AlunaGeorge is empowering the masses through dance music
When it comes to the electronic music scene, Aluna Francis, vocalist of electronic duo AlunaGeorge, is ticking all the right boxes.
She’s taking the world by storm with a fierce attitude, hand-crafted lyricism and an ever-changing, diverse sound that’s empowering fans around the globe.
Like their name suggests, you can almost visualise the brain waves of both Francis and producer George Reid combining when listening to AlunaGeorge. Their sound, lead by Francis’ silky vocals, gives each track a meaningful depth — making it more than just a dancefloor anthem.
“I can see women around the world constantly need support to feel empowered,” says Francis. “I don’t want them to have to feel like they’re being empowered at the same time, because that’s a bit off putting.”
Having collaborated with a huge list of producers like Flume, ZHU, Yogu and Rock Mafia on their latest record, I Remember, it’s impossible to pigeonhole the sound of AlunaGeorge into one dance category. It’s this addictive, experimental component of their music that’s making the London duo one of the most sought after live acts.
“As a musician, that’s all I do,” she says. “By going in the studio, I’m already saying we’re going to experiment. I don’t repeat the same thing or copycat.”
For Francis, being an artist isn’t simply about communicating a message solely through lyrics. It is, rather, the way dance music can ignite a person with an energy and spirit, giving listeners the opportunity to interpret AlunaGeorge’s music in their own unique way.
“Things that are going on around the world do find themselves in our music,” she says. “But I don’t address it as, ‘This is a political song with a statement that you need to learn from,’ because I really feel like music requires a certain form of poetry. You’re not always going to be saying it how it is, or making really powerful statements that everyone needs to follow.”
Francis hopes that tracks like I’m In Control, I Like It and I Mean, that feature a combination of powerhouse dance beats and bold, relentless songwriting, will uplift women beyond merely thinking about empowerment, and instead feeling the empowerment from within.
“I like that challenge, I like the idea of building, for example, female empowerment into a song that you’re listening to when you’re getting ready to go out,” she says. “You’re not thinking about being empowered, but you are being empowered. Because if someone comes up to you and says ‘Right, I’m going to make you feel better now’ you are immediately like, ‘Well, I don’t know if I need you to do that.’ ”
The demand for more of Francis’ soulful and poignant music comes at a cost. She says writing lyrics is sometimes a challenging creative process, that must shift and change in structure depending on the particular project at hand.
“For starters, if you’re not patient you’re going to get very frustrated,” she says. “I need to get really involved in the production and move it around so it creates a bed for the production and then I can start feeding what that production is saying to me about the feeling and vibe of it, what kind of story I’m being told in that music, and that’s a bit of backwards engineering. It’s fun to do, it’s a real challenge, but it takes a little bit longer for me.”
Yet despite the high level of production work that goes into forming the sounds of AlunaGeorge, it is often stripping the process back to basics that allows the musician to structure the building blocks for writing her next song.
“Another way is me and nothing but basic instruments, like piano and guitar,” she says. “And then it’s really only about the story I want to tell, and then building the melodies and lyrics around that. That’s probably my preferred method of working these days.”
After spending the year hitting festival stages and touring around the USA and Europe, the pair will be ending a jam packed 2016 on the stages of Falls Festival, showcasing their experimental sound Francis says Australia is renowned for.
“Both England and Australia are experimental in dance music, but there’s been a bit more experimentation of the vocal side here in dance tracks, they seem to stand out more,” she says. “And really, a festival is the perfect place for that, where you can discover new music that has been handpicked. It’s an important job [for festivals] to make sure they’re always playing that role, not just putting on bands that everybody knows and loves, but also telling people about the musicians that are up and coming.”
By Julia Sansone