Like the sun shining through the cracks of your window blinds that leave parallel shapes imprinted on your wall in the late afternoon before the sky turns dark, the record, Late Riser, fills the air space with a plethora of harmonies and a calming ambiance before it edges its way in your psyche with flashes of previous experiences and soon enough, all you have are the melodic memories when it’s over.
Christina Cone and Andrew Coherty, the bodies behind the soulful-indie Frances Cone, began concocting their newest record three years ago, and it's out today. The conception of Frances Cone began as Cone’s solo project with a hired band to take on the road. But soon the connection between her and Coherty manifested into a music partnership that blossomed into a marriage.
“It was my project but now, it’s definitely our project,” said Cone while parking her car over the phone.
Frances Cone has toured with Tall Heights, The Roosevelts, Handsome Ghost, Ron Pope and has played countless music festivals. With being on the road 24/7 with her significant other, Cone said their professional and personal relationship has balanced out nicely, surprising them both.
“I think we see people the same way, and that’s really helpful. He’s really considerate. I don’t know. We just really get along.”
From growing up in the Carolinas, her parents’ taste in classical and gospel music has left its mark in Cone’s music.
“I’ve been revisiting old show band pieces that just drone on a really minor chord. It’s beautiful, but it just sounds really morbid...There’s always one moment of release at the end where it moves to a major chord. I remember even as a kid just being like that shit is where it’s at.”
Some of those chilling moments she treasures are present in her title track, “Late Riser,” which she shared gives her a little anxiety about whether there are too many sounds. Cone’s raspy vocals open the ballad and explore the essence of time through countless euphonious. The arrangement is layered with a variety of instruments; yet, the lyrics shine through.
“I wrote the chorus on the G Train in Brooklyn then ran out and sang it onto my phone. We went to Nashville and recorded it and the verses weren’t right. It was the first time I’d ever done this, but the chorus was so much better than the verses. I hated it and we left. Four months later, I convinced Josh Kaler who co-produced the record with Dan Molad to come back to record the verses.”
A rainiest June
Couldn't bleed through what we had to lose
We were born to mainly undo the weight of it all
In a completely raw manner, the track listing resonates the internal battle of mental health and confronting the darkest corners of your mind.
“‘Easy Love’ feels really personal. That one has a really big fear founded or unfounded that I’m going to have early-onset alzheimer's or dementia. I have this fear that my brain is going to stop working. It was hard to write but also really nice. It’s about how we treat our brains and take care of them and how much control we have-- I have really bad migraines where I lose my vision and feeling in my hands. So, I have this fear of my brain calling it quits.”
Speaking her truth for anyone to hear, she had no hesitations releasing some of her most vulnerable thoughts and experiences. But performing those songs on tour can be emotionally draining.
“The real task is being that vulnerable live every night. We were just on a seven week tour and sometimes I was there, sometimes I wasn’t. I think 80 percent of the time I was really present and able to mean everything. Sometimes you just get into your head. There’s so many songs like ‘Failure’ that’s about the ping pong of your brain. Like how we were just opening on this past tour so we had thirty minutes every night and the ability of my brain to think I should have another career path and also think I’m never going to do anything with my life and how people like this song or how people don’t like this song-- it’s crazy how fast your mind can change. That’s what ‘Failure’ is about. I would sing it every night and then I always felt very calm, and I could be really present.”
The careful precision of the production of Late Riser can be heard in every verse, chorus, beat, riff and chord. However, it wasn’t until the opening track, “Wide Awake,” came to be that Cone knew the record was complete.
“The first song on the album was the last song we recorded-- ‘Wide Awake.’ I just needed it. I didn’t really know what I was looking for but I wrote that song at like one in the morning and sang it into my voice memos on the my phone. It felt like it came out of nowhere and allowed the album to be finished.”
During this album cycle, Cone said she learned that her strengths can also be her weaknesses.
“The time we took with this and how careful we were every sound and all the lyrics that it also took a really long time. This bleeds into our everyday life too. We made the most amazing New Years Day dinner and we ate it at one a.m. on January 2nd, but it was incredible. I sort of feel like that with this record. I’m really proud of it, and I can’t believe it’s going to be out into the world. Maybe we will do it faster next time but maybe we won’t, who knows?”