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Electronic duo AlunaGeorge on performing, parents and kittens

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SEPTEMBER 10, 2013

At OFF festival in Poland, AlunaGeorge was scheduled to play their set opposite the festival headliner Smashing Pumpkins. Having just splashed onto the scene, the duo expected to be performing for a few hundred people. Instead, a crowd of thousands was eagerly waiting for them to take the stage. Their performance at OFF, George Reid told the Daily Cal in an interview last month, was his favorite show thus far on AlunaGeorge’s summer festival rollercoaster.

The British electro-pop-R&B duo, made up vocalist and Aluna Francis and producer George Reid, has been one of the most exciting new acts to watch. Since releasing their collaboration with Disclosure titled “White Noise” and dropping their debut album Body Music in June, the duo have skyrocketed from the music-blog corners of the Internet to international stardom in a matter of months.

The Daily Cal caught up with Francis and Reid in London via Skype last month to talk about their recent album and tour, their parents, high school and gold-plated kittens.

The Daily Californian: What was your favorite show you’ve played so far? 

George Reid: A massive thumbs-up for me was when we did Jools, Holland. It was a real sense of having achieved something in that alone. It was truly terrifying when we were doing, but soon as it was done, it was a lovely thing to have done.

Aluna Francis: For me, it was definitely Glastonbury. I’ve been as a punter before, and we had no expectations when we went on stage, but people had actually turned up, and that was amazing. You could easily play to no one … and we were blown away that people really showed up to watch us.

DC: Do your parents listen to your music?

GR: Yeah, my dad’s hilarious with it. Jukeboxes in bars and pubs now are all MP3s and connected to the Internet. Our music has gone on the jukeboxes in pubs, so every time he goes down to one of his locals, he just puts on three of our songs on the jukebox every time he goes there. It’s so sweet, man. I love it.

AF: My mom listens to it, but she called me up the other day and said, “Aluna, are there 19 tracks on your album? Or 13? Your grandma seems to think there are 19.” And I said, “Mom, there’s a deluxe album and a normal album.” She said, “Ohhhhh.” Come on! It’s not hard to read the title! Deluxe … version.

DC: Do your parents ever critique your music?

AF: Yeah, my mom once told me to “sing differently.”

DC: What’s your favorite remix of one of your songs?

GR: I absolutely adore the DJ Snake remix of “You Know You Like It.” That’s awesome. Bondax did an amazing one of “You Know You Like It.” We’ve been really lucky and in a really privileged position to get to ask all these people to do remixes for us. They’re super talented. We got Baauer to do “Attracting Flies,” which still sounds great … It’s an embarrassment of riches who we’ve had to remix us.

DC: What were you like in high school?

AF: Massive loner, geek kind of person.

GR: I was pretty normal, man. I did nothing. Played a bit of music. Played a bit of sport. I wasn’t the brightest kid, you know, but never really struggled with anything. Pretty standard.

DC: Any embarrassing concert stories?

GR: Not really with this band. Since I’ve been playing music, I have been on the stage, and things have been thrown at the stage I’ve been playing on. A spring roll has been thrown. We’ve had a snowball thrown. That means they had to make the snowball, sneak into the venue and then throw it. It was indoors. I still to this day don’t know why they had it on their person, but in a nightclub, someone threw a pork pie. Who takes a pork pie to a nightclub?! I don’t know why. But they weren’t even embarrassing; it was just hilarious. Getting on stage is quite often, by rule, an embarrassing thing to do. You just kind of get over it and have fun with it.

AF: My embarrassing experience involved a costume situation where I was at Glastonbury with my old band and I decided to wear a boiler suit with some proper walking boots because it’s walking. With the costume change underneath, and I didn’t think that in order to get the boiler suit off I’d have to take off my boots. So, mid-set was like, “I’m going to reveal my next costume!” It got to the beat, and I was like, “Oh, crap!” I had to sit on the stage and unlace my boots in a really uncool way, and it just ruined the whole thing.

DC: If your belly button could be a dispenser for anything, what would it be?

AF: This might sound really weird, but kittens that stay kittens.

DC: Right, because what do you do when they become cats?

AF: Eat them!

GR: Would you not rather puppies, Aluna? Think about it, a little sausage dog.

AF: When you put it that way, I’m going to stick with kittens. You can take the dogs.

GR: I don’t want dogs coming out of me! Liquid gold! That’d be a good look … gold-plated kittens!

AlunaGeorge will be performing at the Independent in San Francisco on Wednesday with Supreme Cuts and Lovelife. The show is sold out.

Contact Samuel Avishay at 


SEPTEMBER 10, 2013

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