Frank Butters: The ‘Ransom Note’ Mix


It’s been a few years since we first invited the illusive Frank Butters to contribute to our Influences series, but still he remains somewhat shrouded in mystery, however we’re pretty sure that’s exactly the way he likes it.

Now here’s what we do know… As well helming the label Too Many Squares, and contributing to Man Power’s Me Me Me label with two proto-influenced machine jams, he’s also been tipped by Felix Dickinson as being a very good DJ and collector. 

He hasn’t done a mix for seven whole years but after hearing Serial Error’s ‘Drum Abuse’ (a bloody good song) he felt compelled to put one together. Lucky for us, and you, he selected our fine publication as the host for said mix, so lock on, lock in and “let the music do the talking”…

Please introduce yourself… Who are you, where are you and what are you

My Name is Frank Butters and I’m currently lying in bed and very tired.

What does your music sound like?

My music sounds like me in some way, the music I play however is always other peoples which I find more explorative. So other people I guess!

Can you draw what you think it sounds like for us (an image from the old internet is acceptable)? 

No, my pencil just broke sadly

Where was the mix recorded?

In the studio

What would be the ideal setting to listen to the mix?

Anywhere with an amp and speakers

What should we be wearing?

Your heart on your sleeve

What would be your dream setting to record a mix: Location/system/format?

I don’t have one

Which track in the mix is your current favourite?

I’d have to say ‘Serial Error – Drum Abuse’ which inspired the mix, I’ve not done a mix in seven years so it must be a decent track to push my buttons in that way. Also, I have to mention ‘Andy Rantzen – Play The Bones’ which I absolutely love and took a lot of pleasure using it to round off the mix…

What’s your favourite recorded mix of all time?

Anything by Phoreski

If you could go back to back with any DJ from throughout history, who would it be and why?

None, I live in the present and look to the future whilst understanding and respecting the past. I also see the role of the DJ as a singular entity, teaming up with another simply waters down any potential connection between who is playing the music and the dance floor.

I fail to see how two individuals together can sculpt a soundscape of anything other than eventual incoherence and mundanity. Eventually, compromises will have to be made within that dynamic so why bother. At some point this becomes just playing records and not DJ’ing and this is why I find the whole concept of ‘back to back’ nothing more than a gimmick and lazy programming by promoters. Just look at the work Basquiat and Warhol produced when they attempted it. In fact, it’s a little like when some bloke from Florida has a fight with a Kangaroo…

What was your first DJ set up at home and what is it now?

First: Soundlab belt drives and a numark mixer circa 1990

Current: 1200’s I bought on tick from Orange in 1992 and never even finished paying for and a Pioneer djm600 mixer somebody gave me for free. I just run them through the studio amp and monitors when needed which is very rarely as they get used to do promo mixes and that alone, they could really do with a service now I think about
it. For listening, I have a single deck set up in the living room of a 1210 and a 1970’s Technics amp & Tannoy speaker pairing.

What’s more important, the track you start on or the track you end on?

Neither and both, every single track is equally important or why bother putting it there. They just have different roles to play within the narrative

What were the first and last records you bought?

First vinyl record I ever owned was Gene Page – Close encounters album but that was some strange xmas present from my nana who seemed to think a five year old would get it. I obviously didn’t and hated her for a while but I still have it to this day and it means a lot to me due to her innocent stupidity alone. As for buying, I started with tapes around the age of 10 and think Queen – Hot Space was the first if I remember correctly, the most recent one was an album by a band called OM with a title I can’t actually recall…

If this mix was an edible thing, what would it taste like?


If it was an animal what would it be?

Almost extinct

One record in your collection that is impossible to mix into anything?

There’s no such thing as a difficult track to “mix”, only a mind that has or hasn’t yet figured out a suitable accompaniment for either side of it. DJ’ing is a bastardised craft summarised by the obsession with beat matching when programming is truly the only defining skillset. Anybody can play a series of so called great or popular tracks in sequence and call themselves a DJ. Beat matching is simply one technique of the craft and alone it will not define the quality of the craftsman but if the programming is shit, that will.

Upcoming in the world of … 

I’ve just trademarked the word butter and plan to make a low cost face cream for people with dry skin which can also be used to moisten toast…

Anything else we need to discuss?

Yes, lots…