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Interview: JE T’AIME

by François Zappa

It was love at first sight: when the guys at El Garaje saw JE T’AIME live for the first time, we fell in love with the band. We hadn’t listened to them before (as they were a last moment replacement) but we really liked their concert and without any hesitation, we bought their debut. A few months later, we had the opportunity to talk with the three members of the French band. They are going to play at the Dark Winter Festival in Liège, in January of next year, as this year’s edition has been postponed due to Coronavirus. Just let yourself fall in love with JE T’AIME.

—How did you meet? I read some different things, that the band was born like a joke and a story/comparison with a raclette? Also, was there at the beginning a collective called JE T’AIME with Anaïs Novembre and Marion Parfait, who also did some chorus in the album?

—dBoy: JE T’AIME was indeed born after a party. The three of us have already worked together on other musical projects before starting this band. Anaïs and Marion are two close friends. They have been helping us from the beginning with video and design.

—Crazy Z: A band is always a kind of collective, it is not just three musicians, but a lot of people are working in the shadow, like our light and sound engineers, video artists… Even if the core stays all three of us, we know what we owe to our team of friends and family around us. Especially because we do that job to have fun with them too.

—Tall Bastard: Saying it was after a party means that nothing was planned. We just wanted to make music together and at the end of the night, we had our first song.

Your first song was “The Sound” (was the name a reference to the 80s band?). How was the writing and recording of this first song?

—dBoy: This first song was written during this famous party. Basically, we just wanted to have fun in my studio doing anything. We spent a lot of time at that party discussing She Past Away and how nice it was to see them make the dark audience dance at their show. We probably wanted to prove that we could do it too, just for fun. Well, we were very drunk too. And no, the title doesn’t refer to this group. It simply crystallizes what this song is about.

—Tall Bastard: Yes, it was a fun experience. Our ideas answered one another very easily. Like if it was in our head for a long time. Everything seemed obvious. And a lot of fun too.

—This first album is a concept album describing a man’s descent into hell during a Parisian night filled with excesses of all kinds. How did you get the idea for this? Is based on your own experiences? 

—Crazy Z: Easy, we directly experienced it! 😊 It is more or less a combination of our stories, and the kind of story that a lot of people may have been in. I like to think that the listeners recognize themselves in that story: a dying relationship, a lover that fades away in an alcoholic mist… and the will to mess everything when you find yourself alone, but not in a desperate move. More into a strange euphoric self-destruction, where you bring all the friends you can get into a never-ending party.

—Which concept albums would you like to have written and why:

A)Serge Gainsbourg: L’homme à tête de chou

b)Rick Wakeman: The Six Wives of Henry VIII

c)Frank Ocean: Channel Orange

d)Field of the Nephilim: Elizium

—Crazy Z.: Well. We will have 3 different answers  here I guess. For my part, I would prefer to say one Mechanical Animals, probably because it is lighter than those. But since it is not in the list, I’ll pick the Fields. The atmosphere of this album is so strong…

—dBoy: Melody Nelson for sure.

—Your web says that the band is influenced by the music of the Mancunian bands from the 80s. What about the French coldwave? We are fans of a few of these bands.

—Crazy Z: I recently read a study saying that you are not able to discover new music after 27. But before I was 27, there was no notable coldwave in France, except… Indochine? 😊
Jokes aside, there are currently some really nice bands, that would be awesome to play together: Rendez-Vous, Jessica93, Minuit Machine
We are really close to Soror Dolorosa, Varsovie too… And on the same label as us you can listen to some Syndney Valette and friends of Order 89.

—dBoy: For now I am in love with Hante. and Rue Oberkampf.

—Tall Bastard:  I recently discovered OTO. Honestly, I was too much into Brit music when I was younger so I didn’t pay that much attention to French band. But yes, Soror, Jessica and Rendez-vous are great!

—Dboy, in an interview you said that you were a fan of Diabologum. When I was 20, I was asking all the French guys I met about that band and nobody knew them. Strangely, they were quite big in the alternative scene of Spain at the time. What do you like of them? Do you think that they are present in the sound of the band?

—dBoy: At that time, I was particularly sensitive to French groups who sang in that language. What I like about this band is the bittersweet side. The poetry of their lyrics served on a very post-rock sound, with these drums that sound very roomy. They’re an UFO on the French scene. Besides, I think Varsovie is very close to this universe. Finally, Lennon was wrong.

—Tall Bastard: I think “365 jours ouvrables” was in the French top 50. But this band was not supposed to be popular and they decided to split. I really, really love them: their lyric, very clever and despair. Each verse is a story of its own. And their low-fi sound. But this is a very introvert band, in their lyrics and in their music. Like Dany said before, we wanted to make people dance. I’m almost sure that Diabologum didn’t want that for themselves.

