Franc Moody have just been joyriding. Well, kinda. When NME meets them in mid-February, the band are still beaming after scooting around London the day prior. To celebrate the release of their upcoming debut album ‘Dream In Colour’, the duo borrowed a car, recruited some of their die-hard fans and had the intention of ferrying them about in with the new songs up mighty loud. As with most joyrides, it doesn’t always go to plan…
“We had an amazing car, and the reason why we got that car it’s because it had a wicked sound system in it,” Jon Moody says. “We burnt a CD of the album, but we realised it couldn’t handle the burnt copied CD so instead we found this karaoke machine. We had a mic and we were getting our fans to sing along, so we actually kind of made it, because it looked like it might fall apart at one point…”
For other bands, that could have spiralled into disaster, but the casual repertoire they have with their fans made it fine. The band are involved in some Franc Moody-based WhatsApp groups where fans chat, share songs that they like, organise after-parties and get some bonus goodies too. In keeping with the Franc Moody spirit, it’s communal, slightly chaotic and bags of fun.
As the band release their stellar debut album, we speak to Jon and Ned from the band to talk about the wild early warehouse shows, providing escapism and the journey to their debut album.
Your origins are in the Tottenham warehouse scene. What were those early parties like?
Jon: “Everyone would cram in like sardines, it’d be literally packed. It was always hanging on by a thread the whole thing, like the whole thing could just fall apart at any moment. These kind of raves need to be quite gritty and borderline illegal.”
Those spaces must be important now that more venues and clubs are facing closure?
Ned: “I think there’s something psychological about that too. If everything is branded and everything is expensive, you work in the confines of that as an audience member. But if you go to our old parties and everything is so craggy and falling apart, you feel like you can let go and be free, so we want maintain that spirit a little bit. As we’ve grown, we’ve gone into venues where there’s not a lot of leeway for chaos, so we’re still doing the raves alongside the main shows.”
“Some raves need to be quite gritty and borderline illegal”
Has your process changed since your first EP, ‘Dance Moves’?
Ned: “‘Dance Moves’ was technically like an album, but it was an EP campaign. This is definitely the album campaign. But in terms of the way we make the music, it hasn’t changed, really. I don’t think it would work if we tried to change. We’ve got everything set up in arms reach in our studio right now. There’s an organ there, a piano and a guitar and stuff, so things can happen quite quickly. Or very slowly as well. I can’t imagine what that would be like to have four, five people in the room all having their say.”
Jon: “We might have got a bit more refined in to where we are now. If we’re onto something good, the main meat of the song is there in two days and then the long bit is the little tweaks towards the end, tying it all up. But the meat is there pretty quickly. My favourite song is probably ‘Night Flight’ – something just clicked there with that. I also really like the latest single ‘Skin on Skin’. Basically, I really love the album. But with ‘Night Flight’, I just really like the sound, it’s just warm. It’s a real turning point in the set. Something happens in the room in ‘Night Flight’…
Your live shows are pretty vibrant and freeing. Do you feel any pressure to provide a level of escapism?
Ned: “We’re not actively trying to avoid issues or reality or something like that, but we want it to feel real and not a cheesey like: ‘listen to Franc Moody and have fun’. If someone’s coming to a show and has an hour to escape or whatever it is, it’s a lot of the message of the album as well, then I feel like we’ve done a good thing. We’ve done our job. To travel across the world and do this is amazing still. Now, we’d be like arriving in a city and you could feel like a buzz around the band. We had it in Mexico too, when we were there. It was a smaller venue but the same thing. It was jam packed, people singing along to your songs You sometimes to think ‘oh, it’s another gig’ but it’s like, we’re in Mexico halfway across the world with our fans singing! That’s crazy!”
Franc Moody’s debut album ‘Dream In Colour’ is out now