Lara Celine Wolf
Lucas Bernhard alias FRAW is one of the most innovative upcoming producers in the Raw Hardstyle scene. Therefore we decided it’s finally time for his first interview…
The idea to do an Interview with Lucas was quite a spontaneous one, since he was about to play at two parties I’ve been attending that weekend.
Since we were only communicating via Facebook lately I introduced myself on Friday and got to see a set of him for the very first time. Up till now I only heard the best about it, but of course I had to picture it myself.
The interview took place on Saturday, right after his set at Klangwelten at Atrium (Kiel). Because I had to work a little longer than expected and we had no quiet place for the interview, since the backstage was full of drunk people and the music (especially the bass) was louder than expected. Everything was a bit chaotic, till we finally decided to just sit down on the stairs between club and backstage.
Lara: I’m so sorry for all of this being that chaotic, really didn’t expected it to be. Also I feel a bit chaotic, hadn’t had the chance to organize myself yet. But I don’t think this will be a problem at all… let’s start!
First of all: Where did the name FRAW come from?
Lucas: It all started two and a half years ago as a duo project with a friend of mine. His name is Niklas, who is now part of Invictuz. Our alias was Book of Raw, like the well-known casino game Book of Rah. We thought “This is something everyone knows, lets make a pun out of it“. We started producing and releasing together when somewhen a label offered to sign us. The question was „To sign or not to sign“ for a certain amount of years. Actually we always said, when we separate as a duo, each of us gets half of Book of Raw.
So we seperated it into „Book o“ and „f Raw“. It was originally just a joke, we never could have thought this was ever about to happen. But Niklas signed and I didn’t want to, so there I was with my half – „f Raw“. Sounds stupid, it really does, but I somehow liked it.
And that‘s the story behind FRAW.
Lara: That’s a really cool story! To be honest, I always was only paying attention to the „RAW“ in „FRAW“. It reminded me instantly of XTRA RAW (or XTRA FRAW), and I guessed´the „F“ had a different meaning. But since we’re talking about the origins…
How did you get into producing music? Like, the typical way, listening to it and somewhen starting to play around a bit yourself?
DEVELOPING AN OWN SOUND
Lucas: I started listening to Hardstyle in 2009/2010, beginning with Headhunterz, together with all of my friends. The already mentioned Niklas has been making music now for 10 years. We once met and he was „producing“ Hardstyle. I had a lot of own ideas, but had no idea how to realize them.
Somewhen I decided to buy the program myself and asked him for advice. I watched tutorials, learned a lot and as time passed I started making music on my own, only for myself. Later we decided to start a duo project. In the beginning I’ve been responsible for the kicks.
Lara: „Department kick“, it was.
Lucas: Yeah, „department kick“ was my part and Niklas part was „Department atmosphere and everything else”. As time passed I did more and more, till we separated. Since this point I’ve been working on my own and since a couple of months I finally reached the point where I can say I developed my own sound. I got a lot of positive feedback and I’m so happy about it. In my opinion the most important thing about producing are recognizing characteristics.
Lara: Exactly! You really need to have these recognizing characteristics.
When you listen the music and even a certain artist for long enough, you even can identify a DJ by its very own kick. They all developed their certain style of producing.
Lucas: It’s about to stand out, right.
Lara: And when would you say you achieved your first „breakthrough“? Like, the first time you thought “Wow, I can’t believe I achieved this myself”?
Lucas: People say you have to fall before you fly. But in my „career“ I never fell. It was always going up and up and up. That’s not only caused by the support I get as Lucas by my familiy and my friends, but most important the support FRAW receives every day.
Lara: So you could say, the community has your back?
Lucas: Yeah, I really gotta say the community which likes my music is amazing. So many messages every day… It’s really overwhelming. It’s my motivation to keep on doing what I do.
But to come back to your question, my first breakthrough… Fatality 2019 for sure!
When I played my edit of Imma Boss the whole thing went viral. Even Ncrypta played it and not much time passed when he asked me for a collab.
I really couldn’t be happier! Approximately one year ago I was standing next to him, not able to talk to him, and now he asked me to work together. Meanwhile we’re even friends. By producing Omega things got even better. I don‘t know… things are working out in my favor since then.
Lara: When I asked you for the interview you wanted to know, if it’s a written interview or if it’s about to get recorded. ‘Cause you are a bit camera shy. How does it correlate with the fact that you had this breakthrough? Have you still kind of a stage fright sometimes?
Lucas: Not really. Right in the beginning I of course have been incredibly nervous. On our drive to Fatality 2019 I was so nervous I haven’t talked the whole car ride. But it got better when we arrived.
Lara: Was it because it was your first bigger booking?
Lucas: Up till now I had like 9-10 bookings. My first one was at Supression Beach as a B2B with Invictuz. And my first solo booking was Fatality. Right after X Years of Gearbox and Supression. All of them were huuuge! It was like being pushed into cold water. But it felt amazing.
Lara: Sounds like 2020 is about to get even better for you, doesn’t it? Do you have any plans or goals yet?
