Rhesus: "you’ll always have all the indie snobs ..."

schöne franzosenRhesus aus Grenoble sind ziemlich schnell in eine bestimmte Ecke geschoben worden. „Just let go" als Song für die letzte Nivea-Kampagne, elegant getunter Pop auf hohem Niveau, good-vibrations mit einigen melancholischen Momenten, zarte Jungs-Mädchen-Geschichten. Neulich waren sie im Bakuda Klub zu Gast und spielten einen schrägen Gig. Grund genug Aurelién Marie nach der ganzen Wahrheit zu fragen ... und die ist manchmal simpler, als es scheint.

You seem to have a pretty busy life at the moment. What do you think, how many gigs have you played during the last 12 month? Do you get to see friends and familiy often?

Aurélien: Pretty busy yeah...we've done something like a  hundred concerts the last 12 month...we work on our next album when we have some time off so I don't get to see my family that much these days...err and I don't have that many friends outside of the band so it's okay I guess...we'll take some vacations once we're rich and famous ... haha

You are from Grenoble, is there a big indie-music scene or was it rather difficult to establish your music in your hometown and France in general? I mean, English-singing bands do not seem to get much attention in France...

Aurélien: there WAS some kind of indie scene in grenoble when we started the band but now it's more or less dead...there are no clubs left to play, the last one closed because of some drugs problems or something haha...Grenoble is a small town so it was easier for us to play as a support act for bigger bands coming to our town...less competition. We learnt a lot that way...then we quickly tried to play all around france and not stay trapped in our quiet little town.
French bands singing in English don't get that much attention because they don't get played on the radio or don't get a lot of press (we have a law here where radio have to play 40% of bands singing in French)...things are changing slowly but it's still impossible for bands like us to get records deals with a major label in their native country when singing in English... which is quite a shame when you know it's something natural in some other countries (Belgium, Swedish, etc...)

It is quite difficult to find information about you that are not in French. Can you tell me, how did the band rhesus come into being? And how did you get your record deal with PIAS?

Aurélien: I started the band as a project on my own like 5 years ago, I recorded a few songs and quickly met simon and laura in grenoble...
We started doing a lot of gigs, we self produced two EP...we then won in 2004 some kind of newcomers competition that attracted some labels.
PIAS had a great proposal...and we liked their catalogue...so we signed with them and they produced our first album.

How did it come to the name rhesus?

Aurélien: honestly I have absolutely no idea. I remember thinking something like "it has to be a short name so it can be big on the posters..." haha...that's all.

Why did you decide to sing in English rather than in Frech, although you know that it´s much more difficult establishing in France as a French English-singing indie-band....?!

Aurélien: I guess it came naturally as when I first started writing songs I was only listening to English and American bands...i don't know...the English language fits that kind of music so much better than French...it's like the Beatles singing in German...doesn't sounds right haha...;)

The album´s name "Sad disco" troubled some German music reviewer, they could not unterstand the context between the music and the album´s name. Could you be so kind and explain the albums name and the songs´ (Sad Disco) connection to the whole album?

Aurélien: unfortunately there's no concept behind that name haha...the thing is usually when I write songs, they have no names...so we have that Big blackboard in our rehearsal room full of things like  "noname #35" "the weezer song" etc...Simon got tired of it and one day gave the name "Sad Disco" to one of the song...when we had the album ready, we had absolutely no idea how to call it...we knew we wanted to have something easy to say in French (it's a fact, French people usually have really really bad English accents haha). Sad Disco came to mind...now if you reallllly try to dig the meaning of this...I could say the lyrics are "rather sad" and the beats "rather disco" but...

How did you recognize that Laura´s and Aurelien´s voices suit together so perfectly?

Aurélien: I'm a huge fan of singers like Elliott smith or joseph Arthur who usually use a lot of different layers of vocals in their songs. On the demos I record at home, i try to do the same, using a lot of high harmonies and overdubs on my vocals. When we started to rehearse those songs, we found out that Laura had more or less the same voice I had when singing like this...so she just sings the high parts.

Howie Weinberg did your mastering. In the past he has worked with bands like  Nirvana, the Cure, Smahing Pumkins, Ramones, Iggy Pop etc. Does it mean anything to you to work with such a person?

Aurélien: Well not really...to be honest, we just sent him the songs by email...he did the work and sent them back...we never saw him. I don't think the mastering has that much of an effect on the sound anyway...it just make things a bit bigger and louder...

Are you satisfied with you debut album?

Aurélien: we have almost  finished writing the next one so it's a bit hard to answer...I'd say yeah, I like it...most of the songs are pretty hard to play live because there are a lot of guitars, and vocals, and we're only three people on stage...but as you already know, I like when it's getting complicated...haha

You have won the prize for "best new newcomer of 2005" by a French magazine. What did that mean to you?

Aurélien: We got some good recognition from the national press and professionals because of this...we also signed with Pias. It was when it all started to go from a "hobby" to something we could earn a living from.

You contributed the  song "Just let go" to a Nivea ad campaign. How did it come to that, and did it help you  to establish your music?

Aurélien: It came to us by accident. Sounded right at the moment, so we did it...this is what made it possible to get the record out in countries like Germany for example, so I guess It's a good thing...then you'll always have all the indie snobs who'll come and say "sellouts"....whatever...

You played with the Libertines, what can you remember from these gigs and what was it like not to know, if the actual acts´ singer (Pete Doherty) would turn up?

Aurélien: Pete didn't turn up that night...it was pretty crazy...girls were jumping on stage to grab Carl and kiss him and then get kicked by the security...

I read your hospitality rider. So, who of you drinks  the Jack Daniels and the Zubrowska?

I drink the Zubrowska, Laura says she drinks the Jack Daniels but she never does so all the bottles end up at my house... haha

You are already working on a new album. Is there anything you can tell me about it, will it be similar to "sad disco" or something completly different?

Aurélien: I think it will much more like we are when playing live...more raw, less produced. I think the songs are way better too...we learnt a lot with the first album and we don't plan on doing the same mistakes again.
I'm really exited about it ...I can't wait to record it and to hear what people will have to say about it, should be out early next year if all goes well.

Thank you very much...

Zur Plattenkritik...