If you are a fan of the deeper side of drum and bass like myself you will no doubt have heard vocals from Frank Carter III recently and I was lucky enough to catch up with the man himself for a chat…
Hi Frank, Thanks a lot for chatting to us today. A lot of us in the dnb world know you from your recent colabs with the likes of Ivy Lab and Bcee but could you start by telling us a little about yourself and how you got into music?
Well, let’s see…
Well my full name is Frank Henry Carter III and I’m originally from Norfolk, VA though I live in Queens, NY now. I’m an ooooolllllldddd man (47 years young…LOL!) and I’ve been making music in some form or fashion for as long as I can remember. The earliest I can recall making music was when I was a kid in church, singing my heart out. My brother, Kenny, and I used to be a singing duo. He lost interest in it but I kept on at it. I think it was a combination of the attention I drew and just how much fun I was having! A weird bit of info I got from my Mom (Hi, Joyce Jean!) is that I had a great love for Ludwig Van Beethoven as an infant! I thought she was just saying I loved classical music in general and she corrected me – No, just Beethoven. Go figure…LOL!
Could you share a few of your musical influences with us?
Man, I could fill a few pages answering this question. But there are some very specific individuals that I still reference to this day because of their influence on me. The first person I’ve got to talk about is Luther Ronzoni Vandross (AKA THA MAN!). To this DAY, there is NO ONE who sounds like him. When I think of him, I think about the Greek goddess, Athena. Like her, Luther arrived full grown, artist-wise! No one could or can do what he did! He is a perfect example of being who ever you are to the fullest. I aspire to that with every passing day. I’m also influenced by Prince. His influence is more in his attitude moreso than any specific music he has created which is awesome, by the way. He taught me (and continues to do so) that there are no boundaries in what you do except for the ones you put on yourself. That’s why I do DnB (Ivy Lab, Static, Riya), House (Nathan G, Sen-Sei, Rhythm Plate), R&B/Soul (Lamone, Vikki Love, Domineeky), Rock (Denise Barbarita, The Tube Roots) and so on and so forth. I like to think of myself as a musical explorer. It’s helped me come up with my credo: “It’s all music…so stop tripping.” I think that would look good on a t-shirt, don’tcha think?!? LOLOL!!! I also keep in touch wth Sam Cooke. He and Luther are 2 folks who understood the idea of how one must constantly work on their craft. You don’t get THAT good without putting in work! I understand it and make it a part of my every day.
I personally first heard your vocals on ‘Oblique’ with the Ivy Lab Boys, how did you hook up with them?
I think this story is a great example of the idea that ‘if you work hard at your craft to get better and better, people will notice you’. Ok…here’s how it went down…
I am a member of a website called CCMixter.org. It’s an internet collective of incredible singers, writers and producers who’ve come together to make music just for the sake of making music. I was a regular up there, uploading vocal tracks of songs I had written and having folks like Loveshadow (AKA Jeff Grant), Lasswell (AKA Cameron Lasswell) and DJ Lang (AKA Jay Lang) take my vocal stems and make music that was sincerely blowing my mind! It was both humbling and exciting as Hell! Out of the blue, I get an email from some guy named Sabre. He told me that he was digging what I was doing and if at all possible, could he sample one of my tunes for a DnB project he was working on for Critical. “DnB? Critical?”, I said. “WTF?” So, I thanked him for his kind words and said let me get back to him. So I start asking my people if they knew who this ‘Sabre’ was. I reached out first to my boy, Anthony Harrison (Ant Plate of Rhythm Plate AKA YSE) and he said it didn’t know a lot about DnB. Then he suggested that maybe I should reach out to his friend, Ian Straker at Kahua Music. So I did. Ian responded like “Critical Music? Wow. I’m not the greatest follower of DnB but when Critical releases something, I ALWAYS cop it! They’re THAT good!” That was enough for me. Got back to Sabre, gave him the thumbs up and the rest….well, y’know.
You’ve since had your vocals on further Ivy Lab tracks ‘Afterthought’, ‘Missing Persons’ and ‘Make It Clear’ which have all been massive DnB hits, what do you put that down to?
Ivy Lab. I gotta be honest – a lot of DnB, I don’t get. I’m a newbie in the truest since of the word! I don’t even listen to DnB as much as some might believe. It’s STILL that new and odd to me…LOL!!! That’s why I truly believe that my best work is STILL yet to come. When I get a better handle on this genre of music, I think I’ll be a part of creating some really incredible stuff. Right now, I think a lot of any success I’ve had in this music is being connected to some of the biggest labels in this style (from a marketing stand point), working with Ivy Lab (together and seperately, they’re amazing artists), my many years of singing and writing experience and plain, dumb luck. Like I truly love other DnB stuff I’ve done like ‘Got That Feeling’ & ‘Run For Shelter’ with Brighton Static on Retrograde Sound or ‘Magic In Your Eyes’ with Bladetone on Touch Tone DnB that I think is just as good as the stuff that folks have already heard from me. But I know it’s a combination of marketing and being heard at the right place at the right time. And since I understand this on a very fundamental level, it keeps this old guy VERY humble…LOL!!!
You’re latest Colab was with Bcee on his new album, tell us a bit about that?
Steve reached out to me. Remember, as successful as I’ve been, I don’t really know anybody in this industry like that. I think that happened because Steve knows Riya. I could be wrong though. Like said previously, I’m brand new when it comes to DnB. But Steve and Villem had the one thing I always respond to – DOPE MUSIC!!! That’s really why that happened!
Any thing else in the works you can share with us?
Well, I’m working on my second solo joint for my independent label, BSM-Digital. It’s going to be called ‘Luv U & Stuff’ (Thanks for the title, Amber!) I’m, at heart, a soul/R&B dude! So that’s going to be all over that one. But I’ll fit a few DnB, Rock and house joints on it, too. There’s also more stuff coming from me with Bcee & Villem and Liminal. Also I’m going to be doing some stuff with Maverick Soul. That dude is frickin’ BANANAS!!! Talk about a secret weapon – WHEW!!! He, Riya & I have some stuff coming down the pike in the near future! Don’t sleep on him! What else? There’s going to be some house stuff with Vikki Love, Tom Lown and Domineeky. There’s also this R&B vocalist who goes by the name of Lamone that I’ll be doing some writing with. I’m finding I enjoy writing just as much as I enjoy singing. The future is looking quite exciting right now. The only trick now is to find a way to make this pay my bills. It’s hard trying to be a responsible adult and a working musician! Time is soooooooooo precious…HAH!!!