Taking the world by storm, is the French band La Femme. Mysterious and instantly captivating, their psychedelic-surf rock vibe is nothing anyone has heard before. Add unforgettable style, and you have the 6 member band you won’t be able to turn off. Singing in their native French, and already clocking in at touring over 83,000 miles, they just don’t seem to stop. Some time ago I had the pleasure of running into Marlon Mangee and Sacha Got, the founding fathers of La Femme. Staying in contact with distant friends is a skill I treasure, and La femme has come a long way. Here is an exclusive interview about their world tour, style, and future projects.
As we begin the interview, Marlon pulls out a large book he recently bought on their time playing in Moscow and St. Petersburg, “oui, it’s only Russian people portrait in aquarelle (water colors),” as I joke that my portrait is somewhere in that book too. After not seeing each other in a few months, the time barrier is broken and we begin chatting like friends.
E- First of all, I want to say congratulations, as you’ve done already 71 shows in 2014 all across the world. You’re doing one almost every other day now.
M- oui, it’s good but it can get tiring. I go on tour in 6 hours, at 6 in the morning to go to Germany for 3 days to play a show. Then Luxembourg and then France.
E- So is this the last leg of your world tour?
M- We will be finishing in October. We will finish in Brazil and the US. And after we come back to US, to Iceland.n
E- And where will you be playing in the US?
M- We do not know exactly, but we will definitely be playing in New York and California and maybe we go to Texas but we’re not sure.
E- You toured America last year, where would you say you had the best reception?
M- New York, and LA, and San Francisco. Because in New York it was all sold out, and in La it was a big place – the Roxy. 600 people, it was cool. In LA a guy did the crown surfing on a surfboard.
E- So tell me more about your world tour experience
M- We started this tour a year ago, and we went to a lot of cities and countries – Israel, Hong Kong, Laos, England, Germany, Holland, Spain, US, Mexique, Canada.
E- And how was the international response to you singing in French?
M- Very cool, you know. If you make a good vibe and music then people will follow it even if they don’t understand then words. When I was little I was listening a lot of music American, like Velvet Underground, and stuff like that. I didn’t know the lyrics but I love the music and I think it’s the same with us, they don’t understand the lyrics but they very like the music. It’s always fun and people are very nice when we travel and we are happy.
E- And with the lyrics, who writes them and where does the inspiration come from behind them?
M- it’s me and Sacha (Got) that write. And we are inspired by life, you know like history, all the artists, everything can be inspiration I think.
E- And how does that transcend into your music videos?
M- Well we make the music first, and when we listen we have an image and a vision will come in our mind. We think about it, and we put the track on repeat and write down ideas for the videos.
E- I love all your music videos and how they correspond to the tracks, with Packshot, then to Hypsoline, and my favorite, which is more like a beautiful short film, Amour dans la Motu. (which is incredible, go watch it now) Any specific images that you always knew would be in the videos?
M- Like Amour le Motu, you know, when in the beginning of the song you hear the tat tat tat tat tat, in my mind, I really want to put a strong helicopter. But there was no link in the history, for the video I had the vision of the people dress like in the 20’s, and green smoke, and girls naked with gas masks, behind the glass.
E- That is one of the most interesting music videos I have seen in a long time.
M- Yes but it doesn’t work very well, there are only 45,000 views. And finally it’s not huge, you know, we released separate videos for France and for the rest of the world. I think it is because so many people love the song but one year after the song we put the video clip. So people just see one time, and the. It’s done. Next time we will make the video and the song release at the same time.
E- And what’s next on the horizon for you?
M- I’m working on the new song, the video release of the new song, and the new album.
E- So can you give us any exclusive hints about it?
M- It will be inspired by a lot of stuff, Egypt, I think. And the Medieval time, and electronic music, and psychedelic music. We will be releasing the song and the video at the same time. It’s still our music and our vibe, you’ll see the inspiration.
E- And how would you describe your music?
M- I would say it is rock-electro. A lot of people don’t know because our style is so different. I met a girl on a street one day and she said what is your music, is it rock-electro bizzare? For the people that don’t know the music it’s good to say that, because it’s fucking strange, you know?
E- So you’ve gone from receiving the highest distinction in francophone music, Les Victoires de la Musique, to touring multiple continents, to even collabprating with fashion designers…what’s next, even it terms of side projects?
M- I think that we will want to make different types of music and experiment, erotic music, classical music, but it will be always with the band I think.
E- And are there any specific bands you encountered while on tour that you liked, and do you have any bands you’d lke to work with?
M- I like Milky Chance,Gap Dream, and Igor Dewe. To work with, I want to work with Die Antwoord.
E- Any memorable moments you had on tour?
M- *laughs* Yeah! A bunch of great moments. Psych Fest (in Austin, TX) was very cool. The most cool gigs because we stay three day in the festival and we help keep the festival ‘psych’. I was naked in a kimono and take some LSD and go around the park and make some crazy shit. I was like a melting pot of Barbarella and Le Petit Prince. I was both.
E- A kimono, huh? You’ve always had very striking choices, from the giant sombrero to all the patterns you wear onstage. Really incredible cuts and styles. Where do you get them?
M- I just got these pants made with some fabric I picked out. In Paris there are many fabric markets so I can choose a lot to make.
E- I actually love the very groovy and bright geometric style you have! and with making your own clothes, do you plan to do anything with it?
M- Maybe someday I will make my own clothing line, but not now.
E- So in addition to having a very unique look onstage, with your custom made clothes, every time I see you, your hair changes! From dark buzzed to platinum blonde and now this “two-faced” man. Who was the hairdresser and how did the idea come about?
M- This style was made by the big Charlie le Mindu of course. I make the crazy haircut and I say to him I make a lot of stuff, what do you want to do? And he did this, the Cruello. And you see, I have the eyebrows too.
E- So like Cruella, are you planning on playing around with big fur jackets on stage now?
M- I actually made a shooting with the furs, from Saint Laurent, in black and white. Very cool.
E- That’s incredible, and is it for a new music video or magazine?
M- No, it was for Vanity Fair, for their Fur Issue. I don’t know when it is being released, but it was a fun shoot.
E- And this isn’t the first time you’ve worked with Saint Laurent, right?
M- No, before we did a cover for them of a song, and now we’re planning on doing some clothes in the future from them.
E- So you have some trips to Istanbul and some vacation time coming up, what do you plan to do?
M- Well I’ll be going to Istanbul and to an island, and then to Mexico for vacation. To see friends and to take care of me.
E- Why Mexico?
M- We toured there and we made a lot of friends and see cool people. I’ll be doing something called temazcal. It’s like a hot sauna.
E- That sounds incredible. Thank you so much for the interview and I look forward to seeing you in Istanbul!