Producers, DJs and foremost music enthusiasts, there are a lot of possible terms to describe Berlin based duo Frankey & Sandrino, but in the end it’s their music that sums up what Sandrino Tittel and Frank Beckers represent. While both artists had been deeply involved with electronic music in different projects in the past and could look back at a career that had been lasting for nearly a decade, the first Frankey & Sandrino release, ‘Wandering EP, came out in 2012 and was equivalent with the start of the duo’s mutual career. Since then they have placed their music on renowned labels such as Drumpoet, Mule Musiq, Moodmusic, Kompakt or Innervisions including hits such as ‘Acamar’, ‘Starchild’, ‘Hydrae’ or ‘Way of the Sun’. In 2016 Frank and Sandrino founded their own label ‘Sum Over Histories’ on which they released their EP ‘Virgo’ amongst other EPs and music from artists like Lazaros, Tlak or Rancido. Torture the Artist had a chat with the duo shortly before their acclaimed ‘Sources‘ remix for French duo Konvex & The Shadow on AZZUR to speak about a childhood fashion faux pas, Sandrino’s preference for drama in music and Frank depicting the counterpart to it. Furthermore, they reveal their music digging strategies and which remix describes their on-going friend- and partnership best.
Torture the Artist: Hello guys, tell us something about your day.
Sandrino: Hey! I’m based at Tuscany’s Seaside for the summer and I still kinda try to have a routine here. After waking up today I went to my favourite coffee place named ‘Mataloni’ which has the best coffee in the world, and I’m not exaggerating here. Family business in its second generation with a focus on the simplicity of cafe; sweets and sandwiches but its made with perfection…
No fancy super sweet fruity roasted coffee for 5€ but the best 1€ coffee I ever had in my life, and this croissant filled with apples & cinnamon – pure heaven. After a nice walk and an amazing lunch I finally opened the computer and here I am.
Frankey: I woke up quite early, got my son ready for school, then had to go to the doctor for a little check up, then had a proper breakfast, then went to the studio to finalize and master a track, then went with my wife to eat some sushi for lunch, and then finally started to do this interview…
As he’s the complete opposite of me, I‘m much more balanced if we travel together. (Sandrino)
Torture the Artist: What’s more exhausting, traveling to all your gigs around the globe or spending time together?
Sandrino: Actually spending time together and especially traveling together makes it much easier to be honest. I really underrate how intense and hard the travel and lack of sleep can be, so it’s very nice to share the time with a good friend which Frankey definitely is for me. As he’s the complete opposite of me, I‘m much more balanced if we travel together. We talk a lot about future projects, discuss about music, talk about private life and if we find the time we visit the places we travel to.
Frankey: Traveling is actually the only exhausting thing in our job, why would spending time together be exhausting? And I’m even asking this as a pretty unsocial person.
Torture the Artist: Your remix for French label AZZUR, ‘Sources’ by Konvex & The Shadow, was just released. What is your connection to the label?
Sandrino: The guys shared their music from the very first moment with me and I really like it. They asked us a while ago to remix another song but it didn’t work out at the end. I played the original version of ‘Sources’ a lot last year during the summer season whenever I had the chance to play slower music. As we got in touch again by end of 2017 to talk about a possible remix I was very happy to see ‘Sources’ as an option.
Torture the Artist: What does the original track have to contain, music-wise, for you to decide to give it the remix treatment?
Frankey: It was the vocals in this case, but in general working with vocals is always quite inspiring to us, which has always resulted in something special.
Sandrino: It’s easy – the vibe and the vocals!
Torture the Artist: Besides producing music under your Frankey & Sandrino moniker you both release solo as well. To what extend does your solo productions depict your musical being differently in comparision to your productions as Frankey & Sandrino?
Frankey: I’ve only released one solo remix so it’s hard to tell and Sandrino has problems with another artist with the same name, releasing stuff on Beatport. But in general I actually never think about these kind of things. I just do music…
Sandrino: Solo is a big word as I‘ve always been part of projects or released edits of an existing song so far and not really original music. I’m really interested in the studio work but I wouldn’t consider myself a producer. In the studio I find myself more in the position of finding sounds, developing ideas with a clear vision of sound but the harmonic and the repetitive nerdy engineering is Frankey’s part. He’s a great musician and producer and he plays several instruments, which is a large advantage for our music as we both try and seek a certain kind of complexity in our music without losing the serenity of a song.
Whenever we go in the studio we try not to repeat ourselves and to be as original as possible. (Sandrino)
Torture the Artist: Do you cross-check your solo-projects in the end?
Sandrino: Not really! I mean as Frankey is also part of other projects I‘m sure there is a sort of overlap. It’s just logical that the music is influencing you. Whenever we go in the studio we try not to repeat ourselves and to be as original as possible.
Torture the Artist: Sandrino, how does Frankey criticize your music and Frankey, what’s your way of dealing with it?
Sandrino: I think criticizing is the wrong word here. I love the drama in music and Frankey doesn‘t.
It’s just a matter of taste at the end.
Sandrino kind of introduced me to a new different kind of electronic music, where musical elements are more important. (Frankey)
Torture the Artist: You’ve been working together for quite a few years; what do you appreciate most about each other?
Sandrino: Frank is the opposite of me but together we achieve the same goal in music, which is great. I do really enjoy his company. As Frank is ‘giving a sh*t’ it draws the attention to things I sometimes stuck with and keeps me away from moving ahead. Like overthinking what we actually do. We meet in the middle which is the more balanced way.
