If you haven’t sampled Random Recipe’s fusion of hip hop, rap, bossa nova, jazz, and energy, you need to get your ass into their kitchen. The foursome is already on its third album Kill the Hook, and has toured widely – Iceland, Belgium, USA, France, and of course, Canada. Fireball Frannie Holder is at the heart of the band, pouring her heart into every performance with a fury and a joy that melts even the most stoic hearts. A concussion just after the Quebec City launch laid her up and gave us a chance to talk at length about making the new album and the band’s upcoming tour.
Montreal Godzilla (MG): So what’s going on with you at the moment?
Frannie Holder (FH): Saturday, I had concussion after the launch [in Montreal], so we had to postpone tQuebec City. We have to be calmer because of me, but we’ve started practicing again. We’re working on a bunch of stuff that demands less energy. We’re trying to put together to a track with the bands performing with us in M for Montreal: Foxtrott and Heart Streets. Foxtrott will make the beats and Heart Streets will do something.
MG: Tell us about your new album and what it was like to put it together.
FH: It was such tough album to make. We almost killed each other. We played so many shows and the band evolved a lot. When Random Recipe started – we weren’t going to be musicians. We just did it for fun. We thought it was funny that people liked it. We were all in school or had projects and jobs. In the last couple of years, the band because more serious. We had teams working with us in Europe and Canada. It became this more demanding thing and we hit a crossroads; we wondered whether we were going to make another album.
We don’t make pure indie, hip hip, or pop – it’s a mix. People ask, “What direction are you going to take?” We’re free and not free. It’s a blank page. There was no path written for us. It’s not like when you’re a punk band and are just going to do another punk album. It was a puzzle for us to figure out and the four of us didn’t want to do the same thing. Each of us is opinionated and hard headed. We all believed that we knew what we wanted to do as musicians. There was fighting and we were sick of seeing each other too after 250 shows. It’s like a family trip, only they’re not your friends, family, or co-workers, but all of those together. And there’s no one to say shut up or to split up the fights. You’re spending time together with people who are so different from you, with different ambitious. One of us had a kid. We’re different ages. Mostly, it has to be fun. We have to keep it fun. Whoever is doing music for money is in a bad industry. You have to do it for fun and the art of it. We wrote an album that the four of us like, which was impossible to achieve.
So, yes, it was a shitty album to write, but we didn’t want to stop. We had something to say. And now we feel better than we ever have. The whole thing was a kind of therapeutic process. There’s a nostalgic feel. It has high energy and is emotional. It’s a more intimate album. We speak about topics of great importance to us. Fold It, Mold It was about the life of a 22-year-old. Now we sing about suicide and depression.
MG: What’s it like to take your new album to live audiences? Any song in particular you’re excited to bring to the audience?
FH: [M for Montreal] will be first show since the launch. No one knows the tracks, but you start to see what songs people get caught up on. The performance is so different from the songs on the album. To me, Joy is my favorite song on stage and on the album. It’s a poppy song that really is kind of the best glimpse of Random Recipe. It ranges so much. It goes from hyper-energy to calmer and more intimate moments. It represents the evolution of the band overall.
MG: Can you elaborate on that?
FH: We started as a two-piece band with an acoustic sound — two cute girls on the sidewalk that didn’t know what they were doing. But with the band coming into being, we became more and more present. After playing bigger and bigger shows and being in line-ups of huge bands, we wanted to sound like hip hop bands. We wanted to compete with that. We had all that in the back of our minds when we made this album. We didn’t want to be on the back track. Most bands like to have all these effects from the computer. We don’t want to be computerized and mechanical [in performance]. That’s very cold. We want to be free to stop a track in the middle or speed it up, based on how we feel. That’s the beauty of a show. It’s more fragile.
It’s hard when you’re a girl to be taken seriously. There are very few women out there. When there is a woman [in the music industry] that you cross paths with, she’s the singer usually. She’s not a booker or promoter, sound man or drummer. When a woman is a drummer, she’s got to be very good for a drummer. So as a woman, you have one role you have to be: the pretty singer. I hate being the pretty singer. I like to be the rowdy one. I like to run around and sweat. Life is not pretty. Life is a raw moment where you put yourself out there.
I’m happy that we’ve gone from being cute to a show that is equal to any live hip hop band with guys in the front running around. I’m happy to be raw and out there. And I’m happy to just sweat it.
Random Recipe is playing the M for Montreal showcase with Foxtrott and Heart Streets on Friday Nov 22 at the SAT (1201 St. Laurent). 10 p.m. Tickets $16.50.