Dan, Miles and Naomi of
1. It is no good doing a review without knowing who you are, introduce us to your fine selves and tell us about your personal musical journeys thus far and how you ended up in The Franceens.
Hello. We are The Franceens. We consist of Naomi Westerman (who does bass and backup vocals) Dan Oliver Gott (who does guitar and lead vocals) and Miles George Morrison (who does the drums). Let's go back to the beginning...
We all met through our old band Sky Rocket Jack. We asked Miles to join it as we were drummerless. Miles had never played drums in a band before, but the desire to do so was there, so I (Dan) pretty much taught Miles the basics of how to play drums. We now look back on Sky Rocket Jack as being Miles' training for The Franceens. After a while of playing in Sky Rocket Jack, Miles got very good at the drums (he's one of those annoying people who can pick up any instrument and have it mastered in about 5 minutes). Meanwhile, Me and Naomi had made The Franceens. It was established quite quickly for us that the music we were producing with The Franceens was much more preferable to the music coming out of Sky Rocket Jack. After losing drummer 1 for The Franceens, we asked Miles to join it on drums. He said he "only wanted to drum in 1 band at a time", as he is actually a guitar player by trade. At the time, Sky Rocket Jack was fizzing along nicely with loads of gigs, so we got someone else to join.
What happened next was a series of stop-starts for The Franceens, and we started getting through drummers faster than lightning. We couldn't seem to find the right fit for it. They either weren't committed enough, weren't good enough, or we just didn't like them. After ridding ourselves of drummer 4 in February 2013 (because he was simply too good for the band) and with a tour booked for March 2013, we turned to Miles to "fill in" for the tour on drums. As things had slowed down with Sky Rocket Jack, Miles agreed to fill in. Whilst touring with The Franceens, Miles developed an immense passion for its music and decided he would like to do the band full-time. Shortly after the tour, Sky Rocket Jack split up, which completely paved the way for Miles to be a full-time member of The Franceens. I think the line-up will stay this way for quite a while now.
We love the garage/punk sound. It's uncompromising, schizophrenic, and energetic. We love to see bands who play it with passion and really get into it, like we do. If people don't understand why it's an ace genre, then they don't deserve to have ears. We especially love the way we play the style. Our sound is what defines us as a band. The power comes from each element working with the other in unison. In an overview, we have thick, distorted bass mixing with clean and treble-happy guitar, with no-nonsense slogging drums and harmonised, slack-tongued vocals. The power of our sound when it's going full-pelt and the dynamic stop-starts really wet our whistles. It's aggressive, strong and just generally makes us lose our shit.
Main influences would be: GG Allin, The Hives, Rocket From The Crypt, Eagles Of Death Metal, Satan's Rats, The Computers, Sparks, The Cortinas, Zodiac Killers, The Mummies, The Nightmarchers, Primus, Queens Of The Stoneage. Shizz like that. We're also influenced by the bands we meet along the way, who share our DIY values and strive to make the underground scene a better and more exciting place to be. We love playing gigs with bands you've never heard of, who then turn out to be fucking outstanding! That's happened to us a few times at various gigs.
The song writing process goes like this: Dan and Miles jam out the riffs on acoustic guitars (either in Miles' guitar shop, or at Dan and Naomi's house). Then the full band (with Miles back behind the drums) go into the rehearsal room and construct the riffs into songs. Sometimes I (Dan) write full songs on my own and then feed these ready-made ditties to the band. We all have to be into the track in order for us to keep it. If one of us doesn't like it, the song is scrapped.
4. Filbert Thrust the man with a concrete bust has now extended his sex change and had a glass fanny fitted. This seems highly erotic and makes ones love life beautifully transparent but, alas, the fanny has been fitted upside down and slightly off centre. The question is threefold:- a/ Would you have a glass vagina fitted and if so why and where and what would be the benefits, b/ What do you think about perspex skulls - maybe a way to judges ones mental state and c/ Earwig condoms - the pro's and cons please!
a - I (Dan) would have a glass fanny fitted into my head, so that people could fuck my brain with ease, without them having to be so stupid/annoying beforehand, which is usually how people fuck my brain.
b - My (Naomi) thoughts on perplex skulls would be that they would be interesting. You could see the insides of the head, and all the blood going round the brain. You'd have to keep it clean with glass polish, as it probably wouldn't be dishwasher safe, and you'd probably need to wear a helmet all the time when outside. It might be a good idea to fit perspex skulls to people who do hit and runs. Then they wouldn't want to speed ever again.
c - In order to give my (Miles) thoughts on earwig condoms, I’d first need to know how many cocks they have. There's no point covering one of them, if it has another 15 un-covered wangs that can still make bastardised earwig offspring.