Frankey: I appreciate that Sandrino kind of introduced me to a new different kind of electronic music, where musical elements are more important, instead of meaningless dance tools that you forget about after 5 minutes. This and our production process, where Sandrino forced me to always look for new and different ways of doing things, has helped me a lot to think differently about music in general. It also made my job as a 15 years touring DJ and producer exciting again. Until today we are discussing about music over and over again, and we are quite different in some ways, but these discussions are always inspiring and have helped me a lot to develop as an artist.
Torture the Artist: What’s the story behind the iconic hat Sandrino?
Sandrino: Two simple reasons, I’m a huge fan of Adriano Celentano and I don’t have much hair!
Torture the Artist: Frankey, do you notice a difference when Sandrino doesn’t have it on?
Frankey: No, but you should know that I absolutely don’t give a sh*t about outfits, fashion and images.
Torture the Artist: Sandrino has been very consistent with his style, sporting a distinct look almost like a ‘uniform‘– is this a form of delineating a difference between personal and professional life – mask on/off?
Sandrino: Is it like that? Sounds like a compliment to me, thanks. Clothes are, as many other things, a form of self-expression. I’m not really following a certain style but wearing what I think fits my personality best and feel most comfortable with. I don’t make a difference between personal or professional life.
Torture the Artist: What‘s the worst outfit your parents made you wear as a child?
Frankey: As I said: I didn’t waste any time in my life thinking about outfits, but I did hate my parents, when they forced me to wear a suite for my holy communion.
Sandrino: When I was a little child my grandmother made me wear tights even during hot summer days! Not bad enough, she pulled them‚ till they were under my shoulders so the kidneys could also be protected and warm. Thanks to Omi I don’t have any kidney problems nowdays. <smiles>
Torture the Artist: Sandrino recently became a father again, how does that affect your strategy as an artist? Have you scaled back or ever found yourself passing on opportunities thinking of how it will affect your role as a father?
Sandrino: It’s my second child and I couldn’t be prouder and happier to have two beautiful girls. I don’t need to scale back as I never exaggerate, it’s my job and I take it very seriously. So far it has a lot of advantages, for example I’ve been home a lot to see every single change of the little one or to support and help out my love with the daily duties.
I would say Sandrino is an average flexible person, but when it comes to music or food, he’s not flexible at all… (Frankey)
Torture the Artist: Frankey, how much of a flexible person is Sandrino?
Frankey: Normally I would say Sandrino is an average flexible person, but when it comes to music or food, he’s not flexible at all…
Torture the Artist: Sandrino, what does Frankey refuse to compromise on?
Sandrino: Frankey is the most persistent person when it comes down to the quality of a production.
For example, when we receive the masters of an EP or remix he always has something to say. It often happens that he chooses his own master instead of the professional mastered one at the end. He has a clear vision of how music should sound like. I really appreciate that!
In every song we write you can hear our ‘relationship’, the way of meeting each other on the same level and speaking the same language through the music.
Torture the Artist: If any Frankey & Sandrino track or remix best described your relationship to each other, which one would it be and why?
Frankey: A track describing our relationship? I don‘t see music that way. But I think the most personal inspiring production process we had was at a lonely beach in Bahia, Brasil where we made our remix for Keinemusik.
Sandrino: Indeed the remix for the Keinemusik crew is a song created out of a true moment of inspiration. I will never forget that day, but this is another long story. I would additionally say that in every song we write you can hear our ‘relationship’, the way of meeting each other on the same level and speaking the same language through the music. For Frankey, the groove is the most important element while for me it is the sounds which are going deep down in your head (hopefully). The symbiosis makes it at the end.
Torture the Artist: Since you are both DJs and producers, do you follow a certain routine to dig for new music?
Frankey: Usually I start two days before the weekend to dig, to check promos, browsing Beatport.
Sandrino: I’m constantly searching and listening to mostly new music. Many factors play a role to find the right music like my current mood, what I’m personally looking for and one of the most important factors is luck. There‘s a lot of music sent by friends which I listen to first then I try to get through all the promos and additionally I try to dig through platforms like Bandcamp for the more experimental and not obvious stuff. It’s a never-ending story, sometimes successful and sometimes less, but it’s definitely not a routine.
Torture the Artist: What’s the artist you’ve searched most on google, and don’t tell me you’ve just deleted your internet-browser?
Frankey: Childish Gambino, Jordan Rakei, Ravyn Lenae.
Nobody understands how much time, pain and sweat it takes to really finalize and finish tracks. (Frankey)
Torture the Artist: What’s the thing most people think they understand about being an artist but don’t?
Frankey: Nobody (not even Sandrino) understands how much time, pain and sweat it takes to really finalize and finish tracks. I just finished 3 tracks today from another project and the last polishing finalizing stage took me more than 50 hours (!) and they don’t even sound much different now than before that process. <smiles>
Sandrino: I don‘t know and I don‘t really care to be honest but I can tell you it’s joy and pain at the same time. I mean today everything makes sense and you love it more than ever and maybe tomorrow you wanna burn down your whole musical collection because you hate every little tone. It’s an up and down of emotions but I cannot live without it.
@ Frank, come on I know you love to work on those frequencies so much!
Torture the Artist: Your label is called ‘Sum Over Histories’; does this have any reference to your take on math over the humanities, the concrete over perceptions, presumably the superiority of the firsts over the latter
Sandrino: Sum Over Histories is a theory by Richard Feynman, which assumes that a particle (for example, light) can travel in between two points, A and B, a possibly infinite number of possible paths. As we both love the miracle world of Quarks & co we were fascinated by this idea. It is similar with music; a song can be interpreted in an infinite number of ways.
Torture the Artist: Why is it histories over history?
Sandrino: Because of the infinite possibilities!
Interview by Holger Breuer