amaFranx recently released his latest music video, Lockjaw, which is best described as a blend of Hip Hop with his original take on music as a Master of Music, which often sees him creating musical brilliance with only a bass guitar and baritone voice – delighting audiences across the board with a genre unique to this Mzansi talent. The look and feel of Lockjaw is heavily influenced by amaFranx’s network: consisting of Gauteng artists, progressive music and a South African character authentic to the core.
The overarching message of the song places positive emphasis on attributes of masculinity. It speaks of the idea that the same influences which gives us monsters can also give us heroes.
The music video for Lockjaw can be enjoyed here:
The video was filmed ambitiously in one take during golden daylight hours in Johannesburg, down an iconic stairway, and was directed by film-maker Jacinda Barker. The three female dancers featured are the main focus of the video using choreographed sequences which brings the music into an expression of movement.
Franco, the musical genius behind the AmaFranx project, hails from Northern Gauteng and has a rich résumé as a bassist having performed with Arno Carstens, Lindiwe Suttle, Isochronous, as well as jazz icon Paul Hanmer and even Afrikaans favourite André Swiegers. Enjoying
strong support from fans that have fallen in love with his personal brand of music, he recently released his third new EP, Unmask the Unknown.
amaFranx enthuses about how the Lockjaw project came to be: “Peach van Pletzen, from the hit alternative band Bittereinder, is a personal friend whom I have had the privilege to include in various production elements. Truthfully, it’s because Peach understands how to produce
already written and recorded music that adds value and complements the art.”
Back in 2015, Jaco van der Merwe founded the WÊRELD community of artists, which amaFranx is a part of. This provided him with the opportunity to reach out to this fellow talent in order to collaborate on Lockjaw. He says: “Jaco was the primary inspiration when I decided to explore the Hip Hop realm and the only reference I had in mind during the composition process. It therefore wasn’t a big surprise when Jaco nailed his verse during the very first recording.”
amaFranx further states that he considers Lockjaw to be a new sub-genre of music he has nicknamed “dry-hop”. He explains: “I thoroughly enjoyed what my collaborators have done with the weird bass and vocal vibe, and just have to thank everyone for being part of this journey. I don’t always limit myself to only two instruments, but the ‘rule’ for me is that ideally the song should be able to be performed with the bare minimum.”
amaFranx concludes by sharing his future plans: “I’ll be recording my first full length album in collaboration with many expert musicians during 2020. We, my collaborators and I, are exhilarated at the thought of recording a full album and can’t wait to see how this unique take on music evolves into the future.”
He tells more.
What can you share about the real person behind the artist, amaFranx?
It’s interesting to me how music invokes compassion, thought and emotional support to some instantly, while others only become attached at a later stage of exposure. If I could share anything it would be my time, provided medicine will allow us to live for well over a century
(which many are saying is possible). I love human beings immensely and really appreciate effective communication with South African people. Language and religion are lifelong personal fascinations, and I absolutely adore people with strong accents and endless vocabulary.
Where do you currently live?
Egoli, the city closest to the cradle of mankind.
What is your philosophy in life and secret to your success?
Awareness applied as philosophical glue, seems to be enough for the achievement of healthy living.
How would you describe yourself in a couple of words?
A pondering goof kid.
What has been the highlight of your music career to date?
Performing for South African audiences is my ultimate favourite. Many international tours have also been a highlight, but I use the Zulu prefix “ama” to specify that I am from Mzansi.
So what is your big vision and dream? What would you ultimately like to achieve?
This project was originally referred to as my bonsai music, haha. When I listen back to previously recorded music I instantaneously engage with a version of myself, whom was captured in a certain moment in time. Photography has provided many with a means to experience nostalgia in their homes by flipping through albums that bring back memories. For me I would love to have a large body of recorded music to look back upon when my final days are nearing.
Who are your major musical influences?
It really appeals to me when music is raw and yet still displays many aspects of musical art such as composition, performance and expression. This is why I use inspiration from musicians who can execute wide varieties of music with little to no accompaniment such as Bobby McFerrin, Kurt Elling, Richard Bona, Samthing Soweto, Choing Drolma, Sting and Andy McKee, amongst others.
As an artist – do you now exclusively focus on playing bass and singing (apart from other areas like songwriting)? And why this instrument specifically?
While I was a piano player and choir boy in school, my brother established an Afrikaans rock band called Die Dobbelstene and assigned the bass guitar to me in our teenage years. There are no limits to the instrumentation that one can draw influence from, but to perform to a modern audience with bass and voice only is a marvellous challenge. So, yes I have spent much time exclusively playing bass and singing. In fact, even when playing with other musicians, it was always be my focus to intertwine the disciplines of vocals and bass guitar simultaneously.