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Deck D'Arcy and Laurent Brancowitz of Phoenix at Coachella 2010


Flying High

Apr 30, 2010 Photography by Wendy Lynch Redfern Web Exclusive
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It’s been a hallmark 12 months for Phoenix. The release of their most recent album, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, has taken the French quartet from well-kept secret to noted headliners. Busy, yes, however, the band has managed to maintain their joie de vive. “I’d say that our main quality as people involved in the music business is that we are really good at having a lot of pleasure,” explains bassist Deck d’Arcy.

Under the Radar joined d’Arcy and guitarist Laurent Brancowtz backstage before their Coachella set to discuss touring, the fleeting nature of ideas, and what (probably) won’t be next for the band.

Laura Studarus: Your profile in America has gone up quite a bit this year.

Deck d’Arcy: Yes, you are right. It’s been a crazy year. But we’re enjoying this ride. We are very good at making things enjoyable, and we never tour too much. We never do things that we don’t like. We have the pleasure of being self-employed. I’d say that our main quality as people involved in the music business is that we are really good at having a lot of pleasure.

That’s what it’s all about, right?

d’Arcy: Well, yeah, sometimes you have to do the job! It demands a lot of energy not to be crushed.

What do you think it is about this new album that people have connected with more than your previous works?

d’Arcy: We have no idea. We thought it would be a very weird album that only a few people would like when we were doing it. I have no idea. But we are really happy that it was the album that was done in the most selfish and pure way. We really thought if it was good for us some people will like it. We didn’t try to please anyone but ourselves and our “brothers” who we do not know. So it’s surprising and beautiful that it happened with this one. But we have no idea why.

Laurent Brancowtz: I agree! I agree!

You mentioned that you don’t tour too much. Has there been any notable upside to all the promotion and touring you’ve done this year?

Brancowtz: For us it ‘s been very progressive since we started. Even releasing a first album it was crazy, it was really overwhelming. And doing a second one, and a third one too. Each time is very surprising. It’s not like brand new for us. I don’t really know how to say. It’s just that it doesn’t make a huge difference, the way it’s always going up and up for us. So everything is a surprise actually.

d’Arcy: It’s a very small surprise. We have a very progressive trajectory.

Are you starting to think about the next album?

Brancowtz: We’re thinking about it, but in a very abstract way. It’s more about concept. We’re not at the stage where we share it. We just keep it for ourselves. Because it’s very fragile, all the ideas that we have. They can fade away very fast if we don’t present them in the right way at the right moment. So for now we officially focus on the tour, which is already a lot of work.

d’Arcy: It’s daily work. We always make it different, even slightly. It’s very important for us to make it exciting for us and for the crowd.

When you get off tour are you considering doing demos?

Brancowtz: We never do demos. Actually, I consider our albums as very good demos.

d’Arcy: It’s demos, “semi-professional.” When we have something we like, it’s always based on something that’s hard to do again. So now we just do. And hopefully it sounds semi-pro! [Laughs] So it’s like a demo. That’s our strategy.

It seems to be working.

d’Arcy: Well it’s up to you. It’s your opinion.

Brancowtz: We don’t have a choice.

How do you keep looking for inspiration while you’re busy focused on touring?

d’Arcy: Well festivals aren’t the most inspiring. Except this one, it’s beautiful. There are these contrasts of nature and civilization, which is so American. A polo field in the middle of the desert. To me it’s a symbol of America.

I guess it’s better than Homer Simpson and all the other things that could be a symbol of America!

d’Arcy: [Laughs] Exactly. It’s beautiful. Human ambition and craziness. And it’s big!

Are there any other bands from France that you feel like Americans should know more about?

Brancowtz: Yes, there are. Sebastian Tellier we love. Justice, you know. Everyone knows a good one.

d’Arcy: ROB. He is a solo artist. He’s doing his own stuff, which is amazing.

Brancowtz: He’s doing twelve EPs about the twelve apostles.

Ambitious. D you think you’d ever consider a concept project like that?

Brancowtz: When we have a frame we instantly have the desire to destroy it. Maybe if we can go beyond this psychology problem we’d do it.



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