A songwriter and producer based out of Bristol, Kathleen Frances first emerged last Spring with her debut single, Define. Since then, Kathleen has gone on to play festivals across Europe including Pitchfork Paris and a sell-out headline London show at Servant Jazz Quarters. In between live shows she’s been squirrelled away working on the songs that would become her debut EP, Through The Blue, which she released last week.
Running throughout Through The Blue is the idea of uncertainty and learning to live with it, as Kathleen explains, “I am totally uncertain most of the time but I’m okay with that. Uncertainty actually takes the heat off life a bit. Take it as it comes because really who the fuck knows”. The record opens with the particularly gorgeous Shout Love, with its fluttering piano lines it charts the path from night into day, like a series of street lamps bursting into life as the night’s quiet creep engulfs the city in a hazy blur. From there the record reaches the choppy stop-start rhythms of Grown, a song about the joy of casting off expectations and following your own path, there’s an almost childlike giddiness to the lyric, “eating toast for dinner, telling myself I’m a winner, ’cause I do what the fuck I want”, the words at odds with Kathleen’s rich, distinctly mature delivery. Throughout the record, Kathleen seems to be a master at finding space, pitching her remarkable voice (think Anohni meets Aldous Harding and you won’t be a million miles off) into a series of gorgeous soundscapes, each distinct, beautiful and delightfully unhurried. Particularly intriguing is the closing track, Baby Blue, with its processed bassy scatter-beats, distorted vocals and warm piano loops it wouldn’t sound of place on a record by Four Tet or King Of Limbs-era Radiohead. With a pair of dates in Bristol and London this week, this feels like the start of a special year for Kathleen, a name you’re definitely going to want to remember.
FTR: For those who don’t know who is Kathleen Frances?
I am an artist from Bristol. People say my music is introspective and sometimes melancholic, I say it’s uplifting. My voice seems to catch people by surprise, in a good way I hope.
FTR: What can you remember about your first show?
It was in a church, such a beautiful space to be able to perform in. I think my voice and the live set up lends itself to that kind of space. The reflectiveness and intimacy of the songs are absorbed in a different way when it’s in a peaceful and tranquil setting.
FTR: Why do you make music? Why not another art form?
I can’t draw for shit. I used to love theatre and acting but I found I wanted to be in control of the narrative and found writing music was the best way to do that. I also think it helps me to unlock parts of myself that I don’t usually explore, I’ve learnt a lot of truths about myself through song writing.
FTR: What can people expect from the Kathleen Frances live show?
It’s a two person set up. I am singing and playing sub bass, triggering samples and synth parts and I have a wonderful piano player. I love this set up, it keeps the show really intimate and highlights the beauty of the songs. I am doing a run of shows in the second week of March in London, Bristol and Manchester, come see it for yourself.
FTR: What’s next for Kathleen Frances?
Through the Blue EP will be out in full March 2nd, after that I’m really looking forward to a summer of festivals. I’ll be playing Green man festival, Connect and The Great Escape. I’m also writing more and working on the next body of work.
They Listen To…
Sudan Archives – Nont For Sale
Big Thief – Time Escaping
Billie Holiday & Stan Getz – Lover Come Back To Me
Fontaines D.C. – I Love You
Zsela – For Now
Through The Blue is out now. For more information on Kathleen Frances visit https://www.kathleenfrances.com/.