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Thursday, February 3, 2011

a recipe for something beautiful



Here's my interview with Montreal's Random Recipe I did for Cadence Magazine...

Nestled in Montreal, Quebec, there’s a fresh sound echoing in the city’s music scene: a recipe for a creative masterpiece.

“We were just playing one night in a pizza place because we wanted free pizza,” recalled Random Recipe’s front girl, Frannie Holder. Since they were successful in getting a pizza, the next week they decided, “Let’s do it again for a free cab ride.” They found a cab-driver to agree, and while playing their song in front of the cab, another singer, Gizelle Webber, happened to be nearby and heard their music. Webber invited them to an open mic. Recollects Holder, “We went to the open mic. It was five bucks to get in. So we made a deal on doing our stage performance instead of the five dollars. It’s a story of being poor.”

Holder and wheeling-and-dealing partner, Fab, soon got invited to do more shows. It wasn’t until they were about to do a show in Paris for more than a small pub audience that they recruited other band-mates, Vincent Legault and Liu-Kong Ha.

Random Recipe is a mixture of “warmth, originality and musical inspiration from all over the world,” states the band’s website. Even though the emceeing and beat-box influence is strong, the band is also known for using sounds rooted in and inspired by Italian, Québécois, Cajun, and Chinese and even includes choir singing, violin, poutine, milk-shakes and international studies. “Basically, [this is] the way we write our songs:” shares Holder, “When the Kanye West album came out, Liu-Kong was just crazy about it. He kept on talking about it. So he ended up trying to make a Kanye West-like beat on his drum, and we wrote a song around it.” Holder continues, “We’re not limited. It’s whatever inspires us.”

As for Canadian influences, Holder had to think hard on that one. “Fab loves Drake.” Speaking of Drake, I had to ask her if they’re looking for that international response only a few Canadian artists can get. “It depends on how you see it. We started for a pizza. So just the fact that we already toured in France and we’re going back in a month and a half, and we’re going to the States in March, I already consider myself as ‘international’,” chuckled Holder. “I don’t think anyone in the band needs the success Drake has had. If we end up having [that kind of success], who would spit on it?” she continues. “Our sound is different. It’s not a Hip Hop sound. Not a Pop sound. We’re an Indie sound. We’re on the fringe of everything.”

Fold It! Mold It! is the bands first full-length album, and the first single, “Shipwreck,” is already getting buzz around the internet due to its fun sketchbook video. “What we wanted for this video,” Holder explained, “was just something very organic, something playful. We didn’t want to have a video where we’re just singing under a bridge or in an alley with graffiti in the background.” The single, a positive view of the world, was conspired by Fab, who wrote down her thoughts about what was going on in the world. Holder told her to write something more positive while she tried to do a re-make of the Louis Armstrong epic bridge from “What A Wonderful World.” However, since they couldn’t get the rights, Holder had to come up with original lines.

Even though they have a love for milk-shakes, don’t expect to see that in their show rider. “Candy is on there. We need Redbull for sure . . . because we need energy,” giggled the already energetic Holder. “We have a funny thing with our rider. We didn’t even know they [the stipulations] were there. We sent them as a joke to our manager, and we realized this summer [they were included in the rider] when we were playing some random place in Eastern Quebec. [The promoters] said, “We’re so sorry we don’t have everything that’s on your list.’ And I was like, `What list?’” recalled the singer. “We looked like princesses. I was so embarrassed. We crossed some out because we realized it isn’t easy for them to accommodate all the bands.”

Ready to do a quick Ontario tour this week, kicking off at Toronto’s legendary Rivoli, Holder promised “craziness” at their shows. “I’m actually very happy we’re touring outside of our home province with more experience. We are always hyper-active and happy to be on stage but we weren’t focused before. It’s a lot more tight now. A lot of energy,” hinted Holder. “The show is where we started and that’s what it’s all about. We’re so happy to be on stage and have fun.”
And fun is what the band is. My quick conversation with Holder showed me that it’s evident that the group is here for the long run but is going to take it one day at a time, enjoying every minute of it. Random Recipe is looking forward to another few months of touring and also new material, some of which will be premiered on their Ontario-wide tour.

Here’s a rundown of the dates and cities of Random Recipe’s tour:

Feb 2 – Toronto, ON – Rivoli
Feb 3 – Windsor, ON – Phog Lounge
Feb 4 – Hamilton, ON – Artwood Artbar
Feb 5 – Kingston, ON – The Mansion
Feb 8 – Ottawa, ON – Elmdale House Tavern
Feb 9 – Peterborough, ON – The Spill
Feb 10 – Guelph, ON – ebar
Mar 11 – Toronto, ON – CMW – El Mocambo