Välkommen till the weird and wonderful lives of the boys that make up Francobollo, a four-piece from Sweden who prove that happiness and prog rock live harmoniously amongst each other. From Iggy Pop playing them on his radio station to their band name literally meaning ‘postage stamp’ in Italian, welcome to the most elaborate yet elusive introduction you’ll ever read…
So where did it all start? “Our fathers sent us to dig our hands into English soil about eight years ago, to learn the language and find a way for the rest of the families to come join us. This was around the time Sweden was experiencing massive draught and all the coffee plantations dried up causing mechanical failure through the normally smooth running Swedish machinery. This left the country in a state of constant bad morning mood a.k.a. The Mondays. Our object was to travel by boat first to Copenhagen across the channel then carry the boats over the Danish continent and then continue on water ’til we reach the British shore. We lost our bassist Frans and our maker of sweet synth noise Wiya on the way. God rest their souls!” (Just to clarify, Frans and Miya did not die. They left for other pursuits).
…Make sense? Not at all. And it’s trait that continues into their music videos. The new clip for ‘Worried Times’ (which contains a similar melody to ‘Yellow Submarine’ - after all The Beatles are their heroes) is directed by bassist Sam Bailey and sees the band being born - instruments in hand - in the weirdest prenatal class you’ve ever seen. Other videos include a life drawing class where the subject is an actual monster and another which revolves entirely around an animated emotional ball of hair who is watching their previous music video on TV…
So with all this in mind, it can be difficult to describe Francobollo’s sound. “Our music’s like a wave. No matter the weather it’ll keep on rolling in. Some of it’s good for surfing and some of its rocky and more pleasing to snorkle,” utters frontman/singer/guitarist/lyricist Simon. “Some of it’s better from a big hill far away where the epic rolls crash into the never ending sand beach whilst some of its better to dive straight into. We will destroy every sandcastle you build.”
Perhaps the best story behind these Nordic nutters is the one of their coming together: “We were individually hired by a gay bar in a small basement to perform ABBA covers on the dockside of our hometown. We were about 14 years old. This was before we could afford instruments so all we did was slap our knees and sing barbershop.”
Whether any of this is true or not... Who knows, but it sure is a good story. A band with this much energy and creativity are surely destined for greatness. The combination of the lyrics (which aren’t even written in their first language), paired with such angelic tones of synth and well-constructed guitar all collide together with the boys’ consistent enthusiasm and humour, not dis-similar to bands such as the Fat Whites, Cabbage, and King Gizzard, who feature among their inspirations.
With their debut album ‘Long Live Life’ coming out this week (order LINK), this is crucial make or break time for the guys - and they’re definitely ready. “Finally, we’re out of ‘Worried Times’ into ‘Good Times’ having a ‘Hoo Ha’! (All track titles if you were wondering) I think we’ve worked really hard and anticipated this date for a while. I’m hoping people love it as much as us and we can use all that energy and love to put into a second album which is already in progress,” says keys/guitarist Petter.
And finally, what are Francobollo’s plans for the next year? “Unlimited cash-flow and total creative freedom, explosives and some farm land somewhere hot. We’d build a studio, write songs and blow shit up. It’ll be biblical.”
Where: Anywhere and everywhere
What: Enthusiastic thrashing noises controlled by a sophistication only known to the Swedes
Get Three Songs: ‘Worried Times’, ‘Call Me The Breeze’, ‘Good Times’
Fact: Sean’s (drummer) full name is Sean Bean - like the famous actor - which means that every time he orders pizza he disappoints the delivery guy.
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Words: Laura Copley