A Q&A with Franck Carducci & The Fantastic Squad

A Q&A with Franck Carducci & The Fantastic Squad

Ambitious theatrical rock from Lyon, France…

What’s the title of your latest release, and what does it mean to you?
The Answer was released just before the pandemic (speak about bad timing!). The main themes evolve around the question: “What is the meaning of human life?” Part of the album is an attempt to answer that complex question. The album artwork is related to the song ‘The After Effect’. It represents an outer space entity who takes a human appearance and comes down to Earth to try and find out the meaning of human life. Time has no meaning for her that’s why the sand is motionless in the hourglass. Her face looks young but she has grey hair because this entity is ageless. The answer to that complex question is given in this song and others like ‘The Game of Life’ and ‘(Love is) The Answer’. The tour that was scheduled to promote it was stopped after three dates, all the rest was postponed until August 2021 where we were finally able to start touring again. The Answer tour will end in December 2022. Then we’ll be recording a new album written mainly during lockdown.

What was the hardest part about putting this release together, and why?
For me the hardest part is to, at some point, be able to stop and say “OK that’s it, we’re done!” I mean, let’s be honest, a song is never finished. An album is never finished. You can always add or remove a db here or there, push up or down one frequency somewhere, tweak this or that effect a bit more… Really it never ends! So the most difficult part is to take the decision to stop and release it as it is at some point.

What do enjoy most about producing your own material?
I did produce all my solo records, with the help of sound engineer Christian Morfin with whom I’ve been working for years (decades?). It’s easier to produce yourself, then you’re the only one to blame years later if you have regrets!

What do you want the listener to take away from listening to your music?
Well, for me, it’s all about taking the audience to a journey of dreams where, they can forget about reality for a while. And it’s not only the music. Visuals play a big part in our live shows, because I want to offer something more than just the music. I want to move the eyes as well as the ears. That’s why I love artists like Alice Cooper, David Bowie, Pink Floyd, Genesis, Elton John… They combine the music and the visuals in a proper show!

How does a track normally come together? Can you tell us something about the process?
There’s no process whatsoever… it comes when it comes. It can take me years to finish a song and sometimes it’s done in a day!

What band/artists have influenced you the most since you started this project, and why?
My inspirations are mainly seventies classic rock bands like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Supertramp or Genesis. That was an era where quality was key, and money was not the main driver (although it would soon become) So creativity was at the pinnacle, which made everything possible. I don’t think the current century will produce such epic anthems as there was in the seventies because nowadays it’s all about quick profit, so my guess is that in 50 0r 100 years, there will still be tribute acts playing The Beatles, Led Zeppelin and Pink-Floyd but not that many playing music from the 2000s. Because these classics trigger people’s imagination, and for that, they’re timeless! For The Answer I think Bruce Springsteen was a very strong influence. Not really for the music, but for the lyrics. I read his book Born to Run and it’s arguably one of the best books I ever read. To me Bruce is the ultimate modern-day poet. I just love the way he tells his tale

What countries would you like to tour? Are there any standout venues you’d like to play in?
My dream concert venues? I would have said Shepherd’s Bush Empire in London, but we just did it, so I guess next step is the Royal Albert Hall 🙂 L’Olympia in Paris, Paradiso in Amsterdam, The Troubadour in LA and Radio City Hall in NYC to add but a few.

If you could pick one track for our readers to listen to in order to get a taste of your music, what would you pick, and why?
I’d say ‘Slave to Rock ‘n’ Roll’. It started off as a parody! I’ve always loved and been inspired by Greek mythology. (My first album opens with the song ‘Achilles’). Some time ago, I discovered the myth of Arion. He was the first famous musician, playing his kithara, going on tour, getting kidnapped by pirates who robbed him and threw him out in the water, … and I thought, wow… this character was actually the very first rock-star! Then I had the idea of creating a modern version of this story, so I wrote a (15-minute-long) song called ‘SUPERSTAR’ telling a similar story to the original but taking place today. That’s how ‘Arion Superstar’ was born. He was born in Hollywood, he’s seen it all and done it all. He’s no longer enthusiastic about life and success because he’s already lived it all. But anyway, his story is told in that ‘SUPERSTAR’ track and I started impersonating him on stage during this song. Then I thought, this Arion is such a big rock star, he must have had a superhit song! So I started to write a would-have-been AOR hit single and that’s how ‘Slave to Rock ‘n’ Roll’ was born. When we tried it live, everybody seemed to love it so we thought it would be a good idea to make a music video out of it. Given the subject, we could use a lot of humor and self-derision, in the pure tradition of the 70’s classic-rock hits. We had a great time shooting a funny and entertaining video full of glam to go with it.

What ambitions do you have for the band/your career?
My dream is obviously to become a big rockstar… ha ha ha… In the meantime, I’d say, keep touring a lot, play nice festivals, open for artists I admire. This summer we opened a gig for Sting, it was fantastic to get to meet him!

Finally, as you leave the stage, what are your parting words?
Well, we are very busy at the moment. I’m working on a long-due new album with material I wrote during lockdown, plus a live album we recorded in September 2022 in The Netherlands, plus putting up a new show for 2023… a lot of things!

For more info visit: franckcarducci.com


Leave a reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.