Franc Moody: Experimenting With Eclectic Funk at Lollapalooza
Written by Vocalo Radio on August 8, 2023
Before their debut set at Lollapalooza on August 3, Ned Franc and Jon Moody of UK electronic duo Franc Moody met backstage with Vocalo afternoons host Nudia Hernandez to discuss their live performance and their multifaceted sound.
Beginning their career together in 2016, writers Ned Franc and Jon Moody didn’t set out to make their own music. Joining forces as Franc Moody, they instead wanted to be a writing duo after having bad band experiences in the past but ultimately decided to fuse their influences to craft their own brand of electronic funk. Their eclectic sound is influenced by their history in bands as well as blues, soul and funk, drawing inspiration from artists like Fats Domino, Chuck Berry, James Brown, George Clinton and Parliament.
“I guess it was that kind of the spirit of dancing, playing in bands that would make people dance and stuff like that,” Ned Franc pointed out. “But then there’s so many different influences and stuff along the way, really … Franc Moody is like a kind of goulash of various ingredients.”
“The sort of real essence of what Franc Moody is … we have a lot of electronic elements to the sound, and then we sort of finesse it with … human error, which goes against that,” Jon Moody said. “It’s kind of like a hybrid of … soul music and funk music fused with dance music.”
Before their Lollapalooza debut on the festival’s first day, Franc Moody performed at Sleeping Village on August 2 for one of the first Lollapalooza Aftershows. The two have perfected their set over time, opting for live band instrumentation instead of playing a DJ mix.
“We kind of really wanted to make sure that it was a real live experience,” Ned Franc explained. “That’s kind of the background we came from, so we hand-picked the best members of the band that we could possibly get … I think that’s definitely been a big part of making the show kind of interesting, I guess. I hope!”
Franc Moody met with Vocalo afternoons host Nudia Hernandez backstage before their set to discuss their Lolla debut, their influences and using household objects to experiment with new sounds. Currently on tour in support of their 2022 album Into the Ether, Franc Moody are also in the process of writing a new album and experimenting with sounds for their shows. They don’t have a set release date for the album yet, but noted it will likely drop in 2024.
Nudia Hernandez: Hey it’s Nudia from Nudia in the Afternoons here on Vocalo Radio 91.1 FM, live at Lollapalooza! Right now I’m talking to a duo, they’re going on my favorite stage, because it’s my favorite drink, the Tito’s Stage. At 4:00, we have Franc Moody here with us, hello!
NH: I’m super excited to be talking to you guys. I mean, I was reading, you guys started your music career around 2016, correct?
Jon Moody: That’s right. That’s right. That’s when Franc Moody was sort of, we started sort of birthing the project, I suppose. Yeah, if we’re just saying that, it started life wanting to be a writing duo, actually. We were like, we don’t want to be in a band ever again, we had bad experiences in our previous bands. And we’re like, that’s the last thing we ever want to do. And here we are, as Franc Moody all these years later, but yeah, we just decided to kind of, with help from our management, for the show on the road, basically. So it’s great to be here in Chicago, playing Lollapalooza for the first time.
NH: I was gonna say, going from starting music in 2016, to now at Lolla in 2023, that’s not that long to be here. And you guys wanted to be songwriters, but here we got the pink and purple hair, what happened along the way?
Ned Franc: A lot of hard work, and years, and definitely choosing the right band members, we kind of really wanted to make sure that it was a real live experience. That’s kind of the background we came from, so we hand-picked the best members of the band that we could possibly get. So I think that’s definitely been a big part of making the show kind of interesting, I guess. I hope!
NH: No, I was gonna say, we’re here with the two members, Ned and Jon. Franc, Moody. It’s so funny, obviously, we kind of see how your name came together and stuff. But I love that you once described your music as “eclectic funky disco electra that makes you want to party.” Yeah, watched that up in an old interview. But what I love is that electric music nowadays, there’s this big stereotype that you’re just gonna have to be performing and there’s going to be someone playing your tracks, or like a DJ duo, but then you see your performances, and it’s real instruments, real musicians, real bands. Is that what you were saying was at the core of your guys’s vision?
JM: Well, that’s right. That’s kind of where we found our sort of sound palette, and the sort of real essence of what Franc Moody is, it’s the kind of meat of digital and analog and human error meets quantization. So we have a lot of electronic elements to the sound, and then we sort of finesse it with this, say, playing, you know? Human error, which goes against that. So it’s kind of like a hybrid of the soul, fused with – soul music and funk music fused with dance music, essentially.
