‘Where I Become Someone’…the December installment to Neil Frances’s discography reminds us of the duo’s signature attribute—reworking classic tracks with an effortless sense of cool. Elegantly painting a canvas with palm trees and ocean spray, Jordan Feller and Marc Gilfry take us on an extended holiday, and with the duo’s upcoming January album There Is No Neil Frances, a host of dreamy singles are seasoned with edge. Through the incorporation of disco and r&b, the pair continue to inhabit an eclectic space within alternative playlists imbuing our music with a timeless groove. With early work teaching us exactly who music sounds good with…the pair talk to us about their origins in addition to their upcoming tracks and debut tour.
So far, what has been the reaction from your latest tracks?
So far, it’s been great! It’s been cool listening to the songs today and going through them. I like everything we’ve done and getting positive feedback from the core group of fans that always like our stuff, and seeing it continue to grow out there is exciting!
How would you describe your upcoming album?
I think that its more defining, it’s eclectic…there’s a lot of different types of songs and genres in there but I’ve felt once we’ve finished it, I was like…oh ok, this is the kind of band we are. It’s not necessarily different, it’s just a step further into the door of identity.
How did you guys end up meeting?
Many many years ago! I was a DJ predominantly for the first years of my music career and I toured out here in LA and met Mark through some mutual friends who was in another band at the time… I went to London and then I came back, and I worked on a remix of Mark’s band, and I produced a song from one of their EP’s and then he went off to NY. I went to London and then we both serendipitously moved back here within the same week of one another. It’s incestuous, but a mutual friend of ours who used to manage Marks’s band I was close with, and when I moved here I was living with him. I had hit the top creatively of what I was interested in doing and moving over to London I quickly realized that solely focusing on djing wasn’t so exciting. You get to a point when you get older when you don’t give a f**k but you also have to have that thing balancing you out. I come from an electronic world where you’re always looking for that locked groove, the loop, the repetition…whereas Mark is much more melodic, so it’s a good pairing coming together.
I guess for me disco and the history of disco is something that I’ve gravitated towards. Disco has this knowing cheesiness, or pastiche…it’s about fun and freedom more than depression and truth and within that atmosphere I feel freer to do what I want and so there’s a positivity that comes with disco and even though we write songs that are a bit lyrically sad, within the disco realm there is an atmosphere of celebration and I enjoy that. We don’t necessarily only write dance music, we have a weird approach, but I do love being in the club and I do love dance music, and I think that’s where this influence comes from. There’s also a more provocative side to disco that I like, and some of the more obscure left field disco is definitely influential to what we’re doing.
I guess we all know a Karen, and I think we’ve all probably been in that situation at a house party where someone is losing their mind at you at 2am and you’ve pushed the music a bit too far. It was right in the middle of COVID, and we were having a bit of a night in with some friends…I love records with random interludes and phone calls, and I want that to come out in our music, and kind of pace an album with that type of stuff. My girlfriend had this voicemail from this woman losing it at the real estate agent that we rented this house from in college…she showed it to me, and pressed play and I was like OMG! I literally threw it straight in the project. We ended up fiddling with it a little, but beat for beat it ended up working perfectly…it’s hilarious!
Over the Pandemic, the two main collaborations on the album were straight over Zoom, and they worked out well. You get out of those sessions what you put into them…if you go into them with a sh***y attitude then most often, they don’t work, but if you just go in open minded…they work well. The session with GRAE went great, we put that song together in the first session, and the one with Benny Sings as well. Benny is a producer, and he would send out beats for us to sing on, and he picked the one that we ended up using, and all three of us put that song together. We’ve also had good sessions with Poolside, and I think the cool thing about that song is you’d expect maybe a completely different record from that collaboration from what it was… a slow plotting beautiful love song as opposed to these two more bodied bands. It’s kinda cool!
That song was my ex-girlfriend and my favorite song, we love the original a bunch and I tried to make an edit of it when I was as a DJ, but I ended up playing the original version anyway. I pitched it to Mark a few years ago, asking if he would sing it to my girlfriend on Valentine’s Day. I don’t really remember the sessions or why we ended up going the route that we did apart from the fact that the original is quick. It’s a perfect example of a sad disco song…I don’t think we really knew how sad the lyrics were until we started singing it. It’s a beautiful song, it’s just funny how slowing it down kind of made us realize that.
How do you guys manage your on and off-stage persona?
I think what works best for people on stage is when you’re the version of yourself but times five…real but at the same time you have to be an entertainer. There’s not much of a turn on and off for us, I don’t think that we’re really those types of people…we’re not big pop stars like that, but we’ve gotten better at feeling as confident as we can onstage.
We’ve got a big tour in January, it’s our first headlining tour so we hope it goes well, it’s all around the US and a couple dates in Canada as well. Hopefully Omicron doesn’t kill us! Obviously, we want everyone to be safe, but we can’t wait to get out there and play.
If you guys were lost in a jungle, and you had to ask an animal which way to go who would you ask?
A monkey… or maybe one of the birds.
A favorite bird?
(Laughs)…Whichever bird gets you out of the jungle!
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