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Random Recipe cook up a unique musical infusion

by Jessica Romera October 8, 2013
Random Recipe cook up a unique musical infusion

For Random Recipe, the ‘90s represented a time where the love of vinyls and the appreciation for physically and culturally diverse music reigned supreme in Quebec. It was also a period where the standards and qualifications to be considered a Quebecois artist were not as important as the spirit of the music itself. Musicians have always felt a certain attraction to the city of Montreal, a city that prides itself on being a colourful tapestry woven together by innumerable cultural heritages. As of late, questions of cultural identity have caused tension, and in some cases, full-blown outrage not only in minority communities, but in the artistic community as well. For Random Recipe, the matter—literally—hits close to home.

Montreal-based quartet Random Recipe launch their new album Kill The Hook on Oct.8. Photo Jerome Nadeau

“For most people I know 2012 was shit, you know, it was horrible,” said Frannie Holder, one of the vocalists and guitarists for the Montreal band, “The Mayans had predicted the end of the world but it was actually an end of a cycle.”

After doing close to 200 shows to promote their first album, the band was unsure of the direction in which they were headed.

“We just kind of wondered if we would do another album or not just because we’re so, so, so different. [We] have different personalities, characters and ambitions and influences and writing this album was so difficult and there was a big ball of tension in the air and in society in general,”said Holder.

In order to proceed as a group, Random Recipe allowed themselves a brief period of personal, and social reflection before heading to the studio to produce their latest work Kill The Hook, out Oct. 8. “It’s more grounded and focused and just more bold […] we knew what we were doing this time around compared to last time,” said Holder.

With a sound that is nearly impossible to classify, Random Recipe drew inspiration from almost every genre under the sun. Influences for the album ranged from The Flaming Lips to Santigold, to create a unique sound.

“It’s a mix of everything that we like at the moment. Definitely a little bit of hip-hop, a lot of pop with indie in it, indie sound, a lot of references to the ‘90s from the grunge aspect of it to the boy band aspect of it,” she said. “I’d like to say it’s like CocoRosie meets the Beastie Boys or Santigold and I don’t know, SBTRKT [pronounced Subtract].”

A self-proclaimed fan of Swedish ‘90s band Ace of Base, Holder claims that the band “was a huge influence throughout this album.”

All four members of the band have such distinct styles and personalities that it was difficult for them to reach collective decisions at times. Despite any artistic differences, the band agree on the fact that their style will never be stagnant allowing their sound to be an amalgamation of multiple genres.

Being based out of Montreal since the band’s inception back in 2007, the city has had an enormous influence on Random Recipe. “Montreal is just such an interesting city,” said Holder.

After indulging her wanderlust by venturing off to South America and Asia, travelling “really puts into perspective where Montreal fits in the whole world in a way,” she said.

“I think Montreal is just one of the most interesting, and flamboyant and effervescent cities in the world for its art and its attitude, its music scene, its restaurants, whatever, at the same time we’re just so stuck in this stupid identity discourse and we’re lost in it.”

For the past year, Montreal and Quebec as a province have been struggling with what it means to be a Quebecois. And for Holder, a Quebecois musician, feels that instead of wasting time and money trying to get rid of individual identity and culture, Holder believes we should be investing it in the education of cultural and religious tolerance and acceptance.

Since the band does not have strictly French lyrics in their songs, they are not technically eligible to receive specific government grants and funding for their art.

“It’s not Anglos versus Francos, that’s just so, so, so sad,” said Holder.

Despite recent attempts by the government to improve funding for the arts in Canada, many limitations still exist.

“It’s beautiful that they want to focus on arts, that they want to put arts ahead, they want to put culture ahead. That’s how you feel a culture, through its music, its arts, its literature, its how you feel what the province or a nation is,” said Holder.

Instead of just throwing money at the arts, the government should be finding ways to put long term plans into action.

“I’m a true believer of long time change; you can’t do anything short term.”

Having toured countless countries with the band, Holder has noticed just how universal music really can be. A performance in Iceland sticks out in the Montrealer’s mind: “You literally felt like you were on another planet,” she said. “It’s just a very intriguing and beautiful culture.”

Being a Louisiana native, Holder enjoys going back down to the U.S. to perform. Recently, Random Recipe played the South by Southwest Music Festival in Austin, Texas and were completely blown away by the city. For Holder, the festival and the city were like another world of cultural and musical freedom within the more traditional, conservative Texas state lines.

Whenever she feels it will be time to hang up her guitar, Holder would love to take all of her musical knowledge and impart it on younger generations by being a high school teacher. “I really want to teach in high school one day when I’m sick of touring and being an asshole on stage,” she laughs.

Technology has allowed consumers to get their latest musical fix instantaneously with the Internet.

“Everyone has such small attention spans,” said Holder. Because of this, “music doesn’t get to live as long as it should because we are so distracted.”

With this in mind, Random Recipe will be offering their latest release Kill The Hook on vinyl as well as through electronic purchasing.

“There’s depth in it […] you’re closer to the feeling that the band really wanted to give, and you spent so much time trying to choose what sound and what EQ and what distortion and what reverb, then it just gets lost in your speakers of your stupid iMac and it has no bass and no this and no that,” she said.

Vinyl records “are an art object for a lot of people,” said Holder. “Music, for a lot of people is entertainment, it’s a distraction.” The physicality of listening to music is disappearing because of the Internet, according to Holder. Now, with the resurgence in vinyl popularity, people are starting to appreciate it again for the act, and not making it just a background sound. For Holder, “the action and the ritual of taking out a vinyl and putting it on the turn table and sitting down,” should be the action or event all on its own.

“Try to go back to when you were teens or you were kids and you loved an album. And whatever the album is, try to listen to whatever you’re listening to these days and try listening to that, in that way, with that love.”

Random Recipe will be performing Oct. 8 at Cabaret la Tulipe.

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