Click Interview with Je T’Aime: ‘The Stage Is A Bit Like A Big Pirate Ship’
Set up in Paris (France) Je T’Aime released their debut single “The Sound” in 2018. This song also was the opening track of their self-titled debut album released in 2019 by Manic Depression Records and Icy Cold Records. It was a successful work featuring explicit 80s Cold-Wave elements. Early this year the band released the new album “Passive” again by the same French labels. Dany Boy, Tall Bastard and Crazy Z confirmed their strong potential achieving a work which will appeal for lovers of 80s icons such as The Cure and The Smiths.
(Picture credits by Anaïs Novembre / Interview courtesy by Inferno Sound Diaries)
Q: Let’s take off by the origins of Je T’Aime. How did you guys meet and what brought you to set up JE T’Aime? And why this band name?
dBoy: With Tall Bastard we met in 2014 when he was the bassist for the band Saigon Blue Rain. I was doing their live sound (among other joys). The plan to make the Goths of Europe dance came after a dinner together. After a few glasses of red wine, we went to my studio to have some fun and that’s how “The Sound” came to be, in the early morning. We kept telling each other: I love you man! That’s why we’re called JE T’Aime.
Tall Bastard: The song was written in emergency and fun. We’ve always tried to keep this spirit for the next sessions.
Q: Your sound is clearly evoking good-old 80s Dark-Wave bands. Tell us a bit more about your sources of inspiration and what made the 80s that special to you?
dBoy: The 80’s remind me of my childhood so it’s quite natural for me to go back to it. Having lived in Atlanta (USA) as a child from 1984 onwards I was overwhelmed by this New-Wave culture. It was a given that I would end up singing this genre of music at some point.
Tall Bastard: The Cure, Depeche Mode, The Sisters Of Mercy, And Also The Trees and Joy Division are the bands I used to listen when I was a teenager. I’ve learned playing music with their songs. I was playing in the Cold-Wave band Saigon Blue Rain before forming JE T’Aime. New-Wave is definitely in my DNA.
Q: How did the transition happened from your self-titled debut album towards “Passive”? Did you try to improve and/or change specific elements of the production and how did the album come true?
dBoy: First of all, we selected everything we liked in the first album, we wanted to keep certain sounds to find a certain artistic coherence. With Crazy Z. we really like a lot of different musical styles, it’s impossible for us to restrict ourselves to one musical style. So, the idea was to modernize our sound without betraying the first album and its musical purpose. I also wrote the first lyrics very quickly, which told the story of the adventures of this guy who is completely lost in life, whom we meet on the first album. So, it quickly became clear to us that we wanted to write a sequel to this first album.
Tall Bastard: For the first album, we were creating our sound. So in fact there were not so much questions. The songs were coming naturally. For “Passive” almost each song came with a question mark : Is this where we want to go? Is it not too close to what we’ve already done? …
Q: Tell us a bit more about the writing process of “Passive”? What’s the input of each member and how was it working composing an album in times of lockdown and this ongoing pandemic?
dBoy: As for the first album, we went to write this double album in Brittany, in Tall Bastard’s holiday home. It’s a very nice place, quiet, and far from the noise and fury of the city. It helps us to stay focused. The first album was written together with Tall and me. On this double album “Passive/Aggressive”, Crazy Z. was part of the writing process, so it took a bit of time to get everyone to understand each other and move in the same direction. But in reality, it went very fast. The songs went together very quickly. We usually write and record two or three songs a day, music and lyrics.
Tall Bastard: Most of the time, we start a new song by defining the mood and the rhythm. As soon as we have the drum and the bass, everything is going nice and easy. We often have to make a choice between all the ideas that we can have.
Q: What does the title of the album refers to and what are your main sources of inspiration for the lyrical content of “Passive”?
dBoy: Passive-aggressive behavior is a set of so-called passive attitudes that indirectly express a hidden hostility that is not openly assumed or remains unconscious to the subject.
This double album tells the continuation of the adventures of the hero of the first album. A lost guy, suffering from Peter Pan syndrome, separated from his wife and father of a young girl who hates him. Our music is full of ‘joie de vivre’.
Q: In between both studio albums you also self-released a live album which makes me say live shows are very important for JE T’Aime. What are your favorite aspects in live shows and what might we expect to see when JE T’Aime is on stage?
dBoy: Oh yes, for me the stage is a bit like a big pirate ship. It goes through a thousand storms and never has to sink. It must always be cherished and cared for. The stage is an exciting thing, it’s a place to let off steam but also a place full of philosophy and even science. The science of movement, the science of communication, the science of sound and light. In 2005, I had the chance to work with the French scenographer Philippe Albaret, a well of science on the subject of concerts and the attitude to have on stage. It was a real shock in my head. The world of the Music Hall hides thousands of little secrets to be beautiful on stage. A real magic that takes years to master.
Tall Bastard: Our first purpose was to play live as much as we can and meet our audience. So we give everything we have at each concert. We just love it. And those night when the audience is giving us back this energy, for me this is pure joy. I feel completely empty and full at the same time. Intense.
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