Part 2 of Summer Camp 2012 Photo Booth
Posts Tagged ‘Roving Festival Writer’
Lover Of All Things Beautiful – Interview with Fanny Franklin
Contributing Writer – Garret K. Woodward
The crowd buzzed like a frenzied hive.
Though a curious stick or hungry bear didn’t provoke these busy bees, they were prodded by the ultimate tormentor- cabin fever.
With fat snowflakes tumbling from above, I strolled through downtown Boston to Copperfield’s, a venue within range of a wandering foul ball from nearby Fenway Park. The space is full of sweat, spilled beer, sticky floors and unrelenting smiles from those eager to checkout the next big thing to radiate from the stage.
And fate made sure I picked the ideal night to find my soul vulnerable to the unknown.
Huddled in the backroom like a boxer readying themselves to hit the ring, Fanny Franklin sat in a dark corner, hooded sweatshirt pulled over her head, gathering all of her strength, physically and mentally, only to pour it onto the listener until her tank was empty.
These people came here to see something special as she takes that word and twists it into something extraordinary.
Fronting the phenomenal funk/soul project Orgone, Franklin commands the stage in the footsteps of James Brown, Janis Joplin or Sharon Jones. Her steamy voice sends chills up your spine like a cold breeze. Her body shakes, gyrates and mesmerizes any who fall into her trance.
Watching her do what she does best, I was awestruck by the power and style bubbling from her small frame. Her talents and stop-you-in-your-tracks soul conjure the memories and potential I felt upon initial glance of Grace Potter, some five years earlier in the same city.
Now embarking on a solo journey, Franklin is currently putting together a slew of promising material reflecting her life, aspirations and rising career as a polished gem amongst the rockstars and pitfalls of an industry in dire need of pure, honest talent.
Garret K. Woodward: Who is Fanny Franklin?
Fanny Franklin: A mixture of a few things. I’m a teenager, an old lady, a lover of all things beautiful and an artist.
GKW: How would you describe your sound? Who are the influences?
FF: I listened to a lot of Michael Jackson, The Beatles, Janis Joplin and Motown growing up. Then I got into the whole modern era of the 80′s. When I got out of high school, I met the funk heads who led me to Parliament, Funkadelic and the black rock scene in LA, which included Fishbone, 24/7 spyz, Total Eclipse, Living Color.
GKW: When did you first know you could sing? Did you always want to be a singer?
FF: I’ve always wanted to be an entertainer, ever since I was a little girl. That was my first feeling, looking at a stage and saying, “ooo, I wanna do that” at the age of nine. The talent to be a singer/entertainer naturally had to comply with that little girls dream.
GKW: If your voice were an ice cream flavor, what kind would it be?
FF: Mint Chocolate Chip.
GKW: What do you love about the LA music scene?
FF: My job is to be out on the scene everywhere, so, when I’m home, I don’t really go out much anymore. But, my time on the LA music scene introduced me to all the amazing musician friends I have today. So many of them have gone on to do really big things, like my peeps Fitz and the Tantrums. I can say that anyone living in or visiting LA has the opportunity to see a variety of music on any given night, of almost any genre you could think of, and much of the shows are free. So, in that way, the LA music scene is alive and very accessible.
GKW: Where does that voice of yours come from?
FF: I had a few voice coaches when I was much younger, but mostly it’s been on the job training and absorbing. I went to cooking school, but it didn’t make me a better cook, it just taught me techniques. I think people are born with certain natural gifts.
GKW: What are you channeling onstage? What’s going through your head as you hit those high notes and climax of a melody?
FF: There are some definite moments of high vibration on stage when everything aligns with the instruments and the vocals. In those special moments I’m not thinking, but sharing in a moment. Just feeling.
GKW: How did your relationship with Orgone come about? Why did you decide to take a step back from such an incredible collaboration between you and them?
FF: Back in 2003, Orgone needed a singer to cover a version of “Funky Nassau”. A mutual friend, Dan Ubick (Connie Price and The Keystones), passed my number along to keyboardist Dan Hastie (Orgone) and he called me up. The session went well and they invited me to do some gigs. They had some cool covers they thought would suit my voice and we all got along, which is an important factor in moving forward with any group. From there, the relationship was born. My departure from Orgone happened for many different reasons, but mainly it’s time for Fanny Franklin to do Fanny Franklin.
