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La Femme Interview / Album Release "Mystere"
La Femme, is a French band with a mixed musical style that is a blend of coldwave, punk, rock and yéyé. The band was founded by the keyboard player Marlon Magnée and guitarist Sacha Got in Biarritz. They were later joined by bass player Sam Lefevre, drummer Noé Delmas, and vocalist Clémence Quélenec. In this exclusive interview, TWELV helps unveil the truth about the mysterious band with ten in-depth questions! Be sure to check out La Femme's newest album, Mystere, released September 2nd!
1. ‘La femme means ‘the woman.’ Is there a particular woman to whom you are referring?
It’s more like the symbol of the woman. We like to say that it’s a mystery, this answer, because the woman is a mystery.
2. From which decades does your music take the most inspiration?
60’s, 70’s, and 80’s are the most present decades, but we take inspiration from all the decades.
3. You perform worldwide– which cities have you enjoyed performing in the most?
I think the more big city, because its full of people. I think the more we have fans waiting for us, the more the show will be good, you know? In Mexico, it was really good to perform, and a very good surprise, because the crowd was sick. They are very interested about rock’n’roll music. After– Paris, New York, L.A. London, Berlin, Bordeaux in France, and Renne.
4. If you could collaborate with any artist, who would it be?
Eminem, you know, the rapper. I would love to make an instrumental.
5. You are a young band, but what’s in the long term?
[Laughing] Well, being a legend. It’s the ultimate goal.
6. Is there anything new that you want to try musically?
I’m always open for anything, and I don’t like the idea to be stuck in one kind of stuff. I like to always surprise people. Like I was saying one day in another interview, all the video clips we do– there is always stronger visuals, stronger costumes, stronger stuff. Now, its funny for us to do something very simple, normal, with just a t-shirt and some jeans. It’s always cool to do the opposite and contrast.
7. The covers of your albums always look great. Are you involved in the artwork?
We do all the visuals, but for the cover art for the album, we can’t do it by ourselves, because we do not agree each other. Me, I want something pretty. Sacha wants something like trippy, visual, and Nunez wants something that means something. So, it was hard to find something we like, because when I do something, they don’t like it. That’s why we call another guy called Liberatore. He’s like a very famous comic guy of the 80’s. He always makes a huge comic called RanXerox and it was a huge inspiration. So, it was making sense to call him, and he did a great job.
8. You’ve also been dabbling in fashion. Whats the connection to music?
I think fashion always finds inspiration in music. For the inverse, I think it’s more rare, but sometimes you can find inspiration in fashion. Do you know the guy Hussein Chalayan? He did a crazy dress, a more artistic dress. I know that in one of the songs called “Al wardar” in the album, I was inspired, and I had in my head the image of a girl with kind of an octopus dress. A bit like Mars Attacks, you know the movie– when they come like this, and the dress is like this, and after, you have tentacle that will move, you know? [To our entertainment, Marlon did his best explain his vision through hand gestures.] I was thinking to contact Hussein Chalayan and do a video together. It could be good. But for me, I am always interested about fashion. I don’t really like fashion. I am more crazy about clothes and style. I don’t care if it’s fashion ever or not. I just like when it’s pretty and when it’s rock. Even if it can be ugly, it can be good. One of my dreams was to make a brand, too, but music is my first-off. It’s good, because with music you can do everything. We can do our own video clips and our style for stage and stuff.
9. Back to your music– do you write the lyrics to your songs?
Yes, with my friend Sacha.
10. The lyrics are in French, but you have many American and international fans that don’t understand them. Do you think music has an ability to communicate across languages?
Yeah, it’s true. Music is powerful to make friends, communicate, share something, share what you’re feeling. You know, when I was a kid I was not speaking English, but I was listening to Bob Marley, the Velvet Underground, the Clash. I think, if the vibe is good, if the music is good and can touch the people– it’s worked.
[Marlon took this opportunity to explain the meaning behind some of the songs on La Femme’s upcoming album, set to release this September.]
If you want to be chill, relax, and just look at the sea, you know, I recommend you “Vague”. It’s the last song, a 30 minute song. It’s a song where we talk about life. Your friend comes into your life and disappears. It says: “When a wave begins to burn, another wave begins to die. This is the cycle of life. Your friend comes in your heart and leaves. People will die, people you love.” It’s very slow and the drums came after 7 minutes, and after, it’s a very Pink Floyd part.
“Elle ne t’aime pas”
I also recommend “Elle ne t’aime pas.” It means “she don’t love you.” It’s one of the messages we want to send in the album. Sometimes you are very sad in love, but it’s not really a big deal to be sad in love. There is stuff more worse in life. Just continue your way, and put your bad feelings back of you.
“S.S.D” means “Strasbourg – Saint-Denis.” It’s a subway station in Paris, and its a place where there’s a bunch of clubs and bars. We did so much crazy party there, because we were living there for one year. The song talk about people who always go in night club, never sleep. Finally, in a moment there is a prostitute in the middle of the song who asks the guy: “What are you doing? Why have you lost yourself in the night? What do you do? Maybe you should stop.” The guy finally finishes with the head in the toilet and threw up. So, it’s just like a party song. We use old school violin, cheesy disco stuff.
“September” is a song that talks about school. I think its the same in the U.S., you make your first day in school in September, after the summer. So, it’s like a little girl who is 13 years old, and she says: “Oh, I am very sad to leave the beach. Now it’s going to end. All this crazy party on the beach. This beautiful summer. I have pain in my stomach, because I feel nervous about my first day.” “My good dress for my first day”– you know, she has. Also, “I can’t wait to be there, because I can’t wait to meet the girl or the guy who is going to touch my heart.” You know, when you are in school, sometimes you just want to go to school, because you are in love with someone. After the second verse, it’s more general. It just says: “Little boy, if you are scared to go to school, if you have bad luck in school, don’t worry. You just have to have a bunch of imagination, because you can create your own world in the life. You don’t need school if you are bad. It’s not because you are bad in school, that you are not intelligent.” And it says at the end: “Don’t let someone choose for you the seat you will have in this society. This society is going to make you forget that one day you were a child, and you will miss September.” I just feel bad about the system. Right now, a bunch of people think they are stupid, because they have a bad teacher, or bad notes at school. They think they are going to be bad, but you can see now that a bunch of people have a good life and good job even if they were bad in school.
Finally, I invite people to watch our video clips, in particular our video clip of “Sphynx.” It is inspiration of Egypt and Japanese style. So, we mix a bunch of these clothes. I direct the video with Aymeric Bergada du Cadet. It’s the guy who does all our style and costume for the last video. He is more like an art director. He came with us, and it was very cool. Another girl– called Dyna Dagger– she’s the makeup artist who create the character of the goddess girl, a bit mystic.
11. Before we wrap up, do you have any upcoming performances?
We are going to start a huge tour in September! We are going in Europe and America. We are going to play at Warsaw in New York, in Brooklyn. South America, we will play, too. It’s very exciting. We are very happy, because we also make gigs with Red Hot Chili Peppers in Europe. We are going to open for them. So, it’s sick!
INTERVIEWED & WRITTEN BY HOLLIS DE LANEY, XINYING CHEN
INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT: MARLON MAGNEE OF LA FEMME
PHOTO CREDIT: LA FEMME