I didn’t actually know where Thetford was until I did some digging on Franko Fraize. Rapper Franko Fraize comes from Thetford which is in Norfolk where some scenes of Dad’s Army were filmed and were a load of Londoners moved to after the second world war, which might explain his charismatic and dynamic personality. I had heard of Franko Fraize before, but it wasn’t until hearing one of his latest offerings ‘Side By Side’ that I finally appreciated the man’s talent and understood why the likes of 1Xtra DJ Mistajam were ranting and raving about him. As an independent artist, Franko already has many top dogs in the music industry sitting up and listening and not to mention his appearances at some of the biggest festivals in the world. Franko sat down with us to talk about how a 9 to 5 can help you achieve your dreams and drugs in the music industry.
You don’t get very many rappers from Thetford, how has your music been received in your hometown?
The love and appreciation of my hometown is the only reason this ever became anything. I basically started writing rap music as I could see so much going on in my town that I felt to write about in an emotive type of way. The fact this got appreciated and celebrated by the people it showed me that this all had a purpose and wasn’t rubbish. From here it naturally grew and spread further and wider until it became me writing songs for people across the whole of the country and even the world who could relate to what I was writing about.
How difficult is it to make it in the music industry as an independent artist? Is it better that you have more leeway to do what you want?
I think it’s difficult to make it in the music industry full stop. Being independent or on a label, they both have their own help and hindrances. For example, being on a label is great because you have the budget and the platform but then it isn’t so good in terms of being able to do what you want and flourish and find your full potential as an artist. Nowadays being an independent artist is a decent place to be as it’s so much easier to get heard, to put music out, to get fans etc. I think really and truly from the bottom to the top, the key thing to all this is just to work hard and enjoy what you’re doing.
You kept your job at BT for a while when you started breaking into music. At what point do you think you should go all in on your dreams when you are holding down a job to keep up with the bills etc.
Realistically I think you should always put ‘real life’ first in terms of having a job, bringing money in, having that normal structure to life. I think this helps massively. It helps in the sense of it costs money to be successful, so you need to make money to put it into everything. It also helps to have a normal structure to your day to keep you healthy and keep that drive. It also helps because working gives you stuff to write about and stuff that is relatable to the average normal person, which is very important. I’ve always found when I’m not working, and I’m given too much freedom it can be the enemy of creativity. It causes you to be uninspired.
We have seen many artists lose their lives due to drugs and some have offered the justification that drugs help conceal the pressures of the industry. As you get bigger and bigger do you feel any different and do you feel a certain pressure to maintain a certain stature?
This is a great question and becomes more of an issue every day. Personally, I think the culture we live in is very drug orientated, not just in the music industry. I know people have been raving on pills for decades, but it does seem a lot more commonplace and ‘normalised’ to be in your local pub off your tits. In terms of the pressures of the artist side, I think drugs only ‘conceal the pressures of the industry’ in the same way they do for normal people trying to escape their job, life etc. Drugs are drugs and I think the issue isn’t just in music. The issue with the artist side is more the pressure to constantly create and move forwards which I think comes more from the pressure you put on yourself, or the pressures that come from a label, manager, agent etc.
How do you want us to feel after listening to your forthcoming EP ‘Lights and Colour’?
I’d like people to think there is something new and fresh but not abstract or out of the box. I feel like the music has that familiarity across the board i.e a bit of 90s rave, bit of drum and bass etc but it all merges together and presents me as an artist that I feel is different to most of what’s out there already. I also like to think people think I’m talking a bit of sense with it all.
What’s next after this EP?
After this I’ll be playing loads more shows, building my fanbase off this music and playing it live to the people. After that, I’ll be prepping the next release as I’ve got loads of tracks around me that I need to put out into the ether. I’m hoping to continue releasing music and possibly build to an album in 2019. Watch this space.
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