Jack Russell Music
Jack Russell Music
Jack Russell Music
 
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Maximum Sound

The Frenchie Connection

A Voyage of Discovery

It was Frenchie's brother's record collection that first sparked Frenchie's love of Jamaican music, which was undergoing a revolution at the time as the island's producers set a chain of often-thrilling experiments with computerised rhythms into motion. British Reggae too was at the forefront of such changes, which necessitated frequent trips to London by the adventurous young Parisian. Whilst many of his English counterparts were abandoning Reggae for Jungle, Drum & Bass, Hip Hop, R&B or Garage during the early nineties, Frenchie was busy putting his love and enthusiasm for Revival and Dancehall Reggae to good use at Fashion's "A Class" studio in Forest Hill, South London. It was there that he learnt engineering and production skills, as well as developing an in-depth understanding of the Reggae business as a whole.

In Fashion

Fashion was then a cauldron of activity and home to memorable hits by Cutty Ranks (The Stopper), General Levy and Top Cat, among numerous other JA and UK acts. The Bogle and Slow Jam styles ruled the dancehalls as more commercial tracks by Michie One & Louchie Lou and Tenor Fly reaffirmed Fashion's ability to make crossover hits. Yet Frenchie also worked with Reggae legends such as Augustus Pablo, Horace Andy and Alton Ellis whilst at "A Class", thus underlining the true extent of his apprenticeship. Encouraged by John McGillivary (of Dub Vendor), Chris Lane (senior engineer), Gussie P and local rhythm aces Mafia & Fluxy, he then launched his own Maximum Sound label with tracks featuring both local and international acts including current Gorillaz' star Sweetie Irie.

Delving Into Dub

As the sequence of releases unfolded from 1993 onwards, his agenda couldn't have been clearer. The emphasis was to be on youth (rather than reputation) and also innovation except where Frenchie couldn't help but indulge his love for classic dancehall. With sound bwoys reeling in his wake, he would recut monster rhythms from the past such as Tenor Saw's Chill Out, Chill Out, Bob Marley's Waiting In Vain or Horace Ferguson's Sensi Addict. The latter inspired two killer herb anthems from Starkey Banton (Ganja Baby) and Mykal Rose, whose Rush On The Tonic also appears on the Black Uhuru singer's Maximum Sound album, Selassie I Showcase. This highly-rated young producer has continued to delve into his dub box with deadly alacrity ever since, such as when revisiting Barrington Levy's Here I Come for the best-selling Intercom rhythm for instance.

International Dancehall

Back in the mid-to-late nineties Reggae Dancehall was at a creative peak, yet it was still struggling to get fair representation despite a wealth of fresh acts and progressive ideas. Frenchie's connections with top-flight Jamaican names such as Sly & Robbie, Dean Fraser, Richie Stephens, General Degree, Mr. Vegas, Red Rat, Buccaneer, Future Trouble and Danny Browne of Main Street began to grow steadily during this period, lending his productions more of an international Dancehall flavour. Where Maximum Sound was concerned, most of the action was now happening in Kingston rather than the London studios. This not only helped align his label with the latest musical developments from Jamaica, but also earned Frenchie a place alongside other up-and-coming Dancehall masters like Richard "Shams" Browne, Stephen "Lenky" Marsden and Ward 21, as rhythms such as The Itch, Desert Storm, Fuzzy and Space Invader strengthened his reputation for making cutting-edge music. Lest we forget, it was Frenchie who served as executive producer on Mr. Vegas' two albums for Greensleeves (including the classic Heads High); who recorded two tracks on Buju Banton's Inna Heights set for Penthouse; and assisted Lenky with two of his biggest-selling rhythms, the Diwali and Masterpiece. Named after an Indian religious festival, Diwali was the rhythm that powered international hits by Sean Paul (Get Busy) and Wayne Wonder (No Letting Go) and spectacularly aided the popularity of Dancehall in America.

Maximum Sound

  

It seems ironic that British Reggae's most progressive Dancehall producer should hail from the other side of the English Channel, having spent part of his formative years in America, and go by the name of Frenchie. But he does...

Check out Frenchie's MAXIMUM SOUND web pages for all the latest information on his exciting hot sounds:

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