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Sunday, November 3, 2013

Exclusive Q&A with Leo Frappier

Leo Frappier is a remixer/producer who has kept us dancing for decades. He started in the high NRG style and has adapted and embraced other sub-genres of dance music to move us to the floors, and he has done that admirably. He's worked with some of our favorite divas (Ulta Nate, Kristine W, Jeanie Tracy) and has always added quality and respected the integrity of the original song in his mixes. Therefore, it was a definite thrill for me to be able to blab with the one and only Leo Frappier.
Dj Buddy Beaverhausen: Hi, Leo, thank you for joining me in this Q&A where readers at Queens Our City radio and my interview blog, Blab It to Beaverhausen, can come to know you better along with me. From NYC, we welcome you from the Bay Area. How long have you lived there now?
LF: Hi, glad to meet you! I was born and raised in San Francisco. I have lived here all my life, with a short stint in Los Angeles. I’ve seen it through all the decades here!
DBB: The earliest production of yours I can track down is "Jump Up for Love" featuring Jo-Carol. What had you done previously, because this doesn't sound like the work of a novice? And how did you get started in the business?
LF: Wow, you’ve done some homework! Just a few tracks before that, like “Fire” with Linda Imperial, and my very first record which got written up in a Billboard review, “Dangerous” by Magda Dioni. Both were dance tracks of the “Hi-NRG” genre that came out of the Megatone and Patrick Cowley school of early early EARLY EDM. 
I got my start working with John Hedges, Audrey Joseph, and Marty Bleckman with Moby Dick and Megatone Records in the mid-Eighties. I met and hung out with diva legend Sylvester many o’ times, but never had the opportunity to work with him. He was fabulous, but a genuine person at the same time - very encouraging to me starting out. A couple of years after he died of AIDS, Megatone released a remix album entitled “Immortal” in the early 90’s and I remixed “Menergy” and “Man Enuf” for the album. That truly was the beginning of my career as a “Remixer.”
DBB: What were your musical influences growing up? What are they today?
LF: My musical influences were all over the place, but I’d have to say many of the Soul bands of the 70’s. I grew up studying classical piano and was at one point going to be a professional tuba player, being groomed to work with the San Francisco Symphony.  But as synthesizers and studio technology came about, I knew my early dream of writing and producing “pop” music was what I wanted to pursue. Any influences today? Well, I listen to the radio and hear all sorts of music I like, as most of it is dance!  Also, on a quiet note I do enjoy “chill” and “spa new-agey” type of music, too.  Can’t be dancing all the time!
DBB: This Wednesday, 11/6 @ 6pm, House of Pride radio will be presenting a tribute to you and your career, and playing your music. How do you feel about being honored this way, and how can my readers and I go to hear this? Sounds like fun!
LF: Yes, this should be very fun, and I’m excited about it. It’s at 6 pm West Coast time, and it’s at a venue I’ve never been to. It’s playfully called the “Mutiny Radio & Cafe," and it’s live. You can listen and stream on the web with this link:
Remember you lovely East-Coasters, it’ll be 9pm your time!  (wink)
DBB: I see you're connected with Sobel Promotions and are currently quite prolific. What was it like working with newer artists like Icona Pop, Sheena Rose (who I recently interviewed), et al.?
LF: Sobel Promotions? I love Barbara Sobel. She’s the best in the business. And regarding artists, anybody who comes to me with spirit and ambition and talent, I love to work with. Sheena Rose is great, I really have helped her get rolling. Doing remixes for the pop diva’s like Carly Rae Jepson and Icona Pop, you don’t actually get much contact with them. But I know for a fact that these artists listen and do approve of the mixes that the label hired us to do. I’ve gotten some lovely emails, which is quite touching considering how on-the-go these pop artists are!
DBB: Tell us a little about your collaborations, throughout your career, with some other producers, remixers and divas. I mean, you've worked with some of the best! Who would you work with again in a heartbeat? Who might you not want to work with again for whatever reason?
LF: I’m glad you brought that up.  It’s very easy for me to work in the studio and “do everything,” which I can. But I LOVE collaborating, especially on the production and remix side of things. I’ve been working a massive amount in the last year with Superstar DJ/Producer Wayne G, and he and I together have worked with lots of chart-topping pop divas (and some guys too, haha). With him, the Icona Pop, Nelly Furtado, and Carly Rae Jepson remixes came about. I work with Paul Brewer, and he and I are the Sweet Team having done a #1 Billboard remix for Kristine W., and I am part of the House of Swishcraft and regularly work with DJ/Producer Matt Consola. I’m part of a group called Outer Sunset, and we’ve had some interesting success in the “Trance” market working with Paul Oakenfold and Perfecto Records. There are very few that I don’t or won’t work with anymore. Very little goes bad, it’s just an upward trajectory of good stuff, you know?
DBB: What's the juiciest backstage story you can tell us? You don’t have to name names but, on the other hand, feel free.
LF: Well when live shows happen at the clubs, sometimes various levels of the vocals are on the track. That’s usually because a club is not a concert venue, and it’s very hard for the artist to hear themselves properly. It’s not lip syncing, it’s just a guide to keep them on track. Well, honey, I won’t name names, but a couple of times I’ve heard a diva or two who’s had too many sips of cocktails start singing the third verse over the second verse's vocals and vice verse. A hot mess ~ plain and simple!
DBB: [laughs.] Well, what do you think about the state of club music today?
LF: I love that club and pop music are so intertwined these days. I go with the times. I love classic sounds and like to throw some retro in the mix, as well as some “funky soul” up in there too, but I like today’s dance music sound. It’s finally got a name: EDM. Electronic Dance Music and I’m all for it. Also, I really like some of the Nuevo-Disco sounds coming out of New York usually for summer months or Tea Dances.
DBB: You recently had a very special 9th Anniversary in your life. Would you like to tell us a little about that?
LF: Okay, let’s get personal. Yes, I just had the 9th anniversary of my first date with my husband. Yup we’re married. Happily! We got married first in Vancouver, Canada in 2006 when it just became legal there. And then in 2008, we were one of those handful of couples who got married in San Francisco, California and still stayed married even though Prop 8 in California stopped marriage equality for a while. Well, as we all know, that issue went to the Supreme Court of the United States and now our marriage is recognized on a national level. Marriage equality, the way it should be.
DBB: I usually end my interviews by asking if there are any last shout-outs that my guests want to give to their fans, so I’m going to now offer that option to you.
LF: I never turn down a soap-box or podium... haha. I just want to thank all my fans and supporters. Your feedback and enjoyment of my music has been a daily inspiration.  Thanks for listening.  I promise I’ll keep you dancin’!  [Mwah!]
DBB: Leo, thank you so much. I'm sure our readers will enjoy this chat. Best wishes from Queens Our City Radio and Blab It to Beaverhausen!


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