Random Recipe is a Canadian hip hop, pop, indie rock group whose members are Frannie Holder (vocal and guitar), Fab (rap, beatbox, steel drum) and Liu-Kong Ha (percussion and keys). After releasing Fold It! Mold It! (2010) and Kill the Hook (2013), they have recently celebrated their 10th anniversary with Distractions, a crowdsourced album to reaffirm their musical identity.
In this album, they question the music industry and, above all, women’s contribution to the music world.
The first single, Hey Boy (feat. Sunny Moonshine), is a celebration of the community of women coming together to express what is unique in the female experience.
The video is the result of the collaboration with MissMe, a visual artist, activist and feminist and one of the most recognized outlaw artists in North America.
In this interview, Fab tells about their diversified music references, the concept behind Distractions, the collaboration with MissMe and women empowerment.
Q.: In your Facebook info section you mentioned a lot of artists belonging to extremely diversified music genres as being part of your music influences (from Coolio to Caetano Veloso, from Billie Holiday to Moby, from Erykah Badu to Salt ’n’ Pepa). How much does the legacy of these artists or their current production in some other cases resonate with your music?
Fab: The languages, the textures, the decades, their stories, their struggles, all resonate with Random Recipe’s music, in our way of writing, as well as our way of producing and of performing. We look at art and songwriting, and see how relevant and meaningful it can be to us, and to who and what is around us. What is our purpose, and what kind of roles models can we be for our future, just like some of these artists where – and still are- for us.
Q.: Your latest album, Distractions, questions the music industry and how women contributed to the evolution of the music world. What’s been the most important achievement for women in the arts and entertainment business so far? But, above all, what’s still missing? Are women still misinterpreted and underrepresented in the (music) world?
Fab: Until things are evened out, by that we mean wxmen playing that ”social and historical importance” that men have easily had for the last 10 000 years, there will always be something missing, something unbalanced and inequivalent of these social ”gender” roles. Our duty, our message, and position, is to be loud, bold and up-right about our thoughts, feelings, stories, struggles, hopes, dreams and wishes.
Random Recipe’s achievement for this last album, is through the numerous hours we put into doing our homework, into looking at diversity and feminism to make this 3rd album. It is made by approximately 100 humans (from musicians, to producers, to management, bookers, publishers, etc., and the surrounding team), 2 of which were men, 98 of which were Women/Womxn. We continue to be in AWE with wxmen artists/talent around the world, and look around our home in Montreal, and are grateful for the seeds we planted in nourishing this -now lively- community of ”sisterhood”, putting women together in a team, and not against each other.
Q.: The first single extracted from your album is called “Hey Boy”. What’s the message in it? The lyrics are extremely powerful: if you had to pick a few lines to represent the whole song what would they be?
Fab: Random Recipe’s 3rd LP -DISTRACTIONS- was an album first and foremost created with Womxn Empowerment in mind. It’s what drove us to write the album: we wanted to portray women in an energetic/wild band growing out of their twenties. How to stay relevant in a pop band as women when you aren’t as young anymore. This song is the most explicit on the subject. The artists and business team around this project were all curated to help recognize and lift the importance of diversity and “womanhood” for the future. Liu-Kong, Frannie & Fab (with help from the brilliant FOXTROTT) wanted to achieve the perfect balance between a minimalistic heartbeat-like rhythm, a strong fervent melody and lyrics that strike, turn heads and tell the powerful truth of what many women are feeling today. Hey Boy speaks directly to men, telling them to watch their backs, watch their attitudes and their behaviours towards wxmen, because ”when the pendulum swings and reverses things”, they had better be good or else karma will bite back and they will fall at the bottom of our lists. The outro of the song in both the English (ft. Sunny Moonshine) and Spanish version (ft. Teff Brolo) make you enter in a dreamy, never ending, hopeful trance, leaving you with your own questions about your position -as a man Or womxn- in life.
Q.: For the video of “Hey Boy” you teamed up with MissMe, a visual artist and activist you met here in Italy for the first time. Could you tell more about her and what made you think: “Yes, this is the artist we want to work with”?
Fab: Miss Me and Random Recipe crossed paths for the first time in a collaborative workspace located in Bologna, Italy [The Fa’Art] back in early 2019. After spending almost 3 hours hanging out, exchanging thoughts and philosophies about our world views, we quickly came to a conclusion that both projects shared very closely the same visions and values about life. A subject that especially struck us was that of Womxn’s Rights & Empowerment, and our song Hey Boy could not be of more relevance to this matter. MissMe was immediately touched by this single, the same way we were when we wrote this song, and that is when we felt the need and urge to combine both our artistic worlds into one main masterpiece, centralizing and opened exponentially eyes, ears and souls around us. A subject this strong Needed to feel like it was brought up by a community of people, and this was our main goal from beginning to end of this music video.
Q.: There have been a lot of protests and violence in the world recently and many artists have published protest songs addressing social issues. Why is it so important to not stop talking about women empowerment and gender equality?
Fab: Silence is not an option. Thoughts/feelings/emotions have to be processed into words/pictures/songs for the human kind to stay healthy, happy, and….alive. Random Recipe acknowledges our privileges. We believe in a brighter future. we believe in peace. We believe in change. Stop talking about struggles, is like taking our hearts and lungs out of our bodies, while trying to stay alive. It is impossible.
For as long as this planet turns around the sun, we need to voice what hurts, to make this place a better home.
Q.: We’re also currently facing the second wave of Covid-19 pandemic. In Italy, but also worldwide, the arts and entertainment sector has been among the most affected in terms of restrictions enforced by the different Governments. How has your country reacted? What’s your opinion on this? Do you think that the Government could have better protected artists and people working in the sector?
Fab: The situation in Canada, for artists and musicians, is not an easy one. Alot of artists are struggling, for different reasons. The bigger, more famous bands have a financial cushion they can survive on, but the business around them, who tend to be so dependent of their product (booking, touring, engineers, management, labels, lights, sound, drivers, scenographies etc.) are struggling. The routines they have created for themselves became a stagnant safety belt.
While on the other hand, the independent smaller bands/artists, with 3-5-10 year careers supported by side “hustles” jobs, are somehow coming out of this with their heads up, as they are used to be on their tippy-toes.
Yes, we have, for the most, been fortunate of a Canadian Emergency Funding support that has been able to help most people with a small but steady income. For Random Recipe, this Covid moment has been a time where we have been observing, living the present. We have always and continue to be a band with many talents, and working under pressure is a force for us, therefore, we try to branch out and find/make work around us. We recognize our privileges, as individuals and as a band, and we are shifting our energy to try and help people around us, in collaborative and educational ways.
All pictures courtesy of Random Recipe