Interview with The Majorleans

“Play the hits. Spend time getting a feel right. Do your homework. Keep it fun.”

Nicky Francis (The Majorleans)

Fresh from the release of their video “Sunrise Mary”, Nicky Francis of The Majorleans took some time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions for me. Nicky shares his diverse musical experiences, his work as an illustrator, and his love for life. Check it out.

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Who does your band consist of?

Nicky Francis- songwriter, singer, instruments

Chris Buckle- co-writer, co-producer, lead guitar

Christian Bongers- bass

Colin Brooks- drums

How did you meet?

Nicky: Chris and I met through a mutual friend. I was playing with a previous incarnation of the project and he came out to a show. He had some ideas about the future, and I was ready to hear them. We ended up talking music in the wee hours over gin and painkillers at the now gone East Village haunt Boxcar. We auditioned a few people but it became clear very quickly that the only drummer with the perfect feel for us was Colin Brooks. He brought in his boy Christian and la la la.

Has music always been a big part of your life?

Nicky: Always. My Pops was a bass player and a huge Beatles fanatic. I remember being a little kid and him putting the headphones on me. I was always writing little raps and songs in my head since I can remember. Then radio in Baltimore in the nineties had so many great stations cause we got DC stuff on the dial too. I fell in love with hip-hop in ’93 and just became a mixtape head. I didn’t get into actually making music till my early twenties though.

Do you remember your first experience with music?

Nicky: I think listening to the Beatles on Sunday morning in the house when I was like 4 or 5 years old. My Dad would put on his records and do chores.

What made you first realize you wanted to pursue a career in music?

Nicky: It was weird cause I never really saw much live music growing up. So it didn’t really click for me till I was away at school in South Carolina and started seeing a lot of singers and R&B groups in the bars I would work in. It flipped a switch in me.

How did you become involved in the type of music you play/sing now?

Nicky: I always wrote lyrics, stories, poems on my own. I was a visual artist and still am when I left school and at some point I wanted to be able to sing and play guitar and perform on stage. I started exploring it and it stuck. I loved Radiohead and RHCP in addition to classic rock and then started getting into more roots music and garage-y stuff from the early aughts and it evolved from there. But there has always been an R&B feel in my bones that we try to blend into the music.

How would you describe your music for the public audience?

Nicky: I think The Majorleans are based on the classic rock and roll guitar song craft you get from Tom Petty, The Rolling Stones, and a bit of The Strokes, but with a twist of a darker storytelling angle like JJ Cale or Lou Reed.

What do you think your greatest accomplishment has been so far in your musical career?

Nicky: Making two records on our own that Im really proud of. Chris and I really push the material from a production perspective to make sure we get the absolute best version of the tunes. Recording at a high level isn’t cheap and sometimes you have to literally throw out stuff you’ve done if it isn’t up to the standard, which can be heartbreaking at times.

What are your live shows like?

Nicky: Pretty high energy. Clear and punchy. Loud. We want to incite something, but in a cast-a-spell kind of way.

What are your songs about and what general themes do they talk about?

Nicky: I don’t always know. Lyrics and stories kind of come to me. It’s like I have an open window somewhere in my mind. I try not to look it too hard in the face. I guess it’s rooted in my experience, but I hope the picture is abstract enough that others can find themselves in it as well.

The video for “Sunrise Mary” seems like a very involved story, like a short movie. What can you tell us about that video and song?

Nicky: Like I said, it’s not something I set out to do. There’s so much going on around us, people places conversations and everything’s connected. The story in the song is really important to me. I just try not to get in the way. There’s a bit of alchemy to writing from a personal place. The video, however, was a bit more of a literal interpretation of the story. Vagueness of relationships, the finer lines, attraction, etc.

Music tends to appeal to everyone, young and old. Do you have any advice for the youth of today?

Nicky: Play the hits. Spend time getting a feel right. Do your homework. Keep it fun.

Do you have other interests or talents you would like to share with us?

Nicky: Im also an illustrator and I love to surf. I go on trips whenever I can. Right now is storm season in the Atlantic so been having some good days at my breaks out on Long Island.

What do you do with your time away from music?

Nicky: I work as a writer, I make paintings, I create illustrations for my friend’s fashion brand Banner Day http://www.bannerday.us and I have a two year old daughter who is a central figure in my days no matter what.

As an artist, is there anything special you hope to be able to accomplish?

Nicky: I hope I am adding to the line of great music and art that has come before me, because it has been one of the most important pleasures in my life to experience it. I think America is a unique place of relevance due to the constant cultural tension here, and I hope I am channeling that and those around me in a real way.

Please feel free to add any other information you want to share with fans and readers.

Nicky: Love ya’ll. Thank you.

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Again, I would like to thank Nicky for answering my questions. To learn more about The Majorleans and watch some of their videos, check out their website.

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Author: Samantha Stevens

I am a retired Canadian sailor turned writer, journalist, and academic. Currently completing my MA in journalism, and keeping my writing skills sharp through freelance work. The Littlest Voice is my baby.