The beyond scene is good. We meet some great people on our travels, who love the sounds that we and bands like us make, and we love the fact that we are a part of the underground UK punk scene in some way. There's still many more bands out there that we want to meet, but we've got plenty of time for that. Locally, we're quite lucky as we get a lot of support from the punks and general music lovers alike. It's pretty good like that in York. There's a lot of support and community spirit for punk rock. Generally, you can't put a show on in one of "the big 3" (Fibbers, Duchess, Basement) but if you hire out a pub/WMC, you can put gigs on there. These generally have a nicer DIY feel and people don't have to buy tickets. We hate having to push tickets onto people. Would much rather all gigs were free and the big venues just took money on the bar...but this doesn't happen...they want a door fee as well. This pisses us off. The other thing that annoys us is greedy bands who are motivated by money, or who won't play for free. Unfortunately, there are some out there who think it's OK to take the piss. In our world, you only accept money if you are offered it, and only if the promoter isn't putting themselves out of pocket. Some bands don't get this. Money is shit.
The best song would have to be Pledge. It's always the final song in our set, is about our love for the underground, is anthemic and has stood the test of time, as it's the first song we ever wrote...back in the days of drummer 1...and we still play it. It never gets old for us. It's got a monster of a riff and has a powerful chorus that sticks in people's heads.
Image is very important to us. We all wear the same shirts, as it promotes unity as a band and makes it easy for people to spot us when we've played, to come and tell us their thoughts. Imagery can be a powerful tool at underground level, as it gives you a slight professional edge. If you can couple this with tight music, it can be an impressive combination. It also shows that you have direction and are all on the same wavelength as a band.
It's not actually included in the lyrics what he was up to...he just seemed to march up there and then down again. Some things he could have been doing were: looking for/shagging/killing women, looking for/shagging/killing animals, performing a rudimentary patrol exercise, raping and pillaging a village, having a race to the top and down with his 10,000 men, going out for a stroll after a big tea.
9. Heroes and zeroes in life and music please plus let us know thy personal best gigs to date?
Heroes of music and life: GG Allin, John Peel, Captain Sensible, Ian Dury, Lemmy, Vic Reeves, Screamin' Lord Sutch, Andre Villas-Boas, Sir Alan Sugar, Charlie Brooker, Spike Milligan, Hulk Hogan, Jesse Ventura, Kurt Russell, Mick Hucknall, Andy Davies, Bev, Bez, Kunt and The Gang, Fungalpunk, John Reese, Keith Moon, Oliver Reed.
Zeroes of music and life: Simon Cowell and everything he has ever done. All rappers, all people who listen to Guns and Roses and think that they're really "rock", all people who are fucking stupid.
Best gig to date: Playing a show for TNS Records in Manchester. It took us 2 attempts to get there (had to cancel the first one due to adverse weather) and when we finally played for them, the gig was rammed and it went really well. We loved the venue too. A proper dirty sweatbox of a place. There's still grime caked to my (Dan) guitar lead from that gig. You can't beat that.
10. Describe one another in 5 words apiece - one of which must be aeroplane based (with reasoning).
Naomi (as described by Miles) - Steady, talented, helpful, friendly AND dedicated (like a pilot on their course)
Dan (as described by Naomi) - Strong, excitable, fearless, passionate AND solid (like the construction of an aeroplane)
Miles (as described by Dan) - Perfectionist, talented, laid-back, content AND caring (like the air hostesses)
We don't have 9 songs yet, so we can't do that. We also really don't put that much thought into our lyrics/message. We generally just pick a random word for the title of the song, and Dan just sings whatever comes into his head. Some lyric lines stick for good if they are sung more than once, and some are different every time. Most of our songs have a general theme of nuclear war or human failures. Pledge is an exception to the rule, as it's about the underground scene we know and love. It's lyrics never change and they are the same throughout the whole song.
Because we're a tight band that plays enjoyable music, who will always give 100%, won't rip anybody off and won't ever charge masses of money for a gig or merchandise.