Robert Francis’ single “Junebug” from his new album “Before Nightfall” is featured as the current iTunes Single of the Week. The album has been released on iTunes and will be available in stores on Oct. 20. Francis spoke with A&E senior staff member Maryia Krivoruchko in an interview about his Los Angeles upbringing, musical influences and emerging career.
Daily Bruin: Your music seems to span multiple genres, with a sound reminiscent of Johnny Cash in your song, “Nightfall,” and a soothing, intimate, alternative feel elsewhere. How do you describe your personal musical style?
Robert Francis: I think it’s rooted from all different kinds of music. Most of it happens pretty naturally. It’s sort of folk-inspired rock music that bends either way at times, maybe toward more alternative sometimes and traditional at other (times).
DB: Your music has been described on your Web site as being influenced by your musically eclectic family, which includes a “pianist father, a Mexican mother who loved Ranchero songs, and two older sisters who were in various rock bands.” Do you think merely being raised in Los Angeles impacted your musical style as well?
RF: Definitely. Being raised in Los Angeles, I was thrown into this sort of monster from the beginning. I got to learn from a lot of great people, pick up a lot of different things that I probably wouldn’t have if I had been born and raised in a different place.
DB: Are you looking forward to kicking off your nationwide tour in your hometown Los Angeles at The Roxy?
RF: Yes, I think this will be especially exciting because some of the songs will have been out for a while. … People can be familiar and sing along.
DB: Can you describe “Junebug,” the iTunes single of the week?
RF: It is one of the first songs I wrote on the new record. It sort of explains the backstory for the record. It goes into a lot more explicit detail than a lot of other songs about how tumultuous a relationship was. It sort of just lays out the record.
DB: What does having an iTunes Single of the Week mean for your progressing musical career?
RF: I know that (Atlantic Records) is being careful about marketing the record. They don’t want to shove it down anyone’s throats and have it fade away pretty quickly, but rather build it up (gradually). I think “Junebug “is the perfect way to begin something like this.
DB: A lot of your lyrics seem to be centered on sunlight, as in “So I sit here waiting for the sun to come / and I watched it rise like we’d never done” from “Little Girl,” or oppositely on darkness, as in the lyrics of “Nightfall.” Can you elaborate on the symbolism here?
RF: While I was writing a lot of the record, I was in a pretty bizarre place. I was probably ““ definitely ““ drinking too much and doing a lot of crazy stuff. Most of the memories that I have from that time of my life were a bit hazy. I just remember the way the sun would come into one of the windows and this almost fog. … The rest of it was my unconscious. It was just the way I remember it ““ sunlight and darkness. When I write, I tend to revert and lean back to the way I remember things. I only write about my own experiences.
DB: After you leave Los Angeles and your tour with Noah and the Whale is complete, what upcoming projects do you anticipate?
RF: I’d like to make a record around every year, and any downtime I have I will be working on (this). There’s not too much time to pick up hobbies or other things. I’d like to create a sort of catalog that illustrates my youth, and one day I can look back and remember everything through the music I’ve created. I’d like to reach as many people as possible.
E-mail Krivoruchko at [email protected]