Interview by Dakin Hardwick
At 12 years old, Francis Lau is the youngest person to grace the Burger Boogaloo stage. We had a chance to chat with him in his studio to talk about how he got started making music, some of his influences, and how he makes music.
So, when did you get started with 3 O’Clock Rock?
Well, I got started after working with Bandworks. I didn’t like Bandworks because I they didn’t think DEVO was Rock’n’Roll music.
I’ve never heard of Bandworks. What do they do?
Bandworks is kinda like 3 O’Clock Rock, only they do things a little different. So, when I went, which was four years ago, I went for 2 weeks, but every week they did a different band. The first week we did AC/DC and the second week we did THE WHITE STRIPES.
How did you find synth music?
It started out when my Dad was playing synth music on the computer, and I kind of liked it, so he started showing me some bands. For example, DEVO, KRAFTWERK, DEPECHE MODE and some other bands. So I started looking for them myself and started listening to them.
So, you get to open for DEVO. That’s amazing. What’s your favorite DEVO song.
I have many. One of my favorites is “Jocko Homo.” When I started, I didn’t like it at first. But I started liking it. Next is “Time Out For Fun” and “Going Under,” which is the first song I learned how to play.
When you play Burger Boogaloo, will you be doing originals, or only covers?
Sadly only covers. I only ever wrote one original song.
What was it like learning to write a song?
I had some help from my teacher. So what I did was make a drum beat, and then put some chords in, and then improvised for lead, and then improvised for chords, and put it together.
What bands do you like to cover?
For Burger Boogaloo, I’m doing one DEVO, one DEPECHE MODE, and one OMD. I’m doing “Enola Gay.” I’m also doing “Funkytown.” And KRAFTWERK.
Is there anyone you excited to see other than Devo?
I heard that John Waters is in the movie Alvin & The Chipmunks: The Road Chip.
What’s the best show you played?
Most recently, it was two days ago, on the second floor apartments gardens. I did the best “Funkytown” cover I’ve ever done. Another one would be the Oktoberfest that I played. And Burger Boogaloo and the DEVO Convention will be my best.
When is The Devo Convention?
It’s in August. I don’t know which day, but in early August. It’s near Columbus, Ohio.
Let’s talk about making music. I like how you arrange your songs, especially the one you wrote where it starts out dark, and gets happy in the middle, and then ends dark again.
The buzzing sound on the hi-hat I did on purpose. It’s kind of an experimental song, so on the hi-hat, I made the wave line really small, and then loop it really fast, so it kind of hurts. It buzzes really fast. I did the same with the kick drums. It’s kind of like when cars shake. Like, when I walk to school, I hear cars where the bass is really boosted and shakes the car. I was kind of trying to make fun of people that make the bass really loud in their car.