New French wave: La Femme
Moodoïd, Melody and the Echo Chamber, La Femme, Frànçois and the Atlas Mountains... Immortalized by Hedi Slimane, these four bands are riding the crest of an exciting new French music wave. Numéro met up with Marlon Magnée, co-founder of La Femme.
Marlon Magnée founded La Femme with Sacha Got when he was just 18 years old. While he may be 24 today, he still goes To meetings on his skateboard. “For ages I felt like an 18-year old kid, but I’ve started to adapt”, he laughs. Adapting to success isn’t always an easy thing for a group of messy and occasionally borderline kids. With their 2013 album Psycho Tropical Berlin, they were swept up on a whirlwind of references: new wave, punk, krautrock, electro, surf music and 1960s French varieties from Dutronc to Gainsbourg. Their energy is mad, it’s impossible not to get up and dance, or at least to start shuffling for the more reserved. Despite the litany of references, the boys, who are joint composers first apart and then together have succeeded in defining a unique La Femme sound. It¹s a sort of chaos where all the girls are allowed in, as long as they behave badly.
Numéro: How did the group begin?
Marlon Magnée: Sacha and I both come from Biarritz. Upon his arrival in Paris, after the BAC, I got my friends together and I asked them: “who’s ready to drop everything to make music?” Those who joined us made up La Femme. I was aware that there was space for a real rock group in France, and that we could fill it. I’d already been in a very sixties-inflected band called S.O.S Mademoiselle…but in fact it was so chaotic that I’d class it more as punk (laughter).
Tell us about your influences.
The 1960s compilations Femmes de Paris [with their cover of Stone’s Paint it Black by Marie LaForêt. retitled Marie douceur / Marie Colère] and Gentlemen de Paris played an important part in finding the band’s sound. The 1979 film The Wanderers with Dion Dimucci [successful American rock singer of the ‘50s and ‘60s]. The new wave revival of the 2000s, with the Des jeunes gens mödernes compilation was another big influence. As was the rediscovery of Kraftwerk.
Our second outing will be more pop, more underground, more spontaneous...
Where is your second album at?
I’m interested in making contemporary music out of older styles. With the first album we took inspiration from the sixties, but also from electronic music, and yet we managed to define a distinct La Femme sound. The second album will work according to similar principles. In pursuit of our sound we could just as well use 1970s instruments as an iPad. But generally, I think our second outing will be more pop, more underground, more spontaneous.
Interview by Thibaut Wychowanok