GKW: Tell me about your new projects. What can we expect? How is this new chapter going to unfold and what are your hopes for it?
FF: I’m super excited about the music I’m writing right now. I can’t wait to put it out. It’s more personal whereas writing lyrics in a group is more edited to fit the group message. Writing for myself is about where I’m at now and how I want to express myself. I have faith that I will satisfy all of my desires as a singer and then some, which includes putting out amazing music and traveling the world playing that music live for people.
GKW: What are you thoughts on the current music industry? How do you want to be different, or contribute to the evolution?
FF: With today’s technology, the world of music is at all of our fingertips. We no longer are subject to what the radio wants to shove in our ears. We are free to explore any country, any genre at free will, and it’s amazing. My hope is that reality inspires people to do the art they want to do without compromise, knowing that it will be heard. Recreating the concept of industry to mean the world of music, not the world of making money over the true expression of the individual or collective group. If people feel forced to make music that they think will sell over what they really want to do, they are shorting the world of their unique vision and of the change that is possible. I just want to be me and spread the message that to be “the best you” is important, ain’t no one else fixing to do it.
GKW: How receptive have audiences been to your creation onstage?
FF: That’s a good question. I’m excited to see the reaction to my new project. With Orgone, my hope was that people would dance and party and have a good time, and that was generally what happened. There are many factors that play a part in how a crowd may react to me, or anyone for that matter. I know the day after New Year’s Eve, opening for the Roots in Reno, the crowd was understandably tired so they weren’t giving it their all. They were burnt, but committed to seeing the Roots and were glad to see a great opening band as well. The experience I plan to have with people, when I perform my music, will be different I imagine. We shall see.
GKW: What do you want the listener to ultimately witness or walk away with when they see you perform?
FF: A really good feeling, a feeling of excitement about his or her own lives and what’s possible for each person, truly. That’s the feeling that I get when I see someone like Sharon Jones or even watching old live footage of Nina Simone. It’s a feeling of connectivity that happens amongst human beings when they come together, all excited about the same thing, whether they know each other or not. And, from that, you feel inspired to do something wonderful.
GKW: How has your stage presence or confidence changed onstage over the years?
FF: I have always felt pretty right at home on the stage, like I was meant to be there. But, of course, the pure magnitude of shows over the last two years especially has been a great space for me to grow. There is always more to explore when it comes to live shows and stage vibe.
GKW: What’s the craziest thing you’ve seen on tour?
FF: Watching and opening for the Reverend Al Green, who I never saw backstage, he stayed on his tour bus until show time, was life altering. I felt like myself and everyone else in that building had the top of their skulls blown off and there were beams of light being poured in through the tops.
GKW: What’s your state of mind right now?
FF: Positive. Focused on the goal of finishing my record and sharing my music with the world.
Contributing Photographer : Thomas Fennell IV
Dead Weather | July 30, 2010 | Congress Theater | Chicago, IL
Contributing Writer : Brooke Kettering
Contributing Photographer : Kevin Craig
This past Saturday, July 24, 2010, somewhere near the University of California Riverside (San Bernadino), an oasis was created for the bass-hungry youth of Southern California. I, like many others it seemed, was not able to arrive until about 11:30 pm…just in time for Bassnectar’s set. I was able to find parking pretty quickly on a side street to avoid the $20 parking fee. My friend and I ran to the venue after anxious anticipation throughout the 2 hour car ride from San Diego. There were still entrance lines and throngs of kids milling around the entrance when we arrived. I hastily ran to the fronts of lines, which no one seemed to mind too much since I had a special piece of paper wrapped around my wrist and because most of the young people in Southern California are super chill and probably thought, “She must have a good reason to be frantically running around.”
I ran to the centrally located, easy to identify main stage, “The Boom Box,” just as Bassnectar’s set began. It is arguable that there has never been as much human energy in the amount of space contained by the main stage tent as there was at this time and place. The tent was bursting at the seams with sweaty, body-rocking, contact-high emitting Bassnectar devotees. Bassnectar has an uncanny way of drawing a crowd and hypnotizing it with heavy, mind-bending bass. He(/it?) has the unique capability of putting thousands of people in a trance-like state, causing time and space to become as arbitrary as the person next to you who (accidentally, of course) repeatedly stomps on your toes in a fit of frenzied dance moves.
