Not much is known about BLUFRANK other that he hails from the Egypt, home of one of the world’s oldest civilizations. An electronic musician in the age of 6-minute long club bangers, BLUFRANK (strictly all-caps) makes bite-size music full of flavour and melody, leaving listeners no choice but to go back and listen again. His anonymous status and critically acclaimed tunes had us running for an interview.
Thanks for taking the time to be here with us, BLUFRANK. First question’s a bit obvious, but how did you settle on your alias?
“In a world full of band names that are inspired by indie rock, indie electronic culture and its derivatives, giving your project a pretentious name has become a stable…People want a name related to a trend or a culture that they might not belong to, just in order to rise on the ladder of success quickly. I am not saying they do it conscientiously, but this trend has become so big that you can’t escape it. So basically, I didn’t want a name that would fade with a certain scene or time – like how DJs put DJ in their name or Rappers having MC in their names – so I decided to choose one of the most ordinary names ever: “FRANK”. And instead of having “The” or whatever conventions that are over used, I chose “BLU” – not the colour, just the 3 letters B, L & U. That was initially. Later on, I started to play around with the meaningless name in order to make fun of people who are into this naming crap, telling people it stands for something like ‘Brain Logic Utilized Frank’ (laughs)…but yeah, the name means nothing man. And it stands out in the search results on Google, so that’s a bonus !”
In this overpopulated scene, where do you see yourself positioned? Whether it’s a genre, an aesthetic, a movement or even the ‘ladder’ as you describe it.
“That’s a tough question, because it’s got so many variables and it can be taken from many points of view, but from my own point of view – musically – I stand in a different lane. I don’t wanna fall in the “I am so weird and different cliché” but let me explain.
“Basically what I am doing is different than what most of the people are doing today. From the song-writing/arranging point of view, people right now are either so hardcore to the implications of their genre or too experimental and left field…the underground people, and the mainstream people are taking the most poppy take on music swallowing whatever is trendy right now, throwing some licks of ‘I am different’ here and there…so before making BLUFRANK, I knew those three points of view, so I wanted to make BLUFRANK out of a different angle. I wanted to make experimental-pop music eschewing the trends, shallowness and quirks of pop nowadays, the ‘I-don’t-know-what-the-hell-I’m-doing’ pit that left field musicians fall in, and the latching-onto-the-past that retro kids can’t escape. Making music that an average listener can listen to, feel and enjoy. Something for the shallow music listener to dance to, and something a music nerd can see as something different made with a concept & a different vibe.
“To answer your question, I don’t see myself as a part of a certain movement, because these stuff come and go, and its a trend in a certain way, like the whole chillwave fad. I rather see myself as pushing a genre forward. And about the ladder of success: success is unqualified, but I can see myself climbing. Nevertheless, I don’t know how many steps I need to take achieve what I want.”
Can you tell us about your musical upbringing?
“I got drawn into music by sitting in the back of my fathers car on long trips. He used to play records from the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, and I was so amazed by the act of looking outside the window and listening at the same time, it was an audio-visual trip. Those melodies & harmonies were and still are so strong, it was inescapable…I couldn’t stop myself from humming and thinking about the stuff I heard especially when I was on the road. In my mind, it’s visually & aurally stunning, and that’s when I knew I should collect my own music, cause I found out that I enjoy music too much, its never enough.”
And has that been the main reason you took up production?
“I got drawn into production and composition in general by thinking to myself ‘These kids got guitars and I don’t own one, I can’t play one’. So I swore I would make this music production/composition thing my equivalent of picking up guitar. And I really enjoy it when indie rock bands here in Egypt ask me how I composed this and how I produced that, because they’re like 4-5 piece bands and I’m just like one guy making full band music.”
You mentioned earlier how you got drawn into music through the audio visual experience of car rides. How does art and visual aid play a role in the music you showcase?
“Visual art plays a strong role in my music as it is important to convey the story. It’s important in gluing the whole vibe together & most of all, it helps the audience see what I see in my head, and see the world from my own point of view. Don’t get me wrong, I would never choose style over substance. Like, I wouldn’t do one of these pointless pretentious songs and put trendy retro videos in order to extract fake emotions out of shallow listeners. Nah man , there are details, concepts…and if you listen and watch carefully, you will detect the story lines and the connection between the songs.”
Alright, to wrap things off, we’ll have a miscellaneous question. What are 5 things that piss you off?
“1- When people Egypt-inize a hit song, i.e. replacing western instruments with middle-eastern instruments…This is dull and over done, man.
2- When you put your hands in the air or throw a sign or something when the “drop” hits.
3- Wearing Ray-Bans while playing live.
4- Indie bands who live the cliché life: smoke while drinking something all the time, trying to talk deep and shit, acting like they are the first in this game.
5- Today’s DJ scene.”