Meet Christina Cone: Powerhouse behind Brooklyn band Frances Cone
If Brooklyn-based indie-pop band Frances Cone isn’t already on your radar, they should be. Lead singer Christina Cone has been a powerhouse on the rise since the release of the band’s debut album in 2013, but it was the band’s 2016 self-released single “Arizona” that finally put the band on the map. Penned by Cone after a trip West to visit her brother nearly a decade ago, “Arizona” is deeply personal. It’s a song about finding your own truths in times of doubt. As personal as the song is, it’s also anthemic and universal, which can explain the over 2 million plays on Spotify. Frances Cone is set to release their sophomore album in the coming months.
How did Frances Cone come to be?
I wasn’t always going to do this. I wanted to be, and still want to be, a dance therapist. I really want to work with autistic children and help their minds connect with their bodies. That was my thing that I was going to do for college. The end of college, I saw Cary Ann Hearst before she was in Shovels and Rope. I saw her play in Charleston, and it was like — it felt like church, but it wasn’t church. I don’t know if I was just so young that something in me was like, “Oh, I can do that,” which is insane to think about now without any level of experience in the world.
I moved to New York without really thinking about it. I never really lived out of the South except for when I studied abroad in college. I met this guy, Ward Williams, at a birthday party, who was in my favorite band in high school called Jump Little Children. He and I started playing music, and he introduced me to a bunch of musicians, and sort of coddled me, in a way. Andy, our bass player, I met him in 2012 on 12/12/12, and he and I are sort of the base of who Frances Cone is now. Our drummer has been friends with Andy since they were five, and then our newest guy Adam, I found across the street at Pete’s Candy Store playing to five people, and I thought he was so good. I couldn’t believe the place wasn’t packed, so I talked to him. He’s such a singer, and I’ve never had anyone like that in our band before, which is so fun because having someone who will sing harmonies with me and be totally happy and content with that all day long is nice. He’s so happy to stand there and sing, but fortunately he also plays. It’s just the four of us having a very good time. Also, Frances Cone is my dad’s name, and I changed the I to an E to make it feminine.
You’re three years post your debut album. What has changed in those three years?
That album, I made mainly by myself with Dan Molad, who’s the drummer in Lucius. The base of that album is just the two of us, and Ward Williams played a little. Kenneth Harris, who is now with Panic! at the Disco, is on that album. That wasn’t a group project, really. When that was completed Andy joined the band, and we became more of what I wanted Frances Cone to be, which was four committed people who weren’t also playing in 10 other bands at that time, which is really hard to do. I really wanted that community, so I feel really lucky to have these dudes.
You’re in Nashville right now. How that’s going?
It’s great. I love Nashville, and I love recording. Recording is my favorite.
Is this for the new LP? When are you all planning for that release?
We put out “Arizona,” and we were going to release another single a couple of months later, and then put out the whole album ourselves, but that first song did really well. We got a great response and feedback, so we’ve kind of spent the last few months figuring out if we’re going to self-release, or if a label is going to release it. It’s pushed everything back, which is good because that means that good things are happening. It also means that I keep being like, “Maybe it will be out in the fall, or maybe it will be out in 2017; I don’t know!” I was getting frustrated. Obviously we’ve written a bunch of new songs, and we’ve performed them, and toured this new song in April. Since we don’t know what’s happening with the album, I was like, “Well, we might as well keep recording.” I think what we’re doing right now will be on whatever eventually comes out, whenever it comes out.
To see more of Christina Cone’s interview, order Inspirer’s fall issue here!