We speak with Thomas and Christian from French band Phoenix to find out about singing in their second language.
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Rebecca Brayton: This bands perfect pop has finally migrated from Europe to North America. Hi! I’m Rebecca Brayton and welcome to watchmojo.com and today, we’re speaking with French band Phoenix.
Who do you guys consider to be some of your main influences or who did you grow up listening to?
Thomas Mars: I think we grew up listening to two different kinds of bands. There were also some that everyone liked Grant, Mike or like the Beatles and then there were some that we felt they were writing songs for us like My Bloody Valentine or Stone Roses or Teenage Fan Club. You felt the special links that gives your parents would listen to it. They would think it’s just noise.
Rebecca Brayton: Is it accurate to say that you guys kind of grew out of the Parisian techno scene?
Christian Mazzalai: We took it out from this energy and it was a way our freedom. With alternative music, you can do another bomb on your own without any help. So we grew up with this character of doing everything, do-it-yourself approach of art.
Thomas Mars: We never went to the real studio. It’s the last place we want to go.
Christian Mazzalai: We sit at the same place, the same day back when we are teenager, to sit and all else we do the same. It’s very unprofessional but it’s exactly what we are.
Rebecca Brayton: Do you think it’s an advantage or disadvantage to be singing in your second language?
Thomas Mars: It’s the best advantage for us. We’ve never choose to sing in English. It was just like a pro as in Italian maybe. It’s just the language of the music we’re doing.
Rebecca Brayton: I heard that the writing process for the latest album was kind of unique. Do you want to tell us more about that?
Thomas Mars: It’s always a mystery to us how we write a song because we never want to know how we write a song. We really spend a lot of time to be in a state while you don’t really control what you’re doing, almost like you get your ego tie on, you get nobody to help you reach a level while you can come up with something that’s pure in a way.
Rebecca Brayton: I’ve heard people say that you keep reinventing yourselves. Do you consider this to be true?
Christian Mazzalai: Process? Yeah, it’s true and beyond the reason, maybe not. The last album, we were far from home. We did it in two months. This one, we are home and we did it in two years. Totally opposite way but at the end it’s still Phoenix.
Rebecca Brayton: Do you think it’s ballsy to name your album after one of history’s most famous composers?
Thomas Mars: Yeah, it is ballsy. That’s what we like about it. We knew people are going to think well very pretentious. When you’re a band, that’s the nice thing, you don’t really care what other people think. It’s your records, you just do it the way you think it’s good.
I mean it’s good in a way that people just like all of it. It’s nice to divide people and then it’s so pretentious that for us, it’s real obvious that it reaches a level of pretension that’s over the top.
Rebecca Brayton: What is it about instrumentals that intrigue you guys?
Thomas Mars: Instrumental seems to be the form of music that transcends the most.
Christian Mazzalai: Yeah, in the album, we’ve got one instrumental. One of the rules we have.
Thomas Mars: I think every musician needs very stupid rules and we have many that seem very stupid for the people but for us, they’re just little thing that helps us, like we have 10 songs on a record. It helps us finish the record. We always change the second rules, it’s very different than the first rules. Small details like that. Maybe one day we’ll change the old thing but it’s nice because it’s a little balance in the jammed chaos.