RS: Of all the mixes you've done, which is your favorite mix?
Frankie: Of all the remixes, probably "Where Love Lives."
RS: Wow, Alison Limerick - that's a classic.
Frankie: Yes, exactly. You hear it and you feel the magic when you're sitting in the studio working on it and then it comes out and everybody confirms it when they hear it.
RS: Speaking about that kind of timeframe and that kind of time period, just a little over ten years ago there seemed to be so much variety with the tempo in house music, whereas now everything seems to be die cut between say 125 and 130. How do you feel about this, especially since you've created tracks at all kinds of BPM ranges?
Frankie: Well, I think that's one of the things that work against house music albums is that they are mostly mixed compilation albums and there is no real concept there. They are compilations, mixed CDs with a bunch of different peoples' records and that's basically it. It forces the marketplace here to look at it and say well this is what house music is and they don't realize that it's so much more than that. At the Warehouse, I played music at all different tempos, something as low as 90 beats per minute or something as fast as 130, it was a wide variety. They had a wide variety of styles that had a certain edge and a certain soulfulness. Some of the stuff was even punk or post punk but it's something eclectic, mixtures of different stuff that I played.
But today, everyone seems to think that house music has to be anything from 128 to 130 plus beats per minute and stuff like that. DJs all dive in and that's the way they play and I think that limits the full scope of what this is all about. This is the reason why this album is so varied, it changes directions in the middle because the sound got a little tough and I wanted it to feel like a night in the life of a certain situation. You know how you can get to the club at a certain hour or the night, like at two or three o'clock in the morning and you walk into the room and the music has the very tough and kind of aggressive feel about it. Then there is a sweet spot, in the middle of the night, where it begins to turn around and it begins to engulf you because it feels a lot warmer and the music becomes a little bit more sensitive. The voices become a lot broader and a lot more distinct and they're singing about something could quite possibly be meaningful for someone in the room, and it just changes the full scope of it, that's what it's about.
RS: Wow, that's really a nice description of how house music can move people. Talking about that sweet spot with a sentimental vocal, one of the records you did like that was your mix of Michael Jackson's "You Are Not Alone." It seemed like it must have been difficult to work on because there are percussive finger snaps mixed with the vocals. Was that difficult for you as a remixer or was it just an interesting challenge?
Frankie: It was difficult because when Michael's in a vocal booth, he can't keep still, he's clapping his hands and snapping his fingers. I guess for the original recording that it probably didn't matter that he did all the different stuff because it played into the original production and it was in the recording, but when it came down to doing a remix, it become nothing short of a nightmare. At the same time, I tried to make it fit, because it doesn't throw you off, but anything like that is just a little bit weird around the edges.
RS: Let me ask you this big general question, how do you define house music?
Frankie: Oh no, don't ask me that question. <laughing> I can't answer that question because what it means to me and what it means to most other people right now are two completely different things. It's pointless what it means to me because nobody else is really going to agree. There'd be some people that will agree with it, and we all know who they are and they all know who they are, but for the most part, on a commercial level, everybody has their own theory and they stick by that.
RS: Well what does house music mean to you?
Frankie: It's personal.
Frankie: I'm gonna leave it at that.
RS: OK. Are there any vocalists you would especially love to work with?
Frankie: Yes, Joss Stone and Beyonce. Justin Timberlake might be fun as well.
RS: And speaking about Justin, where do you keep your Grammy?
Frankie: Sitting on a mantelpiece right next to my television set.
RS: Very cool. Is there anything you want to say to the people out there who love dance music?
Frankie: Apart from just thanking them for always being so supportive and believing in what I do, keep on dancing.