Roibert Francis was born in Los Angeles, California, and released his first album „One By One“ at a young age of 19 years. NPR praised the album, saying „Francis has been in his songs revealed,“ and that „the music feels as if it comes from a place of freedom and essential truth. This is something not many peoplehave.“ In 2009 he signed with Atlantic Records and released his second album „Before Nightfall“. The first single „Junebug“ reached number 1 in the French charts and Top 30 in Germany. For his latest release „Heaven“ he is backed up by the band The Night Tide. Robert Francis & The Night Tide are on tour at the moment and they were performing on 18th of May 2014 at the ROCKHAL and for this occasion they granted us an interview.
Hello, thanks for taking your time for this interview. For those who don’t know Robert Francis & The Night Tide, can you please introduce yourself, who is in your backing band and what instruments they play?
I’m a songwriter from Los Angeles. Heaven‘ is my fourth record. It’s about personal demons, ghosts, love, control and fate. The Night Tide is David Kitz on drums, Ben Messelbeck on bass and Maxim Ludwig on guitar.
Ry Cooder and John Frusciante (ex-Red Hot Chili Peppers) were once your mentors. Are you still in contact with them?
Ry Cooder remains a mentor to this day. I speak with him all the time. Frusciante I lost touch with long ago. I was a snotty sixteen year old kid when I was his student. I wasn’t the best at taking direction.
As you come from a musical family, was it for you always clear to become also a musician?
It was always clear. I began playing at a strange time. There was no social media. I watched the evolution of the internet and how it affected all the record labels and everyones perception of music. It’s been a strange ride.
How do you see yourself evolving as an artist over the years?
My evolution as a musician is the same evolution I’ve gone through as a human being. Growing up in front of an audience and releasing four albums have handed me a lot of ups and downs. I’ve learned to navigate through life more confidently, self assured and unafraid. I’ve learned to embrace the good and bad and to welcome things I used to be scared of.
Your new album „Heaven“ has very warm and nostalgic sound. Would you consider yourself as a nostalgic person?
I find myself nostalgic when I see the naiveté that used to be all encompassing in my writing and music. I get emotional sometimes when ruminating over how sensitive and open I was when I first started out. I also get nostalgic when I think about those few women who got away.
The music industry changed a lot over the last years. People download MP3s, listen to music over streaming providers and there has been the revival of the vinyl records. How do you see that development?
There will always be people like me who listen to entire albums. Eventually, I think everyone will return to this way of listening. I don’t think that will be for a long time. But people will end up rebelling against this whole mentality that we need everything now and that everything is a click away. That will be a great moment when that happens.
Thank you very much for your time and best wishes for the future!