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All photos taken by Sofia Stolpe.
The Swedish quintet Francis has been active on the Swedish indie scene for almost a decade now, slowly but surely making their mark as one of the most interesting Swedish indie bands around. Following the acclaimed This Must Be Blood EP in 2012 and touring with The Tallest Man on Earth, Francis is now getting ready to release their long-awaited, second full-length and international debut album Marathon, co-produced by the band and Nicolas Vernhes (The War on Drugs, Animal Collective, Deerhunter, Björk, Dirty Projectors, etc.)
Francis was originally formed back in 2006 as a punk-y interpretation of American folk (think a mixture of Tom Waits and Patti Smith), out of the local DIY scene in their hometown of Mora, in the Dalarna region of Sweden. Now based in Falun, only vocalist Petra Mases and drummer Petter Nygårdh remains from the early days, later joined by guitarist Jerker Krumlinde, bassist Paulina Mellkvist and Oskar Bond on keyboard. Francis self-released their debut album Lekomberg, We Were Kin in 2011, and followed it with the This Must Be Blood EP the year after. Marathon will be the first release from the current incarnation of the band.
Marathon was recorded in the village of Gagnef in Dalarna, Sweden, and later finished in Brooklyn, New York with producer Nicolas Vernhes. In those first early days, no one could have guessed how different things would look by the time of the album’s completion. The band saw a great deal of change; new faces were added to the lineup, personal lives went through significant transformation, and all while the political landscape was changing drastically.
“Every song is basically about children, divorce or love. But there is also a political side of it. We are all affected by the xenophobia that is going on in Europe. The title track, “Marathon,” is about red hearts, wanting to fight for something and naively hoping for something better. Hope for future generation’s benevolence to continue to fight for justice and gender equality. And love, simply, or lack thereof, and the frustration that comes with it.”
Marathon is due for release on February 5th, 2016 on vinyl, CD and digitally, with lead single, “Follow Me Home” arriving on October 30th, 2015. It is Francis’s most accomplished work to date, a collection of affecting and deeply warming tracks, chronicling the process of growing into adulthood.
During the past few years the band’s also become something of an institution in Falun, running their own art collective where they, together with other local acts, hosts gigs and exhibitions, create music and run their own label Strangers Candy, through which Marathon will be released. Following the release of the album, Francis is set to tour Europe during the spring of 2016.