FRISKY News caught up with Fran Ashram and talked about his new show Elevation, career journeys, philosophies and not allowing fear to get in his way.
No stranger to FRISKY, let’s give a warm welcome hello to FRISKY’s newest member – Italian deejay and producer, Fran Ashram. With a successful run of his Feelin’ Frisky guest mix followed by Artist of the Week, he now brings us his show ‘Elevation’. As Fran happily shared, “It was all very exciting, I mean all this journey before arriving here where I am with you[FRISKY]today. Joining the Frisky family is an honor for me, surely in my musical appointment’s listeners will never be bored. There will be always new music, so it will always be an exclusive experience.”
One may automatically assume the life of an electronic music producer and deejay comes without sacrifice. On the contrary, challenges are a reality with Fran enduring his share. “It’s very difficult to live of this profession”, he said. Further adding, “to continue this passion is a great sacrifice and a daily challenge in every sense. I consider myself very fortunate to have both my wife and children behind me patiently supporting me in everything I do.”
As the son of professional dancers, Fran Ashram has always lived a life surrounded by music. His joy encompasses nearly every musical genre ranging from electronica, jazz, rock and soul. Throughout his professional career he’s never stopped acquiring deep cultural understanding that is reflected in his own music. When I asked him as to how he describes his music – it came to no surprise when he replied, “unique”.
Fran is not afraid to cross musical limits and take new roads. With these roads come new musical heights. His show ‘Elevation’ allows him to take these new paths and having creative space to share his musical passion and journey.
Hi Fran. I’m truly delighted and excited about our interview and of course with your upcoming show Elevation here on FRISKY. If I may, start by asking if you’d kindly share something about your earlier years and how you got started in electronic music.
My beginnings in electronic music go back to the early 90s. I became passionate about this kind of music thanks to the radio. I remember I was very young, and I didn’t even have the money to buy the records. So, I was recording tapes and started my first sound manipulations and mixing with two cassettes tape.
Then thanks to some summer work during school break, I was able to buy my first mixer. So, after a
Let’s talk about your influences. Who has played a key role in your development as an artist?
It is more than who or what played a key role in my development. I’d say, definitely the internet. In the city where I live, unfortunately, there were not many record shops, I had to travel for several kilometers to find a good one in Secondigliano, near Napoli.
My city has received a lot of American good house (garage & soul) influences. But, thanks to the internet, I had the opportunity to listen to different things, which fascinated me. And probably also because these musical trends weren’t very developed in my city. I have always tried to distinguish myself from others, not for show off[chuckles], but because I have always thought of having to find my musical identity. It would be great for me if one day someone could say “you sound like Fran Ashram”.
So, I discovered progressive, which I believe in the late 90s and early 2000 has reached the apex of its success around the world – with its top champions who still for me remain the same today: Sasha, John Digweed, Nick Warren and Hernan Cattaneo. From them I received a lot of influence and tried to inspire myself.
You have a love of every type of music genre ranging from electronica, funk, soul, fusion, jazz, and rock. What drives you to keep pushing creativity when making new sounds?
I think everything comes from that, let me explain better, surely the music that the Djs play is a concentrate of what a true musician can do, certainly the technology that exists today in the deejaying stimulates the creativity of an artist a lot , but I firmly believe that behind everything there must always be bases and knowledge, the real and healthy creativity starts from culture, only that can help you to compose something unique, something that has not already been done by others I mean, so this is what drives me to keep pushing my creativity, continuous research and desire to find uniqueness.
You are someone not afraid to cross the limits and take new roads. What philosophies shape your creative musical mindset? And what keeps you motivated?
Surely, one thing that keeps me very motivated, as I said earlier, is the search for uniqueness. Like what I propose musically and in what I do as person, because let’s not forget that before the artist in every field, there is always the man, who seeks therefore to maintain its identity and to impress. What it does, this becomes my philosophy to always be myself, and when I say that I’m not afraid to cross the limits and take new roads it’s just a part of me that comes out. Because I am really like that, I have always embraced the “changes” of course even in the music, and the music changes constantly, but a good DJ always knows how to find himself, and where to position himself.
Let’s talk about your new FRISKY show ‘Elevation’. Share with us the meaning behind the name?
The meaning behind the name of the show, comes mainly from the musical genre that I will propose, and from the style that generally maintain, and I like lately. Starting with deep tracks and then arriving in the genre that I prefer today, progressive. So, I like to imagine that this increase of bpm and different shades gradually lead the listener to a mental elevation.
Another meaning comes from a book I read recently written by a famous American film director, entitled “Elevation”. It’s not the best story he has ever written, but I liked it a lot, from the cover to the content of course, it’s a story invented and tells of a strange phenomenon that affects a boy who, while remaining outwardly of the same physical appearance, his body weight gradually begins to decrease and going to dissolve in gravity.
While the writer here in this story tries to give a possible answer to the sad drifts of our time. Above all, caused by prejudices. What struck me more in this tale, is the concept of fading, I found many analogies with what often happens to true artists who often guided by their inspirations, manage to dissolve themselves in favor of their works, becoming a “tool” through them the art can flow and reach the end user. Then dissolve to reach an “elevation” … I hope I have developed this concept well, because it is not my philosophy. But it is a bit my feeling when I try to compose something for the people. I cancel myself by canceling my ego to allow music to flow through me and reach the listeners in its purest essence.
Thank you, Fran, for taking time with me and FRISKY in sharing your thoughts. It’s been fun! Plus, it’s been a delight getting to know you and better insight into your musical world. Before we conclude our interview, do you have any final thoughts?
Many thanks Rhanda, for allowing me to be comfortable in answering your questions. You know I’m not used to doing interviews, so for me, it was all very exciting, thank you so much it was great!