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A Message from Jon

Night Flight Reprise, Sea Views, Passing Out, and Performance Anxiety

We’ve just given Night Flight Reprise a bit of a ‘once over’ in rehearsals, as part of preparations for the live show revamp (which I alluded to in Jans newsletter..) I won’t give too much away but I’ll say there’s a potential I might be made redundant before too long, with Ned ‘plinky the plonker’ Franc’s fingers now set to tinkle the ivories! 

It’s got me thinking about some of the amazing places and situations we’ve been lucky enough to perform this piece. I think it stands out in my memories because it’s so different to the rest of the set. A moment of calm and feeling off grid in a way which lets the musicality of the band do the talking. It’s been the perfect moment mid show to take stock and reset, before racing through the back end of the set doing everything in our power to (hopefully) go out with a bang.

Some of my favourite memories as I’ve stood there, oboe in hand, sweat pouring down my face, hoping my blood sugar levels are such that I don’t pass out, include looking over the Caribbean Sea in Dominican Republic, more sea views in Egypt, San Diego and Spain. Staring up at Henry VIII’s old gaff Hampton Court, The 02 arena in London when we supported Nile Rodgers, 3am high up in the agave fields of Tequila, Mexico under a full moon and stars, to name a few! It’s amazing how this little piece has created this bank of precious memories for me/us. I feel eternally grateful for these experiences and treasure them dearly.

It wasn’t that long ago during my studies at music collage that I would loathe the thought of performing on the oboe. Every time there was a concert looming the dread would kick in and my brain would start giving me a terrible time, catastrophizing everything going wrong from being hit by lightning, forgetting to put any trousers on, mind blanks and brain farts. You name it, I’ve been there! To the point of locking the damn thing away for years post final exams, before Ned finally persuaded me to get it out during the Yuri session. The panics initially started after an experience when I was much younger, maybe 15/16, during a recital where half way through a piece I found my vision blurring and before I knew it I was on the floor having rather embarrassingly passed out in front of the audience. Woops! 

Anyway… it’s now wonderful that after many many years of trying to combat these little bastard gremlins, that I can pick my oboe up and enjoy playing it in front of an audience again. On my terms and as part of a great band of musicians, playing music I enjoy. It’s taken a lot of uncomfortable situations and a huge fight to get over the anxiety, I don’t know if anyone reading this can relate, or is currently going through a patch of nerves which seem uncontrollable? I’d love to chat if so. It’s a biggy to get your head around for sure.

Maybe the cure for nerves might simply be a sea view! … or distracting oneself by wondering what Henry VIII had for dinner 500 years ago… Maybe if the bastard gremlins return we could do a tour of sea ports, dressed in Tudor costume to try and knock ‘em out again..

Here’s me with the ol’ pea shooter inspecting the tides with Lukey at Crssd Festival, San Diego. X

A Message from Ned

Sartorial Elegance

One of the things I’ve really enjoyed (and at times found frustrating too) with Franc Moody is the whole project’s attention to an overarching aesthetic and feel. Before I was in Franc Moody I paid about as much attention to the clothes I was wearing as a Salamander paid to the FTSE 100 so it’s been really fascinating and inspiring to embrace that side of the music. It’s really opened my eyes to the fact that to build a watertight and believable “world” around a music project you really need all the various facets; the music, the sonics, the personnel, the message, the colours, the clothes and the stage production to work in congruence with one another. A lack of effort or attention to detail in any one of those branches can lead to a dilution of the project as a whole. 

Fans want to feel invested in the music they hear and be transported to another place when watching a band live. It’s our duty to create that world, it’s so important. Imagine going to watch Kiss in the 70’s and Gene Simmons turned up in a pair of brown chinos, sandals and a corduroy jacket with elbow pads. I’m not sure they’d have had quite the same cult following, and whether Simmons self-professed 5,000 conquests would’ve ever happened is up for debate. Similarly imagine going to see Kraftwerk in their pomp and you were confronted with 5 men wearing a mixture of oversized denim jeans pulled up high at the waist, combat shorts ending way below the knee and large t-shirts sporting corny motivational slogans. Again, I’m not sure they would’ve been quite been so revered in those getups. Roxy Music, David Bowie, Roisin Murphy, Grace Jones, the list goes on and on. Iconic names, indelibly etched into folklore both aurally and aesthetically. 

We’re at the point now where the album is starting to take shape and with that there’s a natural inclination towards thinking about what the production around it might look like. An exciting time for us where we throw a million ideas at the wall and hope something sticks. I once wore a cricket jumper on stage, perhaps that could make a return? Maybe just pads this time? A cricket themed album? Who knows…I may even present the combat short idea to the team and wait for the inevitable show of hands...perhaps a curveball is what we need aesthetically? A show so meagre and low on production that it becomes a real talking point. The band dressed incredibly badly, the lighting provided by seven, 5-watt flashlights, the backdrop a small poster of an alien smoking a bong (or something equally as banal) and gaps between songs to hand out trays of crudités; Quavers, skips, cocktail sausages and egg sandwiches accompanied by 3 minute health and safety broadcasts. Channeling village hall vibes…I’m just spitballing ideas but I think I might be getting somewhere. Not to mention the incredibly low production and touring costs. We’d just need batteries, plastic trays and a cardboard roll for the poster, I’ll put it to the team.



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