Jana Bahrich finds releasing music to be a strange process. “It’s really gratifying, but at the same time it’s also kind of depleting.”
Photo: Patricia Marets
Francis of Delirium finally get to release debut EP “All Change” on 26 June. Singer-songwriter Jana Bahrich talks about the tracks, how the duo works together and what she likes about the Luxembourg music scene.
Getting music released in the age of coronavirus has not been easy. With live shows cancelled, choosing the right moment to get a record out to an audience is a delicate balancing act. But the time has come for Luxembourg based Francis of Delirium to finally release debut EP “All Change”, which is made available on 26 June.
The duo of 18-yerar old singer-songwriter-guitarist Jana Bahrich and collaborator Chris Hewett, 30 years her senior, has already had the release postponed twice. So how does Jana feel now the date is firmly fixed? “I can definitely feel myself getting more stressed out the closer we get to the date,” she says. “But I find releasing music to be a strange process. It’s really gratifying, but at the same time it’s also kind of depleting.”
Back in January we already met the record’s short, sharp, shock of a climax, the anthemic ‘Quit Fucking Around’. And the beguiling ‘Circles’, a gorgeous slice of melancholic heartbreak indie pop that was actually written when Jana was just 15, saw the light of day at the end of March. Watch the video to ‘Circles’ here.
The EP opens with the more atmospheric ‘Broken’. “I wanted to have ‘Broken’ as… a thesis statement sounds pretentious, but as that idea of introducing the mental state of the person in the EP,” Jana explains. “To make sure there’s a somewhat clear linear line that runs through the tracks.”
In between we have the chop-change rhythm of ‘Karen’, which is a twist on the meme of the social media persona who always wants to complain to a manager. “I thought it would be interesting to make Karen the voice of self-doubt inside your head…telling you you’re not good enough.” The track ends in a disturbing slowly fading squall of mental anguish.
And then there’s ‘Ashamed’, a track that caught the attention of The Line Of Best Fit, which called it a “spiky garage rock classic”.
Many of the songs Jana ends up writing start with simply messing around with guitar and finding chords that work, allowing her subconscious to take over. Then, once an idea forms, she might start working more intentionally with lyrics. I feel like I sometimes forget how it happened.”
She took violin at the age of five but got annoyed at the discipline her teachers tried to impose so took a break from music. Then she picked up guitar and piano, learning from YouTube tutorials. And she took music as part of her International Baccalaureat. “So I have some knowledge of theory and composition, but I wouldn’t be able to write a Brahms symphony. I would love to write a musical actually. That’s the biggest goal.”
Moving with her family Jana lived in Canada, Belgium and Switzerland before arriving in Luxembourg five years ago. Even as a teenager who might fine the grand duchy limiting, she has not grown tired of discovering it is full of surprising beauty. And she finds the local music scene very supportive--one of her highlights of 2019 was being invited, alongside C’est Karma and Hannah Ida, by Georges Goerens (Bartelby Delicate and Seed To Tree) to play a live show in a church. “It was so nice to be in a space where everyone just wanted to share music in a really genuine way.” Jana also acknowledges the support systems Luxembourg provides in helping artists get their music heard further afield. But she says the main thing any artist can do to reach a wider audience is to keep writing songs that connect with people.
The title of the EP refers to the announcement made when a train reaches its destination. But could it also refer, I wonder, to a change of direction for the duo? “I love artists like Sufjan and St. Vincent, or Car Seat Headrest. Each time they release something you don’t know what they’re going to put out," Jana says. "Sufjan Stevens does that so, well--“Age of Adz” is one of my favourite albums ever. I would love to keep changing our sound and pushing it to be something different each time. The ultimate goal is to be creating something new.”