Even if you don’t recognize the name AlunaGeorge, you’ll def recognize their sound. The synth-pop electro duo from London, England, have insanely popular tracks, including “You Know You Like It,” featured in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, and the insanely popular “I’m In Control.” Familiar now?
The group, comprised of stylish AF frontwoman Aluna Francis and producer George Reid, have collaborated with some of the biggest names in EDM, including Avicii, Disclosure and DJ Snake. The band is currently on tour with Coldplay (NBD), playing their latest tracks, “Turn Up the Love” and “Last Kiss.” But AlunaGeorge’s sound isn’t just catchy; Francis makes music that has important meanings behind it, including sexual consent and female empowerment.
FLARE caught up with cool-girl Francis while she was in Toronto to talk Taylor Swift’s sexual assault case, what she thinks of Canadians and who she would looove to share a steak dinner with her. We’re officially obsessed, and soon you will be too.
Welcome to Toronto! What do you think of the city so far?
I feel like you guys might be used to it, but I’ve met only friendly people. The first thing that happened was this guy on a bike was going through the park and wanted to talk to me… and he was like, “Your bottle of water is empty, let me give you some of mine, it’s still cold from the ice.” I was like, “Okay.” He poured some in my bottle and I went on my merry way. He also gave me some directions.
Well, Canadians are known to be friendly. For anyone who hasn’t seen you perform, can you talk a little about your set?
I try to take people not too much on an up-and-down journey, but a lot of our songs do tend to be very different from one another. I try and get a flow: they’ll always be a mix of songs you can dance to and ballads. On this tour, I have my live band so it’s really exciting.
And you’re opening for Coldplay. What’s that like?
It’s an epic journey that never ceases to surprise me. It’s a new challenge every day. There’s the challenge of just putting on a show that’s fairly similar every night, and finding different ways to have that be fresh and exciting. I also don’t like to go to bed in new places, so I tend to stay up far too late and my body clock goes crazy.
What’s your favourite part about touring?
Certainly being able to add to my list of cities that I might possibly want to live in: Miami, Montréal, obviously L.A., Portland, Seattle… I really love Léon, France, actually. That place is very cute.
Is Toronto on that list yet?
It is now! I mean, if a city has a café dedicated purely to buckwheat pancakes, you’ve got me. That’s literally my favourite food.
You recently dedicated a performance of your song, “Mean What I Mean” to Taylor Swift and her winning her sexual assault case. Why is it important for you as an artist to make larger statements with your music?
I like themes that hit places that don’t get a lot of attention, or [places] that you can’t find your own [voice] in. So, that particular space for that song is a space that I felt was very isolating; I didn’t talk about the thing that happened for a long time, but that secret started to erode my sense of stability. And then I started to talk about it, and I saw the relief that it gave me for someone else to be like, “Oh, girl, that was not cool, that situation.” I wanted to make a musical friend for anyone going through the same thing. There’s many extremes: you [might] need legal help, or your life might be in danger. [Everyday] challenges [women] face can be a little bit more subtle. It almost takes away your voice because you’re not screaming rape from the rooftops, but you’re kind of screaming, “You don’t turn me on when you speak to me like that, so get out of my face and don’t pull that shit about how it seemed like I wanted to.”
You have a great fashion sense that’s beautifully documented on Instagram. What inspires your style?
Once a year I definitely do a big, long search of designers’ collections of that year. I’ll update myself a little bit. For example, right now I’m more inspired by the idea of minimalism and I often come back to that as a theme. I love Russian constructivism art, and I think the method of trying to achieve a utopian vision ended up causing a lot of artists and designers to become minimalist in what they were doing. The purity of it is so fascinating.
What’s one beauty product that you can’t live without?
At the moment, it’s lipstick that I can rub into my lips, like a lip stain. If I sing and I’m wearing lipstick, it will be like all over my face when I finish—even if I wear longwear lipstick! Also, a message to Pat McGrath: I’m coming for you because I need to be with you.
If you could have dinner with one person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
So, we’re going to actually eat dinner? Oh my god, I don’t know. I think I’d quite like to have a date with Jeff Buckley. He’s one of my favourite musicians, but just hanging around him would have that kind of fantasy vision of smouldering silences. He’s so pensive.
What food would you two eat?
We’d definitely have to have a steak—a filet mignon. Some really good French Bordeaux and some cheese to finish.
Sounds delicious. What’s the best piece of career advice that you’ve been given?
I don’t think anyone actually said this to me, but being kind to people that you work with is actually really good business. Sometimes [being kind] gets a stigma of like, “You’re not making good business decisions if you don’t treat people this way,” or whatever. A really good business decision is to surround yourself with people you’d love to get stuck with in an [elevator]—not ones you wouldn’t have anything to say to. And if you want nice people around you, you have to be nice.
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