Well, he done-done it again. I quickly realized the up and down side of backstage attendance at a Bassnectar show. On the upside, I had much more dancing space than even the furthest back attendee in the crowd. On the major downside, virtually 100% of the bass is projected outward, toward the audience. It is a completely different experience depending on which side of the bass you’re on, hence the old adage “Face the bass”, where one can enjoy the full body experience of bass sound crossed with sub-bass vibrations. Other things became clear as I watched from the sidelines—1. I was probably the most/only sober person there,2. Bassnectar has as much fun playing the puppeteer as the puppets have absorbing the beats and dancing with them, 3. Just as Bassnectar lacks genre with music that transcends categorization, so too does his audience, as it is comprised of all ages, races, creeds, colors, professions, socio-economic statuses etc…creating an amalgam of human energy that is probably only known to exist in political and social revolutions, and 4. Stage security was going to be tough and relentless.
One thing that set this show apart from others were the sexy, weird, outer-space oriented dancers that took over the front of the stage as an extra element of visual entertainment, just in case the light show and screen display wasn’t enough. These creatively decked out dancers contributed a new layer of absurdity to the anomaly that is Bassnectar. I’ve been to my fair share of Bassnectar shows and it seemed as though he used an especially large amount of unheard/new material during this particular set. In an effort to appeal to all listeners, as he always does, he remixed one of Kaskade’s tunes, threw in his Kingston Town remix, diced up some Passion Pit, added a little Nirvana while maintaining a healthy portion of his own newer hits including Magical World featuring Nelly Furtado and Bass Head. In case I haven’t talked up Bassnectar enough, go check out the remixes and bootlegs on his website, experience the wonderment for yourself, and get stoked for his upcoming shows! And remember, enthusiasm is contagious.
Article Continued After The Photos
Not gonna lie, I stayed at the main stage the entire night. The lineup was just too dope to leave it! It was as follows: DJ Sin, Eskmo, The Cool Kids, N.A.S.A., Talib Kweli, Nick Catchdubs, Bassnectar, Kid Cudi, Rusko, Daedelus, and Nosaj Thing. Much to everyone’s dismay, Kid Cudi was kind of a disappointment. It could’ve been the bass withdrawal after Bassnectar’s set, but Kid Cudi was simply not that impressive. Rusko, his successor, however, stepped it up! He played new versions of his most adored hits including Cockney Thug and Woo Boost…which were crowd pleasers for sure! Despite the dispersion of attendees at this point, the energy was kept turned up as Rusko brought the sub-woofers back to life. There were far less people at the main stage for Rusko’s set which allowed for more room for getting down, which everyyyone did. People were dancing from stage to stage, on the sides of the stage, in the water lines. The dancing didn’t stop. And everyone seemed to encourage the dancers that were getting into it, feeding off each other’s energy, making Audiotistic something of a Love Fest. Daedelus put on an amazing show as well. This was my first time seeing him live and will most certainly not be the last. Besides the fluid beats, there was a rap-accompaniment who was quite talented and added a nice, hip-hop touch. Daedelus also had dancers, only his version were naked, just painted, and included a hilariously entertaining larger man in tight gold leggings who was dramatically interpreting the beats. After Daedelus’ set, Bassnectar’s didn’t seem quite so strange…
Nosaj Thing held it down as well. I thought they rocked it; unfortunately, the scheduling ended up delayed so he only got a 30 minute set. He didn’t start until 3:30 am. By that time a lot of people had left or were too exhausted after the previous 8 hours of festivities to continue dancing. Nosaj Thing didn’t have the crowd he deserved, but the dancing space was appreciated by those who pulled through.
All in all, this event was epic…whether it was the full moon, the audience, the set up, the incredible light shows and visual displays, or the sheer talent of the performers and production company…we’ll never know; regardless, it was an event attendees will look forward to next year!
My only hope is that they make it a two-day camping event so that the party-goers don’t have to drive home or pay for hotel rooms!