FACT RatedÂ is our series digging into the sounds and stories the most vital breaking artists around right now. This week John Twells talks to Berlin-based techno vanguard rRoxymore, who went from DJing in Paris to writing genre-blurring dance vignettes for Bristol’s Don’t Be Afraid.
Released earlier this year on the Donât Be Afraid imprint, rRoxymoreâs Thoughts an Introvert Part 1 is one 2017âs most unique techno records. Built around shifting, synthesized rhythms and fluttering melodies that curl around the barrage drums, itâs an unassuming set that creeps up on you slowly, but with purpose. The title track burrows into your skull, its woozy, plucked lead warming the dancefloor for the well-placed finger-snaps that follow.
âI wanted to do something really organic,â Hermione Frank tells me at this yearâs MUTEK MontrÃ©al. âThe title] track had been written in the winter, and winter in Berlin is very â¦ you go through introversion. It was really a rough time, with politics and everything, so this is a reflection what Iâve been through during the winter.â Frank is reserved but confident in her responses, despite speaking in a second language. She grew up in France, Montpellier to be exact, before moving to Paris where she became obsessed with the growing dance scene. âI was really hypnotized by DJing,â she laughs. âI was fascinated, I had some friends who had a pair Technics and started. I wanted to mix organic stuff and electronic, so I would start with disco or a jazzy thing, then funky, playing trip-hop maybe and finishing on house. I always wanted to melt things like this.â
When Frank started to produce her own music, she honed in on a similar interplay between organic and electronic sounds. âThe person who introduced me to production had a hip-hop background,â she says. âSo thatâs how I learned.â This interplay is most evident in her early catalogue – for a while she fered âsequencers and a bit synthâ to experimental world music act Ekova and added electronics to Speed Caravanâs 2008 album Kalashnik Love full-length. But it took an exodus from France for Frank to allow herself the space she needed to explore her own unique voice.
âMoving to Berlin helped me to connect to the scene,â she admits. âIâve always been doing music, but it was the right move for me to be connected to myself, with my own work, and indeed to be connected to the dance music scene – in Paris I was not so involved with that. In Berlin, itâs in the DNA the city, so you donât feel weird doing electronic music. In fact itâs like the opposite, itâs actually boring.â She giggles as she catches herself; certainly, the city has been crucial to her development as a solo artist. Frank has been releasing records as rRoxymore since 2012, first linking up with with Planningtorock on the âPatriarchy Over & Outâ / âWheel Of Fortuneâ 12â, and then issuing a string well-received mixes and 12âs, including a boundary-pushing collaboration with Paula Temple, Oni Ayhun and Planningtorock.
Last year, she linked up with the Bristol-based Donât Be Afraid label, releasing the excellent Organ Smith EP. âI just wrote to Benji Roth, aka Semtek]. Thatâs it,â she assures. âHe answered me an hour later like, âYeah! Welcome!â Iâm really happy, itâs like a really nice house for me.â Frank has already notched up two EPs on the label with another due in 2018 – Thoughts an Introvert Part 2 – and an album further on the horizon. I wonder what we could possibly expect to hear from this forthcoming material. âIâd like to do something totally synthetic,â she says, smiling. âI love pads and maybe I should try somethingâ¦ I would like to try to do something else.â
John Twells is FACT’s Managing Editor. Find him on Twitter.
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