By Jenn Danko
Their latest pictorial campaign includes toilets, lawn mowers and a burned-out Long John Silvers. I could only imagine what The Sound Republic (John Mork and Frankie J) was getting into when I ran into them during a late-night cyber crawl in the trenches of AIM.
I already heard murmurings of a seventh house release on their self-helmed Spatula City label. “Use Your Illusion III” not only pays homage to Axl Rose & Co.’s self-indulgent glory days, but it also peeps two golden, funky house gems: “Penny Slots” and “Bumpin Enjoyment.”
Now with a new EP in play and another installment of their Saturday monthly, Grizzled, set to go off at Lava this week, the boys were giddy to let loose. Lucky me.
Uh oh, this looks like trouble.
JohnMork: Oh, wicked …welcome to the world of high-speed Internet computing.
FrankieJ: What’s up Jenn?
So, I just got a look at your new Spatula City release…“Use Your Illusion III.” How did you conceptualize that one?
JohnMork: Well Guns ‘n Roses didn’t finish the project so we finished it for them—except with house music instead of totally awesome rock.
FrankieJ: We had an AIM chat with Axl Rose (a good friend of ours) who let us use this artwork he had used in the past.
JohnMork: Yea that too.
I figured as much…Which one of you is Axl and which one is Slash?
JohnMork: Frankie’s totally Slash. He’s got his hair in his face with a bottle of whisky.
FrankieJ: I’m Axl and Slash put together. John is Izzy.
I’ll take a pull of whisky. Is it as flavorful as the new tracks? Is it the usual TSR sample mayhem house heads have come to expect?
FrankieJ: Who cares about the music, it’s all about the chicks.
JohnMork: And the guns.
FrankieJ: And the hairstyles, you know?
Seriously…the beats! Is it true you guys sample vacuum cleaners?
FrankieJ: I think that these two track definitely have our brand of old skool breaks mixed with household products sounding like homogenized/pasturized paste.
FrankieJ: Or maybe they’re more like a cream, with a milk base.
JohnMork: That’s really the best way of putting it.
Cool…a lot of people probably don’t know about your breaks background.
JohnMork: Frankie’s “love affair with the breakbeat”…Shit, man read our bio.
FrankieJ: To sum it up, one side is a deeper groove, but still jackalackin, and the other side is super funk jackin.
So Axel, what’s on tap for Grizzled this month?
JohnMork: Fun, on tap. Eddie from Slum Science from the UK. He runs the label HuddTraxx…and then, just regular Traxx.
You guys get super hyped about your night, which…is…good…considering you’re promoting it. But what really makes it stand out from the million and one house monthlies in the city?
JohnMork: I think Grizzled is like a big old house party (like the kind you have in a basement, not the music)…and it’s fun, and not pretentious, and we don’t take shit seriously. You get to come to a tiny venue and see the cream of the new school house crop while just having FUN.
What’s the craziest trick you guys have pulled on each other?
JohnMork: Frankie almost got me beat up in Cleveland but that wasn’t a trick, he was just really drunk And then there’s the time i put a tick on him and he got Lyme disease—HILARIOUS!
I heard you guys are old college buddies. Were you in the same fraternity? Awww …
JohnMork:: Haha yea, it was called RAVE FRAT.
FrankieJ: No, they wouldn’t let us in any frats.
I sure hope not. Let’s talk bout Spatula City for a minute.
This is your seventh release? Are you finding that artists you are putting out are from Chicago or are they coming from across the board?
JohnMork: Um, actually I think we’re the only Chicago artist on our label. Oh wait, that’s not true, Bryan (Jones) is on 001.
But a lot of talent comes from outside the area?
FrankieJ: We have these dudes, Lamanex, from Australia who are pretty poppin right now. They were on our fourth release.
JohnMork: Yea, and we just released Real Time Hand Motion’s first EP as 006. They are from Nashville and they are ill.
FrankieJ: We had the Inland Knights on our second release, who are from the UK.
So, I would say that makes your sound pretty damn different than a lot of other local producers.
JohnMork: Well we are just in out own little world and we just connect with other people in our world. It works for us.
You guys are making me late for work …Why should people go to Grizzled this Saturday?
FrankieJ: Cuz it’s always a poppin off, no attitude, good time.
And vaccum cleaner samples.
JohnMork: And after party at Chris Grant’s. (as always).
The Sound Republic host Grizzled, with special guests Slum Science, Traxx and resident Karl Alamaria at Lava, 2100 West Belmont, (773)281-4444, on October 6 at 10pm. $13.