AU ABROAD

the AU interview: Aluna Francis of AlunaGeorge (London)

AlunaGeorge

“It’s really fun to speak to some real people in Australia before we get there, because obviously we won’t know anyone!”

With her sweet-as-pie, distinctly British voice, genuine girl-next-door vibe and serious fashion cred... I have a feeling Aluna Francis will have no trouble making new friends.

AlunaGeorge have been touring Europe and the UK, collaborating with fellow young Brit dance sensation Disclosure on the international hit ‘White Noise’, releasing their own hit singles and a debut album and playing the Moschino show at London Fashion Week, among other things.

You’re coming over to Australia to play Listen Out, a boutique music ‘party’ - are you looking forward to it?

Now that you’ve called it a party, I’m really looking forward to playing it. When we first started playing shows, we found that we’d get put on really weird ones with indie pop bands just before us and loads of live instruments. So I imagine there will be more of our style performers.

What can the audience expect from your show?

A louder, slightly more acoustic version of our songs. We try and keep as close as possible to the original recordings. We’ve got a live bass player, a live hybrid kit, live keys. It has some softer moments here and there.

Listen Out have described their acts as Intelligent Dance Music (or IDM) and everyone’s been speculating as to what that really means. What does the category mean to you?

I think it has something to do with having a traditional song-writing process involved with the music. If you listen to our lyrics, you should be able to hear meaning and intelligence coming through there. They are actually personal stories from real people, but you can move your body at the same time.

What’s the process from writing your music to recording? Where do you begin?

George and I share the songwriting pretty much down the middle. Our strict ballparks are that he does production and I sing. But anything else inbetween we share, so that means that inspiration comes from loads and loads of different places each time. We don’t analyse it too much - if we have a feeling, we just kind of go with it that day. We think of it as like when you get food in foil-fresh packaging - we seal the deal early on to keep it fresh.

You’ve recently been signed to an international modelling agency. What does that kind of exposure (the fashion, the image) mean to you as a female musician?

Well it kind of seems like a standard thing over here [in the UK]. Loads of musicians we know are with an agency or the same agency. A lot of agencies tend to work with artists on the side because there seems to have been that cross-over for quite a long time. There’s Lana Del Rey, there’s Rita Ora, there are other presenters like Alexa Chung and people like that. We don’t really get to see the fashion world in the same way as a proper model would, which is kind of nice. We just sort of turn up and get treated like real people would. The fashion world was also an early supporter of us because of that cross-over.

You have this pop side that’s getting you into the charts, but you also have a funky electro sound that’s quite unique. Is that your intention to cross those musical worlds?

Not when we’re writing, we just do whatever we want musically. I guess it’s only in the last year that the general public has decided it makes sense to say the word ‘pop’. For the first two years, we were pretty obscure and people didn’t really know what to call our music. They’d just say: “Yeah, I like this song, but I don’t know what it is.” So it’s really nice that people have decided to take it at face value and just say: “Sure, yeah, this is normal. This is fine.” It’s quite a new thing for us.

How would you describe your music in your own words?

It’s kind of futuristic beats and stuff, weird noises and then a song on top. It has a kind of futuristic element to it, but then it harks back to the old days of traditional songwriting.

Are you inspired by any other musicians?

I know that George does get inspired by other people’s music when he’s producing. I’m not usually inspired by that. I’m inspired by an interesting story that evokes a certain kind of melody in your head; or I’ll be inspired by something George has created while messing about in the studio.

When you come to Australia, do you have any plans to get up to anything ‘Aussie’ like, I dunno, hold a koala?

Haha! I’m going to be eating so much food, because I’ve heard that Australia does food like no other country! Food is my number one hobby, sport, pastime... everything. Also probably some kind of nice [beauty] therapy.

Your debut album Body Music has just been released. What can people expect?

We just can’t wait for people to finally hear us as a band in the broader sense, rather than what they’ve just heard of the singles. I think the verdict will be in as to how people feel about us as a band, and I think they deserve to know. They’ve been having faith in us so far, so I can’t wait really. People coming to the shows will be more familiar with us and can just relax and enjoy the music.

If you could think of an ideal situation or place for people to listen to your music, where would that be?

It’s really funny because I was just at rehearsal the other day and there was a yellow MG parked outside. I thought “Oh my god, how good would it be to drive around and play our music in this gorgeous vintage car!” I just really loved that idea.

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AlunaGeorge play Listen Out in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane & Perth from Sept 28. More info here: http://listen-out.com.au/