Interview with Fanchon Dehillotte (vocals, guitar) of FANCHON and Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD: How would you describe yourself or your band as an artist?
FD: Dreamgrunge! A blend of heavy and ethereal. In terms of people I’d describe us as ice creams. We’re all ice cream but we’re all a different brand of ice cream.
PD: Can you tell us briefly about your background – i.e. where you’re from, how you came to make music, etc.
FD: I grew up in lots of different places as my family moved countries every few years. When I was really little my parents put me in singing lessons to help me learn English and it clicked. I didn’t start writing music until I went to university, though I was writing poetry almost everyday and knew I could one day blend the two together. It just wasn’t happening naturally like I hoped, so one day I sat down and tried to force it. The process never felt as right and inspiring as when Frazer started sending me songs, sometimes he’d send me a demo with the same title as a poem I’d written the night before and I would just drag and drop the words. For example, ‘background hum’ became ‘Humming’ which we are releasing in April!
PD: Who and what inspires you to make music, both in terms of musical and other influences? What do you like to write about in your songs?
FD: The way I see it, writing is meant to be relieving. It should be like bleeding onto paper and then feeling lighter for it after. A lot of the time, I’m not sure what I’m writing about until much later when I can interpret my own words with the objectiveness of hindsight. I tend to be inspired by one line from an existing poem or a concept I read about, which I then repackage in my own style. I deliberately write quite vague and interpretable, I endlessly admire songwriters who tell stories but I’ve never felt comfortable being so vulnerable. Still, I’d like to think people hear whatever they need to hear in my lyrics and relate to it.
PD: What are your aspirations as an artist?
FD: It sounds silly but I feel like I’m already living my dream. I always just wanted to have a band, write songs and gig. The fact that people like what we do makes it even crazier. I tend to focus on the everyday and the littlest milestones, so that I can enjoy the grind and stay grateful for it. I think the furthest I can dream with music is going on tour, that would be insane.
PD: What is the proudest moment in your music career so far?
FD: Playing The Windmill for Camille (from A Void)’s birthday gig. A Void packed the room out but people stuck around to see us and were moving !
PD: Promoting one’s music is such a challenge these days, especially with so many new artists emerging from bedrooms in the day of the home studio. How is that going?
FD: Our first release RSMSMiLE was a bedroom recording, so we have nothing against it! I really admire when people can do huge things with little, and bedroom artists are a sick example of that. That being said, we’re always looking to grow and explore as a band so we’ve been experimenting with as many musical processes as possible. We went to a studio in Wales for a week last summer and dry hired it, bringing a friend with us to engineer. We recently recorded with a super cool producer called Shuta Shinoda at Hackney Road Studios. Next we want to try a hybrid of studio drums/vox and bedroom guitars/bass. Every experience is informative and cool in a different way! There’s a raw energy to bedroom recordings that you can’t quite encapsulate otherwise, but there was so much freedom in Wales because we were essentially just playing around with all this amazing equipment and felt 100% comfortable just being ourselves. Recording with a producer is an entirely different experience with its own perks.
PD: And how do you book and promote your live shows and tours? Any performances coming up?
FD: I am forever juggling dates and emails and dms. The first year was about playing everything all the time and now we’ve started being more selective. Our next big one will be in May for our ‘Down Beside Me’ EP release. More details to come, stay tuned.
PD: What do you think about downloading music online? What about streaming sites like Spotify?
FD: It’s an extraordinary invention for the sake of music discovery and independence. I think we’ll always crave that physical connection to music so I don’t believe vinyls and cassettes and all that will ever die out, it’s just become more about collecting merchandise than about the listening experience.
PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?
FD: I have a whole playlist dedicated to this. As I said, when I come across beautiful words, I steal them. Shamelessly ! Art is just a copy of a copy of a copy. If you honour your references and add something of your own to it, I think that is what keeps art alive. The chorus in Preliminary was inspired from ‘6am’ by The Districts. The very last line “We used to only lie when we needed sleep”.
PD: Is there anything you don’t like about the music industry, which you would change if you could?
FD: On one hand, the fact that today’s music industry is so saturated is amazing because it’s a result of everyone having access to it, and I have always been obsessed with the creativity of DIY movements. I sometimes find it disheartening when there’s an obvious disparity of opportunity. It feels like the people who ‘make it’ are randomly selected and there’s all these other incredible bands that never break 100 monthly listeners. Why? But I don’t have any answers as to how to fix this and obviously, there’s only so much music you can listen to in a day. What is the answer ? More time, I guess. A time machine. A music industry commissioned time machine.
PD: So, what are you working on at the moment?
FD: We are currently drip releasing our EP ‘Down Beside Me’, alongside music videos and gigs. In the meantime we are preparing to record the next ones and writing the next next ones. Staying enamoured with the process by always seeking newness and natural progression.
PD: Where can we learn more about you and buy your music/merch online?
FD: We sell tshirts and gig tickets at fanchonband.com, or you can grab one when you come see us play. The best platform to stay looped in is instagram (xfanchonx), as that’s where we share our dailies. We have extra music up on bandcamp too!
Band/Artist location – London UK
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