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Interview: Frankie Bones Talks Friendship With Carl Cox, Evolution Of Dance Music Scene, - Magnetic Magazine

Interview: Frankie Bones Wants us to Call It Techno

The godfather of rave tells how his new EP on Intec Digital came to fruition, and how he encouraged label boss Carl Cox to start producing.
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Frankie Bones AGNT Photo

Frankie Bones AGNT Photo

Frankie Bones dropped his first record in 1988, meaning that Frankie Bones started his career in dance music before many modern dance music fans were even born. Let that sink in for a second, I’ll wait. 

This pillar of rave culture has put in over 30 years in dance music and shows no signs of slowing down. He’s known fellow dance music legend Carl Cox for almost as long. Just last week the two came together to re-release his essential tune, “Call It Techno” alongside the all-new “Light It Up” on Carl Cox’s Intec Digital imprint. Accented by stellar remixes from Carlo Lio and Raito, the package fulfills a long-awaited promise, and in a way brings the two artists friendship full circle.

Frankie Bones is a walking history of modern dance music, the godfather of rave and one of the cultures most prolific storytellers. Hearing him speak, you can only imagine what kind of gems lie in the stories he hasn’t yet told. A testament to dedication and a true love for the music, Frankie’s career spans three decades, and just as many generations of ravers. If you’ve raved, at all, you owe this guy a big PLURy hug.

The scene has changed drastically since he began throwing his STORM raves in the early 90’s. At the time, him traveling to play in the UK was monumental and helped connect the dance music scenes of two continents. Yet, even as rave has mutated into peak EDM or post-EDM-or whatever it is that we’re in right now-Frankie has stood the test of time and remained a steadfast champion of the culture.

We caught up with Frankie to get a taste of his knack for storytelling, chat about his new release, and get an update from this elder statesman of dance music on how we’ve got on nearly 40 years later.

You and Carl Cox both have equally storied careers in dance music. How did you first meet?

December 13, 1989. What is interesting about the night in question wasn't the actual event, but the fact that it was Lenny Dee's first time to the U.K. and Carl Cox had us over his house to show us his new recording studio. This had been my fourth tour to the U.K. In 3 months and 20 days. Lenny & I had got Carl a copy of Success-N-Effect on 12" which by that point, the most saught after 12" from me caning it every show.

Carl was ready to start producing but joked about how he needed to get his head around all the gear he purchased. This is when I told him, "all you got to do is take this record, Success-N-Effect, ride a couple of new sounds over it and press white labels! Stamp your name on it.

A moment in time that changed everything. It was only weeks after that, that Carl produced "I Want You (Forever) for Perfecto.

And how did you two hook up on the release of the "Call It Techno" EP? 

I've been friends with Carl since 1989, and at EDC Las Vegas in 2012 Carl asked me to make something for Intec and to come and see him when I was ready. That took five years actually and it didn't exactly happen the way we (Melissa & I) expected it to happen. Melissa found Raito who is an artist out of France on Boys Noize Records and asked him if he wanted to be a part of the project. Next thing we knew Carl is opening up with the track at his own event, Intec Island, which was on Governors Island in New York City this past June. Carlo Lio also wanted to get involved, which really put the whole thing over the top. I couldn't be happier with the way it turned out and the support we have received so far.

You were one of the architects of the techno scene in the US. Do you feel as if things have come full circle?

I wouldn't say the scene has come back full circle because things are done so differently now, but different aspects, songs, and people have. We were basically 25 years ahead of ourselves in the 90's in Brooklyn and everyone finally caught up with us. It was always too good to not become a worldwide movement. I am happy for everyone who has continued on with the tradition and was able to make a life out of it the way I have.

Some things haven’t changed though. You’re still a crate digger after all these years. What do you still find exciting about record store shopping?

My fan base includes a lot of people who still collect vinyl, die-hard collectors. Many of them have become clients of mine. It's amazing to me that after the 15 years of owning Groove & Sonic Groove Records, that I am still running a successful vinyl business without a brick & mortar shop to do it in. People appreciate that I find rare items they would never find on their own otherwise, so it's a passion of mine to search and find these relics for them.

Your own label has picked up quite a bit of success with vinyl releases. Why did you decide to enter such a niche market?

When my wife and I started our label, Bangin Music, just over a year ago, we wanted to stand out from other digital labels. For me, it wouldn't seem right to have a label and not produce vinyl. Also, it just so happened that a new record pressing plant opened up literally down the street from where we live which really felt like it was placed there for us.

Can you talk about the design of the Bangin' Music vinyl?

We wanted to only press 300 limited edition colored vinyl of each, with each release a different design and color scheme. So far we have a blue and red one that looks like tie-dye and a white and red one. Trying to decide which two tracks to press next. I think we're going for a mostly clear one next. We are discussing distribution for Europe, in that case, I think we would keep those all black.

Bangin Music

How do you think the scene has held up after nearly 40 years?

I think a lot of young kids in the last decade have come up listening to different styles of EDM more in tune with Trap & Dubstep (Or what they call "brostep") in America brought on by Skrillex etc. What happens is as these teenagers begin to get older into their 20's, they start to get exposed to other styles of House and Techno and their tastes begin to mature. Techno is a great place to wind up when you are in your mid-20's and still want to be a part of the scene. I always said that. "Call It Techno" (LOL). You can see why the song is still important to me because the lyrical content means exactly the same thing [it did] when I wrote it 28 years ago.

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