[INTERVIEW] With... Franc Moody

Franc Moody L-R, Ned Franc, Dan Hale, Luke Bowman, Rosetta Carr, and Jon Moody. Photography by Charlie Rout.

It's All Indie is pleased to introduce to you, your new favourite disco-funk band, Franc Moody. Spearheaded by Ned Franc and Jon Moody, Franc Moody recently released their infectiously good EP 'Dance Moves'. It's All Indie went to chat with Ned and Jon from the band during the Norwich date on their Friendly Fires support slot tour.

Hello guys, How are you doing? Must of been pretty fun playing leeds yesterday, Norwich today and then the big one next week... Brixton Academy.  Having fun on tour with Friendly Fires?

Jon: Well, I suppose we’re pretty much half way.. haha.

Ned: Yeah haha, three dates. It’s been good.

Jon: It’s been great; it’s really exciting to be doing a support tour like this, this early on in the Franc Moody live career. It’s a great experience for us and it is wicked to meet the Friendly Fires guys and the Haus guys (fellow support act for the Leeds & Norwich dates of the tour) and just for us to be on the road a little bit. It’s great hanging out in the van, tweaking the live sound and all that sort of stuff.

Ned: We haven’t done that many shows, last night in Leeds was probably our 6th or 7th show. So we are slightly champing at the bit to get out and play, so two shows on the trot in massive.

Jon: So us playing Brixton Academy is a bit like erm... 

Jon: Funnily enough, this time last year, we were rehearsing for our debut show at the Bermondsey Social Club and this time, this year, we were rehearsing for our Brixton Academy support slot, which is pretty cool!

IAI: Just imagine what it’s going to be like next year!

Jon: Maybe we’ll be able to get a better bus. 

Ned: One day hopefully! Or this might be the peak… and we’ll soon be playing in The Dog & Duck pub in London haha.

Your new EP ‘Dance Moves’ makes me want to dance, even though I’m a terrible dancer. What were the ideas behind making it?

Jon: Tuesday it came out.

Ned: Ah good! I don’t know really, let’s try think of the songs…

Jon: You had an idea go round, it’s quite a light hearted take, but you tried to put it into the Franc Moody format and funked it up a bit.

Ned: Yeah, I guess it’s about not taking yourself too seriously, and we all know people with a variety of dance moves, very different mixed abilities, and the EP is a celebration of that. But from a more tantalising point of view, so when there is an attraction on the dancefloor and those little weird relationships.

Jon: Anyone who has ever been out has had that feeling of ‘you’re going to do it, you’re going to go on the dancefloor, you’re going to get up and dance.’

IAI: After a few pints haha.

Jon: Yeah, exactly!

Ned: You either windmill onto the dancefloor or feel very nervous haha.

Jon: You have that connection with whoever it is or with the music that’s playing, so it’s trying to capture that a little bit.

IAI: That’s something that never changes. Music has changed so much, but, the desire to dance has always been there. They were dancing in the sixties, and there is still that desire, if you can encapsulate that ….

Jon: That’s it. It’s like entertainment, letting loose, it’s been around forever hasn’t it.

Ned: I suppose we both have always wanted to write music that made people dance, in a live scenario, which is in a quite so gratifying way.

Jon: We came from an old R&B background; we grew up playing funk and soul…

IAI: I was going to say, there is a George Clinton vibe from some of your material.

Jon: Yeah! He’s a big influence for us, a big hero of ours. The stuff we were playing and writing was pre-George Clinton. Like fifties, sixties, inspired by the sound of Louisiana and that’s all dance music effectively. It’s written for the party, celebrations, festivals, Mardi Gras. That aspect is definitely in our blood. Franc Moody tries to present it in a certain way…

Ned: In a 2018, revamped vibe.

My personal favourites off the EP are ‘Super Star Struck’, ‘Lunar’ and ‘Dance Moves’, the whole EP is infectious, do you have any personal favourites? 

Ned: (looks at Jon) Didn’t we say we’d listen to it again in 2 years to see if we still like it… haha, I don’t know, what do you think?

Jon: haha! I think ‘Dopamine’ is still our favourite. It was the first proper track with vocals we released. We put so much love into that, when we were trying to find out sound and stuff, it just came out real nice. We’re happy with it.

