also some mega tracks from friends such as The Willers Brothers and Billy Rath, plus a whole mixture of stuff from Mr. G, Stefano Esposito, Akyra, and ending one some huge techno tracks from Dense & Pika and ANNA. A bit of variety as I mentioned!