Get to know Frances Clare - Interview
Get to know Frances Clare, a proudly South African, female-fronted five-piece band that have toured extensively both locally and internationally, sharing stages with the likes of Mango Groove, Matthew Mole, Wheatus, Zolani from Freshlyground and more.
You just returned from touring the UK during December 2019 and January 2020, was this your first time going overseas as a band?
It was Steven and my first ever trip overseas together and our second international tour as a band! Our first was to Europe in June 2019.
How would you say have you grown as a band, during your time in the UK and after?
Well, thanks to all the time spent with Steven, my sense of style has gotten SO much better! Truthfully, I think we are more paced post UK tour. Normally we go crazy sending emails and saying yes to every gig offer that we receive. We constantly analyse our songs and how the audience connects with them. After the success of this tour, we have given ourselves time to breathe. I think this is because we are over the moon by how well we were received and it gave us a newfound sense of confidence.
You shot the most beautiful music video for your song ‘Catastrophic’ during your visit, can you tell us more about that lucky break you had when organizing it?
Firstly, thank you! It means so much when people watch this video because it is a snapshot of our time in the UK and we are so excited to be able to share that with our support system back home. The actual recording was an incredible experience - we only had one take to get everything right because it is 100% live! The video was filmed by Max Benoist (what a legend) who we met on Facebook just three days before arriving at the Church in Hoxton.
What would you say is the biggest difference between the venues in the UK and the venues you have played here? Are there more similarities?
The biggest difference is the music culture. No matter where we played, whether it was sunny or rainy (we went in Winter so it was mostly rainy!) or how much advertising we had done we were almost always met with a full audience. I’d like to say this is because we are internationally renowned but the truth is that people in the UK opt to watch live bands rather than Netflix. The other HUGE difference is that no matter where you perform in the UK, there’s probably a famous artist who played there once upon a time. That’s how we found ourselves headlining a club in Camden that Amy Winehouse once played at!
For a lot of bands the dream of going overseas runs through their veins, but they just can’t make the hop. What moment did you decide you’re ready? Was there a defining moment? Any other contributing factors?
Truthfully, I don’t think you ever feel ready. You spend a lot of time with your head down hoping someone will find you after a show, introduce themselves as the head of a label and offer to book a world tour for you. It doesn’t take too long to realise that the industry just doesn’t work that way anymore. In December of 2018 we had completed a few National Tours when my family from Netherlands suggested that we take a leap and book some shows in Holland. About six months and 2000 emails later, we booked a 5-week tour with shows in 5 countries!
Your latest single, Go, has been gaining the attention and love from all over the world, which country are you hoping to visit next?
It has been incredible to see how people have loved it! The best was waking up one day and seeing that it had been voted in the top 15 by Banks Radio in Australia. It would definitely be a dream to do an Australian and New Zealand tour but, if drummer Emil had his way we would be on a one-way flight to the US!
How would you say your experience in the last 6 months have shaped or transformed your musical approach and goals for the future?
It feels as if the world has just opened up to us - it is shiny and exciting and we cannot get enough of it. Experiencing different cultures and connecting with music lovers from around the world has changed our perception of how the music business works. I think the main thing that it has taught me is that the only limits that exist are the ones that you create. We are trying to set goals that are bigger than the boxes we once put ourselves in.
When you started your journey as a band, did you imagine you would be where you are in the time it has taken you to get here?
No! There is such an annoying misconception around progress in music. Even when I watched Bohemian Rhapsody I found myself getting hilariously outraged by how short the “struggling musician” moments were. That stereotype exists for a reason and an “overnight success” is the stuff of fairytales. That said, I do have to pinch myself whenever I look back at what we have achieved. I’m really thankful to our friends, family, and fans who have supported us every step of the way.
Do you have any tips for any aspiring musicians and songwriters to staying inspired? What do you like doing when you feel a slight creative block, or feel lack of muse for new songs?
Make sure that you always have a pen and paper (old school I know) in case inspiration hits in a random place. Almost all of my songs were written when I was alone so I definitely recommend giving yourself some one on one time. But mainly, don’t freak out if you don’t feel like writing. Being a songwriter is a part of your personality, it’s a superpower that you don’t lose.
As usual, some fun ones:
What was on your go-to playlist when you were traveling abroad?
We actually had the most fun listening to bands that we met along the tour. When we weren’t jamming to the FC’s UK Tour on Spotify (go follow it to hear the amazing acts we met: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/6YJp2v1QKzwX9GXJpO5bVq) we were listening to our personal favourite artists.
Fran’s Heavy Rotation - Lorde, Ben Howard, Taylor Swift, Alex Lahey, Counting Crows
Steve’s Heavy Rotation - Amanda Palmer, Jon Shaban, Frank Turner
Did you eat anything strange/unique when you visited the UK? (anything you can’t find in RSA)
Every morning that we were in Newcastle we ate crumpets with English Breakfast Tea! It was perfection.
Any other exciting news/plans you would like to share with our readers? We got fed up with no one knowing our favourite South African artists so we started a platform on our website to help independent artists plan international tours! You can read our tips to touring independently at www.francesclareband.com or send your own questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
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