Ned: I think we have favourites at different times, sometimes when we listen to ‘You’ve Got Some Nerve’, when we were listening to it on a big sound system, it sounded really phat. So, that made us fall back in love with that one again, I think we’re quite proud of all of them really. Also, that one is quite special because Jon recorded it at a pub in Tottenham which is quite dear to our hearts, called Mannion’s. Jon’s idea was to create a soundscape at the beginning, so we got submarine sounds and sounds that meant stuff to us from the pub, so you can hear all these little details if you listen closely.

Jon: Sounds like strings tuning up, marching drums and other things like that.

IAI: That’s cool, It gives the music a bit more of a deeper meaning for you guys. When artists create sounds from something, for example when Daft Punk recorded Random Access Memories, they  added in these minute details which no one else would notice apart from themselves, I guess they’re little touches with artists appreciate.

Ned: Definitely.

Jon: It makes it personal.

Ned: We literally just came up with a list, there is a sandwich shop which is near our tiny little studio, and we thought, why we don’t go record….

Jon: The sound of someone taking an order haha

Ned: Or the sandwich being toasted haha. It does definitely add a little personal touch to the whole thing which is quite nice. 

I saw that you’ve been recently working with the legendary Nile Rodgers; can you tell us anything about it?

Jon: I’m still not sure it actually happened… literally we were super star struck haha. It was mad, such an honour. I think he heard a few of our tracks and was into it and wanted to meet up and do some writing basically.

Ned: I think he’s doing an album on his own for the first time in years and he did sessions with a load of people and did a session with us as well.

Jon: Yeah, us newbies.

Ned: We were just like ‘what the hell?!’

Jon: We feel very blessed and privileged to be on there.

IAI: It’s a huge compliment to you guys anyway!

Ned: Yeah! And it was at Abbey Road as well!

IAI: Was that the first time you’ve been there?

Ned: Yeah!

Jon: All month we were like ‘is this actually going to happen?!’ Then when we were waiting in the lobby of Abbey Road, and some guy came up to us and was like ‘ I’m so sorry, I don’t know if you’ve heard…’ and we were like ‘oh god… haha, we got this far, come on, we have all our stuff!’

Ned: We had prepared ourselves up to this point haha.
Jon: Then he said “He won’t be in for half an hour.” So we were like ‘ We don’t mind waiting, we can wait a little longer’ haha!

Ned: We genuinely arrived five hours early for our session, just so we were absolutely set up and ready to go.

Jon: It was so fun, he is such energy, and he is so inspiring. He works like mad and his attitude to music, nothing was stopping him. His passion was just oozing out.

IAI: I guess you can sometimes forget just how many tracks he has actually made throughout his career so far. So many big hits have been written by him.

Jon: It was kind of going through my head as we were chatting to him… 

Ned: One thing that was really amazing about him is that when he came in, he had all these ideas and literally every single idea was spot on. There is a really good video on youtube about how he worked with Bowie on ‘Let’s Dance’. It was so different initially and more of a like guitar strumming song, it’s just nuts man. 

Jon: We were working on the track in the day and he was rushing around doing press stuff and then he came in with us and took in what we had done. Then everything he said was bang on point. He was like ‘why don’t’ you try this, or take out those two bars, why don’t you sing this?’ And he was so right every time!

Ned: When he played the guitar,the fire is still there big time and Jon was like ‘If there is a moment where I’m jamming with him, just film it quietly…’ haha.

Jon: There was a great bit when one of his ideas and probably the best idea, was to make Ned scat when singing. He wanted 

Jon to scat along with the bassline. It’s Brilliant haha.

Ned: Freestyle ha!

IAI: I hope it’s on the new material when it comes out.

Jon: It was gold dust watching Ned scat with a room full of people listening.

Ned: Threw me in at the deep end.

IAI: Looking forward to hearing the material when it actually comes out.

Jon: If and when, yeah!
I love that you formed the band name by taking each of your surnames and sticking it together. But how did the band form?

Ned: Tottenham was basically the start.

Jon: Yeah, we had a warehouse in Tottenham which we sort of built studios in and we were both actually in different bands at the time. But it was all very integrated, I’d go talk with Ned and we were close together, then one day we just started doing a bit of writing together. That slowly took the limelight and we wanted to break out of the band world. We wanted to be writers and suddenly our manager was like ‘hey guys, why don’t you start an artist project and put a band together’. It’s been the best thing ever.

Ned: Yeah we wanted to do writing. The band itself is made up of our mates.