NH: What is your guys’s inspirations? Because I listened to your music, and it makes me kind of want to go back to like a loungey Studio 54, right? Kind of takes me back to like the ’70s. It’s very cool, funky and free. Who were you guys listening to that made you want to adapt that style?
NF: I mean, for me, I guess, my background’s always been kind of old rhythm, blues and soul, and funk and stuff like that. So really, I mean, initially, it was like ’50s style stuff, like Fats Domino, and stuff like Chuck Berry, but I guess it was that kind of the spirit of dancing, playing in bands that would make people dance and stuff like that. But then there’s so many different influences and stuff along the way, really. And then I’d say, James Brown, Jon would say like Parliament, and all of George Clinton’s stuff, production, and so many, so many influences. But yeah, literally, Franc Moody is like a kind of goulash of various ingredients, basically.
JM: Yeah, yeah.
NH: The same? No, I love that. And I feel like … we need to see more live music, coming into 2023. When it comes to electric music, or synthesized music, you don’t really see those real instruments. And I think that’s something that’s kind of missing. So you said that this is your first Lollapalooza. Are you guys excited?
JM: Oh, man, it’s such an honor to be here. You have no idea. We’re so excited. We played here, not Lollapalooza but in Chicago, last year. And now we’re back, we played a wicked show last night at Sleeping Village, and now we’ve got the main set today. We’re so excited … Full band, full power. It’s gonna be great.
NH: I love that! And you guys look so cool. Like your band, I was watching your, raining in LA, the live version you guys have on YouTube and stuff. I was looking at that and I was like, they just look so cool. You sound cool and you look cool, is that the secret sauce?
JM: I don’t know about the looking cool! Or the sounding cool, to be honest, but that’s very kind of you to say. It was very kind of you to say. I mean, presentation, especially on stage, is a lot. You kind of want to put on the glad rags and then put the show together, so yeah, it’s definitely part of it.
NH: And you guys, okay, are you guys trolling us? Like these shorts, or these TikToks or these reels of you guys going around your studio with different sounds? You guys eating crackers, the toilet … are you guys really using those sounds or are you guys trolling us?
JM: Oh my god, that’s so funny.
NF: I think we’re just … At the moment, we’re writing a new album, so we’re just experimenting with new instruments, like foodstuff, homeware, just anything in the house, basically. All household goods are open for the next album.
NH: And you guys are on tour right now, “Into the Ether,” correct? Do you make music while on the road? Is that difficult to do?
JM: Yeah, it is quite tricky, but we do. More of a necessity of like meeting deadlines with stuff, but yeah, it’s tricky. If the schedule allows us, we’ll definitely try and squeeze in studio days here and there whilst we’re away.
NH: Well, we’re excited to hear it. I mean, we play a lot of your remixes as well, with Amber Mark, we love your guys’s remixes. So when can we expect the album, because you guys do have an EP, but when is the album coming?
JM: Well, that’s a good question!
NF: It’s one that I actually don’t know the answer to! But I think … I reckon it’ll be out sometime next year, next summer. Who knows? But we want to just make sure it’s the best album with the best perishable goods that we can make, basically.
NH: You guys are on tour. You extended your tour, right, through September? You guys added some more dates, correct? So where else can people catch you guys playing?
JM: So September run, we’re super excited about. We’re playing Life is Beautiful festival in Vegas. Then we go and support Louis the Child at Red Rocks in Denver, which is an absolute bucket list venue for us. Then we go to Format Festival and then Ohana Festival in California. So yeah, that’s gonna be a good run. More festivals, basically.
NH: Can I come with you? I’m jealous of all these spots! These are all really cool spots! I might have to follow you guys around, carry your luggage or something. Again, Nudia backstage, here live at Lollapalooza 2023 with Franc Moody. You guys gotta go! You guys gotta get ready to go on stage, the Tito’s Stage – again, my favorite. I’m gonna be there. But thank you guys so much for chatting here with Vocalo!
JM: Lovely to meet you. Thanks for having us.
NF: Yeah, thanks very much.
Keep up with Franc Moody on Instagram.
Interview conducted by Nudia Hernandez
Audio editing and production by Morgan Ciocca
Video editing and production by Omi Salisbury
Portrait photos by Morgan Ciocca
Written introduction by Imani Warren and Morgan Ciocca
Transcription and editing for length and clarity by Morgan Ciocca
More from Vocalo: