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Interview: Artist & Engineer Blac Francis

Blac Francis is an artist from Fredricksburg, Virginia. Whether you know him as Blac Francis or Zac Sims, he is known for his provocative demeanor in his projects. Drawing influence from the likes of Kanye West, Kid Cudi, and Childish Gambino, Blac Francis provides an alternate image of what society expects from a black man. He has released music as far back as 2009 and became more consistent as time has progressed. The culmination of his musical experimentation had led to the release of his seven-track EP Chrome Heart Omega. Chrome Heart Omega allows his listeners to comprehend his trials and tribulations in distorted melodies and transparent songwriting. We had the time to chat with Blac to learn more about him and his musical background.

Jay: Explain how you got into music. As far as I know, you have an engineering background and then got into music. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong on that.

Blac: My good friend Dre came to me and my best friend Chris talking about “Yo let rap, let’s make music!” Dre was really into Lil B at the time so he wanted to make music like that and diss records as a joke, for fun. We went along with it, but we caught the bug and wanted to take it more seriously. With our RockBand mic and Audacity software, Chris and I started recording music more seriously. My house was way less chaotic than his, so we recorded at my parents' house. Because of that I kind of just fell into the engineering role and fell in love with it!

Jay: Can you describe the importance of engineering when it comes to making music?

Blac: Engineering is easily the most important part of the process. The engineers HAVE to wear multiple hats. From recording engineer, mixing engineer, mastering, live events, podcasts, shows, to movies, there is ALWAYS someone on those boards making sure the audio is how it’s meant to be. Even recently, engineers are producing these songs we love so much.

Jay: What tips do you have on becoming a better engineer?

Blac: Repetition. They say 10,000 hours to be a master or whatever, but it’s really 100,000. Train your ears to hear the “inaudible” within that 100,000 hours and study! Learn from others that are better than you. I’ve put in college-level hours on YouTube to learn as much as I can, and I still know very little, but my ears are trained up and I know what I know well.

"They say 10,000 hours to be a master or whatever, but it’s really 100,000. Train your ears to hear the “inaudible” within that 100,000 hours and study!"- Blac Francis

Jay: Describe your growth from your most recent project Chrome Heart Omega versus your last project Boy Sunset?

Blac: Boy Sunset was released in 2019. I hadn’t found my sound yet when I put Boy Sunset out as I was focused on very different things with the project. With CHO, my sound changed dramatically and my songwriting improved tremendously! Boy Sunset is my favorite though! I did things on Boy Sunset that I probably will never do again.

Jay: What are those things?

Blac: That whole project I recorded/mixed/mastered. From the vocals, the guitar, the trumpets. That big horn moment on Boy Sunset, Help Me, my boy Stephen Patterson played like twelve different parts with like four different horns. He and our other homie Zephaniah Washington wrote that section in like four hours. It was just a lot of work. There’s just A LOT of production that I curated within the EP that no one will peep.

Jay: Can you discuss how the idea for the abstract visual KryptoNight204 come about?

Blac: here wasn’t much of a concept if I’m being honest. Daniel Green and I were really looking to make some simple visualizers for some of the songs on CHO and ended up with what the video is now. A lot of our videos are very loose in concept, then we piece things together on-sight or in post-production. We’re kind of just winging it.

Jay: How would you say that your song 3 A.M. In LaLa Land is different from the EP with the same name that was released in 2018?

Blac: The EP is just a lot of thoughts on myself and my home life and whatnot. The song does follow the themes of thought, reflection, and understanding like the EP. The song, however, is a more complete, concise version of the EP. I realized that after I wrote the song, so I figured them having the same title would be fitting.

Jay: What was the best no that you have ever received and why?

Blac: I don’t know if this qualifies as a “no”, but the best no I’ve ever received was from a job I applied for that my housemate worked at. I had gotten the interview, killed it! I should’ve gotten the job, but I didn’t. Come to find out my housemate slept with the recruiter and he apparently didn’t do a good job from what I was told from a mutual of ours. So out of spite, the recruiter blocked my application and I didn’t get the job. It was funny then and it’s still funny now.

Jay: How would you describe the indie Virginia scene to a non-Virginia native?

Blac: Large and growing, compartmentalized, but very accepting and open. I really think 2020 was the catalyst for the scene to grow as a whole.

Jay: Who are some indie artists that you would want to shout out?

I’m still working on branching out and getting to know who’s who, so I don’t really have anyone other than my guy Pvvli. That’s the homie!

Visit to stream Chrome Heart Omega and the rest of his music. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter.

Written by: Jay Guevara. @justinhisprime on all social media.

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