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A Message from Jon

Holla HoFM. I'm quickly gonna explain a few tweaks we've made to how the House of FM Telegram groups before I get rambling.. 

Those of you who just want access to presale tickets, HoFM parties, ask us questions directly, and be in the know about new music first, the main group is for you. For the producers, musicians and general music geeks out there, we've started a second group so we can get into more detailed discussions about production, writing, counterpoint, augmented fifths, plainchant etc, and ALSO you'll have access to Franc Moody stems every so often in order for you to remix yourselves! We realise not everyone wants to listen to us nattering about all that...

One more thing is we've made it totally free. This is not a money making exercise! Although there is an option to support if you'd like, the money will just go into the upkeep of the groups. 

Please join one of the communities and show some love. Big ups xx

Imposter Syndrome

Some of you may have seen on instagram that we’ve spent the last week-ish on a vast cruise ship playing a festival sailing around the Caribbean. The result of which has me sitting here in the airport lounge in Guatemala clinging on for dear life as my brain tricks me into swaying about all over the place, still very much the feeling of being out at sea on the boat. Mixed with last night's celebrations of our booking agent's wedding, and a terrible cab driver back to the airport just now, this is set to be a long and queasy ride back to London..!

Internal julting and celebrations aside, it’s been amazing to get back to it this past week. The long winter gig drought is over - thank god! The not gigging thing really doesn’t suit me that well.. I need the shows and travel to keep the energy ticking and the blood pumping. It’s what we live and breathe and makes the project come alive in many ways. I turn into an irritable pain in the arse without it!

These couple of shows were a big deal for us in many ways. Not just the challenges we’ve faced with rebuilding the live set without Amber and Luke now not in the mix. Or the fact we had a dep bass player in for them, Seye (who is an absolute beast of a player btw!). Or that these were the first shows with a lot of new tech bits and bobs involved which is always a bit daunting and takes a bit of getting used to. But more so, a massive feeling of imposter syndrome, playing on a different kind of line up than we’re used to. More often than not we’re billed on more pop / dance line ups. For example before artists like Parcels, Jungle, or Arlo Parks or Anderson Paak, to give you some context. In some ways the crowds at these types of festivals are made up of people who are attached to the songs the bands / artists perform I suppose. But this particular festival was part of what Americans call the ‘Jam scene’, which I guess in many ways is more about the musicians themselves, more so than the tunes they’re playing, if that makes any sense?! It’s not so much popular songs that bring the crowds in, but the actual players and their sound and talents. In our limited experience of what we’ve seen in the Jam scene, people seem to go wild for the virtuosic musicianship, true masters of their craft who have reached the dizzy heights of how to manipulate their instruments. On the bill last week were some of my true heroes in that world, god-like creatures who have given me and thousands of other musicians so much inspiration, from technical wizardry, to taste making, to musicianship. (One guy in particular, John Medeski. I studied literally every single clip YouTube had to offer of him playing live back in my keyboard learning nerd days. I would spend hours and hours painstakingly transcribing his solos so I could get inside his mind and try to adopt some of his style and ideas. I found the way he played so inspiring (I still do), teaching me to play from the heart and to try and make everyone on stage with you sound like the best version of themselves.) So for me and my fragile musicians' confidence this was a pretty massive deal to be put on the line up with players like this. Our first show on the boat we even went on directly after John Medeski himself had played with George Porter Jr (The Meters). I mean talk about feeling out of place!

I had spent the weeks leading up to this festival thinking there had been an awful mistake and actually the bookers had got the wrong idea of who we are, or more likely we weren’t going to live up to whatever reputation had somehow falsely been laid out before us… I was worried our 3-4 minute style ‘pop’ songs would be considered devils work and our use of synths and click tracks would lead to a mutiny and we’d have to walk the plank. At least get booed off stage.. or thrown overboard.. Just the usual pre-event ponders..

We arrive at the port in Miami and as we’re queuing to board this monstrosity of a ship Ned and I start chatting to the bloke in front of us and it wasn’t until we had to part ways that he introduced himself. It’s only bloomin’ Chali 2na from Jurassic 5!! Next morning he sees me at breakfast and we sit chatting for an hour or so about all things music and food and art. I leave to go back to my cabin and meet the organiser who tells me Cory Wong (from Vulfpeck) is really looking forward to our show before introducing me to Carl Denson (Rolling Stones) who told me he was having a competition with The New Mastersounds guys who knew the most Franc Moody song titles. I mean wtf, first off these guys are HEAVYWEIGHT players who have actually heard our music before?! Wow. And more to the point I started to believe that this hadn’t all been a terrible mistake and maybe, just maybe, we would be accepted in this ‘jam’ scene.

