ACL Music Fest Interviews
Saurday, 1:30pm, AT&T Blue Room stage
Playful, rhythmic, and addictive, Versailles fivepiece Phoenix went into a Berlin studio last year to record their third LP, It's Never Been Like That (Astralwerks), a brilliant concoction of American rock and European soul.
"On the second album [Alphabetical], we started in our basement," explains guitarist Christian Mazzalai. "On the new one, we did it very, super fast, with no songs. The concept was to write everything there and record as fast as possible."
Mazzalai's thick French accent only adds to his charm as he digs deep for the right words. Despite their Parisian roots, the band sings exclusively in English.
"English is a fantastic tool for music, and we try to use this tool with a French point of view," Mazzalai says. "It's kind of hard to use French for music. There are few artists who really do it well."
So Phoenix steps out of geographical boundaries. Using elements of hip-hop, dance music, and rock to create perfectly structured pop songs with Seventies soft-rock leanings, like INBLT highlight "Long Distance Call" and Alphabetical's "(You Can't Blame It on) Anybody," the band has a knack for uniting the masses.
"We don't really think in terms of a country," notes Mazzalai. "We think more in terms of people; I think we've got a community of people who think the same. They are cool, you know. If they come from Belgium or Japan or America, they are the same culture, in a way. We are a secret international band. Americans, I think, dance more than Europeans. And that's a good sign. When girls are dancing to your music, it's a sign of success!"