With support from the likes of the BBC, Pitchfork, Line Of Best Fit and NPR, Francis of Delirium released their second EP ‘Wading’ on Dalliance Records on 9 April. Prep yourselves for some genuine and energetic grunge rock made in Luxembourg.
For most artists, 2020 was a pretty miserable year: cancelled concerts, recordings and releases postponed, dwindling royalty revenues and little fan interaction. Some were thrown out of their jobs completely. Then there are those who plough on through the pandemic’s obstacles. Francis of Delirium have been doing just that, providing a music-craving world with great songs.
Born out of a bedroom, Francis of Delirium was created by then 18-year-old Jana Bahrich (originally from Vancouver, Canada) who later invited drummer/producer, Chris Hewett (originally from Seattle, WA) into the fold.
Last year, Francis of Delirium provided an exclusive live set for RTL Today.
Based in Luxembourg, together they synthesize grunge and Gen Z indie rock to deliver a powerful sound that works to reinforce Jana’s high energy, unsparing vocal delivery and her genuine passion to connect; intimacy and vulnerability lie at the heart of her lyrics.
Bahrich stormed onto the scene during Screaming Fields Festival 2018, a “battle of the bands” style talent programme organised by Rocklab and Rockhal, the country’s largest music venue. Since then, she’s been gearing up to perform international showcases and tours abroad, and has signed to UK-based Dalliance Records (home to Common Holly and Gia Margaret).
‘Wading’ comes only nine months after their debut EP ‘All Change’, a stunning turn-around time given that most artists will need a few years in between releases to get enough material (and the financial means) together before putting out new songs.
Speaking to RTL Today, Bahrich explains that it had never felt rushed: “It kind of happened naturally. We finished the first EP in December of 2019. We already had a set to play live, so the songs were already written. We took our time for four songs, probably five months. I feel like we take a long time to finish songs, but apparently it’s not perceived that way“. As one might expect, Bahrich is speaking to us from the studio where she’s currently working on material for her next album.
The first two EPs were fully recorded at Hewett’s home studio: “His son moved out so we made it into an upstairs studio”, she laughs. Bahrich and Hewett have known each other for many years (she went to school with his daughter), and eventually met each other at a live show.
Even though Hewitt rarely joins on extensive tours, he plays a fundamental role in Francis of Delirium’s sound and production. “Chris’ home studio was five minutes away from where I lived, so I would just bike over here - I still bike over - and work on the songs. We probably finished recording in July.”
But, for the sake of challenging themselves, they could be looking to move out of the place in the near future and work with other producers in a different environment.
So have the songs developed in that time? “They were relatively set in stone, we’ve been playing them live a long time. But as we have so much time in the studio, it’s always an experimentation game. So it was a lot of messing around.”
Francis of Delirium’s Wading EP was mixed by Gabe Wax (Adrianne Lenker, Palehound, Squirrel Flower) and mastered by Joe Lambert (The National, Sharon Van Etten, Dirty Projectors).
Bahrich is currently in her second gap year. “It’s strange because we can’t tour, and that’s where the only actual income comes from. I was also, like, maybe I should go to school this year? But it’s all online, and to then pay such a huge amount of money also seemed like a waste.” Her parents are supportive and have got her back in the choices she’s making. For the time being, at least, it will be all music.
A fruitful PR collaboration with a US-based agency has resulted in rave reviews in industry magazines and sites, ranging from Pitchfork to NPR music to a play on BBC One. “He was super excited about the music and has done an incredible job, it’s insane. And our UK label has PR in-house.” So which of the features shocked her the most? “Probably Pitchfork. I was like: no, there’s no way, that’s not going to happen. I didn’t even mention it, so that was pretty crazy.”
When it comes to live performing, Bahrich is expecting to tour the UK in October, crossing fingers that the vaccination rollout will allow for a return to live music. There is no “official” release show in Luxembourg, but Francis of Delirium are performing at Kulturfabrik on 24 April. Many artists will identify with the feeling of standing on stage in front of real human beings: “There is a certain feeling you get in the middle of the set, it’s a moment of clarity. Sometimes it’s only a second, but I really miss that.”
After Luxembourg she’s surely headed to New York, where she’s already been invited to play a gig.