AlunaGeorge is the combination of Aluna Francis on vocal duties and George Reid sitting at the production helm. Together the fusion of Aluna’s sugary-sweet harmonies and George’s glitchy beats results in a sound that’s distinctly pop, but a type of pop that’s progressive, challenging and ambitiously left-of-centre.
After drip-feeding a succession of infectious tracks that left the blogosphere enamored and salivating for more, the fresh-faced British duo have put the finishing touches on their debut album.
“GOOD MORNINGGG WORLDDD”. It’s 9.30am in Hounslow, London and Aluna Francis has just woken up and posted an excitable tweet. A couple of minutes later she’s handed the phone, her buzzing energy travelling through the line as she eagerly chats about everything from her unique dance moves to the big topic at hand; the debut record, Body Music.
Describing it in her own words, the striking 24-year-old singer takes a short pause before thoughtfully summing up the pair’s first body of work.
“It’s kind of got one foot in old traditional song structure and one foot in progressive beats and random sounds, so it’s kind of how those two – quite different – elements come together in the middle,” she eloquently explains in her warm English accent.
“I think, basically, the album was written about the story of us getting to know each other sort of professionally and personally. We’re pretty much old friends now.”
In reality, these kindred musicians have only known each other since 2009 when George, who at the time was working as a solo bedroom producer, contacted the singer over MySpace to remix a track by her now-former band Toys Like Me. They met face to face over coffee soon after, then in the studio, and one way or another their friendship blossomed into AlunaGeorge. “The album was written about the story of us getting to know each other sort of professionally and personally.”
“We met and got to work in the studio and that’s how we found out what it was like to work together, which kind of planted the seed for working together in the future,” Francis reminisces fondly. “We kind of did instantly click – we didn’t know each other at all so it was kind of surprising. We had a really, really good time just writing a couple songs and we were kind of addicted after that.”
Their organic rise to the spotlight has grown on a steep incline ever since their first single ‘You Know You Like It’ appeared online in mid-2011. However, it wasn’t until this year when they first sensed their lives beginning to change.
“I probably noticed things were getting a bit big early this year when we had the nominations for the Brit Awards and the BBC Sound poll, which kind of brought us to a much wider audience and gave us some home support which was really nice. I think we’re probably not very self-assured, so the verification is kind of like a crutch for us.”
Attention aside, Francis’ bewilderment makes it clear they’re still more than humble. “It’s been kind of a bit like starting a new job every day,” she says between laughs. “You have to learn a lot of new random stuff all the time, like red carpet etiquette. I had to have someone explain to me how you look at a hundred different cameras at the same time.”
The conversation inevitably drifts to their upcoming Australian Tour in September as part of the inaugural ‘intelligence’ dance music festival, Listen Out. They’ll be playing alongside the likes of their close friends Disclosure and Azealia Banks, although Francis more keen to catch the acts further down the billing.
“Personally I like to discover new bands when I go to festivals so I kind of prefer not to know who they are first,” she says. “In my experience there’s something really magical about not ever having really heard of a band and just turning up and hearing that for the first time, rather than having studied them beforehand and then seeing them live with a preconception.” “It’s been kind of a bit like starting a new job every day… you have to learn a lot of new random stuff – like red carpet etiquette.”
As for AlunaGeorge’s own live shows – what’s to be expected from this foreign pair of Londoners who have so far only existed for us online?
“I think as a spectator you’ll find that a lot of the people dance to all the songs. They’re not so much of a jumpy, rowdy crowd, they’re more kind of ‘getting your sexy moves out’ kind of crowd,” explains Francis.
“So yeah, just expect a kind of vibrant but chilled show. Oh, and my dancing. I do have some of the longest arms you’ve ever seen, so I’ve got to do something with them,” quips the recently-signed model.
The carefree, bubbly Brit hasn’t exactly made a list of tourist activities to check off between shows while she’s in the country, but her small voice noticeably lifts with enthusiasm when thinking about her first ever Australian visit.
“We’re gonna work it all out when we’re there, I’m sure we’ll find out what there is to do. Neither me or George have been to Australia before so it’s a brand new experience for both of us.”
“I’m expecting the landscape to change quite a lot between the different places we go to – and I’m expecting really good food. I heard you guys know how to make good… meals,” she finishes slowly, giggling at the underwhelming compliment her buzzed rambling was building up to.
As Aluna Francis and George Reid prepare themselves for the release of their debut album, the most defining moment of any band’s career, the former half of the duo seems to only have room for elation.
It’s a glass-half-full attitude that’s completely justified; AlunaGeorge’s two year lifespan has been nothing short of dazzling, and it only promises to get better from here on out.
“We’re really excited for people to hear it. I think people just want to know who we are now. – they’ve kind of got a taste of us from our singles and now they just want to know the full picture.”
Luckily, we’ll be seeing that picture up close very soon.
Body Music is out now through Island Records. Read our album review here.
Listen Out 2013 Dates & Venues
SYDNEY | Saturday 28th September @ Centennial Park, 2pm-10pm
PERTH | Sunday 29th September @ Ozone Reserve, 2pm-10pm
MELBOURNE | Saturday 5th October @ Observatory Precinct, Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne, 2pm-10pm
BRISBANE | Sunday 6th October @ Cultural Forecourt, Southbank, 2pm-10pm
Tickets and info at listen-out.com.au .