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Serendipitous sounds: Montreal’s Random Recipe

Music brought Fab and Frannie together when they bumped into each other at a concert a few years ago. The pair bonded over similar musical tastes and soon began jamming in Frannie’s backyard shed. Their first public performances took place in the metro, in parks, and in taxi cabs (“We played to every taxi driver in Montreal. They know us,” laughs Frannie). Today they call themselves Random Recipe, the little group that could.

“We never decided we’d be a band. It kind of happened a couple of months ago when we were forced into one,” explains Frannie. Things took off for Random Recipe after they met Hot Springs front-woman Giselle Webber (aka Giselle Numba One) while playing on a sidewalk one night. Giselle took them under her wing and got them to play at a monthly improv-rap event held at Quai des brumes (4481 St. Denis)called Rap Maudit. They received a modest yet positive response. From then on, despite limited music biz knowledge, the girls practiced with established musicians (mostly friends of Webber) and learned the basics of studio recording. Since October, they have been asked to play at various shows – mostly with their “jamming crew” including Webber, Lisa Gamble (Gambletron), Danni Manni (CPC Gangbangs) and Donzelle – and the demand keeps growing.

While they appreciate their mentors’ support, Frannie and Fab want to focus on defining Random Recipe’s sound on their own terms. They want to ensure that their music stays faithful to the spirit of friendship that got them started. “If you’re tight, your music’s tight. That’s it,” says Fab.

Random Recipe’s sound is hard to define, and still a work in progress. The two friends agree that their music is a cross between CocoRosie and the Beastie Boys. Although their approach to music seems unconventional – Frannie plays a children’s guitar brought from South America, while Fab raps and beat-boxes – the result is suprisingly accessible. “We have a lot of offers because we make a really poppy and catchy sound, and also because it’s different,” says Frannie. “If it’s too different, it’s going to take a while before people like it. If it’s too poppy, then you’re like everything else.” Franny believes that Random Recipe’s sound pushes the boundaries of conventionality without being alienating.

The group doesn’t take success for granted just yet: “If we take the time to really do something – a demo, work on a song, find collaborations – yeah, it could possibly take off. And we’d be happy about it, but right now, it’s really not our priority,” says Frannie. They are both full-time students, and do not feel a need to rush into anything. “I studied classical music for 10 or 11 years. I used to play violin, I used to play Brahms. So I feel extremely uncomfortable – j’ai une malaise – if whatever I end up playing really sucks.” Frannie and Fab hope to diversify their sound and eventually expand on their current guitar/voice/beat-box combination. If they succeed, Random Recipe could be big, really big. Frannie says: “We’re just two, so our sound is extremely small. But [in our heads] we hear violins and an orchestra and trumpets and mariachis.”

Random Recipe plays Le Drugstore (1366 Ste. Catherine E.) on March 22 at 9 p.m. and Quai des Brumes (4481 St. Denis) on March 25 at 9 p.m.