After announcing the retirement of his well-known moniker Frank Dukes last month, producer and artist Adam “Ging” Feeney has revealed plans to allow that period of his career to live in perpetuity, using AI and blockchain technology.
Feeney, whose credits include The Weeknd‘s “Call Out My Name,” Post Malone‘s “Congratulations” and Camila Cabello‘s “Havana,” is dropping a collection of audiovisual NFTs, called “The Ghost of Frank Dukes,” on Dec. 23 (presale on Dec. 22) via Open Sea.
A generative music and art collection of 9,999 unique NFTs, featuring visual and audio work all made by Feeney during his Dukes period, “The Ghost of Frank Dukes” is dictated by a self-made algorithm and will create a song at the moment of its purchase by amalgamating “all different pieces of my music in a meaningful manner and incorporating them with little micro decisions that I would make,” he tells Billboard. Trained to act similarly to Feeney’s own mind, it’s as if every time a new product is generated, Feeney is still frozen in time as Frank Dukes. But also, he explains, the machine is not exactly him. Feeney says often the AI will put together elements of his old music that he never would have thought of himself.
“I wanted to create something that sparks new ideas and promotes different ways of thinking and that’s what this does,” he says. “I’m by no means looking to replace humans in music, but I don’t want to be limited to exploring traditional mediums.”
The result of about three years of self-exploration, dropping the Dukes name was a way for Feeney to transcend the “metrics and numbers”-dominated world of pop music in favor of creating with innovation in mind. “I wanted to recapture the same sense of freedom I had as a kid, making beats at my parents’ house” he explained. “I think that was one of the big reasons to give up Frank Dukes.”
But the creation of what would eventually become the “Ghost” NFTs started with small steps. First, Feeney began rejecting some of his time-consuming sessions with artists in favor of focusing on making his own art. “I wanted to lose the attachment of what my work needed to be,” he says. So he tried a new routine, starting every morning by opening his journal and sketching “whatever came out. I stopped saying ‘oh I’m not a visual artist… I don’t do this, I don’t do that.'”
Soon, he discovered patterns in his sketches. “There were lots of self-portraits, lots of ghosts” he says, “I was into the idea of death and rebirth.” In the process of “letting go of [his] self permissions,” Feeney transformed from a producer into seeing himself as a multi-disciplined artist.
He christened this transformation by beginning to identify himself as “Ging,” his childhood nickname. The name Frank Dukes embodied the badassery of fictional martial artist Frank Dux (of the 1988 cult classic Bloodsport) – and while that was a perfect fit for the version of Feeney who was muscling his way up the music business – it no longer embodied him now. By donning his old nickname, he signified a return to the wide-eyed enthusiasm of his youth.
Feeney began sorting through old, forgotten scraps of his music – like discarded drum loops, guitar riffs, and synth leads – trying to find a way to resurrect them. With the help of longtime engineer, Tyler Murphy, the duo began forming ideas for a generative music and art engine to repurpose the ephemera from Feeney’s Frank Dukes period into something brand new.
By selling some of his generations as NFTs, he hopes “The Ghost of Frank Dukes” (and future projects) can use Web3, a decentralized, blockchain-based internet, to empower real artistic innovation.
“This can be something totally new… [Web3] offers a playground to create new models and new things that couldn’t have existed otherwise,” he says.
“So much of my career has been making the music that I want to hear. I think that ‘The Ghost of Frank Dukes’ is like making the product I want to exist,” he explains. For Feeney, the project is about preserving a part of his life that brought him pride, even as he prepares to move on to his next chapter.