David Franz,
The TVD First Date

“The first thing I ever bought with my own allowance money at age 7 was Queen’s “Another One Bites The Dust” 7-inch single. It was either at Musicland or Sam Goody in Minneapolis. From that day on, I begged my parents to bring me to a record store any time we were driving around on errands. Next up were “Celebration” by Kool and The Gang, Blondie’s “Heart of Glass,” and The Empire Strikes Back movie soundtrack, all out in the same year, 1980. That’s the year music took over for me.”

“Growing up, we had instruments in the house… guitars, an organ… my parents played them, and I would noodle on them, trying to pick out melodies from the records. I think my early piano lessons didn’t stick because I wasn’t interested in reading music, I wanted to play what I heard. I wanted to play what I heard on the radio and records, not “Hot Cross Buns.”

By the time I was in middle school, Van Halen’s 1984 LP was a serious influence on my musicianship. I had started taking drum lessons by then, and that record brought musical complexity into pop music that inspired me deeply.

Vinyl has so much going for it, and it’s no wonder there’s a resurgence. The sound quality, the large scale artwork, and the physicality of opening the packaging, holding the record, putting the needle down, and flipping it every 20 minutes or so creates a very pleasurable tactile experience.

My album To The Unknown is best experienced on vinyl. Creative decisions were made, like song order and song energy level flow. The snake labyrinth artwork is designed to mesmerize as it spins. The lengths of some songs were adjusted to better fit the medium. Some songs I thought for sure would be part of the album were left off due to length constraints. But that’s ok. It forced me to put the best and most cohesive material on there.

To The Unknown is a double album. Record 1 has the vocal versions, and record 2 has the instrumental versions (no vocals). There are two reasons I wanted to include the instrumentals. First, with this album, I tried to imagine what a desert mirage sounded like and create a soundscape to that image. I’m hoping the listener might listen to these instrumentals with that in mind, unencumbered with words and singing so that they can dream and enjoy their own mirage.

Second, during the song mixing process, the vocal versions are mixed so that the lead vocal is the focus. Vocals occupy a certain frequency range, and often mix engineers carve out the frequencies in that range from other instruments in the mix (like guitars, keyboards, etc.) so that they don’t interfere with the vocals. This means that the instrumental mixes are purposefully made with room for the human voice to be better heard over them. Thus, the instrumentals are also great for listening while having inspired conversations.

Over my adult life, I’ve spent small fortunes in Jackpot and Exiled record stores in Portland, OR, Amoeba in LA and SF, Newbury Comics and Tower Records in Boston, and Electric Fetus in Minneapolis. Lately, I’ve been focused on dub, blues, and soul music… anything by King Tubby, Lightning Hopkins’ “Mojo Hand,” and Durand Jones and The Indications self-titled album are on regular rotation, to name just a few. I love putting records on…it’s much more intentional than any other listening experience. Vinyl is a part of my lifestyle and a part of my life daily.”
David Franz

To The Unknown, the debut release from David Franz, is in stores now on limited edition double vinyl.

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