Francisco the Man Is A Real Band and Does Exist

Francisco the Man
Francisco the Man
Jessica Isaac

Whether it's apathy or simply ignorance, some bands tend to remain mostly hidden from the world. This can add an air of mystery, or perhaps lead to an underground cult following that will ultimately lead to a burgeoning career. For Los Angeles' Francisco the Man, there's no real answer for the band's inaccessibility.

"We're a real band, we do exist," guitarist and vocalist Scotty Cantino confirms during a recent phone interview. "I don't really think too much about online prescience, maybe to a fault. ... We just focus on writing songs, recording and playing shows."

The band just released it's debut album, Loose Ends, a dreamy atmospheric pop extravagance that deftly melds '90s shoegazer with '80s new wave and '00s floaty electronics. It's an interesting stylistic mix -- urgent, buoyant and pulsating.

See also: 14 Things We Can't Believe Happened in Music in 2014

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"I wouldn't say our sound was reflective of any one scene," Cantino says. "We've always tried to steer clear of a particular scene or sound. We ignore what's going on around us so we're not trying to sound like anybody, but doing what comes naturally for the four of us."

Up on the Sun: OK, to start, you have to explain the Italian Pop part of your genre description on Facebook.

Scotty Cantino: It's kind of just a joke. I'm of Italian decent. There's so many genres you can scroll through on Facebook and maybe pick a couple, so we made this up. It also says "Regional Mexican," and a couple of the guys are Mexican, so we went with that too. It's just kinda funny. It's weird to label yourself with a genre that social media makes you pick.

It's great you're having fun with it. Yet, there's no description at all about the band on the Facebook page, but there's a link to your website. That is only tumblr page with lots of photos and few words. Do you not want to explain yourself and let people figure out Francisco the Man on their own terms?

Yeah, I guess that's part of the idea. I don't really think too much about online prescience, maybe to a fault. We just post a lot of photos and people can gather their own impressions of what we're doing. We just focus on writing songs, recording and playing shows.

You've been a band for about six years, and you've released a pair of EPs and couple sevin-inchers. You just said you've been focused on writing songs and recording, but it's taken six years for that first album to appear. Most bands try to rush that album out. What's held you back?

We were never really in a rush. We like to write songs and just record our favorite ones. We've had a lot of material over the years and just picked certain ones to release. We've held onto a lot of material over the years, I guess. We always wanted a full record to come out on a label, so we put out teasers, seven-inchers, just hoping we'd get to this point and a label would decide to put out our record. It takes a lot of time, especially when you're working and doing a lot of other things that life involves. Up until the record, every release we've done we've done ourselves, so it takes 10 times as long to record it, mix it and engineer it than it does just having someone else do that. Before we were performing and recording.

This is your first time with an engineer. How did that change your approach? When you're doing everything you're almost too close to it.

It was cool -- everything went much faster. We were able to just focus on playing and performing without having to man the console and make sure everything was going smoother. It was a lot funner. It was a different experience. Kind of weird at some points because we were used to doing everything ourselves, but it went well. We recorded the whole record in three days when normally it might take us that long to record a couple songs. It was more stress free.

How does the album compare to what we get on stage?

I'd say it's pretty accurate. We recorded pretty much the entire album live. I think live performance is a little bit louder, trashier, more energetic. We've always been more of a live band than a studio band, so I think it comes off with more urgency and energy.

I see you're from L.A., and I just don't think of this style of music. Is there a scene for this style or were you pioneers of this style? That said, we're you just looking to create something entirely individual?

I don't know if it was any of those. As you said, there's a lot of different bands and a lot of different scenes in L.A. I wouldn't say our sound was reflective of any one scene. There are some bands we can play with that make sense for us to be on a bill with. I don't think we all sound exactly alike. We didn't do it intentionally to stand out. I think the opposite of that. We've always tried to steer clear of a particular scene or sound. We ignore what's going on around us so we're not trying to sound like anybody, but doing what comes naturally for the four of us.

Now that the album's out, where do you hope it will take you?

I'd like to tour around. I just want it to take us to a point where we can keep putting out records. It's be nice not have a day job and have more time to spend on music.

Still have your day jobs then? Music's not paying your way yet?

Music pays enough to keep us afloat, but we have day jobs too. I'm a bartender. Everyone's pretty cool and I can take plenty of time off to tour.

Somewhere I read "the band" survived a near death experience?

When we first started the band we went on a west coast tour and driving up from San Francisco to Portland and we wrecked our van. The guy who was driving fell asleep and we rolled the van three or four times. It was a pretty bad wreck. We lucked out and no one got hurt.

Anything else we should know about the band?

Nothing in particular. We have the new record out and we're excited to tour. We're a real band, we do exist.

Francisco the Man performs Thursday, December 18 at the Rhythm Room.

Find any show in Metro Phoenix via our extensive online concert calendar.

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