Originally hailing from England, UK and residing in Australia since 2006 is the well-rounded MC known as Fraksha, or Joey Bananas to some. During his time in the music industry, he has proven his adaptability, working with hip hop, grime and dubstep. He has released two mixtapes and a self-titled album as part of Nine-High, a solo mixtape, as well as numerous features, and bits and pieces over the years. He is also is part of Smash Brothers with Scotty Hinds, Diem and Murky.
No matter what style of music he is using, Fraksha is certain about one thing – he loves to rap. “I’m an MC at the end of the day and it’s important to me to not box myself in. I’m in a good position where I can do whatever I feel without people going ‘what’s going on here?’ How can you call yourself a master of ceremonies if you can’t rock over anything? Versatility is important for me, just as much with the beats as the bars,” he explained.
During his time in the UK, Fraksha’s group, Nine High were playing a lot of shows and getting a buzz locally, but they didn’t really get a chance to cement themselves properly. “As we were getting to the point of where we were on a level smashing shows and writing better music, we upped and moved to Australia and had to start again really. But, at the time we were just hyped to come here and get involved in something new to us,” he told.
Having previously spent a year in Australia in 2003, Fraksha had made some good friends and been mildly involved in the local music scene. As a result, he knew there were a lot of similarities between the two countries’ scenes, which meant he wasn’t worried about his music being well received. “The people I met were on the same wavelength so as long as you’re making good music it translates. Everyone was real cool with us, so I didn’t really give it much thought to be honest and I’ve never doubted what we or I do,” he added.
There was never a set plan for Fraksha’s converged music styles. But, with the different sounds and cultures coming out of the UK, it was only natural that these sounds would influence and become a part of him. When Fraksha started rhyming, garage was huge and although he liked the genre, he didn’t really feel it, viewing it as basic. Then as the beats got darker and it evolved into grime he became inspired deciding to spit over it.
When it all comes down to it, he just makes what he feels, explaining, “I listen to a mixture of stuff and like making a mixture of stuff and always have. But I still think it all has a common thread running through it, it’s all rap music to me. Some people don’t get it and are like ‘it’s dance music…real hip hop grrrr blah blah blah’, nah fuck off you’re just very naïve. The sounds are ingrained in our culture, just ‘cos you don’t get it doesn’t make it any less valid. Those attitudes give me jokes, it shows a level of ignorance and suggests to me you’ve lived quite a sheltered life musically. It’s easy to be negative about something you don’t understand. These guys would probably be shook at a grime dance anyway.”
Fraksha believes that your general life experience and observations should always be your main inspiration as it’s a crazy world with no shortage of things going on. “I remember Skinnyman telling me about his boy who had writers block and he told him ‘look at your lifestyle, look out your window at the world and tell me you got nothing to speak about’ and that’s really stayed with me,” he says.
Recent times for Fraksha have seen an addition to his love of the stage with a newfound passion for time spent in the studio. “I think it’s helped that I’ve been recording a lot recently with Ciecmate who is very experienced in what he does, we’re good friends too, so it’s a relaxed environment and I’m thinking about what I’m doing more nowadays when I’m there. Of course there’s nothing like being on stage at certain times, when the crowds feeling what you’re doing and you feel like you’re on your best form nothing can beat that really,” he said.
Currently, Fraksha is writing and recording a solo album that he is hoping to have out this year. He explained, “I’m real hyped on how its been going so far, beat wise it’s all Australian producers and it might not be what people are expecting from me for the most part. There’s some really amazing producers coming through in this country that are injecting some fresh new ideas which I’m all about. I got some wicked guest spots already laid down so I’m real keen to get it out there.” Fraksha will release more details when he has a better idea of the time frame for its release, stating “there’s nothing worse than an MC constantly talking about ‘my upcoming record featuring x and y that never seems to materialise. I’ll wait ‘til its more concrete.” One thing is for sure though, as an independent artist he has to finance everything himself so he isn’t going to release it until he has the funds to give it the shot it deserves.
In closing, Fraksha would like to give a big up to all his boys, and says to look out for solo releases from each Smash Brother at some point soon, he also says to keep an eye peeled for Byron’s (Nine High) upcoming projects stating, “you will be hearing about him whether you search him out or not.”
Additionally, he gives a big up to all the BTE gang and a huge thanks to each and every person that supports what he does in any way, adding, “I’m not gonna be one of these chiefs who says ‘I only do it for you – the fans’ ‘cos I think that’s an extremely patronising thing to say and it’s not true. I do it for me, but every bit of support I get confirms to me I’m doing the right thing and is hugely appreciated. Shouts to everyone with their eyes open.”