Brooklyn-based indie-pop band Frances Cone
is on the verge of making a big musical splash. The soulful trio—Christina Cone (keyboards/vocals), Jeff Malinowski (guitar/vocals) and Andrew Doherty (bass/vocals) —combines beautiful harmonies with thoughtful lyrics and an awesome onstage presence. It's hard to believe that they only started playing together last year, since they interact like they've been best friends their entire lives. Cone made her solo debut last year in an album entitled Come Back
(with the intention of eventually having a full band), but since August 2013, Frances Cone has expanded into a musical trio. (You may have even caught them opening for Lucius last year and Ron Pope last month).
While Doherty and Malinowski bring a traditional musical background to the mix, Cone is known to bring the right amount of "weird" to the table. With all of their musical talents combined, they put enough "weird" and "traditional" into their music to create a unique pop sensibility. The band will be releasing their next EP in April.
We're excited to premiere Frances Cone's video for "Rattles Your Heart" (Below) from Come Back
, which will make you feel all sorts of warm and fuzzy inside. We also got a chance to speak with the group about the true stories behind their emotional songs, getting older and having the best time ever over tacos and margaritas in Brooklyn.
How did you guys meet?
Well, I met Andy first through this girl that I randomly know. It's a really random and long story connection.
I was on tour with a band and I met this girl. I had dinner with her here. The drummer who was in the band at a time came with his wife. We hit it off and she recommended me for an audition
She was like I met this guy, you need a bass player. I met this bass player. He's really good looking. Then she sent me a picture and I was like, "oh, I'll meet him!"
[Laughs.] She had never heard me play bass and was like "he's really good looking." Then I auditioned. And It was me, Christina, this guy Owen and this guy Benji, and Owen left to go to Europe to tour with Oh Land and we needed a last minute fill in. Jeff was that guy.
I was in Charleston when we were looking for a new guitarist and Andy was like "my friend Jeff would be really good." Then he sent me this YouTube video of him playing this song "Charleston." I was like, "Oh, I like that!"
I've known Jeff since 2006.
We met via MySpace in the days where bands would meet. I was in Boston and he was here (in New York).
Was the end goal of your new EP to make it sound different than Come Back?
Even with Come Back
I never wanted it to sound as singer-songwriter as it sounded, but that's what I was so, that's what I sounded like. It just really clicked. When Jeff started playing with us everything made a lot of sense. It sounds like what I always wanted it to sound like, I just didn't have a team to make it. I'm so proud of Come Back
, and that it's mine, but ideally this was always the scenario.
How have your individual influences played into your band?
We found a lot of common ground early on with bands we all like. We've all been playing music long enough in different kinds of bands, but what hits us off is finding that common ground of all the stuff we like to listen to and molding it.
Is there a theme that resonates throughout your new EP?
I guess they are all individual stories. "Eighty-five" and "June" are pretty similarly about dying or the end of things. I don't know that they connect as a theme.
Is there a reason why death leads the songs?
I read this New York Times
article about "Death with Dignity," where this woman wrote her own eulogy. It was fucking beautiful. It destroyed me for a good week. The song "Eighty-five" is about that. I saw this play The Normal Heart
, and it was sort of the same thing. At the end of the play the main guy dies and his boyfriend is like, "Oh my god I forgot to tell him," but he says it in the tone of "Oh my god I forgot to tell him to get milk." It was also sparked by that woman's eulogy. That was intense [Laughs.].
They all have pretty strong emotional sentiments. What I get from the lyrics is that things happen to people and there are ways to justify them and ways to retract them later in life.
Understandable. So different from this EP, was Come Back based on one story? Or were the songs from different scenarios?
CONE: Come Back
was mainly based on a relationship except for the song "Come Back." I nannied when I first moved here. When I stopped taking care of those little girls who I loved so much, I was immediately wanted to do it again. In any relationship that ends, everyone wants a chance to do better; to love people better. I hope I loved them in the right way. Also you can love someone too much. The rest of that album was pretty sad, break-up style.
So what are you trying to accomplish this year? Where do you see yourselves going?
[Laughs.] A lot of success. We're doing this tour, and we're going to SXSW.
We just want to play as much as people will have us play. Just be together as friends.
Get into the festival bracket.
Pay our dues. Play wherever we've gotta play.
I want to make this EP into an album by the end of the year or the end of the fall.
We're super excited to premiere "Rattles Your Heart." How'd you come up with the concept for the video? I know there was that little girl in your Instagrams and stuff. I was wondering who she was.
She's the little girl in the "Come Back" video, and she's also the little girl that "Come Back is about (the girl I nannied)." She's my little person! I had a massive concept about this video. I wanted many teenagers to ride their bikes to the beach. I just wanted a lot of movement and urgency to get to this place. So, it was Mia. She just recently learned how to ride a bike. She was a little bit wobbly.
Guys, she's doing a great job.
[Laughs.] I know! She's so cute! We shot a lot of her falling.
We shot a lot of her riding. There were 20 seconds of "getting going" time for every shot. A lot of it was a 100-yard stretch of one of us at one end and one of us at the other end to get her going and stop Mia so that she doesn't go into traffic.
I have violent thoughts about what I would do to somebody that would hurt that person. I don't have thoughts about how I would injure someone, just if someone that hurt Mia.
This interview has taken a turn [Laughs].
She was so vulnerable riding that bike. I was like please don't die!
What do you want fans to get out of your music?
We want them to feel things.
We want them to feel so many things.
On the live end, we have a lot of fun when we play. Maybe it's just New York, but I've seen a lot of bands and I think I have more fun playing this music than I ever have. It shows on stage and I think people get that. It's infectious and fun. Even if the songs are heavy, it's fun to watch people who like each other play together.
I feel like we're light-hearted people who have fun together that play heavy songs. I like that mixture so much. That's how I am in my life, and that's how my brain works. We get to live one time, so let's have a really good time.