Framewerk (aka Darren James and Alec Milliner) have been long establishing an eclectic electronic style that defies genres yet maintains a deep distinctive atmosphere throughout all of their music. With influences ranging from 70’s prog rock to 80’s electro, the duo both found a home in the UK acid house scene of the late 80’s and later joined together to form the group “Manhattan” during the mid-90’s progressive house era. These decades of dedicated development and unrelenting passion have kept Darren and Alec continuously at the forefront of the underground electronic music scene. Their work today as “Framewerk” showcases their diverse styles and innate abilities to create and share music that represents the best of the golden eras with a fresh, modern sound all their own.
Whether producing for labels like Bedrock, Global Underground, Selador, Toolroom, Armada and more, or using their understanding of quality music to run their well-established imprint Capital Heaven, Framewerk continues to influence the industry with their unique perspective. Now they will be adding yet another factor with the launch of Foundation on FRISKY. With each episode featuring a different facet of the Framewerk style and including exclusive tracks produced for every set, Foundation will be a must-listen for fans of creative, deep, emotional electronic music. Find out more by reading their interview below:
I’m very interested to hear about your beginnings with electronic music and the origin of Framewerk – Could you share with us your first experiences with underground electronic music that started you along this path? What were some of the moments which inspired you to become DJs / Producers?
Darren started out getting into the early Electro scene in the 80’s, progressed to the acid house scene in 1987-88 and then got into the early 90’s progressive scene, which combined with his love of 70’s progressive music like Pink Floyd.
Alec started DJing in Canada at the age of 16 playing things like Depeche Mode, Talk Talk, Dead or Alive etc… then moved to England in 1988 and acid house took over. Playing keyboards in a couple bands lead to him putting together a recording studio and learning the ropes.
The varied musical tastes seem to work okay for us in our sets and tracks we produce.
How did you first decide to work together as Framewerk?
We originally produced music under the guise of Manhattan in 1996 making progressive house. We decided in 2012 to come up with an alternative name to cover other genres. Over the years the Manhattan name faded and Framewerk took over to cover everything electronic.
What is your creative process like together? Do you each have different strengths and / or roles?
Alec is more into the sound engineering side of things and Darren is more into the musical elements but the roles cross over with every track we produce.
Besides your passion for the music, what is something that you both have in common?
Cooking, football, and a love of Guinness.
What has been one of your favorite moments playing together?
Playing at Renaissance in 1998 and playing at Decadance House in Kiev.
Across the variety of genres you produce & play, what would you say are the consistent elements which define Framewerk’s music?
Recently it has been our love of melodic breaks but we have been reworking some of our old favorite prog tracks to fit into our sets. We try to make tracks that will stand the test of time and create a sense of uplift or chillout.
What inspired you to start Capital Heaven? Is there a story behind the name?
The label was originally established in the early 90’s as we were working with numerous artists in the studio. We used to release vinyl back in the day until digital took over for us in 2012. As for the name, to come up with an idea we wrote lots of words on pieces of paper and combined them to see what sounded good. When the words Capital and Heaven were drawn it reminded of a track by Canadian band Moev of the same name and went with it.
What are the most important qualities that each Capital Heaven release must have?
Good production, nice melodies and in the genres of Progressive House, Electronica, Breaks, Indie Dance and Chillout. We don’t really delve into the housier or more techno side of electronic music.
What are you most proud of what the label has accomplished so far?
Alongside the regular support we receive from the likes of John Digweed, Hernan Cattaneo and Nick Warren, we are proud of the fact that we listen to every demo we get sent and will sign an artist on the merit of their music alone. We are pleased that we have given many artists their first step into the scene, and that many have made a real name for themselves.
I love that you intersperse classic Progressive tracks into your sets – it’s a reminder of how timeless and moving that music still is today. How do you think that artists who are new to electronic music can learn or benefit from listening to these older tracks?
Many of the early progressive house tracks have timeless qualities within both their production and musicality. They tend to blend different styles of music into one piece and have structures made for both the dancefloor and to listen to at home.
Another thing that I enjoy about your mixes is the smooth transitions between different styles – what are your keys to finding the right pieces of the puzzle to create a seamless journey? Can you give us a little insight into your mix-building process?
As with each track – each set has its own process of production. Some sets might be off the cuff as we are trying out new music and others will be more intricate. We try to encompass as many styles as possible within each set and between sets to keep things interesting for both us and the listener. We are trying to push ourselves to create something unique with every set we put together.
What are you looking forward to about your show Foundation? Do you have any specific goals or intentions for each episode?
We are thankful for Frisky to give us this opportunity to really go to town with this show. We will be producing exclusive tracks for each set alongside recent productions. We will not be covering the same style with each set, but we hope that each one will be representative of the overall Framewerk sound. We have initially set out to create something every month that we hope can be listened to many times.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with your listeners?
It was great for us at the tail end of last year to be asked by John Digweed to remix his and Nick Muir’s track Forge. We provided him with three remixes which are all coming out on his Bedrock label on March 5th. To follow that we have just put the finishing touches on a new Framewerk remix for our label we are really pleased with, due for release on March 15th (The date of our Foundation show number two). We are really looking forward to playing at the Toogether Festival on the Isle of Wight at the end of July this year and have our artist album due out in May.