Versatile, Artistic And Eclectic. Franki Chan And His Iheartcomix Empire

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Versatile, Artistic And Eclectic. Franki Chan And His Iheartcomix Empire

Franki Chan, as you most likely know by now, is a man of several trades. And by several I mean a LOT. From touring across the map as a DJ or band member to throwing innovative events, Franki seems to have his hands full with a variety of projects. Not to mention his successful and highly praised IHEARTCOMIX empire which handles art publishing, record labeling, parties in LA and beyond, and basically whatever the man choses to do. Franki has been a household name around here for years as a result of his versatility as an overall artist and eclectic taste in groundbreaking new music. 2012 so far has proved to be another powerful year for him and his team, which lead us to getting in touch to catch up with the latest in Franki Chan’s life and more.

It’s very fulfilling to know that I can pay my own bills based on my ideas and hard work. That’s fucking cool!

What have you learned about yourself from being in the middle of club culture?

That I’m a good problem solver. Whether it’s being the DJ, in a band, the promoter or just working an event, there always seems to be issues that pop up between people, whether it be club and artist or audience and event, or there are technical issues. I seem to be able to handle these kinds of situations well and am able to cut to the core of the issue and moderate a solution.

What was your proudest moment?

Probably when I realized I could make a living doing what I wanted to do and didn’t have to work for anyone else. It’s very fulfilling to know that I can pay my own bills based on my ideas and hard work. That’s fucking cool!

What is your biggest challenge with putting together your nights?

Originality and getting others to see the “vision.” I’m very specific with the artists we work with, how things are presented, the political and artistic umbrella of how things are rolled out, etc. Often times my ideas are larger than my means, so it’s always a challenge to get people to go along with some of my ideas, especially since I expect a lot out of people, but it’s become easier over time as I’ve gained other artists’ trust.

What do your parents think of what you are doing?

I don’t think my parents understand what I do at all. They either think I hang out with celebs every day or they want me to go to college. It’s a constant battle between pride and disappointment.

Who or what has been your greatest influences?

Comic books and movies probably inform me more than anything else in my life. Definitely when it comes to how I run IHEARTCOMIX. There are certain people who have played large parts and lent pivotal moments in my life. Each has been very personal and rarely well known. My influences tend to come from areas I have direct contact with rather than a famous, far away artist.

What advice would you give to others in your field?

Find your own way of doing things, your own path, your own niche and do it better than everyone else.

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What are your weaknesses?

I can be too ambitious, impulsive and over confidant. But sometimes those traits come in handy too! I can procrastinate too…

You have an endless supply of cash for “your” club. Talk us through what it would be like.

I’d love to be able to have bigger, crazier production. With an endless supply of cash I’d probably put a lot of time into building out our "world" more. This would apply not just to the look and feel of the events, but all of our branding, content and scope of projects we would attempt.

Talk about the one significant event in your career that you feel changed the course of things for the better.

When Steve Aoki and I broke up. It was the one moment where for the first time I was forced to go out there and figure out a life 100% on my own. IHEARTCOMIX wouldn’t ever have become it’s own thing w/o that confrontation and challenge. Made me who I am now.

Is success physical or internal? What does it mean to you?

Internal mostly, but nice to be able to quantify it with physical objects! Success means the realization of certain ideas and goals, but it’s a never-ending process.

I feel like this is a question only answered in hindsight. I’m starting to get old enough to realize you can never tell what’s gonna happen in the future. People surprise you.

Talk about your most memorable night.

I never have an answer for these kinds of questions. I can never remember anything unless someone tells me about it!

What’s the last song that made a big impression on you?

Future "Same Damn Time" So much fun!

Tell me about your best day at work.

I love the days when everything seems to come together. Every now and then it’s like the doors swing wide open and every deal or question unanswered gets wrapped up with positive answers. No one will tell me no. Awesome when that happens! LOL.

Tell us about your worst day at the office.

Just the opposite. The only answer is NO. Things fall apart. Traffic. Internet stops working. Impossible walls to simple tasks. Sometimes it just doesn’t make sense…


Versatile, Artistic And Eclectic. Franki Chan And His Iheartcomix Empire

Those were the craziest parties I’ve ever been too. Nothing since has ever matched that kind of raw energy and enthusiasm.

Salvador Dali had his mustache. Snoop has his marijuana. Liberace had many, many diamonds. What have you got?

I have my hat and glasses.

What’s the worst style or accessory you’ve seen out lately?

Tired of seeing Nirvana shirts every 5 min, even though I love Nirvana.

Do you have a secret passion?

Not so secret, but I’d love to make comic books some day.

Who, in your view, will be the important, provocative and influential artist to emerge from this culture?

I feel like this is a question only answered in hindsight. I’m starting to get old enough to realize you can never tell what’s gonna happen in the future. People surprise you.

If I had to choose someone right now, I’d say Skrillex. He’s beyond impressed me with his rise, use of his power and influence and outright ability to challenge and change culture. Fucking awesome.

What impresses you the most about current club culture and the manner is which the DJs and promoters work and live?

The last few years, especially in LA, has seen the rise of promoter as artist. DJ/band nights have become artistic expressions themselves, often being more influential than record labels nowadays. The branding is a huge part of it; curation and they are even being franchised out. It’s really interesting and new.

How important is it for you to experiment in your field and take on the risk of failure?

I feel like this is all we do! Being in event promotion is just another form of gambling.

Who do you think is a blooming artistic talent, even if others in your circle aren’t convinced?

Juiceboxxx.

What do you remember about your first club night?

Those were the craziest parties I’ve ever been too. Nothing since has ever matched that kind of raw energy and enthusiasm.

What are some of the toughest lessons you’ve learned along the way?

Mostly what to share and what not to with others, trust. Knowing when and how to reveal things is a pretty powerful tool. Also, basic business. I entered into this with no knowledge of how to run a business and have taken several lumps along the way!

If you were starting out now, would you do anything differently?

Have a large amount of capital and take a year to build the infrastructure of what I wanted to do first.

What’s the secret to your success?

Persistence.

Look ahead for us, into the future. What will be/cause the next big shake up?

No idea what will happen in the future, but what I’ve tried to do with IHEARTCOMIX and for myself is create our own universe. So, whatever happens anywhere else is what happens, for the most part it won’t affect us. I’m always looking forward.

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