Self-described "small town South African boy" Francois Klark is a musician, songwriter, performer and all around amazing guy who is currently based in Toronto. We recently sat down with him at Spacefy HQ to discuss staying grounded, being a one man act, and "epic things".
A mixture of strings, grand piano, 808’s, bass synths, soaring electric guitars, and of course, vocals, Francois Klark's music is influenced by both instrumental and electronic sounds. "I like epic things," says Francois Klark when asked to describe his own unique musical style. "What my producer Kibwe (Kibs) Thomas and I try to do is take the worlds of real live instruments and produced/computer generated and synthesized sounds, bring those two worlds together and paint some nice pictures."
Up until now, Klark's music has only been available as free downloads on his website, something he says has helped him reach new audiences. "The Internet is an amazing thing. An audience that opened up as a result of one of the songs that we had put out was the whole 'choreography scene'. Out of nowhere a bunch of dancers began choreographing their routines to that song. It’s kind of funny how the Internet makes your music end up in different places."
One place Klark wants to see his music more than anywhere else is on stage. When asked about his dream gig, he doesn't hesitate to describe it down to the very last detail. "The dream is a huge open-air stadium. There are fireworks going off, lights, and lots of special effects. Whenever I write these songs, I think of the music video, the visuals, and the production that would need to happen on stage for that piece. There’s this one song we’ve given out for free called "For You", and I'd want to open the show with that song. It’s got this First Nations chant at the very beginning. I'm envisioning this moment where the stadium is completely dark and Pow Wow dancers emerge out onto a smoke covered stage while there are fans blowing on the actual audience… then Thunder... I'd want to make it rain in the stadium... As in create a full blown thunderstom inside the stadium! These are the kinds of moments that I'm working towards. Being able to put on a stadium show with all these creative production ideas."
Klark's career is currently a solo show in the truest sense of the word: in between recording two days a week, teaching, and playing gigs, he does all his own social media, marketing, and even designs his own posters. When asked what the hardest part about being a musician is, Klark sums it up with, "[that] it’s not paying for itself yet." And, as any artist in creative field will tell you, finding the right balance between working to make money, and working on your passion. "Having to do studio work for somebody else, and not being able to spend your entire day just writing or just doing social media... to just have one job would be incredible."
Klark takes an interesting approach to staying grounded, by painting three simple but symbolic white bands on his arm. "When I’m on stage I always want to be reminded of where I come from and the things I stand for in order to stay grounded. I did a photoshoot a little while ago with a photographer named Quin West, and the theme was merging Canadian and South African culture since I now call both of these places home. We settled on shooting in a snow covered winter landscape to represent Canada and then painted my arms with the body paint to represent South Africa. It was at this shoot that I painted the three white stripes on my arm for the first time - One representing faith. Another representing family. The third stripe representing home. These are three things I hold dearest and symbolizing them on my arm just kinda stuck after the photoshoot. "
Klark's first EP ("the name is still up in the air, but it’s probably going to be called The Love EP because most of the songs on there revolve around this theme") is a seven song collection due for release early in the new year, with hopes of a tour to support it in the spring. You can hear some of the alternative pop anthems on Francois Klark's YouTube channel.
Asked to describe the most rewarding part about being a musician, Klark explains the moment when all the composing, recording, and production is finished. "You listen to [the song] for the first time, the sound is turned up in the studio, when you hear something that you've created, something you've poured energy and emotion into. Hearing the finished product for the first time... that's probbably the most rewarding thing about this."
Francois Klark is a South-African Canadian musician based in Toronto. His alternative pop anthems are set to an epic soundscape that combines electronic and live instrumentation. Stay tuned for his first EP, to be released soon. www.francoisklark.com