Today’s Song: Miles Francis’ Funky, Feverish & Kaleidoscopic “Service”

Miles Francis © Charles Billot
Miles Francis © Charles Billot
With a cool, funky strut and a kaleidoscopic scope, Miles Francis’ refreshing “Service” is an exhilarating, thoroughly hypnotizing experience.
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Stream: “Service” – Miles Francis




With a cool, funky strut and a kaleidoscopic scope, Miles Francis’ refreshing “Service” is an exhilarating, thoroughly hypnotizing experience. Dramatic and charged, effervescent and charming (with a dark tint for added thrill), it’s the kind of song that absorbs our attention – begging for repeat listens as we fall deeper under its spell.

Service - Miles Francis
Service – Miles Francis
I can be your chaperone
Take you to a party and leave you alone
OK? Whatever it takes, whatever it takes
I’ll do anything for you
I’ll do anything for you
I can be your sous chef
Kitchen running smoothly so you’re not stressed
OK? Whatever it takes, whatever it takes
I’ll do anything for you

Released earlier this May, “Service” is a stunning, colorful explosion of sound and feeling in two and a half feverish minutes. Miles Francis’ first offering since 2019’s debut EP Doves finds the New York City singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist bursting back into the indie spotlight with a passion. Their voice is nuanced and evocative; their guitar and bass work is tight and in the pocket; and their production is incredibly polished as they weave listeners through a 21st Century funk-fueled daze.

“‘Service’ is my flip of the signature boy-band devotional pop song,” Francis tells Atwood Magazine. “I grew up on that music, so that lyrical style (lines like “I’ll do anything for you” and “whatever it takes”) is very easy for me to conjure up. When you add an anxious tinge to the delivery, though, the lyrics take on a darkness that is a little off-putting. I wanted to raise questions with this song: What is this character’s intention? What is behind these words? The video allowed me to delve deeper into that question of what is going on behind someone’s eyes and general physical appearance. It’s a cry for help, masked as a boy band dance routine.”



Miles Francis © Charles Billot
Miles Francis © Charles Billot



“In writing and recording music, there are two approaches for me,” they add. “Sometimes it’s premeditated, with lyric ideas, some chords or a rhythm, and I go into the studio to figure out how to best express those ideas. Other times, I show up with nothing and just create in the moment. “Service” was the latter. The previous night, I had an afrobeat party in my studio with a bunch of friends, and I showed up to clean up the space the morning after. After I finished filling a trash bag with all the empty bottles and put the place back together, I sat down and turned on a drum machine beat at 110bpm. The guitar part happened quickly, moving back and forth between E minor and D minor shapes. The rhythmic and melodic vocabulary is a mixture of Prince and Fela Kuti, balancing a little from each of their worlds. When it came time to do the bass, I knew I wanted to change things up rather than just following the guitar chords in a predictable way. So, instead of playing D in the bass, I played Bb and then G in the bass, which recontextualizes the D minor guitar chord. This opened up the song’s harmony and I instantly heard melodies on top of it. I eventually did something I do a lot, which is record live drums on top of the drum machine and then mute the drum machine (or distort it so it beefs up the live drums and adds some glue to the feel. This song came together in one or two sessions. Then, I added some friends from the NYC afrobeat scene: Lollise Mbi and Giancarlo Luiggi on shekeres, and Maria Eisen on baritone saxophone; as well as a three part string section (Camellia Hartman, Meitar Forkosh, and Midori Witkoski).”

“The video was directed by Charles Billot, my longtime visual collaborator. I choreographed the acting and dancing in the video, so that when we filmed each “Miles,” I knew how to interact with myself. Throughout quarantine I started cloning myself in my studio for short video content posts, calling it #MultiMiles. I did it mostly out of a need to play with other people at a time when I couldn’t. Recording myself in my studio – tracking each part one by one to form a full band sound – is something I’ve done since I was 10 years old. It is my greatest joy and love, and it’s a process I’m very comfortable with. The #MultiMiles videos were finally a way to show to the outside world what I do in my mind when I make music, eventually those little videos gave me the idea to make the video for ‘Service.'”

Miles Francis © Charles Billot
Miles Francis © Charles Billot



I am at your service, at your beck and call
I am at your service, giving you my call
All for you, all for you
I am at your service, at your beck and call
I am at your service, giving you my call
All for you, all for you

There’s something utterly alluring about “Service” – a song that beckons us forward, both lyrically and musically. Miles Francis paints a world of gentle, inviting wonder that we can keep coming back to time and again, whether to dance in, to dwell in, to soak up the drama, or just smile in the sweet, radiant sound. Indie pop and funk have collided with delicious results here, and now with Francis’ frisky second single of the year “Popular” released in late August, the stage is set for an ultra-groovy autumn and winter ahead.

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Stream: “Service” – Miles Francis



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Service - Miles Francis

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📸 © Charles Billot


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