Interview – Fanchon

Fanchon is an amazing artist with a broad range of sounds contained within her music – I recently featured her song rsm SMiLE in a review of underground grunge artists, but she isn’t just limited to that genre!

By Jane Howkins

You recently released a song titled rsm SMiLE, which we reviewed. What can you tell us about the track and where can it be purchased? What does the title refer to?

rsm SMiLE is my first release from a new project I’m working on with my bandmate Frazer, it’s now out on all major streaming platforms and can be purchased on Bandcamp!
The track is about getting tired of people misinterpreting your mood and wishing it came naturally to be ‘smiley’ all the time. At the time Frazer sent me the demo with that title, I was watching a lot of philosophy lectures about consciousness and interaction, so it translated to the theme of struggling to externalise emotions.

Has the pandemic hindered your work much?

It was scary to put everything on hold indefinitely, amidst the general chaos at the start. I had only just started writing and playing with a band. I felt like I’d spent years planning and preparing to try and be part of an industry that I wasn’t sure would still be the same. People said to use this time to be creative but I was so lost in the situation that I had nothing to say. Ironically, I did end up writing a song about it so I guess the advice was something (it’ll be on a next EP)!

In hindsight, I came out of those rough few years more rested and inspired through lots of reading and studying, which means that today I feel a stronger sense of direction and have more subject material to work with. So that time that I couldn’t record, collaborate, gig, release etc; means that we’re starting stronger now.

What is the writing and recording process like for you?

I always start with words and an idea of their beat, that I then shapeshift to whatever comes next, whether it’s a melody or a guitar line. A lot of the time, I have a clear idea from the get-go of the world I want the song to end up in, which is very visual and referential to other songs that already exist. Right now the way it works collaborating with Frazeris , I’ll either have a song in that skeleton form that he’ll build into something cooler, or he’ll have created an instrumental demo that I drag and drop poems and melodies into.

Do you plan to release any more singles in the near future?

Yes! I don’t want to make empty promises about the order in which things are to come but we’ve got so much material, there’s no doubt more is coming and soon. Stay tuned.

Do you have plans to release an EP or album anytime soon?

We’ve got an EP in the works right now! We just have so much music I’m excited for that at this point, pacing myself and sticking to an order is my biggest struggle (a great struggle to have).

What/who influences you most as an artist? What have you been listening to recently?

Right now I’m super inspired by shoegazey/modern hardcore bands like Deftones and female fronted punk bands like Mannequin Pussy. Vocally, I’ve always admired Connor from Nothing But Thieves and Lana Del Rey in how they construct melodies and interpret lyricism.
My artistic intention with this project is to find that balance between more melodic, feminine sensibilities, on top of a darker, heavier full band energy.

Frazer says he’s been listening to a lot of Hum and his favourite hardcore bands like Shackled, Sunami, Drain, End it… Also plenty of Dry Cleaning and some jazz in the rotation like old Krhuangbin and Jack Bruce’s Over The Cliff. But then he says in reality, it’s 99% Elden Ring soundtrack.

Where are you based? What is the music scene like in your part of the world? Are you influenced by your surroundings?

We’re based in London, which is such an inspiring space for music. I love how casual the live scene is, in the sense that there’s so many different types of venues and pubs and concert halls, and a huge variety of music being played constantly. I’m always meeting cool new bands and creatives in general; it makes music feel accessible and shared. It’s a very collaborative and friendly industry. I don’t feel at competition with bands that have similar sounds for example, because I know it’s all part of scene building and aesthetics.

Do you have any tour dates lined up?

I wouldn’t call it a tour (yet,) but we’re lining up some gig dates for this spring which I can’t wait to get to. Right now, one of the ones I’m most excited for is a mini festival I’m putting on with a bunch of my friends playing. There’s going to be a little café venue for acoustic acts and a gallery set up for the bands and rappers. It’s going to be an eclectic one!

What can people expect from one of your shows and why should people come and see you perform live?

You can expect very loud emotive walls of sound, ear worms and unself-aware facial expressions. I think you should come so that you can be part of our fun and hopefully walk away having felt something. To me, the recorded music is one thing and the live version is another, slightly different every time and subject to its shared environment.

Any last words for the fans?

Come hang out with us on the socials if you like! I love hearing people’s interpretations of the lyrics or what the sounds remind them of, so feel free to reach out. I share a lot of behind the scenes stuff too so you’ll be in the front row of the EP’s creative process and our upcoming shows!
(xfanchonx everywhere)