Fabrikate are Francis and Chuck — two guys with similar tastes and interests digging into the past to uncover some long lost musical wisdom. Their devotion to this quest grants them laser focus, working like madmen to create bumping, neon-flecked sonic landscapes for their listeners to wander through. Both Francis and Chuck have their own personal tie to the disco era and the forgotten magic left with it. They grew up listening to celestial funk throughout their childhoods in Montreal, an island with deep disco roots of its own. The music they produce as Fabrikate takes the spirit of disco and weave it into a modern sound, with breathtaking results. Across 12 unique tracks, Made Me Feel blends both house music and disco influences into a sound that while heavily influenced by the sounds of the past, also manages to remain rooted in modern-day dancefloors, and takes inspiration from the US, Europe and of course their native Canada. We caught up with them to talk disco, their Motreal roots and of course the new album…
Welcome to DMC… what’s the first record you heard today and how did it make you feel?
That’s a dope question. The first record we heard today was Love Was Real, which is actually our song! It’s hard to describe the feeling of hearing your own music once it’s finally out. The more time passes and the more you distance yourself from a record the more you can appreciate it as a whole. We got to play it at our album launch show the other night, and to see the positive reaction of the crowd was simply incredible. So the feels are good now hearing it!
For the uninitiated, who are Fabrikate and what is your musical mission?
To put it simply, we’re just two avid music lovers. We’re the two guys you want to share a drink with over an in depth music conversation, pretty much. We have a particular affinity for disco music as it played a big part in our upbringing. The mission is to bring the values of the disco culture back to life, as we feel music has gone way to square in the past years.
You’re both obsessive 70s disco fans… what it is about that specific style and era that appeals?
Just imagine writing a dance song with a complete brass, string and percussion section. Powerful drums, incredibly groovy basslines, and complex guitar parts. All of that topped by sultry and soulful vocals. You have to dig deep to find that today! Apart from the obvious fact that the music was so beautifully crafted, the essence of what the whole disco movement is about is what keeps us going back to it. Disco culture was always very inclusive and free of discrimination. There’s something that’s very romantic about it all. We also feel the music industry of today has lost that touch with the authenticity that disco was built upon.
Tell us about the role that Montreal had on disco culture, as I think it’s somewhere that often gets overlooked in favour of more famous cities…
Absolutely. People forget that Montreal was major in the upbringing of the disco revolution. Some people even say it was the disco capital of the world at some point in time. Next to New York, Montreal was then home to a richly-layered disco community, filled with an abundance of clubs, independent labels, producers, remixers, and musicians. As Montreal’s disco scene exploded, it produced numerous international disco stars including Gino Soccio, France Joli, Geraldine Hunt, Trans-X, Freddie James and Lime. Sadly, we were not there to enjoy the era but you feel the magic when hearing stories from friends and family who experienced it first hand.
Aside from the music itself, you cite the inclusiveness and open-mindedness of that era of something you really love, is that something you feel is lacking in the modern day scene, or has it evolved into something else?
If we had to speak about the Montreal scene specifically, we would say absolutely not. Montreal has always been a very open-minded and welcoming city with a flourishing gay scene. I guess we can’t say the same about all cities/countries but overall, it can always be better. The disco culture was all about dancing and just being yourself. Not being judged by the clothing you’re wearing or the amount of money in your wallet to spend on bottle service. It’s all a business today which sets barriers on specific classes of people and that’s not cool.
How damaging do you think the famous Disco Sucks campaign was to the genre’s legacy? Or do you think that’s now largely been forgotten?
The disco sucks campaign, in essence, started as a somewhat understandable and fair movement. As disco got more and more commercialized, quality was replaced by quantity and people just got tired of it. If it were just for that, it would’ve made sense. We’re pretty much preaching a return to authenticity in music ourselves, so we get it. Where it went way too far though, is that the whole movement also carried a heavy load of racism and homophobia. Some people just didn’t accept that black and gay artists were literally icons of a generation. As homophobia and racism are still sadly present today, we feel that the music itself is finding its way back.
Your music as Fabrikate is clearly massively influenced and indebted to that sound, but also sounds big and punchy enough to work alongside modern house and disco… how long have you been working on your album, and what have been some of the challenges you’ve faced in getting it out there?
Thank you for that! The biggest challenge was to find a way to respect the essence of disco in the development of our sound. As big disco and house lovers, we often find ourselves faced with difficult decisions in the production process. We don’t want to offend the hardcore disco purists out there and are always mindful of the integrity of the original music. Our goal is to bring it back. We’re also grade A over thinkers and perfectionists and that often gets in the way of the natural process of making music. That’s partly why the album took us so long to wrap up, it took over a year to complete!
Do you have any plans to take the album on the road? We can see this going down extremely well in the UK!
We’re fresh off launching the album just now, and the plan is definitely to hit the road and spread the love. You guys in the UK have incredible taste in house and disco music and an openness to the sound which is sometimes harder to find in north America. We always say our sound it very UK and we, can’t wait to come and party with you guys.
Anything else you’d like to tell us about…?
The sound of Disco is back. 2020 will be a big one for music culture to come. Keep an open ear for artists of all styles incorporating the sound in their music. From major festivals to club events, the sound is garnering more and more acceptance which should lead to a fresh movement in the year(s) to come.
Fabrikate – Made Me Feel is out now