Meet Jack Francis, one of four global house music DJs taking the soundtrack of your workout to a new level as part of September Sound.
We caught up with Francis and got to know him a little better before his residency in the Marylebone gym, every Thursday this month.
How did your music journey begin?
Growing up, music was always played around the house. My parents living room stereo had a selection of early Hip-Hop, Motown, Soul and 80/90’s Electronic. I got my first set of decks at the age of 10 and began collecting records with my Dad, making regular trips to Reckless and Blackmarket Records (I remember being just tall enough to see over the counter!).
After years of radio, competitions and mixes I started getting booked aged 16, playing DnB/Dubstep which was making a huge impact at the time. This helped me get my foot in the door at a lot of the Kent and London clubs.
This opened my ears to loads of new music, helped my mixing improve and connect with the promoters. After a while I found myself reverting back to the 90’s Electronic era, getting known for my own sound and experimenting with Electro, Acid, House, Techno. The rest, as they say, is history!
What role does music play in your life?
Music has always been my main focus. I remember when I was at school, I’d even miss lunch break to go and play in the music room. I’m hugely grateful that I can call this my job – I never take a day for granted.
Who are your favourite artists at the moment?
This is going to be a hard one, so I’ll do my best to break it into DJs and Producers as I think they’re all pretty different.
So, favourite DJ’s – Tim Sweeney, Skream, Maceo Plex, Groove Armada
Favourite Producers – Secondcity, SG Lewis, Toro y Moi, Claude Vonstroke, Muru Masa, Floating Points
How much has London shaped you as a musician and human?
I’m very proud to be from London and the amazing party scene we have, its a great vibe and hard to beat. We’re still going strong after losing some of our iconic clubs and the community seems stronger than ever. Some of my favourite memories clubbing in London were at Suffolk St Warehouse, attending the Urban Nerds parties or going to FWD at Matter/Dance Tunnel. Being at the heart of so much era-defining music, I wouldn’t have it any other way. ‘Its a London thing!’
How would you describe your music?
I like throwing in pieces that people may not have heard before, something out of the ordinary and leaves a memory. I also prefer playing longer sets, an ideal situation would be to open the night with some downtempo tunes and steadily lead people into the peak time hours. I love mixing in old influences into my sets, introducing a Disco edit or an Acid bassline tends to go down a treat. So listen out for those!
Does fashion and style play a part in who you are as a musician?
I’ve always been really keen on fashion, particularly being able to blend it into the music world too. I admit that I’m guilty of the classic black tee with black jeans combination, but I also like to hunt out some unique pieces when I have time. It’s a similar feeling to searching for new music. I sometimes get the opportunity to play a cool fashion gig too, in the past I’ve played for Armani, GQ Magazine, London Fashion Week, Bjorn Borg, G-Shock and Harrods.
Where is your favourite place to DJ?
My favourite chilled spot to DJ is Soho House London, a really special residency to me because of the amazing staff who I’ve become friends with, the countless memories and amazing vibes. Another favourite has to be playing in the Box at Ministry of Sound, the feeling of being in that booth and having top-notch equipment at your finger tips is surreal.
What was the highlight of 2017?
I’ve had two major stand out moments this year. In January I played the main room at Fabric. The other is very recent and was opening the Terrace at Amnesia for Together. Both venues I’d visited plenty of times as a punter and wouldn’t have ever dreamt of playing there.
Do you have your own workout playlist?
I’d usually go for something upbeat and hard hitting whilst weight lifting – probably Rock or House. Then for my cardio workouts I normally choose Techno or Drum and Bass. Once the workout is over I like to wind down at home with something chilled from Nils Frahm/Submotion Orchestra or something new that Spotify throws at me. Podcasts are also great for working out and they’re usually over an hour long! I recommend Drumcode, Beats in Space and Hospital Records.