Grant discusses new EP
French producer Anthony Collins, known for his work under various aliases such as Frank & Tony, has recently revealed himself as the artist behind the anonymous project Grant. Grant initially emerged as a mysterious endeavour on The Lauren Bacall, a label established by Collins and frequent collaborator Francis Harris, where they adopted old Hollywood names as a means of producing anonymously. Named after Cary Grant, the alias went on to release a collection of deep, melodic house EPs and albums on The Lauren Bacall, a self-titled label, as well as Lobster Theremin and its imprint Mörk. The project remained shrouded in secrecy until now, as Collins believes it has garnered enough recognition to unveil his true identity. Ahead of the release of his recent release, the exceptional Conceptual Practice EP, we checked in with Grant to learn more…
The past few years seem like they've been crazy busy for you. There was Anthony Collins, then the Frank & Tony project, and now Grant. Did you ever think things would turn out like they did? How do you reflect on it all?
Well, I guess as an artist staying active for over 20 years, you can feel the need to explore new sounds and keep moving forward. Also, the encounters you make can dictate your plans. I was lucky enough to meet one of my best friends along the way, Francis Harris, with whom we formed Frank & Tony.
You're in Marseille now, which I guess represents a big move for you. What prompted the move? And how's it going?
Well, I am actually in Biarritz for a few months, but before that, in Marseille. The move was made to start a coffee shop and a roastery. I felt the need to try out different ventures than music.
Are there any similarities in your approach to music as your approach to coffee? And how do you find the time to do both?
Well, I indeed have less time for music as running a shop with partners and employees requires a lot of time. Similarities would lie in my dedicated approach in trying to offer extremely high-quality produce and service.
In terms of your different projects and aliases, how do you know when it's time to move onto a new project? How dedicated is it by sound? How dedicated is it by circumstance?
There is no real plan; it's more about feeling. And when it's collaborations, it is based on fortuitous encounters that lead to magical music.
With Grant, it almost feels like you stepped out of the limelight a bit. Was that a conscious decision?
I guess it's linked to starting a business and having a hard time navigating the whole agent thing and waiting for bookings to come. When you have a family to take care of, it's very stressful.
You've maintained a crazy busy release schedule, releasing almost an album a year over the past four or five years. Where does your work ethic come from?
There is no real game plan; I just have full-on days, so if I can get a half-hour here and there, it adds up over time. And I am lucky enough to work with great producers such as Dan Piu and Francis Harris, who definitely keep me inspired and help get things done.
The Acrobat, in particular, was really well received. Do you generally agree with music reviewers? Do you feel there's pressure to 'beat' each release you put out? Does it need to be better than the last?
Good reviews are always nice to hear. When you release music, especially self-releases like most of my stuff, I am pleased with it, but you never know if you are living in your own bubble. So I am always a bit astonished when I get great feedback.
What constitutes success for you? Critical acclaim? Fan approval? A busy touring schedule? Your own perception of your music?
I guess a bit of all those above, but that being said, I barely get any booking requests at all. But on the other hand, my records sell well and I get really nice reviews, so there is this very weird disconnect. At the end of the day, I feel already blessed to be able to find time to make music and release it.
You have performed at renowned clubs and festivals around the world, including Fabric in London and Panorama Bar in Berlin. Is there generally a sense that this represents the pinnacle of your art form? Or do you place more importance on your releases?
I say art form as I consider djing when taken seriously to be exactly that. I dearly enjoy both; hopefully I get to dj a bit more in the near future.
Everyone has a Panorama Bar story! What’s yours?
Nothing very original, besides staying in the club for close to 24 hours and doing two sets in that period of time, one in Panorama Bar and one in Berghain. Pretty epic journey!
Do you think you make music for yourself or others, or is this something you've thought much about?
I don't like that, but I do imagine the effect the track could have on a dancefloor, using my memories of all that time spent in clubs.
Tell us a bit about your labels and where you're at with them all. It seems you must be busy!
At the moment, the only active label is the one I just launched at the end of 2022, When the Morning Comes. Others such as Dukes and my Grant label are not shut but inactive for now.
We're absolutely loving the Conceptual Practice EP. Just brilliant deep house. Maybe a cliched question, but how would you sum up deep house? And what tracks instantly come to mind when you think of 'deep house'?
Thanks for the nice words. That's a hard question. I don't think I will be reinventing the wheel in saying that deep house is more a feeling rather than a specific sound, and really, this feeling can vary widely from one person to another. In terms of references for me, it would be labels like Original released on Guidance, Balance, Prescription…
What's next for you - musically and professionally - that you're really excited about?
I have a new Frank & Tony record coming out on Pacific Rhythm next month, and also a Frank & Tony album coming out early 2024 with some very cool collaborations. Also, working on a new Theory of Movement EP for my label WTMC that will come out in the fall.
Grant’s Conceptual Practice EP is out via When the Morning Comes on 29th May