Dany Boy, Tall Bastard and Crazy Z. from Je t’aime
In the sad, concert-less times we are in now, the power of social media and personal recommendations cannot be underestimated. A piece of good advice (thank you Patrik Lark) brought me to the amazing Post-Punk trio JE T'AIME. Paris-based, exceptionally vibrant, energetic and yet holding on to some very best Punk roots, the trio released the album that’s both captivating and smashing. Totally taken by their music aI decided to dig in a bit into the band’s story, inspirations and what they take inspiration from.
Reflections of Darkness [RoD]: I’m wondering how artists performing such energetic music feel about live streams that are often the only possibility for the bands and artists to interact with their audience? I’m especially thinking about the live stream from The Reactor that is scheduled on the 12th of March 2021.
Dany Boy [dBoy]: It’s a particularly complicated time for live music. To be honest with you, personally, I hate these live streams. We do a few of them because it’s important to keep a minimum of contact with our audience, and if it can give them a good time then that’s great. But it’s actually a pretty sad exercise. Our first album was written especially for the stage, to be shared with real people, not to be played in front of cameras. I feel a little bit like a monkey at the zoo. Fortunately, we are surrounded by a really great crew, and thanks to them these fake live shows are a little bit more fun.
Tall Bastard: Yes I completely agree with dBoy. I’ve often wondered how a musician can perform on a TV set when they only play one or two songs without a real audience. And I realise now that it’s more about acting than playing music. Performance. Unfortunately, I’m a musician more than an actor I think. But I also love to make people happy. I’m completely able to play a kind of music I don’t really like if I see that audience is smiling and having fun. With JE T'AIME, I love our music and I like to think that those livestream makes our audience happy.
Crazy Z. [Zoé]: Moreover it takes a lot more efforts for less good results. We have to managed filming crews, new equipment, editing, keeping energy... but in the end, people watching it can’t feel the vibe through their screen. But well, we are who we are, and we always enjoy playing together, no matter where, no matter why.
RoD: Has the Covid-19 isolation had a negative impact on you, or on the contrary, let you focus on new material?
dBoy: When this virus arrived we were already working on the next album. So we were lucky to be busy. But today I’m really starting to find the time long, I miss the stage terribly.
Zoé: I think we keep our usual working rhythm. Of course a little bit faster on producing new material because we’ve translated into the studio the time we are not spending on the road. So, you may get more than one album from us this year (laugh).
Tall Bastard: I don’t know if it’s negative. I personally left Paris for the country and it felt great. But on the other side, I became reclusive. Antisocial. When I joined dBoy and Zoé to record some new materials, I was really scared to have to spend some time with my own kind. I wrote some lyrics about that in a song.
RoD: How do you think you have evolved musically since the release of your debut ‘The Sound’ in 2018?
dBoy: Our music has evolved enormously since that first album. So much so that sometimes I wonder if we’re not going to scare everyone away on our next record. For me, our musical evolution follows a very logical direction, more dense and sophisticated. But the public has only heard our first album. They don’t know the different directions we’ve taken this past year with our new compositions. I really wonder what they’ll think about it.
Zoé: I am so thrilled to know how it will be received too. For sure, we are taking it more seriously on the new material. Our thoughts were to say: ok, we are a young band, we have only one album, so we basically can do anything now, because the audience doesn’t know what to expect. So we did anything (laugh).
Tall Bastard: More serious yes. You’re right Zoé. This is what comes out of those new songs. And more freedom too. For the first album, we had an idea in our head. There is much more freedom in fact now. But for me, they are just some new songs from the exact same band. We are still playing this kind of music we really love.
RoD: How was the band formed? What is yours, so to say, musical background? Do you all come from the post-punk scene?
dBoy: The project was born after a well drunk evening. We talked about music for hours, as often in our evenings. And at one point we just thought that instead of talking about it, we were going to make some. We just wanted to have fun. We all come from a rather rich musical experience. All three of us have had a lot of bands and made a lot of records. But we’ve never had as much fun as we did with this band, at least for me.
