Exclusive Interview: English House DJ Franky Wah

Franky Wah talks about life in Doncaster, memories in dance music, and his new album 'The Revival - Volume 1'

Franky Wah is a 29-year-old DJ from Doncaster, England. He releases unique music that he describes as uplifting, emotional, and nostalgic. His stage name is touching, it’s a tribute to both of his grandfathers. He combined Frankie Storrs and Harry Wah to create Franky Wah. Franky Wah has recently released a 14-track album that he has been working on for the last two years!

Franky Wah mixing on his family farm in Yorkshire

Cullen Bunker: What’s the best thing about your hometown?

Franky Wah: I love how rural it is for walking. It’s a beautiful place to live, and until this lockdown, I didn’t appreciate how lucky I am to be able to walk out to these beautiful lakes.

What’s your biggest goal for 2020?

It was ‘Annie Mac’s Hottest Record’ but I’ve done it, therefore, another ‘Hottest Record’ would be a new goal for me. I’d love the album to get a high place on Beatport or Apple Music – wherever it’s going to chart it would be nice to have it chart high. An ‘Essential New Tune’ with Pete Tong as well, I haven’t got that yet and would really want that. 

How have you been staying busy during quarantine?

Literally, for me…nothing has changed my daily regime has been the same. I wake up, walk the dog, go to the gym, I train, then I go to the studio which is actually in the gym that I own. That has been my day-in-day-out routine! I recently tweeted saying “this lockdown is no different for me, I’ve been in lockdown for the last 5 years!”.

How has COVID-19 changed your hometown? 

It’s made it quieter! It’s made people exercise more…the lanes I’m used to walking down with my dog, usually I see no one but now I see people all the time. I also realise that the old woman on my road was prepared to rugby tackle me for some loo roll!

What’s your favorite song you’ve ever made? 

It’s an unreleased track called “Why Not Me” that I literally made yesterday, that for me at the moment is my favourite track. I don’t know what I’m going to do with it yet, I’m definitely going to release it though and might put a clip of it on my instagram.

How did you get into producing? 

At school I was massively into hip hop and a producer you might have heard of – if not you have definitely heard his music – his name is Scott Strotch, he’s incredible. He really inspired me to want to pick a keyboard up and start trying to make music. He still inspires me to this day. 

What’s your fondest memory of the dance music community? 

Fondest memory as a consumer would definitely be attending Sonar Festival 2018 (in Barcelona) and having a moment on the dancefloor at sunrise, about 6 AM that I genuinely believed changed my life forever, because it changed how I wanted to produce music. The month after I came back, I wrote “Get Me High” which is out and really put me on the map as an artist. It was the first record that gave me any sort of exposure. “Dont Be” and “Horizons” which are both on the revival, were all written that month when I came back from there. That experience changed my career forever.

If you could open for any artist, who would it be and why?

Tale of Us for Afterlife would be a dream. I love the movement and what they’re doing with Afterlife and I think the scene they have built is so strong. My music definitely lends itself to what they do and I feel it would work.

Everyone has that moment they imagine will be their “I made it” moment, what do you imagine yours to be? 

For me, my opinion on all this stuff is to be humble about what you’ve achieved but alway strive for more. You can get that wrong because some people can never be content with what they’ve got, and that’s never how I’ve looked at it. In my head I’ve always gone “I’m going to be the biggest DJ on this planet ever” but at the same time there’s realistic goals and if my career was to come to a halt now, I can honestly say that I’m happy with everything I’ve achieved. There’s certain things I’ve done now that you cannot take away from me. So I guess my answer to that is, you’ve never officially made it because there’s always more that you can be doing.

There’s certainly career affirming and life affirming moments that have happened already. To some it might not be a big deal but getting Annie Mac’s ‘Hottest Record In The World’ was a life and career affirming moment for me. Playing main stage at Creamfields, playing Glastonbury, playing the number one voted nightclub in the world – Hï Ibiza – for Camelphat and seeing my name on the billboard. These are all career affirming moments, however, did I look at that and think “I’ve made it”? Absolutely not. 

Congratulations on the release of The Revival – Volume 1 which came out on May 29th. Do you have a track that you’re most proud of on this project? 

This changes on a daily basis, I always say to my friends, who have all listened to it, “pick your favourite tracks” and it changes and that’s the same for me. I can give you some highlights, to have Moby’s blessing on the “In This World” – someone who has been such a prolific artist over the years – I saw that as a huge seal of approval really. So I feel that record is special to me for that reason. I feel like “Lost in Time”, “Don’t Be”, “You’re Not Alone”, and “First Light” are all special to me because they all featured in my ‘Future Stars’ mix on Pete Tong and it was so well received. This kind of confirmed again that I needed to do what I’m doing now.

People said “the only problem with this mix is that it wasn’t long enough” and “what are these songs” and the amount of track IDs that myself and Pete (Tong) were getting and hounded for gives you a good indication if it’s strong enough or not. All the tracks are special to me in a unique way – each one one of them – for instance “Green and Gold” with Ruby (Wood) was just great! Spotify put in one of the studios for a week – which was another incredible and career affirming moment. When Ruby walked in we sat, had a cup of tea, talked lyrics for the record, started writing it and recorded it all in the space of 2 hours. I just find it incredible that it went down like that. Every track has a uniqueness. 

The Revival Vol 1 - album cover

Which festival would you choose to headline? 

Off the top of my head, Junction 2 in London. It’s got to be one of the best festivals out there, because the size of it makes it still feel intimate but it’s got everything you want. Coachella is also another one I’d love to headline.

You were on the lineup for EDCLV 2020 when it was scheduled for May, will you still be performing if EDC is able to happen this fall?

Yes! I don’t know how realistic it is. I’ve got a lot of dates for America at the back-end of the year in October/November. I’ve got my fingers crossed that they can happen.

If you could choose one thing for your fans to remember you by, what would it be?

I guess, I want to go down in the history books and don’t just want to be known as a touring DJ that puts out good records and plays good sets. I do really aspire to be a pioneer and would love to be recognised as a pioneer when I’m gone. It’s not necessarily a record that people remember me by or something very specific, I just want to be recognised as one of the greats like Carl Cox, Sasha and John Digweed.

Stay Connected with Franky Wah!

Check out Franky Wah’s new album as well as his Facebook and Instagram to stay updated on what’s coming next! Stay positive about COVID-19 so we can all see Franky Wah under the Electric Sky!

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Cullen Bunker

Cullen is a music lover with many genres on her favorites list. You'll find her running from stage-to-stage at a festival, and discovering up-and-coming artists in her free time. From big room house to dubstep to hardstyle, she rarely finds an artist she can't dance to. Cullen is always preparing for her next festival, with Tomorrowland being at the top of her bucket-list.

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