Francois and the Atlas Mountains are causing tongues to wag yet again with the release of two singles within a fortnight of each other, an imminent album release and an upcoming tour.

Francois spoke to The Fountain about Solide Mirage, being a westerner in Brussels and the excitement ahead of their gig at Glasgow’s Mono.

TF: With an upcoming tour and new single, I am excited to hear, are we to expect a new album release from you anytime soon?

Yes it will come out on the 3rd of March, it’s called Solide Mirage, and we’ve made lots of videos for it, and yes there’s a tour coming, and we even created a special font that will come out on 3rd March too.

TF: And can you elaborate on what we are to expect from this album?

Sparkles of distortions
Digital keyboards wonders
Moldy vintage reverbed piano riffs
Hazes of french rap
Middle-east heated guitar twists
Kla-ku-tu-kla-kla-ta-ta-tu-tu bongo sweats
…all of the above coated in bruxelles chocolate.

TF: The new single, Grand Dérèglement is a fabulous rhythmic track that makes me want to just get up and dance. Are we to expect many  of these? 

I’m by nature dubious of any kind of expectations. Rub’a’dubious.

TF: What have you been working on since the last release with Domino, Piano Ombre?

We had recorded an EP in Africa, so we released it and tour with it for a bit with two incredible musicians from Burkina Faso. We put together a website to relate our trip. Then all of the Atlas Mountains went on to work on their own  projects  (Babe, Petit Fantôme, Jaune). I personally worked on a dance piece with a dancer from Taiwan.

TF: And from what I can gather there has been a shift in members since the last album? Is that for a change in direction or was it a more organic collaborative process?

Yes David Nzeyimana is a new Atlas Mountain on Solide Mirage. Geography is mostly the reason. Amaury and I moved to Brussels, and we started collaborating with Le Colisée, David’s band who are from there.

Gerard and Pierre are busy with their project in Glasgow and Bayonne so they didn’t take part on the latest album physically. Obviously the amazing memories of moments spent together made for some spiritual influences.

You had met with one of your key collaborators in Brussels at a volunteer refugee space –
is there more political content in this album than previous albums?

The refugee I met only contributed to the video for Grand Dérèglement as a dabké dancer. He is not a musician, he didn’t contribute to the album.

Regarding political content in Solide Mirage, when I arrived in Brussels it was striking to see so many migrants applying for visas sleeping in tents all in public spaces in the city. It was weird to realise that I was living comfortably despite that I was myself a foreigner to Brussels. It was a shocking reminder of the privileges we have as westerners.

TF: As well as the new single and album, you also have a tour at the end of March, which sees you playing Mono in Glasgow as well as the Moth Club in London and Thekla in Bristol, your hometown. How do you find the Scottish crowds and fans? Are you looking forward to this Mono performance?

I am extremely excited to be back in Glasgow. Too sad it will only be for one night! Being on tour is a mixture of excitement and frustration. I am really lucky that I found some encouragement and support from the Glasgow scene since the early days of my project. Mono was the first place that put my little recordings on sale back in 2004. I remember feeling flabbergasted with hope when I saw my music on display.

TF: What do you hope this tour, album and single release will inspire amongst your fans?

I hope it will inspire them to engage in a love affair with a foreigner (by foreigner I don’t mean the band, we’ll already be in Norwich by the time you kiss).


Solide Mirage is out on Domino Records from 3rd March 2017. Francois and the Atlas Mountains perform in Mono, Glasgow on Thursday 30th March, find out more here.