Even so, I was nervous before the first show as many people on the boat hadn’t heard of us before. Of course we wanted to leave a good impression. In these kinds of situations all you can do is trust yourself and give the show everything you’ve possibly got I suppose. I figured if you do that then whether it goes down well or not, there’s half a chance of getting a decent night's sleep knowing you gave it your all. In my head I’m well aware that there are hundreds of musicians on this boat that can play better than us, but I had to tell myself it just doesn’t matter. It's not the point. We were there to offer something a little bit different. A sonic contrast and change of energy. Our job was to go out there and play OUR show. Which we did, and it was great fun.. Luckily it went down well and we had a great first two shows of the year with the new formation and technical bits and pieces. Job jobbed. Phew!

I guess the more you do these things the more confident you get presenting what you do. Well I hope you do anyway! From conversations I’ve had over the years I know there are a lot of musicians and artists who can relate to this inevitable imposter syndrome that rears its head every now and then.. and as much as you know you’re being ridiculous, it’s a genuine feeling that comes and goes and you have to manage it all the same.

Big thanks to the Jam Cruise folk for having us onboard. Overall it was a great week of music and making new friends. We had a lot of fun.

Looking forward to the next couple of weeks back in the studio chipping away at the album, before going back out to the states again at the end of the month for a couple of festivals and some recording. 

Can’t wait to share some of this new music with you all!!

Much love x


A Message from Ned

On A Boat

We’ve just disembarked from an experience that was a real first for us. A gig on a boat. 

“Jamcruise 20” (the number signifying the 20th year the festival has been in existence) was very much a step into the unknown for us. Prior to walking up the gangway onto the MSC Divina I had very little idea as to what to actually expect. A week on the high seas with a myriad of other bands and 4,000 “jamcruisers” was all the information I had at my disposal. Furthermore having just read a book about the ill-fated expedition of HMS Wager I couldn’t help but conjure up images of a scurvy-ridden ship rife with mutiny, tack and rum. I pictured Jon climbing the topsail and ripping an old shanty on his Roland SH101 as an unruly mob forced Gavin our Tour Manager to walk the plank. I envisaged Haley marooned on a desert island as hermit crabs scuttled around his emaciated body using beached cowbells for a home. I imagined 4 musicians dressed in black tie, stoically playing “Here Comes The Drop” under the shadow of a vast iceberg as their ship listed perilously in icy seas. 

In reality it could not have been more different. A week on a hulking great cruise ship, with non stop music, non stop buffet and your own little cabin that peered out onto gently rolling seas. Musicians and festival goers thrown together in a uniquely harmonious festival goulash. 

There was a great camaraderie between the bands too and we got to see and meet some incredible musicians. Meeting and sharing meals with folks like Chali 2na (of Jurassic 5) and Karl Denson was such an honour for us and their openness, generosity and lack of pretence was incredible to be around. Being able to pick these legend’s brains whilst gnawing away at a buffet plate piled 15 feet high was a thing to behold. 

Everywhere you turned there were insane people playing...Cory Wong, John Medeski, Lotus, New Mastersounds; the list went on an on. Each and everyone of them great players, it was intimidating and inspiring in equal measure. 

The “jamcruisers” themselves are a special breed. Ranging anywhere from 20 to 75 they aren’t defined by age so much as by their obsessive love for great musicianship over aesthetic, by improvisation over being on trend and by a preference for tie dye over haute couture. Most of the jamcruisers we met were return customers, fully intent on getting a solid weeks worth of their yearly musical fix. You can see from the organisers, bands and punters alike that the whole shindig is a real labour of love. 

Jon and I brought a little interface and turned my cabin into a mobile recording unit hoping the sea views would inspire a track or two for the album. Sadly for the most part we got distracted by the pizza at the buffet which required return journey after return journey. 

We played 2 gigs in total on the cruise both of which were our first as a four piece. Rosetta sadly couldn’t come with us as she’s currently on tour with Sampha so we enlisted the skills of Seye Adeleken (of Gorillaz) to come dep for her. Seye as expected was amazing and the switch to a four piece worked well, barring a few botched moments in the first set!

We’re now back on dry land and it’s certainly taken a few days to lose my sea legs, that slightly nauseous sway one reports after being on a boat for a while. 

All in all Jamcruise was a delight, without any piracy or icebergs to speak of. 



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