From playing in different bands to establishing and heading their own collective, Franc Moody are taking funk in a new direction through London's glimmering underground world.
Franc Moody, London based collective, headed by Ned Franc and Jon Moody, is often compared to the likes of Chic and Nile Rodgers, (who they not only got to go on tour but also record with!). During the interview below, the pair humbly turn down this comparison. Perhaps this is due to their ‘Lo-Fi DIY’ approach to making tracks which creates a vibe amongst listeners that is often raw and “rough around the edges”.
With sounds reminiscent of Jamiroquai, George Clinton and Daft Punk, Franc Moody is committed to making tracks that transcend time. Their new single ‘Terra Firma’ is definitely a testament to this fact. In this track the collective continue to meld electro-funk house with their signature self-proclaimed “craggy” sounds, creating an atmosphere, which to them captures the essence of warehouse culture. A culture that is raw, inclusive and immersive, and also one into which the collective was born. Whether it be during a live show or simply listening to a track, it’s these moments of spontaneity that are unique to the Franc Moody experience.
Despite being London-bound, Franc Moody have garnered international success, with both their Europe and US shows already sold out. This is definitely an experience you don’t want to miss, so be sure to check out their UK tour dates here.
Upon the release of the collective’s new single release and their upcoming tour, we thought it best to meet them in their favourite Tottenham cafe where many Franc Moody memories are embedded into the walls.
Just to start, how did your journey into music begin?
Jon: I come from a classical based family, my parents were classical musicians and I sort of did that whole thing. It wasn’t until probably when I was about fifteen or sixteen when I sort of wanted to get more into band culture and popular music. That’s what really caught my interest, which was different from Ned’s upbringing.
Ned: I guess, my parents loved rock ‘n’ roll music so I was obsessed with Chuck Berry and the 50s/60s rock ‘n’ roll. Then that moved into just wanting to be in a band; it was just a natural progression. I think I just had that real enthusiasm and passion for it and always really steered towards that sort of thing.
Jon: We kind of met through that and then we sort of ended up in different bands, but with the same ethos. I suppose this kind of more rock ‘n’ roll like very 50s/60s inspired music; you’ve got New Orleans kind of inspiration going on and so that’s how we first linked. I played in Ned’s band for a little bit. So essentially that was the core of the music where I suppose, our inspirations come from, that scene that Southern American that 50s/60s dance music really.
Ned: I suppose the link is party music, you know, I suppose that’s the link – it’s the like energy within the dancefloor. Everything from warehouse raves to like contemporary festival slots or whatever, that’s definitely the energy we’re tryna capture.
What led to the formation of starting the collective?
Ned: Jon and I were in the same band, and then separate bands. We’d done so much band work and stuff like that we felt tired and perhaps a tiny bit jaded and wanted to do something a little bit different so we sort of started saying, lets try and start writing some tunes, write in a more commercial sense (and try and get other people) and give the tunes to other people. And fairly quickly picked up management – really that’s kind of the beginning really. And then the band themselves were people we’d just been around and the final piece of the puzzle was running into Rosie, the bass player and then that was it, really. They’re all great mates and happen to also be good musicians.
If you were to sum up Franc Moody to someone who was not familiar with your work, what would you say?
Ned: some people say we’re quite similar to Nile Rogers and Chic. We don’t really feel we’re that similar, but I see where people are coming from…
Jon: Rough around the edges, craggy… a bit imperfect, funky, quite fun… We try not to take ourselves too seriously. Try and emit good energy, I suppose.
Ned: In a nutshell. Fiery, quite fiery.
You can definitely feel, everything you’ve just talked about. I get the whole Chic and Nile Rodgers references which are great references to have.
Jon: One of our massive inspirations is George Clinton – he is definitely more in line with how we try and work it, of more rough and raw…
Nice, so you’ve obviously accumulated a lot of success as individuals and as Franc Moody. I was just wondering what are your highlights as the collective?
Ned: Possibly going on tour with Nile, was pretty special.
Jon: And we’re not just playing to our parents, it was quite nice to see a room of people that have genuinely bought tickets without knowing us or without us texting them a minute beforehand to come down, which has definitely been the way in the past…
Ned: Another big moment was when we went to Abbey Road for the first time, it’s near our studio – essentially a cardboard box – and suddenly we go down the road, and we’re in the most famous studio in the world and we’d been asked to go there to work with Nile Rodgers. There was definitely a flood of Imposter Syndrome.
What’s your creative process like, as a group and individuals, when it comes to crafting your tracks like Terra Firma?
Jon: We spent years and years developing a working relationship together and in many ways have that kind of formula and the kind of palette of that sounds we use. It varies, it’s good to mix it up, one of us might have a cool idea for a bassline or beat or something, our ears will pick up and will start adding sounds to that mix. Ned will get a little vocal hook going, chord structure, and sometimes Ned will have a cool lyric idea, which will fit into a groove somewhere.
Do you leave any room for the unexpected to happen, when you’re performing live?
Ned: Yeah, definitely! In a set once, I picked Jon up on my shoulders and Jon was playing the keytar on my shoulders and then Luke played the guitar under my arms. Mad. But we definitely make sure that we have these parts in each set, where there’s room for improvisation – although there has to be a certain structure the set, we always want it to feel as live as possible.
What does home feel like to Franc Moody?
Ned: It’s a pub in Tottenham, where I feel like a lot of bands were made whilst being at university and not knowing what to do. Also, it’s Lewes where we recorded one song in an old church or our studio in Kensal where we have spent a lot of time recording tracks for the album. Home is a lot of places to us, where there is a piece of that place in the music.