All the right stuff

Random Recipe is gaining notoriety playing impromptu shows at poutineries and pizzerias

Fabrizia Difruscia, Liu-Kong Ha, Frannie Holder and Vincent Legault (from left) of Random Recipe mix their musical, linguistic and cultural roots to create a unique sonic identity fusing elements of rap, classical vocals, jazz, French, Spanish and Italian.
Fabrizia Difruscia, Liu-Kong Ha, Frannie Holder and Vincent Legault (from left) of Random Recipe mix their musical, linguistic and cultural roots to create a unique sonic identity fusing elements of rap, classical vocals, jazz, French, Spanish and Italian.
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As though incorporating ingredients to produce the perfect dish, Montréal quartet Random Recipe expertly blend a diversity of musical styles, mixing indie pop, folk and hip-hop, to cook up their own tasty tunes.

Random Recipe’s plethora of musical, linguistic and cultural influences—rap, classical vocals, jazz, French, Spanish and Italian, to name a few—has allowed them to easily incorporate disparate musical genres to produce a truly unique sound.

“From the mixture of the four of us, it created this different sound,” said the group’s lead vocalist and occasional kazoo player Frannie Holder. “Random Recipe’s all about that. If we want to do a funk song, we’ll do a funk song. We don’t have to do one genre. It all ends up blending together in a weird way in the end.”

This unique amalgamation has allowed Random Recipe to resist firm genre labels, something which Holder said is an advantage to the group, allowing them to experiment with their sound and appeal to a more diverse audience.

“Not being categorized is a plus for us, because if you’re curious, you will listen and will probably find something you like about [the music],” Holder said.

Both listeners and critics are indeed showing growing curiosity. Hailed as one of Montréal’s most promising up-and-coming bands, Random Recipe has been voted one to watch by Spin Magazine, received Best New Band by MIMI and was awarded Rising Star of the Year at GAMIQ (Gala alternatif de la musique indépendante du Québec).

Since 2008, the group has performed at some of the most note-worthy indie music festivals in the area, including Pop Montreal, NXNE and CMJ. But despite all this hype and high exposure, Holder attributes the group’s growing success to the more memorable shows at smaller venues and festivals, like FME in Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec.

“We had a showcase there and it was sold out and people really liked the show. But after that … we ended up playing in a poutine place, in like a 24-hour hot dog stand, at like three in the morning or something. And that’s two years ago maybe and people still talk about that performance. But did you hear about our show that we did in the [FME] showcase? ... It’s never really what you expect it’s going to be.”

Random Recipe has staged a number of these impromptu public performances throughout Montréal and the surrounding area—in the Metro, in front of shops on St. Denis and in late-night pizza joints. This busking has become somewhat of a trademark for the group.

“It’s a way of getting our voices heard by people that don’t necessarily listen to the radios we play on or read the blogs that we’re mentioned in. And you can always benefit from playing in a public place,” Holder said. “It’s important to us and we have fun doing it ... you just do whatever you want.”

This summer, while recording their first LP Fold It! Mold It!, the group was charged with the near-impossible task of capturing the raucous energy and excitement of their live performance on a record. And due to budget constraints, Random Recipe found themselves with only eight days in studio to lay down 17 tracks.

“It was just intense 15-hour days with lots of beer and lots of fun. We took every track one by one and gave it a life by itself,” Holder said. “We played everything live, looking at each other, taking the best takes … [The record] still has nothing to do with the live show in itself; the live show’s way crazier, but we couldn’t just jump around and stuff in the studio.”

The resulting album is an eclectic mix of strong beats, sugar-sweet vocals, sharp-tongued rhymes and flirty indie pop melodies. With two strong female front-women, Holder on melody and Fabrizia Difruscia (Fab) on beat box, the group’s lady vocals are backed by Liu-Kong Ha’s sparse but steady percussion and Vincent Legault’s jazz-influenced guitar. Although Random Recipe is proud of the musical concoction they’ve cooked up, they encourage their fans to experience their full flavour by attending a live show.

“We talk about the album and everything but the show is really what we’re most proud of,” Holder said. “So hopefully people don’t just listen to the album but actually come out to see the show. Because it’s not only rewarding for us, but I think people actually get a kick out of it live.”

Random Recipe play The Mansion on Saturday at 9 p.m. Tickets are $5.

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