Francis Lung is the performing moniker of former Wu Lyf bassist Thomas David Francis McClung. After the Lyf's demise, McClung set forth on a solo path he showed glimpses of on songs like “Brooklyn Girls”, but it didn't mean the end of his working relationship with the band. McClung still writes and records with Evans Kati and Joe Manning as the yacht rock outfit Los Porcos. Always busy, I caught up with my friend on good ol' Facebook to discuss Fancis Lung's forthcoming debut album Faeher's Son and the story behind it.
Interview via FB? Boring. How about I get two cans and a string and I'll toss it over to you.
You could pay for my flight?
Why are you disregarding my cans and string idea?
It's silly and it wont work, but I'll give it a try.
You're a good sport.
Have you ever skyped a band and they've been shirtless because they were “too hot?” 'Cause I totally wouldn't do that.
There's always a time for “firsts.” Well, I mean, if it was an actual band (more than one guy) with their shirts off, I'd be up for it. But if you're talking about just you, I'll pass.
Ahh. You still got it.
I try. What is the title of your new album and what can we expect in the artwork for it?
No skype? Fair enough.
You're horrible at interviews. You're supposed to answer the question after I ask it.
We can't even get through the first question…
My new record is called Faeher's Son. The artwork is my impression of different stars with colour coding that represents the different elements that make them up, to show how they are different from each other, but essentially the same. It's pretty.
What does Faeher's Son mean and why that title?
When I originally decided I wanted to make music as Francis Lung, i wanted him to be scottish, because I find the accent endearing and charming. I wanted to make a record for my father, and call it Father's Son so that even the title represented something that belonged to him. 'Faeher' is the phonetic transcription of how some scottish people say 'father' and I liked the way it sounded.
Oh, so you're performing with a Scottish accent now?
No, I have since abandoned that aspect of the character but I did it a few times
Is there a video that proves this?
Has performing in Wu Lyf influenced Francis Lung in any style?
I shouted and screamed and sang like a girl every night for two years and became increasingly capable of doing so. When I wanted a Scary Monsters-era David Bowie scream in one of my songs, I could do it because I was well-rehearsed because of Wu Lyf. And we all shared music, and still do, which is endlessly inspiring. Did that last bit make your throw up?
Just a little.
What's the story behind “Brooklyn Girls”?
I found the people of New York intimidating and somewhat severe upon first impressions, so i thought itd be funny to be like, 'whats up now? 5'7″ pale guy from England all up in Brooklyn yo? how do you like me? Yeah, recognize!' And of course the people of Brooklyn could figure anything out, because they have the answer to every question. I like that song, I owe that song to Brooklyn for being so unwelcoming. The funny thing is its not about girls, or the 'Brooklyn gurls' at all. That was just catchy.
I recall you performing “Brooklyn Girls” at the end of a Wu Lyf show at Bowery Ballroom. Was it intentional? Was it a sneak peak to Francis Lung because you knew Wu Lyf was going to be kaput?
I dont sing anything unintentionally—if I'd have known Wu Lyf was going to go kaput I would have refused to sing anything but my own songs.
So why did you perform it during a Wu Lyf show? I mean, no one else performed their solo work.
Because we were so bored of the set they even let the bassist sing one he wrote.
Are you going to be as private/mysterious with Francis Lung?
Depends how I feel on the day.
Are you going to perform topless as Francis Lung?
Nah. Its been done.
Unless my dry cleaners is closed, I will be performing in a white suit exclusively.
Where are you trying to take Francis Lung?
To an imaginary world where the charts are ruled by pop music that people actually like.
What about Los Porcos? What made you guys decide you all wanted to be in another band together?
We wrote a couple of the songs while we were still in Wu Lyf and we like playing together.
How do you separate the two projects? How do you decide when you're going to work on or perform with Francis Lung/Los Porcos?
The idea of forming a group with a strict disco/yacht rock ethos seemed too hilarious to pass up. The members of Los Porcos all live several hundred miles from each other. We rarely see each other, but when we do, we sort stuff out and rehearse, record demos and listen to music. I work on my stuff whenever I'm alone for example, most of the time I get ideas walking around, or on the train or the bus, and I usually start organizing things in my head, imagining how the song would be structured, or what the next line's gonna be. Then I get home and put it into practice and refine from there. Its about having a free moment, so you have to make sure there are busy moments, side projects.
So when you described your album art, I had those colored foil star stickers they used to give you in school in mind. Can we make a spoof of what your album art is going to look like?
If its better, can I use it?
I mean, its basically what you described, right? That would be an amazing album cover.
I'm starting to realise why your magazine is called 'Impose'.
Ha! I was going to post a photo of you topless to give the readers an idea of what's actually going on. But every time I google “Francis Lung shirtless” I get an image of the Pope.
Thats actually me, thats the white suit im talking about.
Faeher's Son “should be done in about 3 days, but it probably won’t be” says his Tumblr. In the meantime you can watch his new hauntingly romantic video for the song “Age Limits” below, and listen to his Los Porcos project with project with some his former Wu Lyf bandmates here.