Greg Francis is a member of shy kids, a band of filmmakers from Toronto.
Interview by Rebeccah Love
Rockets, released in 2015
What non-musical art forms do you look to for inspiration in your own practice?
the first place I go to when looking for inspiration is the movies. there's just something so magical about capturing light and watching it flicker on the big screen. films have so many elements to them: the soundtrack, camera work, production design, editing…something's bound to spark an idea, even if the film’s a flub.
I also recently found my love for video games again. I’ve spent a few too many hours exploring Hyrule in the newest Zelda. Pat has a HTC Vive at his place…trying VR for the first time was the most mind-blowing experience. I'm really excited to make some stuff in VR.
Why do we need music?
I can only speak for myself, but I think that music, and the arts in general, are the best tool to help me fully express my ideas + emotions. being human is complicated; I’m full of all these inextricable biological and evolutionary functions that are hard to make sense of at times. when it comes to discussing the weirder and deeper things in life, I find that music helps to communicate things more simply and effectively.
Do you see your practice as a documentary filmmaker as being separate from your practice as a musician, or are they interconnected?
my love for documentary probably stems from me being a super curious person. I’m always looking for the what-and-why of things. I guess I could say the same about my musical practice. I love playing with beats, melodies and harmonies to see how I can better express something. I think film and music have a lot in common. I tend to frame and edit pictures in a musical way - finding the rhythms and looking for the emotional connections when putting two shots, or chords together.
on the other hand, I think that film and music flex two different sides of my brain-muscle. with documentary filmmaking, I tend to approach things with a lot more logic and reasoning. "where's the story?" "what does this sequence of shots say?" "how do I frame this?". when I approach music though, logic often goes out the window and I work strictly with feels.
What are you looking forward to?
As a collective, we've been through quite the trip these past couple years...and I think our new album, in a state is a great representation of that trip. I'm so excited to share the fruits of our labour with anyone who's willing to watch and listen. I’m also looking forward to us further honing our skills as film and music makers. wait ’til you see/hear the new stuff we're cooking up!
What does shy kids mean to you?
to me, shy kids represents a group of people who want to push their creative boundaries to the limit - to step outside of the comfort zone, and make sure we're giving 100% in everything we do. we’re perfectionists and don't stop until we think our stuff is the best it can possibly be. we try and bring a sense of playfulness to everything we do; colour outside the lines!
most importantly though, I'd say shy kids is a family. I don’t wanna get too sappy, but it's pretty cool that I get to do what I love with my best friends every day.