Frankey & Sandrino have released music on labels such as Innervisions, Mule Musiq, Kompakt and Diynamic. The impact of tracks such as ‘Acamar’ has paved the way for the rise of Frankey & Sandrino within the global electronic music scene.
Frankey & Sandrino and the Mustard Controversy
Frankey & Sandrino’s creative and personal lives are uniquely intertwined between cities. The German duo, based in Essen and Berlin respectively, have been making music together for just over a decade. In that time, their rich, detailed style has graced the upper-echelons of house and techno’s worthiest institutions, garnering a legacy of releases on labels such as Innervisions, Mule Musiq, Kompakt and Diynamic. The impact of tracks such as ‘Acamar’, ‘Mercury’ or ‘Chimes’ has paved the way for the unstoppable rise of Frankey & Sandrino within the global electronic music scene. However, it’s with the humble commitment to their craft that the duo still finds time to push the boundaries of their musical partnership, still chasing transcendence in the studio, many years since they first made it happen.
“It was a blessing that Frankey was open to everything, to all musical ideas” recalls Sandrino of the pair’s first meeting. “We’ve never had to force anything. I always had a very clear vision about a direction for the sound, but as a musician, Frankey was able to develop the depth and musicality of it.”
Frankey’s expansive musical approach has been an organic, lifelong tale. After studying music at university, he emerged a versatile multi-instrumentalist, as comfortable playing with the unpredictable forms of improvised jazz as he was playing in Top 40 chart bands. Sitting behind the piano in smoke-filled bars, hundreds of nights over, Frankey sowed the seeds of absolute creativity - a hazy kaleidoscope of musical ideas taking shape that would form the foundation of his compositions, arrangements and productions in the studio, free from preconceived templates or copy/paste ideas.
Sandrino’s story offers a stark yet romantic contrast. Romanian-born and with a love of Italian culture (he speaks the language fluently and met his Tuscanese wife in a London club), Sandrino’s broad European heritage inspired his passion for uncovering musical narratives, dissecting old record collections for the traditional sounds of his home country whilst indulging in the early days of Europe’s house, techno and trance scenes. He honed his skills in a West German club that had its sonic roots in the hard, industrial backdrop of the region. Despite this, Sandrino’s ability to navigate the crowd’s heavier leanings with a melodic flair and softer sound allowed him to embark on endless journeys, opening, closing, and stretching out his instincts to ten hours or more.
“I really liked what Sandrino was playing,” explains Frankey. “He filtered out a very concrete vision of sounds, without any compromises. So, in the beginning, my faith was fully in him, and I trusted his musical instincts.”
That trust paid off quickly. Fusing their discerning tastes with an experimental approach early on, Frankey & Sandrino spent several years in the studio, teasing out tracks on dancefloors before a series of releases on Drumpoet Community and Innervisions, the label of Dixon and Âme. In 2015 the label released ‘Acamar’, marking a milestone in their career. Instantly capturing the attention of DJs and clubbers around the globe, the brooding yet mellifluous dancefloor track has become something of a modern classic, helping define a period that saw Innervisions success rise to dizzying heights, and encouraged Frankey & Sandrino to remain fully committed to their artistic vision.
“Of course, that record is very special to us, but we never wanted to repeat the same formula”, reveals Sandrino. “We want to challenge ourselves. We are not trying to reinvent the wheel, but we have to move forward with music.”
Subsequent releases for Solomun’s Diynamic, Japanese deep house landmark Mule Musiq and Fort Romeau’s imprint Cin Cin cut a distinct musical figure in each label’s catalogue, always surprising, nudging both the label and themselves in a fresh direction.
Complementing this vision, in 2016 Frankey & Sandrino founded their own label, Sum Over Histories, providing a boutique outlet for their mutual musical passion of supporting other artists, as well as releasing their own material.
“There is no fixed agenda,” enthuses Frankey with regards to the output of the label. “If I close my eyes and the sound manages to bring me far away from what I know, then that’s what music is about,” adds Sandrino. “To travel to the stars without leaving my bedroom.”
This unique alchemy, rooted in a firm friendship and a constantly evolving shared vision, promises more musical pleasure in the future. One wonders, what’s their secret?
“Frankey is the sort of guy who eats his sausage with ketchup, whereas I am the sort of guy who eats his sausage with mustard”, suggests Sandrino. “If you ever want to see us fighting, it’s going to be about the Mustard Controversy!”