Exposure: Fránçois And The Atlas Mountains
- Lucy Brouwer
- 23 November 2009
Fránçois And The Atlas Mountains - Be Water
Fife’s Fence Records, a haven for musicians who celebrate the DIY approach to their work, welcomes a new signing in the form of Bristol-based Frenchman Fránçois Marry aka Fránçois And The Atlas Mountains. Fránçois is an multi-talented songwriter, musician, animator and artist, hailing from Saintes, a small town on the west coast of France. For the past couple of years he's been an active member of the Bristol music scene, performing with Movietone , Crescent and Rozi Plain. His debut for Fence, Plaine Inondable, an endearing mix of soft crooning, vocal harmonies and dreamy melodies is released on December 7th. Fránçois answered a few questions for The List.
How did you get together with Fence Records?
Through Rozi Plain I had the opportunity to spend some time in (Anstruther) Fife, a fisherman's village on the East coast of Scotland which is the home of Fence Records. I really liked the mood of the place and the attitude of the Fence crew, and the hands-on approach of Johnny-Pictish Trail and Kenny-King Creosote.
You’re also an artist and animator. Does Fence’s DIY approach to music appeal to you in particular?
Totally. It's important to have artistic freedom and control on the image that goes along with the band. Fence is keen on the idea of bands doing their own artwork. Musically speaking Fence is very open to bands experimenting. Pictish Trail itself is experimenting with electronic in his recent live performances. That is something that DIY allows you to do. There is no pressure from record labels, anxiety about being in the charts etc.
You sing in a mix of French and English, and seem able to move between the two within the same song. How does this influence your songwriting?
I need both languages to express emotions and moods. I don't master either language perfectly well on their own, by using both I manage to get something a bit more accurate.
You’re based in Bristol, but the new album was recorded in your home town in France. Where do you feel most at home?
Good question. Nowhere really. On tour, in trains, or in airport halls maybe. Sorry, I'm being dramatic.
The Atlas Mountains seems to be made up of a lot of musicians. Who plays on this record?
The Atlas Mountains is the name I give to whichever friend is with me at the moment of playing or recording. On 'Plaine Inondable' the musicians are from a French band from my home town called Uncle Jelly Fish. And also Bost Gehio, an a cappella polyphonic group made of five girls from the Basque Country.
On an earlier record you have a song called Byres Road and you’ve dedicated a song to the Pastels. Plus you’ve toured with Camera Obscura. Has Scottish music had a big effect on your work?
Yes. I discovered Scottish pop quite late but it had a very strong effect on me. It's melancholic, simple and yet nicely crafted. It's sweet on the outside and sad inside. Plus, I find Scottish people adorable, well, the ones who are my friends at least. When I hear the music it reminds me of them.
What should someone who’s not seen you before expect from your live show?
The live shows are different from the albums. They are more based on the energy of the moment. We try to adapt to the atmosphere and the sound of the place, so the set changes every time. The singing is more out there, and sometimes I even lose my breath.
More about Fránçois’s earlier work here: www.myspace.com/francoisinbristol
A charming scrapbook of his earlier career here: www.kidfrancois.com