Formed of 18 year old songwriter Jana Bahrich and collaborator Chris Hewett, Francis of Delirium create swirling guitar tunes that centre around Bahrich’s personal experiences. The Canadian-American duo recently released their new EP, All Change, via Dalliance Recordings and it’s full of fuzzed up, cathartic guitar sounds.
We think one of the best ways to get to know a band is by asking what music inspired them to write in the first place. We caught up with Jana to ask about her “Five Favourites” – five albums that inspired her song-writing techniques. Check out her choices below, and scroll down to listen to Francis Of Delirium’s new EP at the end of this post.
1. Nick Drake – Five Leaves Left
I can pinpoint the exact moment I heard ‘River Man’ for the first time. That song is so special, everything about Nick Drake is really special. It legitimately made me feel like my soul was lifting out of my body. His voice, the chord progressions, the string arrangements, everything adds so much. It might’ve affected me so much because it’s this singer-songwriter but it feels presented in a way that is completely new and so grounded in the earth. Both Chris and I have a special love for Nick Drake. We played this kind of brutal show and then came into the studio the next day and watched a Nick Drake documentary so there’s something comforting about him and his music, in particular this whole album.
2. Caroline Polachek – Pang
I think this is just an excellent pop record. The vocal melodies she’s choosing are so angular and unexpected but accompanied with really emotional and lush production. She has such control of her voice. There’s a KEXP session she did that was just her and a piano and I had to keep pausing the video every few seconds because I was so overwhelmed by how insane her voice is. It sounds out of this world.
3. Solange – When I Get Home
As a listener it feels like there’s so much intent with everything Solange does, maybe I’m cheating because there is literally an interlude on the album that says “do nothing without intention”. Both visually and in an auditory sense. She did a performance that was a medley of songs from When I Get Home on Jimmy Fallon and that was really important to me. I love choreography and shows that are big and planned but have a way of maintaining intimacy. I think that’s really hard to pull off. It’s something I think about a lot for our live shows. Obviously venues we play are pretty small, so it feels important to keep a closeness between the performer and the audience but I would like to incorporate something theatrical without alienating the audience so it doesn’t feel like I’m not there with them anymore. To me, Solange achieved that with her performance on Jimmy Fallon and the album is great.
4. The Microphones – The Glow pt.2
Phil Elverum’s music always centres me. It reminds me why I like Chris and I figuring out how to record music on our own and how getting it wrong but it still feeling right and ultimately that being what matters the most is really important. Phil always creates such a wonderful sense of space which makes me feel like I belong in the album he’s making, in particular this one, there’s this sense of home. Whenever I listen to him I want to go and try new recording techniques and try new things, listening to his music is like instant inspiration for me.
5. James Taylor – Greatest Hits
We grew up with a lot of “best of” albums around the house, which I never really realized until a bit recently. We had the R.E.M CD with the hand on it, the Nirvana black album, the wings best of, The Beatles one album so I really grew up on bangers only. Sometimes I want to do these huge ambitious orchestral albums and I still want to make a musical but James Taylor always reminds me, if you have something simple and pure and honest it can be just as arresting as anything else. He makes it seem a lot easier than it is and always reminds me to really check and double check if what I’m adding is serving the song.
Thanks to Jana for sharing her favourites with us! Listen to Francis Of Delirium’s EP below.
Photo Credit: Patricia Marets