This week, we have the privilege of welcoming back our favorite dazzling electro-funk group, Franc Moody, to deep dive into the tracks that inspired their newest album, Into the Ether. It’s bright, it’s disco, it’s infectious, it’s everything we need to keep summer going into September.
Ned and Jon of Franc Moody have meticulously broken down the songs that have led them to this funkadelic masterpiece. From orchestral-driven film scores to the game changing electronic grooves of James Murphy, the group drew inspiration from all walks of life– making for an incredible record that we can’t wait to see live.
Have a listen, read through the group’s commentary on their selections, and be sure to stream Into The Ether this Friday, September 2nd!
“The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” – Ennio Morricone
This is one of the most iconic film scores of all time. Morricone composed the song for the epic 1966 Sergio Leone classic of the same name. The epic, grandiose scale of both Leone’s “spaghetti westerns” and Morricone’s soaring compositions were seriously inspiring to us when writing Into The Ether. We wanted to create a vast, never ending, somewhat lawless soundscape packed with tales of adventure to mirror in some small way the escapades we’d had on the road ourselves and (at the time of writing the album) weren’t having due to the pandemic. Large orchestral arrangements, reverb drenched guitars and more than a handful of “yaaaaaaah’s” were all features we wanted on this record.
“The Word 2″ – Shigeo Sekito
Sekito is a Japanese composer and first arrived onto the scene in the mid-70s. The Word 2 is one of my favourite pieces of music ever. It’s utterly beautiful, and takes you somewhere else. It’s steeped in a kind of melancholy but it’s the song’s ethereal quality that really draws you in. That slowly brooding magic that transports the listener effortlessly to some far away place is exactly the spirit we wanted to capture on Into The Ether.
“Tepeu” – Thool
An underground classic from the mysterious electronic duo. Seeing them play live was a transportive experience, their show a meandering, writhing steam train that’s run out of track. They play tunes, build beats, create melodies on the fly. No two shows are the same. It makes for an incredibly exciting and heady brew. This tune has a surrealist grandeur and mysticism that was very inspiring when writing Into The Ether.
“Johnny And Mary” – Robert Palmer
Love this song. The steady, relentless beat that is coaxed along by the synth bass line, the melodic counter line and the fragile, deadpan delivery of the vocals. The lyrics are amazing too, I read somewhere they were inspired by
some unsavoury political characters Palmer knew. That mixture of analogue and digital sounds is very much at the core of all that we do.
“The Rainbow” – Talk Talk
Taken from the band’s epic fourth album released in 1988. This song is packed to the brim with atmosphere, and has been a favourite of ours for a few years now. Spirit Of Eden is such an incredible body of work, so cohesive.
With Into The Ether we wanted to release something that worked as a whole, both thematically and sonically. Records like Spirit Of Eden are true examples of this.
“臉兒紅, 心兒笑” – 姚蘇蓉
Wan Chai Records went deep deep down into the vaults of the Chinese cinema industry and put together ‘Hong Kong Score’, a selection of tracks from Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan, specially produced for movies and illustrations. I found this record right at the beginning of our journey writing Into The Ether, and it very much connected with the early ideas of the expansive desert and spaghetti western style landscapes that were starting circulation at that time. Only available on Bandcamp, go listen – this is a bad-ass record!
“Get Innocuous!” – LCD Soundsystem
James Murphy and the LCD Soundsystem are masters of their crafts to me. They’ve always been a big inspiration in the way they marry electronics with organic instrumentation, and also how he clearly writes with one eye very much focused on how the tracks will transpire in a live environment. A few lonesome lockdown early morning walks around Hyde Park were soundtracked by ‘Sound of Silver’.
“Funkier Than a Mosquito’s Tweeter” – Nina Simone
This song was a big inspo behind the music of the last song on Into the Ether, ‘In Transit’. I got a chance to cover it at a funk gig once with Dan (our drummer) on drums and the energy was crazy. I was like we need to do something at that tempo but ‘FM’ it up and sling it in the desert. Like the band are on horseback galloping over the sand dunes. Worked out well!
“Joy” – Kadhja Bonet
This record has been a big influence on our string and orchestral arrangements. She uses a lot of rhythmic ideas that link up to create beautiful intertwining melodies, all very close mic’d and exposed. A style that you don’t hear so much these days on pop arrangements. Something George Martin from The Beatles really coined back in those days. I love how she represents this sound but in the here and now. Maybe it wasn’t as deliberate as that, but I really rate it! I wonder if Anderson Paak had anything to do with it…I know they’re good friends!
“Mmm…Skyscraper I Love You” – Underworld
A friend showed me this record at one of the first get togethers we had post lockdown and I became obsessed. I think because that night was such a release, a buzz, sharing music and company again after being cooped up for a long time. That transportive feeling is something we always want to create when writing and in many ways is the foundation of Into the Ether. You also may notice quite a few phaser rototom style drum fills on the record..!