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Interview | Frame

Unchained crew Ben Black caught up with Frame this week for an interview in contemplation of his upcoming EP on Unchained Recordings – “Arabic Gum”. We learn about North Italy’s unique Drum & Bass culture, Frame’s approach to production, his return to post-Covid DJing life as well as his fave tunes for journeying in the mix.

Ben: So firstly, how did you link with the Unchained Crew?

Frame: Have been following Unchained from their first release and I like the sound – fresh, new! I also met Lyndon online, with my release on The Dreamers Recordings. Many other artists, like Neve and Was A Be, told me about this label. I love Unchained Sound! Radiax made an absolute banger EP recently!

Ben: The range of styles on the EP is broad, but the tracks share a common structure: tight, strong, and created from what seems like relatively few samples (as opposed to producers who seem to throw in as many as possible). How did you arrive at this technique?

Frame: In this EP I wanted to use a lot of samples, precisely 90s. 

I like the rave sound a lot. I tried to use samples creatively, re-sampling and playing them in different keys but keeping the raw style. Let’s say that, in this EP I tried to imagine myself as a dancer more than searching for sounds.

Ben: “My Mind” is a total stand out track to me because it’s so uncommon to find tracks with multiple BPMs. Where did the idea for the breakdown come from?

Frame: Yah Man! I don’t know where I found the idea. Ahaha When I do a Dj set I like to change the BPM sometimes! I played the tracks of other producers for too long. I thought it was time I had one of mine too 🙂

Ben: Where did the track title “Blonde or Brunette” come from? and what was going on in your life at the time you were writing these tracks?

Frame: Ahahah I knew there would be a question about this.

Do you know how it’s very difficult to make a decision? Ahaha in that case we talk about music ahaha 🙂

This tack was born liquid DNB, then after continuing to add layers became this. I have been in doubt for a long time about keeping this clubbing version or the most liquid version. My life is the same ahaha.

Ben: One of your “signature sounds” seems to be a really deep, low-toned hoover-type bass. What do you think caused you to favour this element as your production has evolved?

Frame: During a set a friend asked me: “Do you like 37HZ?!” And I said “Yeh, but we can go deeper” ahaha. I love the sub-frequencies. I think attending festivals and staying in front of some banging sound system certainly changed my mind.

Ben: Footwork has obviously had a strong influence on your sound. When were you first exposed to it and what was your initial reaction?

Frame: My friend and mentor introduced me to footwork in the past years. I liked the sound from the first time I listened to it, because it’s fresh, ugly and with a bit of juicy rave, like a cocktail. So if you like a cocktail you probably like footwork ahaha.

Ben: What was it like to finally return to DJing after being locked down for so long?

Frame: Wish what a question! Feeling like a child with the new toy. It’s probably the best thing that has happened over the last year. Music is important, dancing is important, not only for us but for everybody.

Ben: I noticed you’ve been throwing parties pretty often, what’s the reception been like to 170 bass music in your area? I know Italy is known more widely for disco-influenced dance music

Frame: Yeh we can’t do parties in clubs, can’t dance, but if you want you can find a way to play safely. In Italy’s history, disco dance music comes first. I think in my area there’s a lot of people who are into Jungle and they like a lot of bass music. It’s not a large city, but the underground scene over the last year has done well. Sometimes I think it’s not only the people, but the work of the DJ being a proper selektah. I hope we have some real nights soon!

Ben : On a similar note, how does the culture of Northern Italy influence the sound of the bass music coming from your region?

Frame: A lot. I’m going to a lot of nights in Torino with the Dreamers crew’ Bologna with Sumo music, B.U.M. and Link; Padova with Bad Vibes; Milano with Lobo, Mother Inc and many others; Bolzano with Spectrum; Verona with Infuzion……yes I think we have a big DNB culture. I certainly miss some of the crew. For the people of my region if we like Drum and Bass we cannot miss a party no matter what. So I think the people and the DJs too are influenced a lot from northern DNB culture.

Ben: Finally, five tracks that never leave your crate?

Frame: Primitive Jungle, Ehiua, Cold Thug With My Mate base, Arabic Gum and Banana.

If you are talking about tracks that I have every time in my journey, Felt Kuti – International Thief Thief, Octane & DLR Ft. Break – Murmur, Sable Blanc – Amour Gris, The Prodigy – Ruff In The Jungle, James Brown – Funky Drummer.

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