The rising UK producer talks teaming up with a musical legend in the middle of a pandemic and what he’s got in store for us next.
In a small seaside town in Norfolk sits Franklin: the rising UK producer shaking up the music world from his Dad’s shed, one revamped classic at a time. From James Arthur to AJ Mitchel, and lest we forget Mabel, there’s no big name that this young talent is afraid of remixing. Topping the UK Dance Chart and collaborating with the likes of Digital Farm Animals, the underground star is rapidly making a name for himself as the one to watch.
And now, enlisting the help of global house music icon DJ Cedric Gervais, Franklin is transporting us from our kitchens to the post-Covid dancefloor with “Everybody Dance” – a reworking of the CHIC 1978 iconic dance smash hit. The brand new version incorporates re-recorded guitar parts from none other than the co-founder of CHIC himself, Nile Rodgers. These funk-fuelled strings are reinforced by pulsing pop synths and a modernist house production. The result is a killer dance anthem that is both glowingly nostalgic and refreshingly new.
On what the track means to him, Franklin said: “For me, ‘Everybody Dance’ was always so instantly recognisable when you heard that Bernard Edwards bass riff. From there onwards, it’s just such a feel good, dance floor anthem. I just couldn’t resist trying to reimagine the song in a more contemporary dance-crossover setting. When I heard Nile not only loved it but actually wanted to cut the guitars down himself, I genuinely didn’t believe it, I still can’t even believe it now!”.
We caught up with Franklin below, talking losing his festival virginity and discovering dance music, reworking an iconic dancefloor classic from his Dad’s shed in Norfolk, and what we can expect from the young remixer next.
Check out the interview below…
Hi Franklin – how have you been during this uncertain time?
Hey guys. I feel guilty saying it, but I’ve honestly not been too bad. Obviously, it’s still had highs and lows but not nearly as bad as it’s been for others so I really shouldn’t complain.
How has it impacted your music and creativity?
Early on it was a struggle like for everyone. Was a weird experience having a tonne of free time but nothing to actually spend it on (other than work). I found staying creative tough when there was literally nothing to go do or see but eventually, I got used to it and was just thankful to be able to do what I do still.
Where did you grow up and how did it influence you sonically? Who were your musical heroes?
I grew up in a small seaside town called Hunstanton in Norfolk. I can’t say it was influential on me sonically, but there was always music playing in my house. My Mum was a massive Prince, Chic & Grace Jones fan and my Dad was huge on Led Zepplin, Neil Young plus many more so there was a lot going on which was good. Growing up I was inspired by Calvin Harris, Avicii and anything disco orientated that was being blasted in the house. The list goes on and on, but I’ll stick with these for the sake of everyone reading…
How did you get into production?
When I was 14/15 years old Drake released his album Take Care which I was obsessed with. I remember how much I loved the ‘beats’ on tracks like Headlines and The Motto which made me think that would be something really cool to do, especially for someone like myself who has absolutely no singing ability…I got FL Studio for my next birthday and just started having fun messing with drum loops and random plugin synths. Then, when I was 16, I went to my first music festival with my mates and I discovered dance music. I was completely blown away seeing the impact and energy the music had on the crowd. I hadn’t seen anything like that before and that’s when I said I finally knew what I wanted to do in life – make music and tour the world playing music.
You’ve remixed big names such as Mabel, James Arthur and AJ Mitchell – what has been your biggest pinch-me moment so far?
I’ve done work for some crazy big names but releasing a single with Nile Rodgers takes the crown pretty comfortably!! Growing up listening to him around the house and knowing the genuine impact he’s had on popular music is enormous, especially being a dance music producer/DJ myself. The term ‘legend’ is used a lot, but he is a real one.
Congratulations on your reworking of “Everybody Dance” with Nile Rodgers and DJ Cedric Gervais – how did you first get involved?
Thanks! I started the idea a couple years ago before it went a bit quiet, then around a year ago a friend of mine in the industry realised Cedric also had a really similar idea using the same sample and so he put us in touch. We got on really well and loved each other’s ideas so decided we’d collaborate on the track together. Once we got the track to a place we were really excited about, we then sent it on to Nile’s team hoping they’d give their blessings on our version. Instead, Nile got back to us saying he really loved what we’d done and that he wanted to re-record some new guitars for it and be involved with the record! I wasn’t sure if I should let myself get that excited when I found out only to be gutted if it never happened, but then when the guitar parts got sent in a week later, I was absolutely BUZZING.
Do you have a personal connection/memory of the track?
The reason I sampled “Everybody Dance” was because at the time I was just low on inspiration and I remembered how the original made me instantly feel great and excitable. As a child it was the “dododo” vocal line that made me bounce around like the nutcase I was.
How was it putting together in the middle of a pandemic? What were the biggest challenges?
I’m not gonna lie, I’ll always be a bit gutted we never got to work on it together in person because of Covid. Having said that we actually were really productive together over Zoom and Whatsapp calls even with Cedric being in Miami, Nile in New York, and me in my Dad’s shed in Norfolk. But yeah, jetting over to Miami with a superstar DJ and/or jetting to New York with a multi grammy-award winning musical icon would have been a bit better when I reflect on it.
How does it feel to be releasing new music when most of the world is in lockdown/everything feels so uncertain – what do you hope your music will bring?
It was massively on my mind throughout the pandemic. At first, I was really worried that releasing “Everybody Dance” during a time of anxiousness and fear would be terrible, but the whole aim all of us had with the track was to provoke feel good energy and uplift to whoever listened. That’s why to me it made perfect sense to release it at a time people probably needed that more than anything.
What’s next for you? What are you looking forward to in 2021?
I’m most looking forward to/desperately hoping some kind of normality returns in 2021, especially with live-shows/festivals/gigs etc. I’ve really struggled not being able to go to these things which I love most, so just to be able to attend something like that at some point this year will be a massive boost for me. Other than that, I’m really looking forward to put out more exciting music and collaborations…there’s lots coming ;).