Who was this DJ? Why haven’t we heard anything like this before?
Richard Fraioli is the type of DJ that makes an impression on people. In a world of interchangeable, cookie-cutter sets (especially in the commercial dance world) Fraioli takes the time to make each show stand out, giving people something they can't forget.
In the live, do or die environment of a nightclub, it can be tempting for a DJ to cater to the lowest common denominator and play a safe set that he knows will work. But great DJs can bridge the gap and play a crowd-pleasing set that still manages to show off their own unique style. Richard is one of those DJs.
We spoke briefly with the very busy Fraioli to discuss his marathon lineup for this Saturday, March 28, when he will play two sets at Ultra in Miami, and then head up north to finish the day off with a headlining set at Vibe Las Olas.
New Times: How did you first get involved with music and DJ'ing?
Richard Fraioli: My Father was a DJ when I was growing up. I'd always see him playing at nightclubs and mobile events and sometimes he'd even take me to his gigs at a young age. There was always DJ equipment at the house so I would always play around with it. I got to play a song on my own at one of his gigs and after seeing the crowd's reaction with one push of a button — that's where it all started for me.
You're from Boston originally but you have played all over America, especially Miami and Fort Lauderdale. What makes playing in South Florida different from playing in other cities?
My father took me to Miami when I was 16 for my first Winter Music Conference. That year I experienced my first real nightclub. I witnessed the old school technique of just the DJ, a crate of vinyl, and the dance floor lost in the music. I also got to go to Ultra Music Festival for the first time. All of those things combined into one just made Florida a place that's a home away from home to this day. The vibe, culture, people, and scene are so unique and just completely different everywhere I've played, especially at home in Boston. Don't get me wrong, I love my hometown, but Florida has a huge piece of my heart.
Your recent song with with Ezra Davis, "Hearts like Diamonds," was a huge success on Beatport. Tell me about how that song came together, and what made it stand out so much? There is alot of music out there competing for our attention.
I was so honored to have that track on two different Beatport charts and receive massive support from some big name DJs I look up to. I had made the track in 2012. It sat on my hard drive for about two years. One day I made a Facebook post looking for a vocalist to start some new projects on. Thats when Ezra Davis caught my attention with his powerful and emotional vocals. We got into the studio and I randomly played him this specific track. He went home and the next day "Hearts Like Diamonds" was born. I think what made it stand out was the electro-Swedish style that was popular at the time mixed with emotional rock vocals. I like to think outside of the box, and i'm grateful it worked!
What is TMFHM?
TMFHM is That MOTHER F#%KING House Music. It's a brand I started in 2010. We hosts a monthly podcast and national themed events featuring the best in all sub-genres of house music. I hope to bring the brand worldwide and throw my own TMFHM theme party next year for Miami Music Week 2016.
This coming Saturday, March 28, you'll be playing two sets at Ultra and a headlining late night set at Vibe Las Olas. How do you prepare for a day like that? How much will your sets vary between the different gigs?
While Ultra Music Festival and Vibe are two different events, I'm grateful to be playing both. I don't like to take too much time to prepare sets or music in general. I feel by doing that you're taking away from the organic and natural DJ set that is supposed to happen when it's just you and the crowd in front of you. I'm a big improvisor and I get that style of DJ-ing from Laidback Luke, someone I've looked up to heavily since 2005. My sets don't really vary much because I make sure I read the crowd so we can all party as one. I play each gig, big or small, like it's my last.
What else is in the works for this year?
Getting in the studio as much as I can is my number one priority this year. I just released a new free track on my Soundcloud called "Are U Sure?" and I have a string of other releases coming out on labels and free downloads. I just want to get the music out to the people and make them happy. I'm also going to be making my way back to Europe to play a few shows over there this summer. Taking over the world is my current state of mind!
Richard Fraioli will be on the Oasis stage from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. and the Bayfront stage from 2:15 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. at Ultra Music Festival. His Vibe Las Olas set will start at midnight. There will be a $10 cover for guys and no cover for girls.
Adam Foster is a South Florida-based DJ and producer, founder of twilightnotes.com, and entertainment director for the Restaurant People. He was named best DJ of 2014 by New Times Broward-Palm Beach. Follow him on Twitter and like him on Facebook.