Friday, September 16, 2022

DJ Interviews: Jim Frances

 Heres my interview with Jim Frances

How'd you get started in music?

I’ve been into listening to music my whole life, but creating music took a bit longer. I started playing the trombone at age 11, which I played through the end of high school and a little bit in college, and I also started teaching myself guitar towards the end of high school.  I found out in high school that I really enjoyed writing poetry, though at that time I preferred free verse.  I started to combine the interests of guitar and poetry by trying to write my own songs shortly after learning my first few chords.  After the first couple years in college I started to work more on writing music, though the songs were all pretty bad!  I kept up with it off and on through the years, until I decided to record an album in my 30’s.  I did everything at home, though it being the late 90’s early 2000’s, the knowhow and tech wasn’t there.  I have a couple songs off that album I still like, and have rerecorded recently, but the album itself was pretty much a hot mess.  The album creation itself, though fun, was more to be able to say I had done it.  I didn’t do any writing and recording for a while after that, and focused on other things, including getting a Masters in Library and Information Science.  Then in 2018 I decided to buy a computer specifically for recording.  I did some research, and bit by bit I bought the equipment I would need to start.  I’ve never been much of a singer, and was scared to death to record my voice, so initially I did a series of instrumentals in 2019, but finally I made the plunge, bought a better mic, and put my voice out there.  I still know my voice leaves a lot to be desired, but I’ve settled into singer/songwriter as a hobby.  Today I’ve gotten comfortable with the equipment I have, and though not great at any one thing, I like to think that I do my best to serve the music I write.  So far I’ve released 6 instrumental singles, 6 vocal singles, 9 Eps (including one where I partially re-recorded and remixed/mastered the previous 6 singles), and 1 full album.  In the process I’ve watched tons of videos, asked lots of questions, and been willing to learn all aspects of music creation from writing to mastering. 


Who are your inspirations or influences?

This is hard! Growing up my parents listened primarily to country music, though there was the occasional gospel quartet, piece of classical music, or church hymn.  The first popular music I was drawn to was The Beatles and The Monkees, though I did listen to a lot of country music on my own.  Once I started playing trombone in junior high I began listening to more classical music, and big band (specifically Glenn Miller).  Early high school, primarily to be different, I listened almost exclusively to what was termed easy listening.  I really like John Denver at this point, and would sing along to his albums to try to teach myself to sing better.  Through friends at school I got back into The Beatles, and a classic rock radio station WCSX out of Detroit, came on air.  My best friend and I began trading music suggestions back and forth, and things seemed to explode.  He introduced me to Chicago, which quickly became a favorite of mine, and I introduced him to Kansas.  I tested the waters of hair metal with the likes of White Lion, but I still hung tight to classic rock.  In college I branched out even more with King’s X, Collective Soul, Harry Connick Jr., Bryan Adams, Tom Petty, Chris Isaak, Extreme, Bon Jovi, Roxette, U2, Etc. There are really too many to name them all, but my current musical palette is quite broad.


What advice would you offer aspiring performers?

Know what you want out of music, what it can give to you, and what you can give to others.  There’s far too much selfishness out there, so be generous.  Be true to yourself.  Learn as much as you can about the music process.  Do NOT give up.  Keep your eyes open for possibilities you may not have previously thought of.  Ask questions.  Most importantly, network with other musicians.  There’s a great indie music community on Twitter that I can’t recommend enough.  Most of us are open and welcoming, love to share information, and take interest in each other’s projects.  I’ve learned and been greatly encouraged by connecting with the likes of Fuzzruckus, Kiffie, Matarison, Kelly Kintner, sideSister, Stone’s Art, RogerCMP, Aaron Smith, Elyot, and so many more I wish I could mention!


How do you set yourselves apart from other bands or singers?

The only way I know how-just being me.  I have influences, but I never try to emulate anyone.  I realize that no matter what I do, I have my own sound, and that’s good enough for me.  I’m never going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but if I can touch, inspire, or move someone in some way, then it’s all worth it.


Any new gigs or albums in the future?

I’m currently working on a 5 song psychedelic inspired EP that I have all the instrumentation done for, and for which I’ll be recording vocals for next week.  I’m aiming to wrap up production on that by September 16th, to be released in October.  After that I’ll be moving on to a full album featuring my new Ukulele!  I have enough project ideas lined up to last me at least 3-4 years (14 currently), and I’m sure I’ll come up with others before those are exhausted.  To this point I’ve only been a studio musician, though I’ve been thinking about the possibility of gigging at some point in the future.  We’ll see!

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