Ten years since their last record, Frank & Tony return with ‘Ethos.’ We put them to task on our Q&A.

Why music?

Frank: One of a couple of reasons to get out of bed.

Tony: When I was 18, it seemed like the funnest thing to do, and now I’m 40, and I’m still doing it.

If you weren’t making music, what would you be doing?

Frank: Reading.

Tony: Graphic design and art direction (which I do full-time these days).

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Frank: Never take a crosstown bus.

Tony: Don’t take shortcuts in life.

Frank & Tony

What inspires you?

Frank: Animals.

Tony: My wife and daughter, photography, spending time in the ocean, and food.

What’s the next big thing?

Frank + Tony: The end of colonialism.

Best club experience?

Frank: Likely our residency at Public Records + Subterrain at the End with Mr C / Eddie Richards / Layo and Bushwacka in 2002.

Tony: Currently our residency at Public Records, NYC,  and if not, of course, my early days as  a clubber getting lost on dancefloors nights in a row in Paris.

What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?

Frank: In the ’90s, I drove a truck for a mail sorting company in Vegas in the summer with no air conditioning in the car. I might as well have been a courier for the devil.

Tony: The first few months of opening up my coffee shop. I was clueless, worked overtime, and was working three jobs at once. I went completely broke and had to return and live at my mother’s house.

How do you know when a track’s finished?

F&T: Not sure it ever is. You just have to decide to let it go.

What was your last day job, and when did you realize you could give it up?

Frank: I still work a day job running my business in NY, Public Records. Music is only possible now in small windows of free time.

Tony: Currently, I still have a day job. Music is my side gig, and in all honesty, I like this balance as all my activities feed into each other.

Which song do you wish you wrote?

Frank: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds ‘Higgs Boson Blues.’

Tony: Sade ‘Smooth Operator.’

What’s the easiest way to make it in the music industry?

Frank: Burn Rick Rubin’s book.

Tony: I would love to know that. I have been trying to solve that mystery for over 20 years.

Give us a music production tip. Compression won't make it better.

What’s the worst track you’ve ever released?

Frank: My first hardcore record in my band, The Jimmy Carter Solution.

Tony: My early releases as Anthony Collins are really amateur. It took me nearly 10 years to start being satisfied with the music I was putting out.

Recommend us a film.

Frank: The Proposition.

Tony: Yannick.

Recommend us a book.

Frank: Jane: A Murder by Maggie Nelson.

Tony: Barbarian Days by William Finnegan.

What or who is underrated?

Frank and Tony: A working turntable.

What are you addicted to?

Frank: My dogs and long-distance running.

Tony: Spending time with my daughter and wife. Physical activities – surfing, boxing, running.

What do you lust over?

Frank: Rare books I can’t afford, and Nick Cave’s life.

Tony: Waves that I can’t surf because I need to work.

Worst gig? Every gig where there’s that guy who says, 'You got anything harder?'.

What is your greatest regret?

Frank: More time spent with my parents before they passed away.

Tony: Spending too much time partying hard in my youth and a few precious years flying by….

What one thing would most improve your life?

Frank and Tony: The end of late-stage capitalism.

What’s the worst gig you’ve ever played?

Frank and Tony: Every gig where there’s that guy who says, “You got anything harder?”

Collaboration: rich creative experience or pain in the ass?

Frank and Tony: It’s a rich creative pain in the ass.

What’s the secret to a great mix?

Frank: I think it depends on what you are trying to achieve. If we’re talking about dance music, for me, no matter the genre, it’s about locking into a groove. It’s like catching a wave.

Tony: Creating an atmosphere with a unique selection and tight blending.

If you could only listen to one more track, what would it be?

Frank: The Creator Has A Master Plan by Pharaoh Sanders.

How do you relax?

Frank: I play with my dogs and go for long walks with them.

Tony: Beach time.

What one piece of software/kit could you not do without? Why?

Frank: Studer 962 Console. It’s honed in on the sound I’ve always looked for in a mixing console/ summing mixer.

Tony: Everything is replaceable. I’m not too attached to a certain piece or kit.

Art or money?

Frank: Depends on who’s asking.

Tony: By conviction art, by necessity art and money.

Ronaldo or Messi?

Frank and Tony: Agnostic

Strangest place you ever wrote a track?

Frank: On a couch while living above Shakespeare Co in Paris.

Tony: I just moved into a flat in NY and had no furniture for weeks. So I wrote an album on the kitchen floor.

Must-visit record store?

Frank: Human Head.

Tony: A-1 NYC.

What’s your single biggest frustration in the music industry?

Frank: Trickle down economics and Taylor Swift’s royalty checks.

Tony: Self-promotion overtaking the actual quality of music.

What’s your favourite label? Why?

Frank: Shelter Press. I suppose because I own all the releases.

Tony: It’s hard to pinpoint one, but off the top of my head, Music from Memory and Mr Bongo always deliver quality in a wide range of styles.

What’s the worst thing about making music?

Frank: Self-loathing.

Tony: If it’s made without a purpose, then none really.

What’s your motto?

Frank: I knew I should have taken a left turn at Albuquerque.

Tony: Magic and beauty are found in silence, cracks, and imperfections.

Name something timeless

Frank: Space.

Tony: Love.

Tweet us a tip. What’s the best production advice you can give in 140 characters or less?

Frank: Compression won’t make it better.

Tony: Never rush to release music. Let your work breathe for days or weeks, and go back and listen. If you still like it, then it might be worth finishing.

If someone saw a performance of yours in 1000 years, what do you think they would they say?

F and T: Wow, they played their entire set in halftime.

Can music change the world?

Frank: Not anymore.

Tony: No, but it can definitely entertain you in the best way possible.

What are you listening to right now?

Frank: Good friends call me E by Eliana Glass (which is forthcoming on Shelter Press).

Tony: Racional (Vol 3) by Tim Maia.

What should you do before you die? Travel more and more and more

Frank: Pet a cow.

Tony: Travel, experience different cultures, build a family, try to catch a wave…

Ethos by Frank & Tony is out now. Listen on Spotify.

Find Frank & Tony on Instagram.

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25th April, 2024

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