‘It’s a real homecoming’: Avec Sans singer ‘so pleased’ ahead of Manchester gig

Next week will be a homecoming for one half of electro-pop duo Avec Sans when they play at Night & Day.

The London-based band emerged in 2012 when Manchester native Alice Fox and Trinidadian Jack St James teamed up after a chance encounter in the capital. 

“I was living in Manchester when we first met at a show in London and hit it off,” Alice told MM.
“Then we both lost our jobs at the same time so decided to get together and try writing.

“When we put the first track online and had a great reception, we decided we needed to be closer together to be a band.”

That seminal track was an electro-reimagination of American artist Bon Iver’s Perth.

Encouraged by the response, the pair decided to pursue more musical success under the moniker – a literal translation of the French ‘with without’ – in the big smoke.

The South is an area more familiar to the male half of the group – Jack’s intrepid family made London their home when he was a youngster.
“No one quite believes us that Jack’s from Trinidad, but his family go back seven generations and most of them still live there,” said Alice.
“His family travelled a lot when he was growing up with his dad’s job and they eventually settled in the south of England.”
Having spent significant time together writing in the time since the release of their first single, the duo have garnered rave reviews for their energetic live performances, and Alice believes their rapid rise can be attributed to the significant scope of the online platform. 

“The internet has made it incredibly easy to get music out there,” she said.

“We essentially became a band due to the reception of that track, we had so many labels and promoters getting in touch within days.

“Once upon a time we’d have had to have slogged it out for several years to get that level of interest.

“We’ve also got people finding us online globally, our album pre-orders are just going out at the moment and it’s incredibly exciting to be sending packages to pretty much every country.”

Producing the album came at a personal cost to Alice, who had to fly the nest in favour of the bustling musical hotbed of the capital, and she said she’s looking forward to coming back.

“It’s going to be a real homecoming,” she said.

“I’ve grown up watching bands like Everything Everything, Dutch Uncles and Liam Frost.
“I got to know and was really encouraged by people like Dave Haslam and Clint Boon and it was really interesting for me to watch the Ting Tings’ assent to global success, it was great to see what happened for them.

“It was pretty hard to leave Manchester as I’d lived my whole live in Sale, then Withington.

I’m so pleased to be coming back and playing Manchester twice in one week, with Ladyhawke on Monday 13 and then our own headline show at Night & Day.”

French hit-maker Ladyhawke isn’t the only big name who Alice, recalling her previous experiences of the popular venue, can count amongst artists she’s shared a stage with.
“I previously played at Night & Day growing up and have a lot of fond memories of the barmaids and promoters, I even supported Ellie Goulding there once upon a time,” she said.

And ahead of next week’s gig, Alice told MM she’s keen to take Avec Sans to the stages of the venues she grew up watching her heroes play, and one which first opened its doors during her time in the South. 

“Gorilla was top of my list, as it opened after I moved to London so I’ve never stepped through the door, I’m looking forward to playing there,” she said.
“I think The Apollo would be the ultimate venue for me, simply as it’s where all the really big, good acts played.”

But the band’s ambition isn’t restricted to England’s North West.

Earlier this year, they took on the small matter of the United States, where they’ll return later this year.

“We’re continuing touring in the UK in June and then we’re going to be heading out to America for a tour there this autumn,” she said.

“We played at SXSW this year and we’ve been out to play CMJ in New York and LA.

“Jack and I are obsessed with America, so it’s an incredible opportunity to see places we never thought we’d make it to. 

“We hope to see more of the world and to carry on making the music we want to make, as independent artists, we’ve been given entirely free reign and have written and produced everything ourselves. 

“We’ve been able to do so much more that way and hope to continue to have that kind of freedom.”

Image courtesy of Avec Sans, via YouTube, with thanks

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