Gimme Your Answers: An Interview w/ 1984

1984I’ve only recently began looking into the incredible music coming out of France, and the scene lately has been unbelievable. A band you need to keep an eye on is 1984. Stumbling across 1984 is one of the best accidental musical encounters I’ve had since beginning AMBY. This new-wave-esque pop band know how to write a seriously good tune; from the little touches as the backing vocals in Complain, to the atmospheric, sailing guitar in Influenza, 1984 make their music unique and special. The band took the time to answer a few questions for AMBY, so we spoke about the release of Influenza, their music video for Maze, places they’d love to tour, and how their songs “were composed under the soft sound of a hairdryer”!

AMBY: Hello 1984, cheers for speaking with AMBY! How’s the band doing?

1984: Hello AMBY, thanks for your questions, we really like your music blog, so it’s a pleasure to answer you!

The band is going quite good, we have a short break since last week. Tomorrow we’ll be playing an acoustic show in our hometown, Strasbourg.

We enjoy playing acoustic more and more, first to rest our ears, and moreover cause we don’t need to carry all this heavy material (drum kit, amps, etc). So we might become a folk band one day … but not now for sure :)

What else, we’ve just come back from Italy and Croatia, we played in Zagreb for the first time, and that was pure madness!

We missed life on tour so much!

AMBY: Congratulations on your latest album release Influenza! What’s the response been like so far?

1984: Thank you! The response has been very good since the release of the album one month ago. We reached medias that we had never had until now, especially in France where we are now broadcasted on the national radios.

Although we remain true to our sound, this album is quite different from the first one, we took risks, we dared to experiment other sounds, and people seem to approve! It’s always very important to listen to all the feedbacks, cause everyone has a different view on your music, on one song. It’s so subjective and at the same time, that makes the beauty of music.

AMBY: Which tracks are your favourite off Influenza and why?

Etienne : The more I play the album live (or in my car), the more i like Complain. It’s like a deep calm breath during the album. We wanted the record to be an endless fever, and Complain is the moment when you think you can be saved and escape the Influenza, but … it comes back really quickly.

Moreover, Laura-Mary Carter from Blood Red Shoes sings with me on the bridges and choruses, and i’m so happy of that, we love her voice and on this song, it’s like she was just caressing the music with her voice, it’s so soft and powerful at the same time.

AMBY: The video for Maze is very trippy and enjoyable. How did the band come up with the concept?

1984: Happy you like it. We had a few ideas and just one day to shoot the video, so it had to be simple, direct.

Our artwork on the album is composed of a sort of eye with lines coming out of it, like rays of light, drawing endless shapes, like mazes, with a lot of colours !

We wanted them to be present on the video. Thomas (our drummer) and Samy «Le Borgne » Boulifa (a damn’ good french graphic designer)  created a serie of pictures that the director (Yves Brua from « La cité de la prod », a dam,n’ good video makers community) animated. When we came on the shooting, we hadn’t watched the result of this animation yet, and we were so happy of it !

We shot the video in a room of a little chalet lost in the woods, and when we decided to shoot a sequence outside, it started snowing, it was like Christmas! That’s why we call this video shooting the “Blessed Shooting” !

AMBY: Does hailing from France have an influence on your music? And if so, how?

1984: Good question … there’s always an influence from the place we come. Although we’re really fond of British rock music and not that much in French “chansons”, we belong to this culture and to the way we learn and then play the music. We sometimes don’t have the same automatisms, especially when we start composing. But i must say that touring outside France, working with British people with their method as we did for this album enables us to detach ourselves from where we come from and put things into perspective. The main influence comes from the bands we listen to and we work with now.

AMBY: The lyrics in Complain are great. What’s your favourite 1984 lyric?

Etienne: Thank you. I would say my favourite lyrics are the ones on Give it a Name, the last song on the album.

The text is quite long but it came really fast, it was really natural.

And I wrote the end of the song a few hours before recording it. The entire song was recorded really quickly, like in two takes. Without any stress and the result was as we wanted, nude and rough. The lyrics sum up all the album and tear apart in the end, explosion and then complete silence.

Kévin : Nice ! I would choose I don’t cause’ I really like the words we chose on the choruses, really symbolic… kind of hypnotic routine !

AMBY: What does the band have planned for this year?

1984: Touring, touring, touring !

And meanwhile composing new songs, we’ve got a lot of ideas already!

In May, we’ll play in China and Japan, then come back to Europe and play Germany, Poland and the summer festivals.

AMBY: Which three of your influences would you love to hang out with for a day?

Etienne: Thom Yorke for his genius, Justin Timberlake for his groove and for fun and David Lynch for his strange nights …

Kévin: The Black Keys to rock the world, Interpol if it’s a sad day and St.Vincent, just to be in love with…

Thomas: Björk, Peter Gabriel (cause’ I love his music, truly) and Coldplay !

AMBY: If you could tour anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

Etienne: I dream about South America, either Argentina or Chile or Brazil. This continent was a big influence for us on this album, all the artwork refers to it, this combination of sun, colours, sincerity and (dark) fever, faith, fervour at the same time. That would be a good description of our music right now.

Kévin: Canada of course !

Thomas: We aim at touring as far as possible, maybe Australia someday !

AMBY: What has you excited for 2013?

1984: Traveling through a world changing so fast, suffering right now but finding new ways to live better.

AMBY: And last but never least, what’s something about 1984 that nobody knows?

1984: We love hairdryers. Most of our songs were composed under the soft sound of a hairdryer.


Thank you very much 1984, for giving us your answers!

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Alicia Atout

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