Jon: They’re just really good mates of ours. I played with the drummer and guitarist in regular gigs in London; three/four times a week and have done for years. Ned’s done gigs with Luke for ages. (Franc Moody Lead Guitarist)

Ned: Yeah for a long time. The final piece was finding the bass player. We were like ‘shit man’, a month before our first gig, we couldn’t find a bass player. In the next door room, a friend of ours was playing with his metal band. We came in the room and Rosetta’s (Franc Moody Bassist) fingers were flying across the fretboard.

Jon: She just had this huge energy.

Ned: We asked our mate ‘do you mind if we can nick her’ haha! And he was like ‘yeah, sure’. So we’ve never looked back since.

Jon: She has been amazing. She’s only been playing bass for less than two years.

IAI: She sounds really good! It’s great that your band is built up of mates, helps with the band chemistry, which is always important to have.

Jon: Yeah, It’s a real team and we want it to be like that. We want them to be a really fundamental part of Franc Moody.

Ned: Yeah, equally as invested in it because you know, you can do a guns for hire thing, this will sound cliché, but the family vibe, especially on tour is really important as well.

Jon: It’s something we learnt from our older projects, let’s put it that way.

IAI: If you’re spending a lot of time with people on tour, the chemistry is definitely needed.

Jon: Yeah it has taken a lot of hard work getting the live show together and it will be for a while probably support slots and travelling up and down the country for this and that. So, it’s a labour of love in many respects, for the live side of Franc Moody. It’s great to have our best mates onboard basically.

Obviously we talked about George Clinton earlier but who else inspires the band?

Jon: Well for the actual Franc Moody sound, people like Justice, Daft Punk, George Clinton is a massive one, James Brown actually, and we’re always referencing him for guitar parts.

Ned: Yeah big fan of James Brown, also just the funky grooves from James Brown.

Jon: There is many really… Jungle are a more contemporary example. They are fantastic songwriters.

Ned: yeah, wicked tunes. I think their general soundscape is pretty impressive.

Jon: I think their aesthetic was something that really veered us. They’ve been a huge reference for us about how we try and present Franc Moody. They’ve nailed that.

Ned: They sort of set the bar, didn’t they in a way. Jamiroquai is another one actually!

Jon: Yeah, that was probably at the beginning of the Franc Moody sound, there were two moments, the first being watching George Clinton perform ‘Funkadelic’ at Glastonbury. The second was listening to ‘Little L’ by Jamiroquai and out came our track ‘Yuri’. We had the honour to remix a Jamiroquai track last year off his new album ‘Superfresh’…

Ned:.. which was banging! Getting all the single stem files was crazy. Just hearing each individually was crazy. Also, as we mentioned earlier, I guess we’re inspired by that old foundation R&B, just in terms of wanting to make people dance. Wanting to get people moving on the dancefloor… all abilities!

What would you both be doing if you weren’t in music?

Jon: This is going to be narrow minded but I come from a musical family and it has always been music, music, music. I’ve been very lucky, worked on a building site for a bit when I was a student and stuff like that. But basically there has been no other way for me really, never really given anything else a second thought.

Ned: Yeah definitely, the same.

First record you ever bought?

Jon: It’s going to be a woolworth’s number ha… it’s probably going to be something embarrassing. I don’t know!

Ned: It’s got to be a Chuck Berry record, as I’m obsessed with all his records. My parents were obsessed with him, so something like that… that might not of been the truth but that was a cool answer haha!

Finally, what’s next for Franc Moody?

Jon: We’re going to be writing a lot and looking to put out a couple more singles over the year. We’ve got a few festival slots, playing The Great Escape Festival, Lovebox Festival…

Ned: We’re playing Lost Village and World Island in Leeds!

Jon: And then the autumn headline Franc Moody tour which is going to be amazing. Our headline London show is at The Village Underground.

Ned: That will be huge for us. Maybe some European dates…. But we will see.

Jon: So the aim of the game is to write some absolute gems basically, that’s the plan!

Ned: Haha… so continuing on the same slow upwards trajectory and hopefully set ourselves up well for 2019.

Jon: Hopefully drop a big album in 2019, that’s the aim.

IAI: Well good luck, I’m sure you’ll achieve those goals! Thanks for having us.

Ned & Jon: Thank you guys so much!

Franc Moody will be supporting Friendly Fires at Brixton Academy this Thursday.

Headline October 2018 Tour

16th October - London - Village Underground
17th October - Manchester - The Deaf Institute
18th October - Bristol - Exchange
19th October - Brighton - Patterns

Listen to Franc Moody's EP 'Dance Moves' below.

Interview by Cameron Poole & Joe Wisbey.