Hi Conny, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
I am good! Just drowning in my last semester of college. I’ve been staying too busy this last year.
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Having Fun While Dying”?
This is the first song on La Maga, but the last song I wrote for the project. I made this song during a very dark time. I was incredibly depressed and really didn’t know what my future had left for me. It’s a song about being in those dark places and finding light, then really absorbing as much positivity as possible during those moments. It became an ode to my past, present, and a new path for my life.
Did any event in particular inspired you to write this song?
The chorus goes, “Ever had a fun time dying, too tired, lying in fear, apply pressure to the pigeon pepper, Brian, I’m here”. This line explains my whole situation. Dying of depression, lying out my ass to preserve what I had of self, and finally becoming a shit bag like my old step father, Brian, had been. “Brian, I’m here”, is me admitting to being a fuck up, alcoholic, loser, piece of shit type of person. First step is admitting you have a problem and admitting you’ve done wrong. There’s a point when “self” can’t lie anymore and also there’s a point when 6 Modelos and bottles of whiskey can’t help “self” rationalize doing wrong. With this song, it helped me acknowledge a lot about how I was living and help me move on to more brighter days. The track itself starts off with a recording I took while in a shanty town in Peru called, ATE, just outside of Lima. It’s a bunch of kids running around this school, playing games, surrounded by the chaos of globalization, neocolonialism, and lack of resources, but they’re still completely happy. The next sample I put in there was a recording of my girlfriend playing a recorder, then I start the track vocally saying, “This is for Monty”. Start to finish it paints a lot of sentiments for me. This track wasn’t made for anyone other than myself. I needed to write it.
How was the film experience?
The film experience was super easy because I shot it with my good friend, Sam Martin. We work very well with each other. He came through one day, we shot for a few hours. A week later we shot some stuff in front of a green screen at his mom’s crib. A couple weeks after that we had a video. It was all shot on my IPHONE too. It was super fun, grimey shit.
The single comes off your new album La Maga – what’s the story behind the title?
La Maga is taken from book by an Argentine writer named, Julio Cortazar from one of his novels called, Hopscotch. She was an unfortunate character in the book. She had been treated and handled in ways I have seen done to women and ways I have done myself. Aspects of her relationship in the book, slapped me in the face, and made me smile. I had just finished reading it when I was finishing the project. It just happen to be the final piece to tie the content of the music and artwork together. It just made sense. What’s really gnarly about it was that the book itself originally took me to my moment of clarity in regards to me doing people and myself wrong. Wasn’t til after the record was almost complete when I finished the book and moved on. I highly suggest reading anything by Julio Cortazar, he’s a monster..
How was the recording and writing process?
The writing process was mostly done in Sm Grims place in Cozumel, Mexico. I would fly down to Mexico and stay with him and we’d work on music all day and all night really. It was a blessing to work with him, especially in Mexico. I am chicano (Mexican-American) but my first time in Mexico was to work on this project with Sm Grims because he was deported years back. Instead of sending beats via email, I needed to get out of my city (Omaha) so we thought it would be best if I came and stay with him. While he cut beats I would write. A lot of work got done every time I made it down there. Sm Grims is a true homie that unfortunately has a lot working against him. He’s one of the truest people I know. Bless him!
Is the album as abstract as the music videos?
The album’s content is abstract and dark. The visuals for the album are extension of different artists’ take on the music. We didn’t want the visuals just to be performance footage in front of a graffiti piece and some malt liquor. We wanted more than that. While the homies in my city do burn walls and that video will come in the future, we wanted to take a different direction. I am not trying to sell you something. With this project I am only looking to share art with my peers and the world.
How much did Latin American get to influence this record?
Latin America help create this album. Everything from my great grandmother Alta Garcia Gomez migration to the United States to Julio Cortazar’s novel, Hopscotch. This record was heavily influenced by the culture, sights, history, politics, and women of Latin America. The project has been shaped by my studies in Inter-American relationships by way of college courses to the knowledged I picked up in the streets of Cozumel, Guadalajara, and Mexico City.
What aspects of magic did you get to explore with this material?
This record and a lot of my writing is influenced by Magical Realism. This was created by Jorge Luis Borges, an Argentine writer and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, a Colombian writer who wrote, 100 years of Solitude. Both of these authors are responsible for timeless pieces of literature and they’re also responsible for influencing my writing as well. Magic is everywhere in the world of art.
Any plans to hit the road?
Yes! We toured to the west coast in July-August in support of La Maga. It was great to be out on the road again. I was taking an online course at the same time as tour in order to graduate in December so that kind of fucked me here and there. One day while Keiani and my dj Kethro were in Los Angeles having a blast, I was in Los Feliz public library writing a business proposal with 2 boxes of vinyl so they wouldn’t melt in the car outside:( We’re hoping to be going east in the next couple months.
What else is happening next in Conny Franko’s world?
While working on a degree in International Studies with focuses in Business Administration and Latin American Studies, I am finishing up a couple new music projects. I have a EP coming out with another music group I am involved in called, M34N STR33T. Also a new Conny Franko EP is due for an October release. Please keep your eyes and ears out for these babies, they should be LIT AF. Other than school and music, I will be traveling with homies to film skateboarding. Hoping to be back in Mexico by January/February. I really miss all my homies down there.