Manchester, U.K.-based DJ, and producer Frameworks has gradually built a name for himself over the past decade. Listeners and audiences recognize his instrumental-based, melodic soundscapes heard on previous albums Tides, Kings, and Imagine Gold, as well as collaborations with JP Cooper and Ninja Tune’s Jono McCleery. Appearances at Coachella, Electric Forest, Lightning In A Bottle, Camp Bisco, and Shambhala further helped build his following.
Building off this, Frameworks is now prepping for his fourth full-length album, a release titled Reflections. Written over the pandemic, Reflections is expected to be his most experimental and vulnerable to date, breaking down assumptions and making his emotions more visible.
Along this direction, Frameworks focuses on his son, who, seven years ago, was diagnosed with a life-threatening condition and told he had just a few months to live. Strength and appreciation each day shape the themes and tone of Reflections.
Ahead of Reflections’ April release, listeners received a preview through tracks like “Blue Light,” featuring Australian vocalist Cleopold, “No Time,” “Circles,” and “Cold.” With his live band, he’ll be performing at Camp Music Festival, Sonic Bloom, and Shambhala Music Festival, plus other locations, through July.
How did you start DJing and producing?
I got into DJing when I was at college. My brother bought some 1210s, and I would go ‘round to his shared house, have a few beers, and mix house records. From there, I started covering a few of his DJ sets and then just fell into DJing venues around Manchester.
With regard to production, I came from more of a live background and studied performance (drums). In the course, there was a module in production where we had to make something on Cubase. I was blown away by it. Having been so dependent on other people as a musician, opened up the doors to being able to create everything on my own, which I was really drawn to.
Your music has a low-key, somewhat natural vibe. How would you define your sound?
Yeah, agreed. I think I like rounded soft sounds, things that don’t sound overtly digital. I think, over the years, my music has become more “club” focused/inspired, but it still has a foot in some form of melodic, emotional grounding.
Your fourth full-length album dropped in April. What should listeners expect on Reflections?
I think Reflections is upbeat and hopeful. I wanted to try and mirror my emotional state as honestly as possible whilst creating it. Coming from a background in drumming, I think my music always has an emphasis on groove.
What was your process for putting together Reflections? Why did you select the tracks you did?
There were a bunch of tracks that didn’t make the album, think I just naturally went towards the tracks that resonated with me the most. During writing, there were a few tracks that felt like they had the same intention, so it was a case of taking the one I felt did the best job at sharing that feeling.
Evolution is also a theme of your work as Frameworks. How has your sound evolved during the years you’ve been producing?
I think things just naturally evolve from an emotional writing level. I’m a different person than I was when I started producing, so what inspires me, and what I have to say has changed a great deal. Then there’s the technical side, which is also ever-changing. I think these two aspects are almost juxtaposed but still have a meeting point. A better technical ability can definitely help the creative and vice versa, but I do consider them separated.
A few of your tracks feature vocals on this release. What’s your process for selecting vocalists for your tracks?
Cleopold reached out to me over IG and introduced himself. He came across my track with Mild Minds and liked it. I ended up sending him an early demo for “Blue Light,” and he came back with some rough ideas. I thought his vocal delivery and lyrics were really nice and well-suited, so we ended up working on three tracks for the album. I’ve worked with a few vocalists over the years, and it’s normally come about quite organically.
You’ve also previously collaborated with JP Cooper and Mild Minds. What do you enjoy about collaborating with other producers?
I really enjoy learning from others. Seeing certain strengths in others can really bring around inspiration. Having worked in a vacuum alone for so long, it’s nice to bring a different energy into the mix. It can lead you down paths you wouldn’t normally go, and I think that’s something to be welcomed.
You’ll be performing at a few festivals this year, like the Shambhala Festival in Canada. What should audiences expect?
I really just wanna come with good energy. I would like to provide a backdrop for the crowd to feel free and enthused. I think the live show has progressively got more upbeat, but it still holds a tangible emotional thread.
Going back to the theme of evolution: What do you see as your next stage as an artist?
I just want to be honest in what I do really. As long as things are moving forward in my mind, I think I’ll be content.
Photo credit: Alexander Banther