Zoé: The three of us comes from the dark scene and alternative music, for sure, but as dBoy says, we have wide influences and a pretty decent experience as bandmates in some other projects. It makes it easy when starting a new project I guess.
Tall Bastard: Yes that was really the main goal of this band: Making the music we loved with friends. Simple and easy: going on stage together, going on tour together. JE T’AIME lives to go on stage.
RoD: Further to the question - you’re strongly set in Cold Wave and Post-Punk. What’s so particular about that music genre that you personally find the most important? What brought you to that specific kind of music in the first place?
dBoy: I will say three words: simplicity, authenticity and romanticism. A few years ago I had a band that was part of this dark music, I wanted to rediscover these atmospheres and the audience that goes with them. I missed it I think.
Zoé: I personally love to make some fun out of too serious shit. And the cold wave and post-punk scene are sometimes way too serious, right? So we take it, make it easy to use, fun to listen to, slight to carry, but keeping a strange atmosphere of the genre.
Tall Bastard: I personally grew up with this music. DEPECHE MODE was one of my first musical love, then THE CURE and from there SISTERS OF MERCY and AND ALSO THE TREES. But I don’t know why I’m so much into this sound. It’s not about romanticism because honestly, lyrics are not what I’m looking for. What I’m sure of is that when I heard the bass line of ‘The Holy Hour’ from THE CURE for the first time, I was ecstatic and I knew I will learn to play music!
RoD: Why the name JE T’AIME? What kind of love do you have in mind and who do you love so much you decided to call your band and the album like that?
dBoy: When we had finished our first song ‘The Sound’, it was after this night when we were a bit too drunk. The day had just dawned and we had finished that song. We didn’t know that we had just formed a band but we were so happy to have had so much fun that we couldn’t stop saying: I love you guy. We love to talk about dirty love that often ends badly. Maybe one day we will try to be more original.
RoD: What do you think it takes to create a good song or a good video in your view? What would you call your inspiration in creating new songs?
dBoy: The most important thing for me is to never get bored. As far as inspiration is concerned, it all depends on the project. For JE T’AIME this group needs to have fun, to laugh and to live a human experience. Alcohol and drugs help a lot because we don’t really like each other.
Zoé: Exactly. We have to enjoy the song or the video first. Because we don’t really enjoy each other us.
Tall Bastard: Maybe that’s the reason why we always are very fast to write news songs. The faster they are done, the sooner we can finally be apart (laugh). So for JE T’AIME, speed is in the essence!
RoD: Thinking about the content of ‘Je T’Aime’ that was released back in May 2019 – it’s both extremely modern, energetic like in ‘C ++’ and still containing lots of the sounds one could call punk classics like in ‘The Flying Dutchman’. What is the creative process like in your case? How do you select songs that will go with one particular release?
dBoy: For the first album, we just had to compose the tracks one by one until we had eleven of them. We had two watchwords: dark music + make you want to dance.
Zoé: And it has not changed for the second album. It is still our motto.
Tall Bastard: One of us can start a song and then the other put their idea on it. We start a song all together. It depends. The point is to have a good idea and we always challenge each other to find a better idea. But whatever the song, if we work on it altogether, it will be finished in half a day max. As I’ve already said, time is in the essence of this band!
RoD: Are you working on something new at the moment? Could you give out any information?
dBoy: We started writing the second album a year and a half ago and a lot of things have happened in our lives during that time, I think you can hear it on this record. Today we're coming to the end, the mixing is almost finished. As I said before, this new album is much denser and more sophisticated than the first one. The lyrics are also much worked on. Less spontaneous but more thoughtful, more profound.
Tall Bastard: Yes, we are a serious band now. I hope we will be able to still have fun and be serious at the same time. And to go on tour. I want to go on tour!
RoD: If you could summarize what JE T’AIME music stands for to someone who has never listened to you before - what would you say?
dBoy: JE T’AIME is a bit like the unavowed child from an orgy between THE CURE, THE SMITHS and PIXIES.
Zoé: It is a cold-punk band. Take that as you like.
Tall Bastard: Just like Heaven!
RoD: Thank you very much for your time!
Picture by Anaïs Novembre