Jana Bahrich is 18 years-old, but speaks with the poise, eloquence and comfort of somebody 30 years her senior. We know this, because that’s the age of Chris Hewett, the other half of her 90s DIY and grunge-inspired project, Francis Of Delirium. The Luxembourg-based two-piece has just signed to Dalliance Records (Gia Margaret, Wilsen, Common Holly) to release their debut EP, All Change, named after the announcements made on trains after they’ve returned to their original destination.
“It’s a weird feeling,” says Bahrich, on the day the EP comes out. “I feel like release days are always a little more anticlimactic than you expect them to be.” She’s been writing music since the age of 12, but this her first “big” release date, six years into the job. “I read this Car Seat Headrest interview recently and he was saying like, ‘I always expect there to be some big confetti canon, but instead you actually just kind of sit there.’”
Bahrich’s been described – not unfairly – as a perpetual traveler. Having been born in Antwerp, she moved with her family to Switzerland, then back to Belgium, then to Canada, before ending up in Luxembourg for her formative adolescence. It’s a strange landing place for somebody accustomed to being in transit: a country just 51-miles long, known for its international sports teams you will your country not to lose to, and the urban myth that it can be walked end-to-end in 20 minutes (maybe a couple of hours at its narrowest point, she concedes). “It’s just this weird anomaly of a place in its own protective bubble, where leprechauns could dance around in the countryside.”
The country’s dynamic and the band’s origins – meeting at jam sessions hosted by Hewett, whose kids went to school with Bahrich – has shaped the fascinating dichotomy at the heart of All Change, that positions it as quite a unique coming-of-age release within the joyful and turbulent spheres of punk and grunge. Even her artwork, revised from the doodles she made in tenth grade math class, curiously subvert the destructive ‘Karen’ voice inside her head into a child-like drawing, framed without intimidation. Bahrich’s songs of innocence are sung desperately and earnestly to the point of implosion, while Hewett’s accompaniment is the embodiment of experience, playing ferociously to the same tune but offering a comforting hand.
“I think it helped a lot,” she says. “Most of the things I was writing about in these songs were things that Chris had already gone through before. We were so openly talking about everything that was going on and it just felt like a safe space to be writing about this sort of stuff. I could be open emotionally. It helped me get some distance from writing too, so I wasn’t taking everything so seriously. You know, when you’re talking to someone 30 years older than you… he never belittled any of my problems, not even a little, but I could see that anything I was feeling right then, I was going to get through it.”
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'All Change' EP is out now on Dalliance. Catch Frances Of Delirium at London's Folklore on November 19th.
Words: Tristan Gatward
Photo Credit: Lynn Theisen
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