AlunaGeorge

Dirty Pop

Nov 05, 2013 Issue #47 - September/October 2013 - MGMT Bookmark and Share


Talking to Aluna Francis, you get the idea she was born to do this sort of thing. She sounds thoughtful without being pretentious, candid without appearing bitter, and articulate without sounding canned. Simply put, she seems like the sort of person who should be famous.

Which is just as well, because Francisone half of London's AlunaGeorgeis about to be very famous.

"We've been lucky. And we've worked hard," she says. "And it's hard to know which bit got us to where we are."  

That hard work began in 2009, when George Reid stumbled upon the Myspace page of a little-known band called My Toys Like Me. He asked if he could remix a few of their songs, which led to an in-studio collaboration. Reid didn't click with the band, but he had chemistry with its vocalist, Francis. They started working on some original songs, and AlunaGeorge was born.

Since releasing their first EP in April of 2012, Francis (vocals) and Reid (production) have been shortlisted for the Critics' Choice Award at the 2013 BRIT Awards and took second place in the BBC's Sound of 2013 poll. Their collaboration with Disclosure on the acclaimed electronic duo's single "White Noise" is one of the best tracks of the year, rocketing to the U.K.'s Top 40. And all this has turned them into major players in London's independent music scene before they even have a full-length album to their name.

"We allowed people to hear our music early on," Francis says, when asked how they've become mainstays so quickly. "People have been listening to us literally since when we first met all the way up to now. We were confident about what we were doing, so it wasn't scary to put it out there. It was necessary. Making music is all about sharing, so we learned to not hold everything back as though this is some golden secret that we assumed everyone will like. We just had to go for it, and keep producing and keep developing in people's eyes."

Indeed, it's hard to take your eyes off AlunaGeorge. Their vibe is unapologetically indebted to '90s R&B mainstays such as Aaliyah and Destiny's Child, but it's spun through a twitchy, warped filter. It's a little spooky. It's a lot sensual. And it's led to several explosive singles. The slick, slithering "You Know You Like It" and the punchy, pulsating "Attracting Flies" are about as sticky-sweet as ear candy gets.

"Where people have heard a single, they're like 'Yaaaay!' And the rest of the set, they're like 'OK. This is new,'" Francis laughs and tries to mimic the boredom of an audience member hearing a band's new song for the first time.

"You can tell they want to be encouraging, but they have to concentrate. They're thinking, 'All right. Do I like this? Do I not?' It feels like a lot of 'getting-to-know-you' experiences. But it's all very positive. People have some moves."

These are normal struggles for a new band, and given AlunaGeorge's current trajectory, they won't have them for long. Given the level of anticipation and salivation over their debut album, Body Music, AlunaGeorge is set to have a very good year. Not that fame is anything Francis is expecting.

"There was no original vision. When me and George started working together we didn't know each other. We were experimenting. Vibe-ing off this new experience. It was fun. It was light. It was entertaining. That was all we needed. We didn't need a vision."



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