Album art by Kay Dougan
MAG: Thank you for agreeing to do this interview with me at such an exciting, busy time for Magic Eight Ball! Can you believe it’s been four years since our last interview? Last year you released your first LP “Sorry We’re Late But We’re Worth The Wait” Why did it take so long to put out your first album?
BAZ: It’s always a pleasure to chat with you, Lissy! You’ve always been so kind to myself and the band, and with how we both follow each other’s endeavours online, plus how I’m now Facebook friends with your Dad too, those four years really seem a lot shorter! Regarding our first album though, it was always something to be done when we had the right songs and the right people to record them with. Once I met Dave Draper in 2011 I was really coming into another phase of my writing ability I felt, and the two things combined to make the right time, right then.
MAG: And now we’re already talking about Magic Eight Ball’s second album, with whispers of a third in the works… When can we expect it to be released? Does the album have a title yet?
BAZ: Well that’s the thing, I’ve spent the last few years tying the ends to a lot of ideas I’d had in the works for a while (in some cases), which together with the new songs has created a nice creative flow that I’d not wanted to restrict to just one record. The third album is still a few years off yet I think, but I already know how I want it to sound. The title of our latest album though will be getting it’s grand unveiling in about a month’s time ahead of an early November 2014 release date.
MAG: Please tell us about the folk you’ve collaborated with on your new album- it’s quite an impressive list. How did you get Rik Mayall involved?
BAZ: Well, Dave Draper has been enjoying some success of late through his work with Kerbdog amongst others, but I’ve been working with him and we’ve been good friends for awhile now so that’s how we came together again, then Jase (Bowld, who’s drummed for Killing Joke and Bullet For My Valentine) is an old friend of Dave’s who lives down the road from his studio, so we were lucky to bag him again for the second record too. As for Rik, well that’s a whole other story. At the start of the year I wrote to his agent and sent them both copies of ‘Sorry We’re Late…’ with a view to getting him to read my poetry on our latest effort. Remarkably, after some back and forth we got given a date to record with Rik, and we just loved every second of our time with him. It turned out that our first album had been enjoyed by him and had helped open that totally unique window of opportunity for us. He was so much fun and I think about him every day still.
Baz Francis with Rik Mayall and Dave Draper Photo courtesy of Stuart Anderson
MAG: You’ve had a long relationship with Donnie Vie from Enuff Z’Nuff- what have you guys been working on recently? Also, how did that relationship start? You’re from Surrey, England and they’re from Chicago, USA. Have you played in Chicago and at what venue? Do you have plans to come back over and play?
BAZ: It all started with me meeting the band at their gig in London a few years back and putting my foot in the door long enough to explain that I was a musician too. Next thing I knew we were gigging and touring with the guys from the band, and Donnie and I developed a very unique friendship that lead to us recording together last summer on the first Magic Eight Ball album, his live album that came out February just gone, plus his forthcoming studio record ‘All In’, that I’m just waiting to hear about it’s release date from Cargo Records. As for Chicago, it’s still on my To Do List as all my American gigs so far have been in California. As a big lover of Donnie’s work plus that of Cheap Trick and The Smashing Pumpkins, I feel that Chicago would be right up my street, and I would love nothing more than to play the famous Metro.
MAG: What was the first band that you can remember listening to that made an emotional connection with you and got you into music?
BAZ: Queen were I think the first band to make me want to play music, and Freddie Mercury is still my favourite musician of all, but it was the Manic Street Preachers that made music my life and something that I actively pursued to make so. In between those two though, the first musician I truly came to love and collect the work of was Marvin Gaye.
MAG: When you’re not writing/ playing music what kinds of things do you like to do?
BAZ: I’m constantly on the clock with Magic Eight Ball, I never really switch off from it, but the closest I get to doing so is by watching horror movies or playing this game called Galaxy Balls on my phone whilst I drink coffee. I listen to a lot of music, and factor exciting travels into a lot of my own musical movements too, but see; we’re already back to life with the band!
Magic Eight Ball. Photo courtesy of Kay Dougan
MAG: Is there anything else we can expect in the near future from yourself and/or Magic Eight Ball that we haven’t already covered? Singles, videos, tours/live shows etc?
BAZ: Well, we’ve just filmed a new video with Oly Edkins of Bravo Oscar Productions for a track off our new album, and next week we go back into the studio to finish our Christmas single, with another video for that to follow courtesy of Emil Kunda again. Then I want to gig all over the place to promote the record, hopefully in more new countries like we did this summer just gone.
MAG: One last thing, I also should ask where you shop because you have quite an awesome individual style of dressing!
BAZ: I buy my clothes from the trusty trinity of Ebay, charity shops and old stock buckets of fancy dress!
Baz. Photo Courtesy of Tom O’Donoghue
BAZ: Anytime for you darling. I have such a lot of time and respect for you x
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