—At the end of “Satan’s Bitch,” we can listen to a dialogue from La maman et la Putain. I guess it’s the influence of Michel Cloup’s band again, but are you interested in nouvelle vague? The theme of your album would be perfect for a movie, not one by Jean Eustache, as there is “too much action” in your album.

—Tall Bastard: Yes, we love those old “very French” movies. They have a unique atmosphere. Watching them for me is like listening to an old lady who has a lot of stories to tell. As using the theme of the album for a movie… why not! Maybe a little bit like “Leaving Las Vegas.”

—Bands like yours have a clear 80s sound. Some people like that, some people complain about that, but are you not afraid that the 90s can come back?

—Crazy Z: I assume that we take some influences from the 90s too, especially from the 90s alternative rock. Well, I will get around your question and make me dumber than I am: even the Pixies have been a 90s band! But more seriously, half of our album is clearly  spotted in the 80s, but the other half, in my opinion, is really modern.

—Tall Bastard: You know what, when I became old enough to be in a band, 80s was gone and I had to play Brit pop. Nobody wanted a Cure fan as a guitar player anymore. Playing JE T’AIME’s song is a fucking relief for me. I’m finally where I was supposed to be. So even if we don’t reach for the stars, I’m very proud to be part of it and that’s more than enough!

—In a magazine, the band explained, “With ‘Dance’ we get to the heart of the matter, have fun at all costs, or die. The black sky, filled with white powder, is a reference to the blackouts that have been suffered after too much excess.” Are you afraid of these blackouts, of what you did or of what you have forgotten?

—dBoy: So to be completely honest with you, evening blackouts are my doing, and it’s not me that they scare the most but my friends. Well, what I mostly meant was that our music, even if it has a dark side, is made for partying and dancing. And it seems to me that the world needs it more than ever.

—”Spyglass” is the songs that sound more synthpop eighties. Are any of you interested in all these electronic bands like S U R V I V E and Carpenter Brut that are also bringing back the 80s? Also, they are French.

—Crazy Z.:  They definitely brought back the 80s vibe in a new and innovative way. The raw power of Carpenter Brut is definitely very interesting, and I can’t play a DJ-set without one song or another from those artists. I really don’t care if they are French or not, the important thing is that they move everyone into alternative world, in Europe, America, Asia… and that is remarkable.

—How did you select the artists that remixed your songs in the remix album En négatif?

—Crazy Z.: It is a melt of artists that we like, and friends that are also artists that we like! 😊  The point being that it is easier to convince them when they are friends than when they are not.

—Dany Boy, you also play in Herrschaft, can you please tell us more about this band? Before you were in Soror Dolorosa, right?

—Crazy Z.: Well… 😊

—dBoy: OK uh, so Herrschaft is a young industrial metal band, and they asked me for help to develop their project a little bit better, which I immediately accepted. Well, actually for real it’s the project of Crazy Z. for which I’m a bass player. He’ll be in a better position to talk about it than I am. Concerning SD, I had the chance to accompany them, on the synthesizer, on a few shows last year. Andy is an old friend.

—Crazy Z.: Well, Herrschaft is an industrial band created in 2004. And Dany joined us in 2015. Even if we were already friends since a long time, this really is the first musical project we have shared. Before that, we were hanging out almost every week, listening to our respective projects and saying that it would be awesome to work together.

—And Crazy Z. plays guitar with Ambassador21, can you please tell us more about this band?

—Crazy Z.: Ambassador21 is originally a Belorussian duet of power noise. A few years ago, they decided to go to a more rock version of themselves.
They invited the Herrschaft drummer and myself on a big festival of noise music, Maschinenfest in Germany. Oh my, the event was so huge, crowded as hell.

I worked on the songs a few days before, then flew to the festival… The point is that we went on stage… without even rehearsing once together 😊. The show was excellent, and the festival is now missed. Since then, I travel with them each time it is possible.

—What are the band’s plans for the future?

—dBoy: For the moment we’ve resumed the writing work for the second album. And the confinement linked to Covid19 is helping us a lot. We’ve got a lot of free time. The main idea of this group is the stage. So we’re going to continue playing gigs as much as possible. We love to travel and meet our audience.

—How are you living these days? Afraid of having gigs canceled in the future?

—Crazy Z.: This is not even a fear anymore : all our gigs until early June are canceled. But we can’t even be angry: that would be selfish because everybody is in shit, with sometimes much bigger problems than us,
But let’s see what the future is made of. 2020 and 2021 will be some very artistic years, I am sure. Let’s turn that in a positive way, it is an opportunity to take time on  a lot of abandoned projects and ideas. If the situation was not so dramatic on another side, I would enjoy it a lot.

—What can we expect of your future concert at Dark Winter Festival?

—dBoy: As we answer your questions, the festival has postponed the date to next year. For the upcoming shows, when they come back, we will start adding some new songs from the next album we are currently working on. On the first album, we didn’t have the opportunity to play them on stage before finalizing them on record, this kind of exercise is always important.

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