John Franco & The Hindus are part raucous punksters and part voluble party band. They're loud, they're proud, they know how to work a crowd. We learn a little more about the band ahead of their first showing at Bang On.
Tell us a little about your band.
It all started at Bürknereck during a boozy night. Everyone shared which instrument they play and suddenly we realised that there’s a complete band sitting around the table! We met a couple of days later and started with cover versions of the Talking Heads, Wreckless Eric, and The Only Ones, but then every member came up with their own songs. We ended up with different styles and sounds. We just wanted to perform, so we organised our own first gig (which we opened with a rap by Eve). It was raw and pretty terrible. But we evolved, worked on our guitar sounds and feel like a real garage band now.
Most of the songs are written by the founding mothers Leila, Jule and Lukas, while Christoph is the master of catchy riffs and melodies. JFATH reflects all our influences, since every member adds something to each song.
What’s been your best moment as a band so far?
At the beginning we rehearsed in a shared rehearsal room: the band was just formed, we couldn’t play our instruments well, had no idea what we wanted to sound like, the amps were old, and the setup was different every time.
But then we were lucky and bumped into the owner of Paul-Lincke-Studios, who recorded all our songs later. His studio is just fabulous! He asked us if we wanted to rehearse in the studio from then on, and I believe this was a big turning point for us, since we were able to work on our sound and equipment.
How do you prepare for a gig?
With hugs and schnaps!
If you could have anyone in the audience at Bang On fest for your set, who would you choose and why?
Lukas: Gillian Anderson! I became a huge X Files fan when it was aired on German TV many years ago. I had a crush on her for sure since she was the first super strong female tv character I remember, so it was just logical to write a song about her and I would love her to hear it.
Jule: A lot of girls I can inspire and convince to grab any instrument, go directly to the next rehearsal room and write some songs. And Stephen Malkmus!
What does Bang On Fest mean to you?
Lukas: Being invited to be part of a local band collective with an underground charm feels amazing! We played a band contest lately with around 95% men on stage, which was so weird! There are so many amazing female artists out there, but you rarely see them . Bringing them on stage is the most exciting thing about Bang On Fest.
Jule: Yes, we love Bei Ruth and we love to fight for the rights and the courage of women.
Leila: Playing with great musicians in a great place with a good attitude
Bang On Fest is all about promoting women in music. Favourite female artist?
Jule: Juliette Lewis, PJ Harvey, Patti Smith, Alison Statton (Young Marble Giants )
Chris: Meg White for bringing up the minimalistic vintage drum set-up and playing, Kristy ‘Poison Ivy’ Wallace, Joan Jett..
Leila: Kathleen Hanna from Bikini Kill, as she is the all time favourite punk girl heroine.
Lukas: Beth Gibbons, Roisin Murphy, Donna Summer, Tina Weymouth.
What can people look forward to about your set?
Chris: People can expect a kind of a raw sound with lot of unexpected variations of music styles but never kinda mainstreamy…
Jule: Some songs about love, life, hate and riot girl, written and performed by two women in their very late 30s (girls! you are never too old for a nice stage), and three very lovely guys.
Lukas: I think people can see and hear that our music is a mix of influences of all band members, with a lot of memories from teenage and recent years. One particular thing I always look forward to is my one and only solo, and although I play bass, it’s not a bass solo.
Catch John Franco & the Hindus at Bang On Fest, April 7th.