Don’t Credit Disclosure — AlunaGeorge Did it On Their Own
Back in 2013, Aluna Francis and George Reid released their debut record Body Music as duo AlunaGeorge.
Francis and Reid had met when Reid remixed a track for Francis in her old band My Toys Like Me. The collaboration led to the creation of AlunaGeorge as we know it now. While their music falls into the indie-electropop realm, they were brought into the mainstream with their feature on Disclosure’s hit track “White Noise.” Now, AlunaGeorge is embarking on their dance-pop sophomore record, where they’ve taken a step forward, collaborating with other artists and building their presence in the U.S.
Before releasing their next record, we chatted with AlunaGeorge about breaking into the U.S. scene, going mainstream, and experimenting on their forthcoming album.
Manokhi Shorts and Alexandra G Shoes
You have a new record coming out. What’s the biggest difference between this one and your debut?
I think the biggest difference is the time we’ve had to develop our musical skills and interests since that debut. We’ve applied that to the studio, really.
Obviously, it’s really hard to cross over from the U.K. to the U.S. You see artists like Rita Ora and Katy B who have had a bit of a challenge in crossing over here, but they have a huge followings overseas. Did you feel like you had that same problem after your debut record?
That’s interesting, because obviously crossing over to America is like the Holy Grail. As an artist, you are a dreamer. You can’t not dream big. So, you dream big and you look for a way in. Initially, we didn’t think about breaking into America. We learned about the way you do things here, which is that you just work. You put out that music, you tour that music, and you make sure you’re putting out consistently good music. If you can do that, then the Americans might pay you some attention.
We never thought that with one song, we would be able to come over to America and excite them all, because we’re not really that kind of act. We’re a slow-burn act. People have to get to know us. The kind of music we’re making is forward thinking, and it’s not from an already established style of music. We’re aware of that as well. We got a couple of invites to come over to America to do a few shows, a small tour. We did those things, and they didn’t send us home. You do those things, and you continue to build that relationship.
One of your most popular songs, “You Know You Like It,” got remixed by DJ Snake, and gained traction after the album hit its peak popularity. It was playing everywhere. What are your thoughts on that?
It was a way to set a new bar for us—to reach people who wouldn’t necessarily have heard about us. We still have a lot to prove, but that was kind of an opening of a gateway. What we do with that will be the most important thing.
Being featured on Disclosure’s “White Noise” was a huge deal. You also appeared at festivals with them. Do you think that was a catalyst for you guys getting attention?
No, I don’t think so, because that came slightly later than the point of when we started to get noticed. I think we were initially noticed for how different our music sounded and for the hardcore music listeners of the world. “White Noise” gave us more of a commercial potential, but I don’t think that song got us noticed, because it doesn’t really relate to us sound-wise. It’s not why people have stayed with us.
Can you tell me more about this record? Were there any collaborations you were excited about?
I think this record just sounds a bit more musically free. I think the fact that we allowed collaborations on it was kind of a freedom. We didn’t allow that on the first album, because we wanted people to see we were AlunaGeorge. We met a lot of people on our journey and it was time to have some fun with people we know. It was also time to get to that next level of songwriting by working with some interesting people and seeing what they could bring to the table. We worked all over the world—the U.K. and America—which is pretty long distance. I think one of the exciting features we have on the record is the Popcaan feature “In Control.”
Did you focus on music your whole life?
I was actually sitting down and looking at the female and male artists that I really got inspiration from, and it was very mixed, indie-oriented, and they’re all character voices. I think when anyone starts singing, there’s a person you try to mimic. I wasn’t the strongest singer. I couldn’t belt out big, booming notes. I could hit the notes—I had a cute voice or whatever—but it wasn’t until I worked with an unusual producer in My Toys Like Me that [I got] to improvise a lot. What he did was, he’d pick out times when I really wasn’t concentrating and doing accidental stuff, and he would chop them together and let me hear my voice. That’s what developed into my voice now. Before, I thought I had to sound like everyone else to be important.
Is there a mistake that you made on your debut that you don’t want to make again?
I don’t think we really do things that way. I can’t remember who I’m quoting, but they do say that being an artist or a craftsman is a succession of fixing your mistakes. That couldn’t be more true. One of us will make a mistake in the studio, and one of us will like it. Mistakes are best left behind, to be honest. It’s important to use them to move forward. We really came at this album with enthusiasm to try new stuff, and I think that will come through.
Photography and Creative and Direction by Prince + Jacob
Styling by Alexandra Mandelkorn
Hair and Makeup by Justin St. Clair