Francesca Louise Gets Personal on her EP, 'Melancholic Antidote'
Francesca Louise is a London based singer-songwriter from the North West of England. Her stunning indie folk/pop songwriting focuses on storytelling and working through her emotions. This results in an EP that is extremely real and raw, with Louise wearing her heart on her sleeve. Thanks to Lydia Reed from LPR Agency, I got to sit down with Francesca Louise and talk about everything Melancholic Antidote (with some other fun questions!).
Could you tell me a little bit about yourself and your music?
I’m a singer songwriter originally from the Northwest of the UK, so Liverpool/Lancaster area. I’ve been writing more seriously for the past 3 or 4 years now. I’ve always played, I’ve always sang, I’ve always performed. I spent a lot of time down in London but I’m actually back up in the northwest of the UK for now. But I’ve been based down in London for a while and just kind of stargazing with music, writing and just figuring stuff out. I’m a singer-songwriter, so like indie folk pop. I write when the moment comes across me really which tends to be quite a lot these days, but that’s me.
Yeah, so what made you decide to start writing music and getting into it?
I’ve always kind of been involved in music, which is probably what a lot of people say. My mom is a professional musician in this area. She performs a lot; she’s a piano player. She has always been involved in music and she’s got her own choir, things like that. I think that’s what kind of propelled me in the first stages, simply because I was always around it and she got me playing the piano as the first instrument I ever learned. I started listening to artists who played the piano and sang like Carole King and Eva Cassidy. It kind of just went on from there. I’ve always enjoyed creative writing and I like to write poems and stuff, like for myself or stories and then I started to put them together. Once I realized I could play and sing at the same time I was like ‘oh okay wait a minute.’ I put it on the piano and just saw what happened. That’s how it started really.
That’s great. Who would you say are your biggest influences? I know you just mentioned Carole King.
Yes! Carole King, she’s a massive one. I love her so much, just her sincerity and her power when she sings. Her songwriting is incredible. I don’t know if you’ve ever looked up any information about her, but there are songs that she’s written that you would never ever ever know that she’s written. She’s everywhere. All over the place, even with all these different artists. So, her songwriting is incredible. I also really love Joni Mitchell. She’s a big one for me. Simply because of the way she plays. She just picks up the instrument and plays whatever she feels like playing and she doesn't think about what it is in theoretical terms, she just kind of plays it. She says whatever the hell she wants to say and there’s no format with the way she writes, she just writes. She creates. I mean, I don’t know if you know much about her but she was a painter before anything else. She kind of writes how you would expect her to paint, quite irrationally. She’s quite irrational in the way she structures her music and I love that. They’re the main ones really. And then Fleetwood Mac is awesome and The Carpenters when they were still around. And then more modern folks like Fleet Foxes and Iron & Wine. I could reel off so many independent folk artists. But the big ones really are Carole King and Joni. I have vinyls of them up on the wall to remind me of why I’m here and what I’m doing.
Oh, I love that! I mean, you first EP, Melancholic Antidote just came out at the end of July, so could you tell me a little bit about that?
Gosh, I could sit here for hours and talk to you about it. It’s a catalogue of songs from the past couple years of my life. I write from catharsis more than anything else, so if I write it tends to be because something’s happened to me, or something’s happened to someone close to me and I write with the intention of dealing with the event, or getting over the event, or making sense of the event in some way. This EP is kind of like a little autobiography. It’s kind of like a confession session. It kind of runs through all the different emotions I have in certain situations. Sometimes it’s about love, obviously, sometimes it’s about life goals and life events. Sometimes it's about the career path that I’ve chosen. And the career path that I’ve chosen is crazy difficult, like many others but I wanted to write about mine. It talks about the aim for the future and things like that as well so it comes full circle. And I’m sure that the next releases as I write more, that 360 will happen again and again just like it does in everyday life. You go from one emotion to the next to the next to the next and you go ‘oh, I’m okay’ and then you go back again. And I think that’s how I write really. So yeah, that’s Melancholic Antidote. Some people have asked me about the name of it and I just wanted it to explain why I write - my writing’s very melancholy and it feels quite anecdotal to get over stuff. It’s like a little piece of medicine or therapy you know. That was the whole idea in the EP.
Yeah of course! You mentioned that you write for catharsis, does it feel weird putting that part of yourself out there for people to hear?
People ask this and I think that the weirdest part of it is when I’m writing it and I’m on my own. It tends to be that I start writing with no intention as to what it’s going to be about. I just started to write because I need to let something off of my chest, but I don’t know what it is. And then partway through the song, I’m like ‘shit, that’s about this.’ It’s that moment that’s the most difficult for me because I’m saying to myself ‘okay i’m confronting something at the moment’ and I’m having to surface emotions and those feelings. For me that’s the hardest bit, whereas when it comes to performing for all this or releasing it there’s this freedom. I feel this moment of freedom and just weightlessness because I’m letting it off my chest and they say ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ and it almost feels like that. So yeah, the hardest bit is when I’m writing it and confronting myself with the issue as opposed to someone else.
Absolutely. The title track is this piano instrumental that was really beautiful. What were you thinking when you wrote that and why did you decide to include that track in particular?
Writing that track was totally spontaneous. I just sat at the piano and I was feeling particularly heavy that day and I just started to play. It kind of felt electric like it was just coming out of my fingers and it was just happening. In all honesty that particular riff, the main little riff in that small track was there at the beginning. It was there right from the start, The reason why I wanted that to first of all to go into the EP and second of all to be the title track was because I feel like that track on its own explains without words all of the emotions in all of the songs put together. It’s soft, it’s light, it gets a bit heavy, and a bit distorted. I feel like that on its own is a full circle. It meant so much to me when I wrote it and the feelings when I play it are so strong that I didn’t just want to throw it aside. It felt like it was just the roundup of everything so I thought that it had to go in there. Because if it means something to me I feel like it’s my kind of job to give it to others to see if it means anything to them and see if it would help them in any way.
Of course. That was such a powerful and beautiful track on the album. What's one thing people don’t know about you?
Oh my gosh. I’m so vocal about myself all the time that I don’t know what people do know. So I love animals and insects and nature and life and that kind of thing. I have that weird thing with snails. I don’t eat them, I’m also a vegetarian so I don’t eat them. I have this thing where if I see a snail I have to make sure it’s sat on a leaf. I have to make sure it’s feeding all the time. I’m like this weird mother snail person. There’s a flat I used to live in in London. For some reason every time it rained and it was always at night time. Every single time it rained I’d walk down the pathway towards the flat and there’d just be an army of snails in the path and I used to think it was going to be a massacre. So I used to spend a few minutes in the evening picking up these snails and moving them. If I’m in the garden and see a snail I’m like ‘oh my god.’ I have to go up to it and look at it and pick it up and it’s a bit weird. I just have this thing with snails.
I guess last but not least, what’s next for you?
I’m writing a lot more material. Currently just trying to organize for post-COVID really. I don’t know what the scene is over in the States, but in the UK we’re at the stage where we can start looking at socially distanced gigs. I know that in France and in Spain they started doing socially distanced gigs. So it’s just a case of trying to book a few gigs up and down the country and get up a bit more instead of being on Instagram Live or Facebook Live. It’s just killing me not being able to be there. Also I’m writing a lot more and starting to record some new material. Some stuff is a bit more stripped back. And as time goes on we’re going to be recording some more of the band sound as well. But as time goes on, I’m just going to be releasing a mix of acoustic and full band music and take it from there really. But hopefully get out on the road again when this awful virus is done.
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