Interview with Pete Francis: Wading In An Iron Sea

I read that the title of this album comes from strength, the strength you look for and the strength you have. Did you find any new-found strength after this album was finished?

It was sort of a stepping stone because, honestly, I made several records before, but I needed something that I could use as a new starting place to build from. In other records there is this part that I feel I can create, and it’s a great moment of expression, but I don’t know if I can actually build my own career or build something out of it.

It’s almost like a cyclical process that just goes round and round, where I am creating, but not really moving forward. On this record I feel like I’m really moving forward, and there is a great growth from this and my previous work.

Do you find it at all challenging to write personal, heartfelt music in a place like New York that can be so detached and lonely?

It’s really true. NYC can sometimes feel very lonely and detached, and yet there are moments when you find people or you meet someone or a group of people. It can be a bookstore or you go for a walk, and somewhere you find strength. Sometimes I feel like I get to observe so many parts of the world and all these different characters; I can feel sort of lost. But you can go to a restaurant or for a bike ride, and then I am able to make sense of it and express myself through that.

Onstage, you and your band are much more explosive then on the record. Could you elaborate on this contrast between the two settings, and the effect it has how on your sound?

The record and the performance are two different things. Sometimes when I lay down a song on record, it’s just the beginning of how the song will grow. On Iron Sea And The Cavalry, I would say ‘Carousel’ is taking on more a jam vibe.

I do feel like on these records that I am going to be making in the future, I want to capture more of the live energy. I’ve seen a lot of bands and thought, ‘The record is really good, but the live show took it over the top.’ I want to capture what it feels like to be live, but without getting too jammy or convoluted, so it [the record] still retains its compact strength.

Pete Francis will appear at the Bowery Ballroom in NYC on Sept. 6. Iron Sea And The Cavalry is out now on Scrapper Records. For more information visit