Frances Clare is a 5 piece, Cape Town based band, and they have just released their new EP, entitled GOLD.
The band consists of: Frances Litten (vocals, acoustic guitar, songwriter), Devon De Swardt (acoustic and electric guitar), Tricia Brink-Jones (acoustic and electric violin), Emil Terhoven (drums and percussion), and Steven Jarvis (bass).
Take me to the beginning – how did the band start?
“Frances Clare started by complete coincidence! I was performing solo and had finished an EP. At a performance I met guitarist Devon De Swardt who suggested that we assemble a band for the sole purpose of performing at the EP launch. He invited Emil Terhovan to join us on percussion and I invited a young and talented violinist called Tricia-Brink-Jones to add strings to some of the tracks. The launch was a huge success and we had so much fun that we joked about making the band permanent. Over a year later with several major festivals under our belt, performances with Mango Groove, Freshlyground and Majozi and four tours later the joke seems to have caught on.”
This is your first body of work; your introduction – explain the concept behind the EP and why did you pick these specific songs for the EP?
“We are all music teachers and we all feel extremely strongly about inspiring creativity and encouraging young people to go for their dreams. The title track of the EP is called Clouds Over Gold and it is a literal explanation of our group philosophy- it’s okay to keep your head in the clouds and to have big dreams that seem scary. The concept of Gold was one that we found particularly interesting. Different people have different concepts of what is gold and precious to them and our EP explores a different example of this in each track.”
For someone who hasn’t heard about you before – which one song of yours would best represent the band and why?
“I think that the last track, Easy, is a very strong example of what Frances Clare has to bring to the music industry. The lyrics are honest and vulnerable and there is a clear folk story telling element embellished with beautiful violin lines and clean acoustic guitar.”
You have already shared the stage with top acts – is there one specific moment that stands out for you and why?
“One of our most memorable performances was in December 2018. We were performing with Matthew Mole to a sold out audience in Knysna. I am a huge Matthew Mole fan so I had changed into one of his merch t-shirts and had joined the crowd. As he reached his last song he called us up to the stage and handed the mic to me and the guitar to Devon. There was a hilarious moment when he suddenly looked at me and worriedly asked if I knew the words! Thankfully I did and I got to bounce around the stage singing “Take Yours, Take Mine” while Matthew Mole played the drums for us.”
If you could collaborate with anyone; musician, producer… who would it be and why?
“This is a tough one! Although we are a band we all have completely different music heroes. Tricia would pick Vanessa Mae, Devon would say Steve Vai…lucky for me I’m answering the interview so I pick Lorde. I love her lyrics and it would be a dream come true to do a track with her and her amazing producers.”
If you were lost on a desert island and could only choose one album to take with you, what would it be and why?
“My favourite band forever and always is Counting Crows. We just returned from tour and all that we listened to on the way was Counting Crows! Their latest album, Somewhere Under Wonderland, has some of the best songs in the world on it. Possibility Days in particular takes my breath away and makes me sing a long every time. That would definitely keep us safe until the rescue team showed up.”
The group will be embarking on an European Tour:
FRI 14th June -The Spice of Life Soho, London, UK
SAT 15th JUNE – La Vida Loca 71, Chaudfontaine, Belgium
SUN 16th JUNE – Kont van het Paard, Brielle, The Netherlands
FRI 21st JUNE – Brooklyn Bar, Luxembourg
SAT 29th JUNE – Mundo Vino in Grand Place, Huy, Belgium
SUN 30th JUNE – Cafe DenS, Spijkenisse, The Netherlands
WED 3rd July – La Pomme d’Eve, Paris, France
THURS 4th JULY – Liquid, Luxembourg