LP Walkthru: Franc Moody - Into the Ether
British group Franc Moody take us through their infectious new album of soul, funk, disco and house sounds
Forming in london a half a decade or so ago when Ned Franc and Jon Moody decided to make music together, Franc Moody have gone from strength to strength, becoming a full six piece band and making a name for themselves with their live shows (immediately selling out their album launch at London Koko and just booking their biggest LA show to date at NOVO), as well as a studio group, as heard on new album Into The Ether.
Featuring everything from dancefloor appropriate 4x4 house influenced tunes to groove-laden, funked out r&b, Into The Ether is a musical melting pot from soul to cosmic disco, remaining cohesive and coherent throughout and showing just why they’ve got fans in artists as wide ranging as Skream to Nile Rodgers.
With diverse sonic influences, it’s no surprises to find the album has a diverse array of other artistic inspirations - “taking inspiration from Spaghetti Western soundtracks and the cinematic imagery of films like Mad Max and Lawrence of Arabia to mirror a band, themselves, longing to be out on the open road once more”.
To celebrate the release of Into The Ether, Franc Moody were kind enough to take the time to breakdown the story behind each track on the record - have a listen and a read below!
1. Into The Ether
This is the scene setter. The plodding, mediative bass line marks the start of a journey, littered with western style sounds and a large luscious string line, we wanted to convey a hot and hazy setting way out in a desert in the Wild West. It became almost the last deep breath you take before you're transported into a world of the unknown, into the ether. A last farewell to life as you know it, if you like.
2. Mass Appeal
We wrote this with a good friend of ours, Karma Kid, late one evening in the studio. We started jamming around on a much quicker beat than our usual ‘go to’ tempo, and instantly it inspired different rhythms and phrasing. The song was pretty much written in a few hours that evening. A rare occasion it all comes together at once! The icing on the cake for this track (and a few of the others) was recording a large string group (including my mum and my sister) which glued the tune together nicely.
3. I'm In A Funk
I'm In a Funk was largely inspired by the close harmonies of 90’s pop groups such as TLC. Slight nod to the 90’s production on this one, with a song that’s simply about those days when the funk is strong and you can’t shake it off!
4. Raining in LA
This is actually the oldest tune on the record. We started it on a session way back in November 2019 on a rainy day in Los Angeles and the perculierness of the situation felt appropriate for a working song title at the time. Things not being quite how they seem, a long way from home. It sat on a hard drive for a long time and then we dug it up one day and thought actually, hey there might be something cool here.. The intro sets the scene, with Ennio Morricone style guitars and a gentle flutter of an arpeggiator making it feel as if something is brewing. We had a lot of fun working with Will Hooper from Blink Productions on the music video for this!
6. The 7
One of our favourite tracks off the record, it highlights our feelings of desperately missing the band over the lockdowns, a time where we couldn’t be together and tour as we would in normal times. Dreaming of our adventures and longing to be reunited with our tribe, our pack, our slightly odd gaggle of disparate humans. The song title is obviously about the 7 of us in the band (including The Hoff, our sound engineer), but it also tied in nicely with the adventures of The Magnificent 7 and The Gemini 7, the first group of carefully handpicked American astronauts to go to space. The idea started on a walk early one morning around Hyde Park in the lockdown where I sung a bassline idea into a voice note on my phone. Usually you can never make sense of the mumbling but this one actually worked out!
7. Here Comes The Drop
An LCD Soundsystem inspired funk crusade. It started as a song called Fish & Chips haha, but we ended up building up the instrumental and then adding Dickie Landry when the music was set. Dickie is an old friend of Neds from Laffeyette, Louisiana. A legend who’s played with the likes of Philip Glass and Paul Simon to name just a few. We were imagining a narration describing the anticipation of an unstoppable force (the drop) coming over the hills and washing over you. The reference was the legendary outro of Michael Jacksons ‘Thriller’ when Vincente Price narrates over that thumping and building outro. We sent a script over to Dickie and he nailed it. The moment we listened back to the winning ‘here comes the drop’ we were buzzing! After that line is delivered it dives into a deep guitar gallop and reverse deep piano sounds, an attempt to try and conjure up a feeling of riding through the desert planes on a horse back.
8. Suspended Animation
For us this song came together in a different way to the norm. Ned sent over a vocal idea he had lingering about and I took what he sent and slotted it into a groove and chords, basically with very little discussion! The song is about the feeling of being stuck in a rut, those moments where it feels as if there is no way out.
Cherry started with the idea of writing a tune with simply a bassline and loads of DIY percussion layered up. We mic’d up the sound of tearing gaffa tape, hot sauce bottles clanging, even the sound of the zipper on our flies. We quickly really liked the groove and actually changed tact and went to town on building up a full track. The song itself is about something more special than words can ever express.
10. Something's Got Me
Definitely the trickiest song to put together on the record! There’s always one… We had the hook but couldn’t find the right package to zip it up in. 7000 versions later we ended up going down the ‘what would George Clinton do?’ route. The song itself is pretty self explanatory!
11. In Transit
This song is very much a snapshot of us band of 7 cruising through the desert, dust flying up behind us, sweat on the brow, in peak velocity, no turning back. The groove was inspired from playing Nina Simones Funkier Than A Mosquito's Tweeter with Dan, our drummer, at a gig in Manchester one time. The energy was unreal. I wanted to try and capture something like that but in the world of FM. I worked out great. Currently going down an absolute storm in the live set!