Having been reshaping the house music landscape with a culturally rich sound incorporating elements of Afro, deep, melodic, and worldly influences, Francis Mercier is releasing his new track, Strangers (Do You Remember), today. The prolific Haitian DJ/producer now presents us with his most exciting release of the summer which comes via Tiësto's record label, Musical Freedom. Stay tuned because, in two weeks, one more release is coming, and he has already started an international tour that will take him to many countries. We speak to him about his just-released track, the importance of consistency and discipline, and the need for recuperating in calming environments.
Hello Francis, welcome to METAL! How are you and where are you answering us from?
Hi guys, thank you for having me! I’m feeling great and hope the same for you. I am answering from Beirut, Lebanon.
Before delving into all the projects you have for this summer and your latest release, I would like to know a little more about you. Where were you born and raised? What can you tell us about your childhood and adolescence?
Certainly! I was born in the United States and then immediately after, my family moved back to our home in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, where I was raised throughout my adolescence.
You were exposed to several different cultures and sounds, from Tiësto to Jamaican reggae and the sounds of traditional Kompa and Haitian rap. You used to listen to music daily, was anyone in your family pursuing music?
Nobody else in my family was pursuing music! I was the only one intrigued by it.
Being 18, you moved to the United States to attend Brown University and study Applied Math, right? How do you remember this moment in your life?
Yes, this was a very exciting time of my life to experience university or ‘college’ in the United States. I was DJing in New York City on the weekends while an undergrad, so I had to find a balance between music and academia.
I’m very interested in this mixture of worlds, the intersection between mathematics and music. Two disciplines that, though they are different, have common ground, don't you think?
Yes, they have a similarity for sure. Mathematics is baked into sound design and music production – frequency ranges, signal processing, balancing decibel levels across multiple channels, etc. There is also a correlation between discipline and attention span. For example, to be able to stay focused through solving a long equation and to have the mental stamina to produce, mix, and master a song all by yourself (with a record label deadline in place).
You’ve garnered more than fifteen million streams across all music platforms, and you have more than two million monthly listeners on Spotify. Tell us, how did you achieve all this? Has it been a progressive growth or was there a before-and-after moment in your career?
My first release on Spotify was in 2013, however, things didn’t begin to take flight until only last year when I released Sete on Insomniac Records in March 2022. Since then, over the last year, my Spotify profile grew from 100k monthly listeners to now 2M+ listeners. I owe all of the reasons to the immense love and support from everyone around the world who appreciate and listen to my music. Through consistency and discipline with the quality of my craft, I have been able to gain global recognition.
Now you’re releasing your new track, Strangers, on Tiësto’s Musical Freedom. Tell us about this latest release, please.
Musical Freedom approached me to add my spin to their hit Strangers from five years ago, with David Tort, Markem, and Yas Cepeda. I loved the original and wanted to create my own version. My version is titled Strangers (Do You Remember) and I’m ecstatic to have released it during the peak of the summer. I really love it.
And in the coming months, will you be releasing more new music? What can we expect from it?
Yes, on July 28th I have another release coming with HUGEL featuring Victor Démé. It will be released on Insomniac. Beyond that, things are still falling into place, but they will be some of my biggest releases yet.
We can’t fail to ask you about your international tour this summer, which will bring you to Ibiza, St Tropez, Sardinia, Egypt, or Mykonos in the next two months. How do you feel now that you have just started your Europe shows?
I am super excited as I love playing in/visiting new cities around the world. I love to meet new people and experience new cultures, and I am so grateful that my job allows me to do just that at a very high degree and capacity.
And how do you manage the fatigue, the frenetic pace when you are on tour travelling so much?
Off days. During the weeks between weekends, my team and I do our absolute best to schedule ‘reset’ days for me so I can rest, relax, and recuperate in calming environments.
Last question, is there anything you can tell us about your projects for the second half of 2023?
I wish I could! The news should break this month hopefully once the paperwork is finalised, but it is an enormous collab with one of the most respected international musicians of our time.
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