Modern Modern Life is the London producer making emotional, expansive electronic music.
With its understated, contemplative and almost wistful sound, Modern Modern Life’s debut EP The Hard Copy — released back in June — crystallized the emotional spectrum of lockdown into music. Reflecting on a year when the doors of clubs remained firmly shut and their dance floors stony cold, electronic dance music may not immediately seem the obvious genre to sum up this modern moment, but the artist otherwise known as Frank Colucci expertly and melodically captures feelings of pandemic detachment in singles such as “How Ya Been”. Deftly balancing the plaintive with the hopeful, Modern Modern Life’s years of experience working on sessions for other artists has paid off — as a producer, singer-songwriter and instrumentalist, he’s a triple-threat geared up for great things. But first, we spoke to the fast-rising artist about his musical journey, what he’s learned playing close to 1000 gigs, and the weight of human interaction on making music.
- TOP MAHARISHI
- SHOES COS
- TROUSERS TALENT'S OWN
Tell us about Modern Modern Life and how you reached this incarnation of your musical expression?
I grew up playing drums in bands and would always be the one to record our bad quality demos. I was running a cracked copy of Cubase 5 on a PC I built. I remember the first time I heard Squarepusher and Aphex Twin at a house party when I was about 15 and my mind was totally blown. This was my gateway into electronic music. I became fascinated with the production and sound design, and spent countless hours reading forums and watching videos trying to learn how they were doing these otherworldly, futuristic things.
Making electronic music always remained a hobby to me alongside playing drums, and eventually, after signing a publishing deal with one of the bands I played in, I got into producing music for other artists. This has been the bulk of what I’ve been doing for the last six years ‒ and what is required is to constantly put your ego aside to best serve the artist you’re working with.
Enter the Covid pandemic and all of a sudden I had about nine months of solitude as writing and recording sessions with other people came almost to a complete stop. I had nothing but time to create alone and MML is the product of that. Some of the songs are basically remixes of songs I had previously written with other people that never saw the light of day in their original form, some of the songs were old ideas I had that I knew were good and never got recorded properly, and some of them were brand new ideas born out of the inspirations around that time. I started to just indulge and try only to make music that felt cool to me. I had never quite found the sound that felt authentic and honest to me, and I guess it just took up until last year to work out what that was.
- TOP OUR LEGACY
- TROUSERS TALENT'S OWN
- SHOES COS
- TOP MAHARISHI
Outside of musical references, what are the biggest influences on the project?
Relationships and experiences. For me, all human interactions, events, moments and places have a very unique feeling or a mood attached to them. This is what I try to translate into music. When I’m creating, inspired by a specific interaction or event in my life, I’m trying to colour the sounds coming out of the speakers to make me feel the same way I felt in that moment. Working with electronic instruments, there’s always the opportunity to create never before heard sounds and textures that can absolutely transport you and I think this is largely what can make electronic music so emotive.
Your single “Orbit” is impactful and perfectly timed — have you had the pleasure yet of hearing that in a club atmosphere?
Honestly, I haven’t yet! [With] the project being birthed in 2020, there really wasn’t much opportunity for that. But let’s see what opportunities the future brings. I know that it works alone in my living room at max volume at 1am so that should translate to a club, right? I like the idea that you can listen to these songs alone and get some escape, but you can also enjoy them in a crowd atmosphere and all escape together
- SHIRT STUSSY
Like all the best electronic music, your music is extremely emotive — almost relaxing in its use of groove, but could also be a Glasto 5am saucer eyes number. How do you strike this balance?
I worked out the other day that I’ve played close to 1000 gigs in my life on drums, so I think I’ve become very tuned into how rhythm moves people. When it comes to dance music, this is everything. I’ve also spent many years now focusing on pure songwriting with other artists, so I’ve been learning how to channel emotion and meaning into songs. The third side of this sonic triangle is the sound design. A fascination since the first time I heard Aphex Twin, and with years of exploring technology and instruments creating new and interesting sounds, this has become a really essential part of my work. The marriage of these three elements is Modern Modern Life
What’s next for you?
‘The Hard Copy’ is just the beginning. Now that I’ve established a feel and sound, I just want to continue to deepen and expand it. More grooves, more transportive sounds, more emotive moments channelled into music. I’d love to do some remixes, there’s a bunch of people I’d love to collaborate with and I’ve also been making a lot of ambient music so maybe that will find its way onto a separate release one day. As long as life keeps providing experiences, I’ll keep making use of them.