Francis Petrini- an interview


When getting the true experience of London, I feel that an integral part of doing so is watching a busker or street performer at some point during the day. I took the opportunity to enjoy the music in Trafalgar Square a couple of weeks back and discovered an artist by the name of Francis Petrini. Working alongside Mimí Out, they've become Screams From The Sun- a synth pop/rock duo. I found it intriguing spending time with Francis, finding out about the dynamics of what he does and his relationships with others who also exemplify their talents on the streets of the English capital. His work is ace, and totally worth stopping and taking time out of your day to have a listen.

The following is a delve into his journey as a songwriter and musician so far.

 

Would you please tell me a bit about yourself and your work?

My name is Francis, I am 25 years old, and I'm a singer and guitarist. Originally from Italy, I moved to London almost four years ago and since then I've started to busk on the streets of London... here I am still!

What drew you to the music industry in particular?

The reason why I started to be so into music is because when I was seventeen, I went to see a 'Thirty Seconds To Mars' gig and I was in the first row. It just so happened that Jared [Leto] jumped on me during the song 'The Kill', which was the hit. He screamed in my face, and I had so many feelings twisting together. I thought, 'you know what? If I can write songs that give goosebumps to a guy, with that energy and just with a scream, I'd love to give it a try'- that's the first time I was like 'I really want to do this for real'.

How did your band develop, and get its name?

The way that my band was born is actually really strange because I was performing with another band before, and we met this guy, Mimí. He was studying at the Abbey Road Institute and we started to collaborate with him, because he's also a producer. I remember one day it was super hot and my other band mates weren't here so I decided to give it a go with Mimí, because he's also a drummer, and we came here, on the streets of London just for a jam together, just for fun. Something snapped inside my head- we'd never played together before but it was still so amazing, so we decided to keep doing it.

At the start we didn't have a name, but we knew that we wanted to find a name about the sun, positive vibes [etc.] as I'm super into it. One day, Mimí called me and he had watched a video on YouTube. He sent me the video showing all the nuclear explosions from the sun and all these massive explosions were creating a sound that seemed like screams. So we thought ''Screams From The Sun'... that's pretty cool'.

Can you tell me a bit about the writing process for your songs?

The writing process is always a little bit strange for me- unfortunately I'm not one of those guys that can write down like 30 songs straight away. I always need the right time or the right moment for it. Everything usually starts with me jamming on my acoustic guitar, and once I've found the melody, I try to put words and sentences that make sense. Usually, once I've got the lyrics or the melody and the chorus, I send everything to Mimí and Mimí does all of the arrangement and he finds the beat; step by step from there we build our songs.

Who inspires or influences your music?

Obviously one of my main influences is Jared Leto, and it's been really cool that we've been fortunate enough to play with him- I had the chance to play the same song that he sung in my face that got me into music. After six or seven years, we sung that song together, so for me, it was something amazing. Apart from that, I've always been a massive fan of Linkin Park and Chester Bennington, or another beautiful songwriter that I really really love is Robert Smith from The Cure. In general as a band we really love random things: we love 80s stuff from The Police to Duran Duran, and more modern stuff like Imagine Dragons.

If you could have dinner with three musicians, dead or alive, who would they be and why?

My perfect dinner with musicians...probably for my first one I'm going to pick Freddie Mercury- hell yeah! It's not just because I've seen a movie about him recently but he has got the most amazing voice I've ever heard and I think he would be super funny. Another person, that unfortunately passed away, would be Chester Bennington, and another guy that I think I would pick to have dinner with is probably Johnny Cash. I think he is one of those guys that after a couple of glasses of wine is going to be really funny to talk with, I've got this feeling.

If you weren’t making music, what career path would you have taken instead?

I would be an assassin. Ah no, I wouldn't do that, unless it's towards snakes which I'm terrified of! Jokes apart, the first form of art that I approached when I was a little boy (and a weird boy), was drawing and making paintings. Until I was fourteen, I always thought I could've built a career out of creating designs, drawing or painting, but after a couple of years in high school doing this art, music was the only thing I would keep doing without any stress, and it comes naturally out of me, so I thought that was the right path.

And lastly, how would you describe your journey so far and where would you like to take your music next?

At the moment, I would describe my music career as this [tattoo on his upper arm], so 'live like a dream, broken but free' [Thirty Seconds To Mars Lyrics]. Obviously being a busker in London, I'm always trying to pay my rent and invest in myself out of everything that I make on the streets, which is not so easy sometimes. But, I love what I'm doing and even if I've had some really tough days, I always try to be positive and never give up. I'm just hoping that I have the chance to keep playing, always at better stages, and always playing in front of more and more people step by step. I don't have any rush to be honest- I want to do it, but I know that good things request time, so we'll see.

 

Francis was genuinely an absolute pleasure to talk to- such a lovely guy with immense talent too. If you'd like to check out his work (which I really recommend you do), you can stream Screams From The Sun on Apple Music, Spotify and YouTube, as well as find him on Instagram @francisjupiter or @screamsfromthesun. Huge thanks to Francis for allowing me to interrupt him on such a hot day and for coming to chat to me- I can't wait to come to listen to you jamming out again soon!

{Some grammar is amended for clarity}