A singer, songwriter, producer, DJ, choral composer & sound artist; Fran Lobo has extensive and impressive experience in multiple areas of the music industry. The North East London artist takes inspiration from both the club scene and the choral scene to create her own music, and her new EP, Brave – released today (19th June) via Slow Dance Records – is a stellar example of how she seamlessly mixes these genres together.
We think one of the best ways to get to know an artist is by asking what music inspired them to write in the first place. We caught up with Fran to ask about her “Five Favourites” – five songs that have influenced her writing techniques. Check out Fran’s choices below, and scroll down to watch the video for her track ‘Brave’ at the end of this post.
1. Aaliyah – ‘More Than A Woman’
This has got to be one of the best R&B/Pop songs ever made. The production from Timbaland is so playful and ASMR like. All the crazy percussion shakes, scrapes and clatters are so delicious. The drums are so powerful and the squelchy synths take you to a deep sludge. The guitar licks and string sample sounds are insane and the outro section just listening to that squelch alone is such life. Of course Aaliyah’s syrup vocals and delivery top it all off, it’s totally luscious and sensual. I love this track! I always aim to play it if I’m DJing somewhere and watch the crowd drop into ecstasy.
2. Tirzah – ‘Holding On’
I’m so in love with Tirzah and Mica, their Devotion record is a slight obsession for me. This track is so simple and hits so direct yet in a complex way. I love the brassy synth sound and highly reverbed, floaty but big old school drum machine beat which is so driving. Tirzah’s vocal is so relaxed but also troubled. “This feeling’s controlling me, I can’t shut it down” – it’s so gentle and so melancholic and easy at the same time. I can imagine dancing to this in a big club and also crying at the same time. I really connected to the sentiment of this song when I went through a troubling relationship while writing this EP. I even danced around at like 3am with said person blasting this track on full, singing the lyrics pretty much to them! It’s got such a yearning and fragile quality to it and at the same time the sounds are so pleasing you can’t help but sway and step to it.
3. FKA twigs – ‘Sad Day’
The latest Twigs record is my favourite piece of work she’s put out. The production is really adventurous and powerful. This particular track has an incredibly classic quality to the songwriting. In my opinion, it’s one of the strongest songs on the record, production aside. It’s got a simplicity to it too that drives the story home. I love the sound design/ field recordings throughout and use of vocal sampling in the breakdowns. The drum programming is really interesting and has strange textures in there. The chorus is killer and my absolute favourite part – the bridge sounds like something from Kate Bush’s ‘Running Up That Hill’ era. It’s so beautiful and really lifts your heart out of your chest. I think the song is so exposing and vulnerable and it’s a perfect mix of old songwriting and adventurous 2020 production.
4. Everything Everything – ‘Kemosabe’
What an incredible band! This song, just as a feeling, brings me so much joy. The chorus takes you up to space, makes you want to outstretch your arms and look to the sky. The vocal production on the intro and strange noises are really great, how all the sounds really move around. All the new elements that come in genuinely make you so excited. The guitar parts and “Yes!” shouts/echoes really build you to the chorus amazingly. I like how quick and rhythmically the vocals and lyrics are delivered, again quite stark and unusual. The bridge brings a great down moment, then the synths build us back into the chorus. I think it’s jaw-droppingly great as a song, and all the movements happen at the right time. The production and body of the song is really alive and keeps moving forwards.
5. Mount Kimbie ft. Micachu – ‘Marilyn’
Andy, who I worked with on my EP recorded the marimba on this in his studio. The intro is so great. And wow, Mica’s vocal is just so standout. I love listening to her voice, it tells you so much! I love the live percussion and orchestral instruments mixed with drum machine/live kit. All the sounds are so interesting, the mix of them. What I love about this tune is that it sounds like it was recorded in one take or as a jam, it’s so free and natural.
Thanks to Fran for sharing her favourites with us. Listen to her new EP Brave here.
Fran will be playing at the Love record stores digital event on Saturday 20th June.
Full event details here.
Photo credit: El Hardwick