Interview: French rockers Phoenix coming to Brooklyn
French rock band Phoenix is one of those groups that seemed like an overnight sensation, even though it had been steadily building a fan base for years.
The group released its first album in 2000, but it wasn't until 2009 that it truly took off, with the inescapable singles "1901" and "Lisztomania." It took the band four years to release a follow-up, "Bankrupt!" which it's now supporting with a world tour that touches down in Brooklyn Wednesday.
amNewYork talked with guitarist Laurent Brancowitz. The band will be playing Tuesday night at Barclays Center.
You started working on "Bankrupt!" in NYC, but finished it in France. Why?
It just felt right. We spent three months in New York and it was really good, but it made us conscious of the fact that we love France. We needed to get out to be able to realize that.
Is it true that most of your songs come out of improvising?
It's a very bizarre process. In the beginning, there are weeks where we try to come up with the ideas of songs. After a while, we realize that's very boring. Then we sit together and play all day long. We don't really jam. We are imploring fate to give us something. After a while, this very bizarre process makes things happen.
You bought the console Michael Jackson's "Thriller" was recorded on and used it on this album. Why?
We did it because we needed a console, and when you buy a console it's a usually a very boring moment in life. When we had the opportunity to do something like that and make it suddenly exciting and connected to dreams of childhood, we couldn't resist. We found it on eBay. We were lucky.
How did you know it was the real thing?
At first, it was intuition. It looked so much like a scam that in a way it couldn't be. After that, we investigated. We called the people who were in charge in those studios back in the day. They did some research and they told us it was the right one.