Nico Franc has that x-factor that people look for when they need to release, whether its jovial or it’s serious. And they go to arenas for that. They go to stadiums for that. They take their childhood best friend to a nostalgic concert for that…but LA based Nico Franc delivered that at the Resident. Read my full interview with the talented artist below.
Last Tuesday night, the Resident saw three very different artists come together for a community gathering like no other. Annabel Lee’s fans stayed from her opening set to the very last moment of Nico Franc’s, and The Dumes’ audience came early to catch the whole show. The packed room was teeming with excitement and groove throughout the night.
Los Angeles is home to many musicians, but only some are truly memorable. There is not a single moment in an Annabel Lee performance you are bound to forget. The audience was up close last Tuesday night and if they didn’t know her already, they wanted to. By the finale, they were singing along and harmonizing with lyrics such as “I just wanted to make out” and “You’re wasting me Los Angeles.” The Boston native, pop-punk queen just released some of her best work; check it out here.
The Dumes didn’t have to say much between songs to engage their crowd. With powerhouse Elodie Tomlinson guiding the band, the Dumes put on an honest to good rock show complete with grunge guitar and a ton of attitude. Elodie’s hair danced just as much as she did, and after a song screaming the words, ‘I don’t like you,’ she sweetly commented “That was for someone special.”
A Nico show is one that promises a whole lot of soul, and him and his star band made a serious impression on the Resident. Though he knows those songs so well, on Tuesday night they were uniquely ours. I walked in the middle of the first song to Nico solo-ing on his electric, the fans already cheering him on. Placing his own spin on classic genres like funk, pop, and R&B, Nico radiates positivity and finesse. His voice is stellar and his masterful guitar playing translates into incredible songs that take the audience on a journey. After he received a roaring encore, the crowd was left feeling like they had been at an arena the entire time. Our surroundings were second to the fact that we all just laughed, cried, and sang together.
Since my face hurt from smiling and my cheeks were wet with tears, I had to interview Nico. Read below to discover how he crafts his set lists, and why making yourself breakfast is a good thing:
Words: Ariana Tibi
An Interview with Nico Franc
How did you feel right before the show?
Ok I always get so nervous. And I’ve realized that’s just a part of it. So when people say, “Are you nervous?” I say “I’m fucking shaking in my skin, obviously!” But it’s my favorite thing on the planet! Like, ever. So whenever I get on stage I’m like, “I’m happy here. Why am I ever nervous to be here?” But I always try to meditate a little bit if I can find a space to do that.
Do you have any pre-show rituals?
A huge glass of water, always, and then a full bottle at the ready on side stage. I never drink beforehand, I can’t. I have to be on. I can’t play guitar if I’m drunk, even like one shot will get me. It’s all about projecting. The whole point of a show is to bring a feeling to somebody. To remind people of a feeling and to bring people present. To be that open door. If I can be that open door, then I can’t be drunk or off my rocker for them. I have to be prepared. I have to be present.
What goes through your head when your crafting a set list?
Dynamic! Actually, I changed the set list 15 seconds before we got on stage. We were messing with this intro track but I listened to it in the green room and I wasn’t sold on it – it doesn’t feel like its mulled over enough. If I can’t get on stage and feel confident with it then people are going to feel that immediately. So I ended up taking one of the last songs and putting it first and we opened with that.
The guys were like of course, this is Nico to a T. I always change things at the last second and it ends up being fine, you know, its the way it is sometimes! And I know that I’ll be doing that forever.
Why do you think that is?
Because you have to feel the moment! And you can’t anticipate the moment. And to get back to your question of building a set list, I want to hit people in the face in the beginning: I want you to be right here. I want you to be energetic, to jump around, be silly, and then I want to bring you down. I want it to be dead quiet. Then I want it to be still. We got the funk in the beginning, the heartbreak right after that, and then the stillness after that. And then bring it up with something that is less serious cause usually the stillness is more aggressive and way more emotionally taxing.
Flammable was that, then I went into Talk and Low Res; Talk is more of a pop thinng, Low Res is a dynamic, disco funk thing, then it’s a re-introduction to that stillness, where Wrinkle comes in, then its the final song.
Reintroduction to a stillness. I like that, will you elaborate?
Yeah!OkI think of it as presence. When I am on stage or writing a song or feeling most creative, its when your mind is most at ease. Its when you are in those incredibly still moments. So with a set list and with everything I try to follow that, and bring people to that place because thats the point! If you’re on stage, bring them there. When people go to that place, mentally, all together in a room; when everybody is just listening, they’re not thinking about the bullshit that’s in their life. They’re not thinking about anything other than the next lyric or their breath. And you have to ease people into that, you can’t just hit them with it or expect people to be there already. Na, you gotta bring them there. And thats why I put lyric as the second to last song. I was like, I’ll have you guys broken in by that point.
Hopefully. Fuck I don’t know!
Do you ever feel bombarded by the audience’s feelings? Knowing you’re carrying us, does it ever come to you?
No no, it’s not bombardment. I’m inviting it, I want people to release, to experience. Thats why these songs are written the way they are. They allow people to place themselves in it. Or at least that’s the intention. I want people to put the person that they’ve been in love with for a second in the song and then cry about it.
It comes across, let me tell you.
I’m glad to hear that, haha cheers!
What do you want to leave people with? What is the one thing you hope they take away?
Take a moment to yourself, do something good for yourself. Make yourself breakfast. Sit for a minute before you go to work. Smile at somebody, but not in a creepy way. Yeah. Breathe. Just breathe.