Cover Feature Class Of 2013: AlunaGeorge

Imagine the scene. AlunaGeorge are perched over a musical melting pot. They’re in George Reid’s bedroom, pouring in all manner of exquisitely strange beats and mixing it up with the sultry, sweet vocal sounds possessed by Aluna Francis. They add in a few tempo changes, the odd twist and turn, and another handful of odd electronic sounds and voilà! You have one of the most remarkable sounds of 2013.

Okay, so it might not go exactly like that - all Macbeth Witches-gone-buzz-band - but we’re pretty sure we’re not too far off. Born in Reid’s bedroom after a collaboration recommendation almost three years ago, the duo are already being heralded as the re-interpreters of modern R&B and it’s unsurprising, with 90s-laced melodies that are so deliciously contagious.

“Aluna’s old band recommended that I did some writing with her, and that was literally it,” divulges Reid, when we grab the pair for a chat. “We tried writing some for her band and it didn’t really work, so we thought, ‘Sod it. Let’s just do whatever we want’. Loads of stuff happened quite quickly: when you get some instant gratification out of it, you want to keep doing it.”

‘It was never our goal to ‘bring back R&B.”

With such a wonderful set of raw materials to work with, it’s not surprising that material came easily to the duo. “As a producer, I’m quite lucky because Aluna’s got a really unique voice, which immediately puts a stamp on it, so we don’t feel so much pressure to avoid things,” Reid explains. “We just literally do, and it comes out sounding like its own thing.”

Offering a further insight to how the outside world has interpreted the pair’s output thus far, Francis chips in; “At first people were very much like, ‘Yeah, I like it… but er, yeah, it’s like a crossover between everything, isn’t it?’ We’re happy that people are interested enough in our music to put it in a category, but it was never a goal of ours to ‘bring back R&B.’ I think that would be too bold a statement, really! There are elements of music from the 90s in there, because some of it was real good.”

At present, the band have unveiled their debut EP ‘You Know You Like It’ to acclaimed reception, and, having already received a good chunk of mainstream radio airplay, the big step for the duo is now undoubtedly creating a full-length. What we weren’t expecting to hear though, was that they took a trip to the forest to do so…

“Once stuff gets going, there’s a lot of superfluous stuff going on that’s part of what you’re doing, but isn’t making music, so it’s hard to concentrate,” explains Francis, who came up with idea of relocating. “We know that, when we’re in the studio basically left alone, we can make music. The only way to do that again was to actually get away.”

“When you get instant gratification, you want to keep doing it.”

They’re not the first band to discover that removing distractions aids the recording process, of course, but for AlunaGeorge, the choice of location appears to have had another effect on their record. “It was easier to get more sentimental in the woods…” comments Reid, before Francis elaborates. “We noticed that there’s kind of two extremes on the album. Half the songs are from endless time in bedroom sessions, and half the songs are when we spent this one week out in the woods. Sound-wise, we don’t have too many surprises, but we do experiment with lots of different writing styles. Some songs are almost like a ballad, or a waltz, but then there’s some on there that are almost four to the floor, but not quite.

“I think that it’s important to have an album that doesn’t just sit in one area. We could quite easily have made an album of slow, downtime, ballad bedroom jams, but we wanted to provide a little bit more of a well rounded experience. Give it all. Give it up.”

Taken from the December 2012 / January 2013 issue of DIY, available now. For more details click here.

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