This post is to allow me a little dark indulgence if you will.
Today’s interview is coming from the opaque void inhabited by a one Mr. Gregorio Franco.
Hailing from Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A he strides between his masterful horror works to the outer reaches of space rather seamlessly. His unique sound just envelopes you and takes you hostage giving him full and complete control & I for one wouldn’t have it any other way.
I can certainly count myself as a fan and was quite excited when he agreed to do this interview with me. It’s an honest, candid interview with the Dark Synth Prince so by all means take a look….if you dare.
Who is Gregorio Franco and where do you hail from?
I am the speaker for the Void. I hail from Atlanta, Georgia USA.
What is your background? Have you always been a performer?
I have been making and performing music for over 20 years. From orchestral performance early in school to dozens of bands with all sorts of musical influences, I have been involved with music in some shape or form for 23 years.
Tell us a little about your musical influences throughout the years.
As soon as I started to develop a taste in music early in life, I was always drawn to the darker and sadder songs I heard. They always seemed more interesting; more profound. They evoked more emotion in me. So from the orchestral music I went to harder rock and metal, then hardcore punk, death metal, grindcore, crustpunk, industrial, powernoise, film and video game soundtracks and now darker synth music. Everything I've ever learned or loved still has some influence over the music I write today.
Check out the upcoming event by John Carpenter: Tickets
What sort of hardware/software do you use? Do you have a preference? Are you brand-loyal?
When I'm writing I usually sit at a piano or on a guitar until I get an idea going. Then I work mostly "in-the-box," as they say, for studio production. I use FL Studio, Kontakt, Addictive, Amplitude, Bias FX and several hardware synths. I tend to use the Arturia Microbrute and Korg Monologue the most, although for live production I tend to use the Roland JD-Xi, Novation MiniNova and Moog Werkstatt. For guitar tracking I use Jackson and Gibson guitars.
I don't have any sort of brand loyalty as far as synthesizers go; I find what works and I twist it to my own dark purpose.
What sort of advice would you give someone starting out in the Dark Synth genre?
Be yourself. Find what you love about the artists that inspire you, but don't be a cookie-cutter clone of the music you love; take their influence and make it your own. Blaze your own trail. Take chances. Make weird decisions that make sense only to you. Take a French horn VST, detune it a couple of octaves and add 5 distortion effects onto it and see what happens. Get weird. Dark synth, like synthwave, outrun and other subgenres, have a solid foundation in the past. But foundations are meant to be built upon. When you're done with your music, no one should be able to see the foundation you used. Only the magnificent structure that you have created with your own passion, talent, practice and drive.
What's next on the Gregorio Franco horizon for the remainder of 2018?
Many, many things. I've got plans to finish writing and recording my next full-length record, as well as release it physically on several formats. I've got a few great shows lined up(most notably a couple of shows with Dan Terminus and Echosynthetic Fest) and more to add to the calendar. I also would like to re-release some older material on physical media since some people have been asking for those as well. Plus, more... I'm not slowing down. I'm only getting faster.
Find out more about Echosynthetic, a guy who devotes his life to blogging about the scene: Facebook, Twitter.
If you could collaborate with anyone else in the scene, who would it be and why?
I would like to work with Volkor X some time in the future. I love the aesthetic of his music. It's all so beautiful and unique, and yet powerful. Also, he's our intergalactic overlord so if he asked me I would have to obey.
I'd also like to work with Hexenkraft at some point as well. He's got monster ideas and tones and he invokes the sound of evil like no one else.
If you couldn't make the great music you do now what would you be doing?
Honestly, I would probably be dead. Music has gotten me through so many dark times in my life that without it I don't think that I would be alive today.
If you had to choose a superpower, what would it be and why?
Transmutation. Or, more specifically, the ability to resequence matter at will, a la Doctor Manhattan(although I would probably wear clothes). I would be able to eliminate almost every basic human need on a whim, solve the world's problems and end the pain and suffering of humanity. Also I would be able to make any musical instrument I could ever want or need. Plus I would'nt have to go to the gym ever again.
What, in your opinion, makes a great gig?
Audience interaction. Hands down. You can have all sorts of logistical things go wrong with a gig: Sound guy put too much bass in your mix? Whatever. The lights only work with the music half the time? Fine. The fog machine is busted? Who cares? If you have a crazy, interactive crowd, nothing else about the show really matters. They make or break the show.
Who would play you in a movie of your life?
Kurt Russell. Not because we look or act alike in any way, but because watching him to everyday tasks would be so much more entertaining than I would be. I mean, nobody wants to watch me go to the grocery store in my gym shorts. But if Jack Burton did it it would probably be an Oscar-worthy performance.
Do you have a day job? How do you balance this with your passion for creating the great music that you do?
Yeah, I'm a bartender most weekends. It's relatively easy to balance with music though. My studio time is pretty flexible so I can almost always squeeze in some music time whenever I feel the need. Also work is pretty cool with letting me take off for shows once in a while, so that's rad.
What has been your proudest moment of your musical career to date?
That is a tough question to answer. I've had so many shows it's hard to pinpoint any one in particaular. If we're talking about performing as Gregorio Franco, however, I do have an answer. It would be my first live show. It was definitely a learning experience for me, but I had the immense opportunity to open for Gost and the crowd was wild that night. I have evolved immensely since that night, but I had an absolute blast and I'll always remember it.
"Thank you for sending me this interview! I enjoyed filling it out, and it has been an honor and pleasure working with you. I'm glad to be included on your site! "
I hope you enjoyed this interview as much as I did. Be sure to catch him gig if you can, check your local listings in the USA for details. Keep everything crossed for a Euro Date in the not too distant future!!