Lucas: Of course you always should have goals. But to be honest… I don’t have any. I do what I do because I love what I’m doing, that’s it. “Never stop a running system”. That’s why I don’t change a thing and keep on moving forward.
Within half a year I experienced so much, achieved so much, some people get to experience within 4-5 years. I think I just gotta realize this before I set any further goals.
Lara: Enjoying the moment, you’d say?
Lucas: Definitely. Everything else is just not my type. I start small and grow with the challenges ahead. I’m really looking forward to everything that’s about to happen.
TALKING ABOUT ROLE MODELS
Lara: And would you say you had a role model or a tutor?
Lucas: I’d say Markus (Ncrypta) is kind of a tutor for me. We have a lot of contact, not only for business reasons.
And I’d say he has been also a role model for me in the past. Both of us, Niklas and I, thought he was the technically best in this business and we always tried to compare to him.
We e.g. bought a track, compared it with one of ours and right after we were quite sad.
Lara: Wow this sounds quite perfect. Having this person you look up to for so long and not only having the chance to work together but end up being friends.
I met Markus a couple of times and I think he has this… Not sure, kind of a special presence, this charisma, which is quite intimidating. Actually I never knew what to say or felt nervous, even if there wasn’t even a reason. So I completely understand when you mentioned, that you were afraid to talk to him right in the beginning.
Lucas: His presence is remarkable, yeah.
Intimidating is the keyword… 1-2 years ago I attended an event, when FRAW wasn’t that well known yet. Maybe he heard about it once. But Markus and I, we were standing in front of each other, I was looking at him, he was looking at me, but I looked away. I said nothing and left. Because I felt intimidated as well.
Lara: I can only imagine what it must feel like to look back to those days while thinking “I never ever could have thought things will work out this way.”
But since we all started from the bottom somewhen till we achieve something…
Do you have any tips for upcoming producers/DJs?
Lucas: Well… I’d say I’m a bloody beginner myself, at least as a DJ. As I mentioned previously I haven’t had that many bookings yet. When I’m having a booking I try to “study” the DJs playing before me, what they are doing with the players. Also I’m looking on the internet for inspiration.
For upcoming producers… practice, practice, practice! Watch tutorials, try to have contact with DJs for feedback, connect with other producers via e.g. facebook groups, ask for advice or feedback. Since I had good experiences with this, I’d totally recommend it!
Also you shouldn’t underestimate the time you’re spending in front of your PC, till you even see small results.
Lara: So you think the most important thing to get further is feedback?
Lucas: Of course! Without any feedback or criticism you’ll never get better. When you’re working on a track for 40 hours you start to lose the hearing for mistakes for example. But when you send it to a friend and he says “Man, this doesn’t really work out” you know where to put your attention in the track back in.
You really shouldn’t agree with everyone. They all have their own opinion. But criticism is useful in any way!
Lara: That’s what I think myself as well. Without any criticism you won’t get further in life. Especially ‘cause criticism isn’t always negative.
But to stay in the topic of upcoming producers… Which programs are you using at the moment? Do you have any recommendations?
Lucas: I’m working with FL Studio 20.
Lara: Aren’t those programs fucking expensive?
Lucas: Oh yes, they are. Especially for me as a student it was really expensive.
I had the choice between three different types of this program. Beginner, Producer and Extended. I decided for the Producer edition for 240€.
In addition I use a very little amount of plug-ins. Other people often use certain programs only for the kicks, but I only try to use FL Studio plug-ins like e.g. Waveshaper, Parametic EQ 2, Fast Dist.
Since I’m still a student at university…
Lara: May I ask, what are you studying?
Lucas: I did my bachelor degree in “food technologies”, “process technologies” and “biological technologies”. Now I started with my master in “Applied food science” one year ago. Like the extension in English.
Lara: If things work out well for you in your musical career, and you somewhen get to the point where you had to decide between these both paths. Do you know yet, where your decision would lead you?
Lucas: To be honest I’m asking myself this question daily. As I work also in a call center as a side job, and I really like this as well… I don’t know, as long as I’m studying I try to keep my focus on my studies. But let’s see what the future holds.
Lara: What a perfect ending for the professional part of the interview.
My last question: If you were an animal, which one and why?
Lucas: Back in the days, in Kindergarten, we named ourselves with an alliteration out of our first name and an animal. My name was “Lucas Luchs” (L: Lucas Lynx).
But meanwhile I’d say I’m a bull. My logo is a bull, my zodiac sign is a bull (L: Finally a topic of my interest),… I don’t really have a connection to a certain animal. Dog, cat, mouse, giraffe, depending on my daily mood, everything is possible. Honestly I never really thought about that.
Lara: I guess that’s it. Thank you so much for your time!
Lucas: My pleasure! Happy to do my very first interview with you.
There’s one single task left, but since you have to drive today, we must postpone my Schüttelkorn ritual to X Years of Gearbox in less than a month. Happy to see you there again!
Lucas: Next time, for sure!