lundi 21 juillet 2008

"What the fuck do you want me to write?"

We asked our friend Alex Marshall to write this text for us (see below). 

Alex is a very good journalist, he writes for the Stool Pigeon and some other ecology stuff somewhere else I can't remember (sorry Alex), he looks upon what the government is doing basically, which is good. 

I think he was very disturbed at first about what we were asking him. I understand his confusion because what we wanted was neither a biog, nor an article, it was more like a statement, we wanted to give informations about our present and our decisions for the future. 

He did his job and did it well, i mean very professionally. In spite of all the constraints. 

Because we did gave him a hard time.

First, he was not paid and though most of music journalists today work for free, it is never a good position to be in. Second, we took a lot of his time with different meetings trying to understand each other about "what exactly do you fucking want me to write?". We had no idea at first, we just knew we wanted "something new".

But there is a funny story attached to this text too: 

We finally made up our minds and decided that me, John and Alex should meet for a kind of informal interview. Before that, we gave him two of our new songs so he could listen to them at home. The appointment was taken: 8pm at the ICA. Because of very bad traffic we only arrived there at 9.30pm and I know Alex, he is never late, he is always EARLY. With the pressure of making him wait and the pressure of traffic, and the reality of being a couple (maybe), me and John started to argue in the car and the argument was carried on in the street and in front of the ICA... where Alex was waiting for us, hidden behind the wall, we couldn't see him. I dont know how long he waited like that, hearing us, until he dared come out and raise a shy hand begging us to stop. It had been a long time since I felt so ashamed of myself. Then  he asked us "so who was right and who was wrong?". We said we hadn't decided yet because he interrupted us. But in truth, John was right and I was just too proud to admit it. 

But anyway, I dont know if we managed to reach our goal, I mean, if the piece is as good as our expectations. Maybe it is not (I dont think Alex thinks it is!) but in my opinion, it doesn't matter. What we understood and discovered while going through all that process with Alex is more important now than the actual writting.

Now we can go and record, we know what we want to say. 

Thanks Alex.


John & Jehn: an update by Alex Marshall

You’d have thought John & Jehn – the exhilarating French duo – would be spending their days now wallowing in success. 

But for the pair, that album seems to have been shoved into the past. In their room in a north London semi – where recording equipment takes up all space the bed doesn’t – they’ve already finished two songs for the next record and they’re hoping to record the rest in the summer.

Impressively, the few new ones they have let slip live, mark a great change in direction.

Sister, the b-side to new single Fear Fear Fear, gives you a taster of that, filled with Gallic swagger. But My Love is the pick of the bunch – a great pop record, and nothing like the Velvets-inspired noir of their past. It starts simple, with little more than Jehn’s breathy vocals, but when the chorus hits, timpani, strings and trumpets roll in, Jehn’s voice soars becoming a genuine turn-on and… Christ! It’s stunning.

It’s easy to see which half of the band is to blame for the change. “It’s because of him,” says Jehn. “I would keep on doing the same thing if I could. Even before the first album was released, he was thinking about the second one. I was like, ‘We can’t think about that, we’ve got to play gigs and have fun.’ But he just said, ‘No’!”

“I just hate to repeat myself,” says John “I want to go everywhere. Every time someone says we’re a duo, I want to have 15 musicians on stage the next day. Every time someone says we are a guitar band, I want to use new instruments.

“We can’t be afraid of changing everything or doing something new just because it might end up sounding ridiculous.”

“He’s constantly putting me in insecure situations like this,” says Jehn. “But that’s a good thing because it challenges me, it stops me getting satisfied. It’s what makes me a musician.”

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