It’s all too easy to use terms like “je ne sais quoi” to describe the appeal of French krautrock outfit La Femme. While the band’s seemingly effortless charm, eccentric sense of style, and aloof cocktail of surf rock, new wave and psychedelia will have many listeners tempted to throw on a black turtleneck-beret combo and light up a Gauloises, La Femme’s journey from obscurity to global penetration demonstrates that there’s much more to their formula than what can be described by any tired French stereotype.
Rising to stardom following their award-winning album Psycho Tropic Berlin, the band has gone from what started as a two-person project in the coastal city of Biarritz in southwestern France, to being commissioned to write a catwalk show for Yves Saint Laurent and joining the Red Hot Chili Peppers on tour. Before they bring their winning formula to Singapore on March 7, we have a quick chat with La Femme’s founding members, keyboardist Marlon Magnée and guitarist Sacha Got, on soundtracks, cinema and style.
Having started the band between two people, did you ever anticipate the band becoming a six-piece group?
Yes, of course. La Femme is like a map of the universe with a bunch of planets.
Some have likened songs like “Où va le monde” as being fit for a Quentin Tarantino film. If you were to think of a director whose films you’d want your music to be featured in, who would it be?
Tarantino is our dream. I try to write to him, but it’s a bit hard. Also, we love the creative world and visual art direction of Tim Burton.
After receiving the Victoires de la Musique award for Psycho Tropic Berlin, was there increased pressure or motivation in writing your follow-up Mystère?
Like any other album, take your time to do stuff that you’re going to be proud of. Take two years if you need it, because an album will be there all your life, and will stay after you die.
Aesthetics play a big part in your band’s identity, and it makes for visually captivating performances. What are some important things that you consider in your appearance?
It depends. We are a very creative band, and before La Femme, we all tried art school – that’s why the visual universe is so important to us.
"Take your time to do stuff that you're going to be proud of...an album will be there all your life, and will stay after you die."
Not only does fashion play an important role in the band’s image, but La Femme’s music has found prominence in the fashion world, notably for Yves Saint Laurent.
Fashion is not our passion, but we love clothing and style. Making a soundtrack for Hedi Slimane was a great experience; we had so much fun. It’s like writing a soundtrack for a movie, but a bit different. We wrote a 20-minute song called “Me Suive”. I really recommend it as music for when you have to clean your apartment.
How was the experience of joining the Red Hot Chili Peppers on tour? Did you learn anything from the band during your time with them?
It was such a good experience, and it was good to see a huge band day-to-day. We learned how to prepare before a big show, be on time, etc.
What are you most looking forward to about your visit to Singapore?
We’re looking forward to having fun and the good vibes from this beautiful land, and we hope to share our music with a lot of people.
La Femme performs on March 7 at *SCAPE The Ground Theatre. For tickets and more info, visit ticketbox.sg.