French/British band Francois & The Atlas Mountains released their fourth album Solide Mirage earlier this month. Solide Mirage is a follow up to their 2014 LP, Piano Ombre and is their most outspoken work so far. First single Grand Dereglement is an introduction to the strong political influence present throughout the album. CLAUDIA MOORE caught up with Brussels-based frontman Francois Marry to discuss the band’s latest album.
This album has a grunge influence, what made you decide to take this direction?
There were two main motivations behind the grunge theme present throughout the album. Firstly we were inspired by a lot of the places we had visited before recording began such as Cairo and the style of music present there. We found a lot of the most successful songs were simple in lyrics and focused more on style. Another motivation was growing up in the 90’s and being teenagers during that era we were influenced by Grunge music and wanted to use that in the album due to Grunge being a large part of what influenced us growing up.
You recorded Solide Mirage in Brussels, what was the reason behind this? Does Brussels hold special significance for you as a band?
Brussels was the most practical choice of location as it is a relatively cheap city to live in and is also very well connected to the rest of Europe. It is easy to travel to other cities such as London, Paris etc. from Brussels and this was important to us as a band. Brussels is also full of artists and other musicians, which helped us to feel inspired and connected to the artistic community. During recording there was a lot of turmoil happening in Brussels with the influx of refugees, making it a very interesting time to be living there.
Your first single off the album, Grand Dereglement has already been widely successful, what is the song about?
Grand Dereglement is about celebrating how lucky we are, with so much happening in Europe with the migrant crisis and so many people suffering it was just saying how privileged we are to be in our position. It was about being in a position of security and what that means during such a time of insecurity throughout Europe. The song also explored that feeling of being powerless to change what is happening throughout Europe but not taking for granted being in a position of privilege.
What have you learnt from the recording of your other albums that influenced this album?
We were very happy with all our previous albums but found they all were very genre specific. The goal this time was to not stick to one style but allow the album to be fluid and engage with many different music genres. We had explored a lot of things in the past three albums so we felt confident enough to try different things this time. We have grown a lot as a band and trust each other musically and allow one another to experiment with musical styles. Much more relaxed this time and this recording was about being less constrained by style and lyrics and exploring many different things.
What key messages do you want people to take away once they’ve listened to the album?
The key messages were around life and living one’s life in a meaningful way. We want people to push away all the negativity and unimportant things and just focus on living your life the way you want too. We want people to take away that there are many different ways to immerse yourself in the world and there are different ways to deal with decisions that affect the world. We want people to realize that a lot of the decisions we make do have a more profound effect on the wider community. Another key element was the importance of living in a world full of art and how important it is that we embrace and encourage artists. We want those listening to the album to embrace the chance we have to live in a world full of music.
Do you have any plans to visit Australia in the near future?
I would love the chance to visit Australia again, last time I was here we were performing at festivals through Sydney and Melbourne and it was when the Charlie Hebdo attacks took place. Being in Australia during that time was really profound as it was such a huge loss for people back home. At the moment we are focusing on our tour around Europe, mainly France but if finances allow it we would love to come back to Australia soon.