We asked UK Producer about his musical journey.
Born and bred Londoner Tom Frankel is a UK producer who over the years has had the opportunity to perform alongside some of the biggest names in house and techno. His talent has seen him play venues such as Fabric, The Egg and Lightbox in London as well as Sankeys, Privilege and Zoo Project in Ibiza. Tom has produced tracks on Warner Bros USA, Freakin303, Bloxbox, Incognitus, It’s On Dot and Go Deeva.
His rapid climb to success is attributable to his hard work and endearing character, which combined with his expert musical knowledge make him a serious one to watch in the coming months.We had the chance to speak with Tom about how he started, his time in ibiza and what gives him satisfaction. He has also provided us with a guest mix for the WSH Podcast (listen below or click here for tracklist).
How and when did the musical journey start for you?
It’s a long story, but basically starts right at the beginning as both my parents are musicians. My dad a music teacher and my Mum plays in the BBC Symphony Orchestra, so from an early age I was surrounded by music. Early teens I played piano but was mainly into a lot of heavy metal and rock stuff, everything from The Libertines, Arctic Monkeys to Slipknot and System Of A Down, which also lead to me learning to play a bit of the Guitar as well.
Eventually through people I met, that progressed into an obsession with Drum N Bass and Garage during the latter years of my teens, but It wasn’t until I was around 17/18 that I really got into DJing. Mainly after watching Andy C at a few parties and being mesmerized by his ability to blend tunes together to seemingly make a whole new track. I was obsessed with him and Mampi Swift, they were instrumental in me getting more into DJing, double drop mixes and three deck mixing just fascinated me, haha.
I can’t forget to credit friends like my mate Dave Edit who was also instrumental in getting me into DJing through watching him mix at his house, and eventually running a few Drum n Bass parties locally with him. My musical partner in crime Dayne Harper who I’ve played b2b with a lot over the years at various parties and still to this day, we have ridiculous amounts of fun dropping beats together. We’ve held residencies together for parties like Private Life and Care3.
Having a great circle of party people I’ve met over the years around me is important to keep the journey going now!
After starting on the path, what moment made you want to pursue this professionally?
It was sort of a happy accident, I don’t think I ever made a conscious choice to be a “professional”. I’ve been very lucky to have been out as a clubber over the years, all over the country, spent time in Ibiza and made some amazing friendships and connections that have led me to some incredible promoters and experiences.
I still work during the week so it’s weird to think of myself as “professional DJ”, I am very grateful for what started as a bedroom hobby, leading me to all the amazing people I’ve met and the parties I’ve played or attended over the years.
To put it in one sentence though, “making people dance and have a good time”, I remember thinking one day, if you can do that as a “professional job” sign me up, haha, and here we are now.
After doing the Ibiza season for a few years, how do you feel about the continuing changes on the island?
I was lucky to do 3 amazing seasons in 2011-2013 and I made some incredible friends out on that magical island. I got to work with some amazing talented people out there, but to me I think its a personal thing, Ibiza in general, the island will always have it’s charm and be a place of magic for people. The VIP culture is certainly on the increase, but places like Underground Ibiza will hopefully always be around to fly the flag for what most have come to love about the island.
Some are there for the whole VIP thing, but a huge quantity of people go there for the real Ibiza, real parties, real music. Not EDM and cake throwing and DJ’s waving their hands in the air whilst 3 tracks somehow magically mix themselves together. I mean, there’s a geezer getting booked with a bloody marshmallow on his head. Sums up one side of it, But I digress, that’s more the industry as a whole.
Unfortunately it’s more the increasing restrictions on sound levels at beach clubs like Blue Marlin and Bora Bora which I think will be a massive issue in coming years. The authorities really seem to be clamping down in recent years, asking for reductions of music as low as 65db. For a huge amount of people the day parties and beach clubs are a fundamental part of the experience, whether it’s a messy rollover or just warming up for the night ahead.
Ibiza will always be Ibiza for those that know where to look though!
You’ve supported a lot of great artists like Steve Lawler, Nina Kraviz, Nice7, Darius Syrossian and Russ Yallop. Is there a set that stands out as a wow moment for you?
Yeah, it’s been amazing over the years to be lucky enough to play on the same lineup and stage as some amazing DJ’s, a lot of which i’ve looked up to.
The night I warmed up at Sankeys in Ibiza for Move D in 2013 was pretty special, the dude just oozes cool, was drinking red wine and playing vinyl whilst smoking a joint in the basement and then whips out, Layo & Bushwacka’s “Love Story”, the room was just an absolute vibe was definitely a special one!
Warming up for Julian Perez at the mythical and legendary outdoor Plan Be venue was also a belter! That place was so special, such a shame it didn’t stand the test of Ibiza politics!
Big shout to Sam for the chance to be the warm up resident there for one summer though, dream come true to play that gaff!
While being a busy DJ and successful producer, you still find time to teach music production. Which of these three, if any, gives you the most satisfaction?
I’m just starting to dip my toes more into the teaching side of things, I did a few sessions a while back with a few friends and it is massively rewarding, but it’s always something i’ve wanted to do more of so starting to book in a lot more session recently with people.
It’s tough to choose which of the 3 is the most satisfying as all are satisfying in different ways. DJing I find the buzz, the journey and the energy is absolutely unreal, production is both excruciatingly frustrating, but hugely rewarding once you get it right, that moment that the tune just comes together, or you start a new one and know you’re onto a winner, that’s a great feeling. But teaching is different, it’s when you notice things click in people’s head, and you see them develop as an artist, it’s very rewarding to be able to help someone achieve something they’ve wanted to do for a long time.
Your track ‘Different Hoods’ has just been released on Marshall Jefferson’s ‘Freakin303’ imprint. How does it feel to be releasing on such a dance music icon’s label?
It’s always a great feeling when any label wants to sign your music, but definitely getting a track on a label like Freakin303 feels like a huge achievement. The compilation is great as well and features tracks from some very talented producers and friends in the industry like Tom Finn, DAF, Daniel Anthony, Kayne & Sanchez, Acid Kids and many others. It’s a double buzz to be on the label on a release with friends and good company as well of course.
You are an artist with a big future ahead of you. What track would you say sums up your journey so far?
Thank you, I hope so. That’s a tricky question, haha. I think it’ll come as a surprise to some but I’m gonna go with Bill Withers “Lovely Day”.
If we’re talking about summing up the journey, it takes a lot of determination, anyone that knows me will know that I talk about “positive vibes” a lot, that song is the epitome of that really, waking up in the morning with those good vibes and keeping your eyes on the prize! It’s a fantastic track, maybe not so much for a main room club set, but whipped out at the right time by certain selectors, that tune could unite a few festival crowds for sure.
Now the important question… Who is your favourite superhero?
I’ve never been a huge super hero person to be honest as mad as that may sound to some, and bizarrely that probably makes this the hardest question.
I’m gonna just go with another curveball and say David Attenborough, as no one can really say he isn’t a superhero! He’s the boss! Everyone would love him as a grandad. He’s been all over the world for years and made the best documentaries, with the most mental footage.
Real life superhero our grandad David, not all heroes wear capes.
You can catch Tom Frankel playing in and around London, be sure to follow him on Facebook to keep up to date.