if we’d make a guess for our favourite band of 2007 the decision would turn out unanimously: the teenagers. quentin, dorian and michael have been showered with love, praise and recognition by blogs all over europe and the states and established a solid following. still their fame is rising and the breakthrough imminent. the three teens have just released starlett johansson, the single preceding their forthcoming album due early next year.
we had the chance to interview the frenchborn londoners exclusively for knicken, and take a look behind the myth the little information that has leaked so far created.
you're all living in london now - how's the living there when you are not touring? how do you get along and aren’t you afraid of losing your sweet french accent, that makes your sound kind of special?
dorian: we are touring a lot recently, so we're not at home as much, but we do like living in london. it's really exciting, and we are not worried about losing our accent. i think that will never happen, not even after 40 years outside france.
quentin: i have been living here for about 3 years, so yeah, it‘s ok to live here. there is quite a lot of animation. and the food is so good. not. i have been trying to get rid of my accent, but it’s too much of an effort - and it makes me look like a retarded english person.
speaking of london, the city is expensive, shiny and full of stars and starletts. are you already at a point where you can make a living from what you're doing? is fame, money and all that a goal for the future?
q: yeah, we are living for red carpet events and photos.
d: yes, and it's really nice to be able to live off our music. we are just busy with the band everyday, we received our schedule this week, everything is already planned for 2008, until something like september. we don’t have a lot of money to live though, so yeah, some more could help of course.
we read that you were working on some serious stuff right now too, "wheel of fortune" to name one we heard of. what is the album going to be like? Is it going to be tragicomic like "fuck nicole", more serious or just as funny as your new single, an ode to scarlett johansson?
d: it's gonna be a mix between all of that, our influences are very different and we don't want to put an album out if all the songs are the same. it has to be compact and sound like an album of course, but we do like variety, so "wheel of fortune" is more "serious" than the one you have listened to before, but we're not turning into an average rock band, i really don‘t think so. we finished a new song for the album yesterday and it will be very surprising.
q: "wheel of fortune" is not so much of a serious song but it sounds like it at least. if you listen to fuck nicole and homecoming there is some depth to them as well. they’re not only about swearing.
when asked whether they had concerns, if people might be bored with material that is already a little out-of-date since quite some demos have been floating around the net, quentin and dorian answered they wouldn‘t see that as a problem; even though the band enjoyed a lot of bloglove, only about four songs of the upcoming album had previously been unsealed. over and above all these songs are going to be reproduced, and thus improve the demo versions that people have already listened to. let's hope for the best as everybody remembers the hassle when justice dropped their first album. though that turned out pretty, pretty good.
the teenagers - homecoming (ysi)
how much autobiographical influences do you process within your songs? do you accumulate experiences from all your lives, individual ones, or do you construct your ideal of a teenager?
d: it's a mix between our reality and pure fiction. of course, all the girls we know arent like "nicole" in "fuck nicole", but i don‘t know how it all really came up. but let's say it‘s 50/50.
q: a bit of experiences, fantasy plus social reality equals the teenagers.
"sunset beach" talks about a hot chick who hooks up with one of the teenagers and ultimately elopes with his jazzmaster while he is passed out in his bed. the chorus repeats: "this fucking bitch deserves to die". since it is one of our favs it was unshirkable to ask who'd be your choice to play the leading female part if you shot a video to that song?
d: oh, i don‘t know. we would have to take a girl who fits our description: "dark hair, blue eyes and an ass to die for". i will think about that.
q: i know who. but i can‘t tell.
it almost seemed as if dorian and quentin preferred dirrrty talk within their lyrics, but not so much during interviews. they evaded the question about their understanding of nice tits, which was one of the catchy lines of their first single homecoming, but maybe the following picture illustrates their liking, so we can focus on their music again.
speaking of production, the "fuck nicole"-xmas-story compacts the whole livingroom-to-stardom-fairytale. has your professionalism changed production-wise since then, or will you stick with your cody-chesnuttesque 4-track-recording technique?
d: we started on my computer with five plugins and yesterday we recorded the new song that we mentioned on the same laptop with the same gear. it's perfect for us to work like that so far. but we’ll go into a studio with someone who helps us to make it sound perfect afterwards.
q: we are defintely not ready for the real studio with glass windows and a vocal coach. even afterwards when we re-work the tunes we sit in a homestudio - a decent one though.
you once said in another interview that there are no dynamics with other bands yet and that you’re doing your music alone. how or has that even changed after doing remixes, being remixed and touring for quite a while?
d: we said that we're not really into a scene or something, if i remember that right. but we do like some people of course. we don‘t want to be alone, but we want to do our thing alone. and we don‘t want to be too influenced by other artists we know. i know the people from justice for a while now and i don’t think their music really influences ours. we really have fun with crystal castles and these new puritans on tour right now. all these people are really creative. it's a pleasure to hang around with them.
q: we like them and there music but that‘s it. the influence might be passive actually. we would love to team up with crystal castles though. it might be fun.
the teenagers - starlett johansson (narctrax remix) (ysi)
the teenagers - homecoming (guns'n'bombs xtc 1996 remix) (ysi)
d: i think the future lyrics are just in the same mood. we don’t say cunt in every song, but there's always something that‘s breaking the song. we don‘t want to sound like lame rock, and we remember that we started the band as a joke, so we're not taking everything that serious.
q: we never aimed for attention grabbing. we are rude. and teenz in general are, so it came out quite naturally.
we have a category on knicken called "girlism", which explores all phenomena pertaining to girls' behaviour within pop culture. a big berlin magazine recently featured a title-story creating the urban legend of berlin being the bad girls’ capital. taking a closer look at the city we developed the hypothesis berlin was not flooded with bad girls but abundantly populated with girls with distinct neurosis. since the teenagers sing about girls a lot and act as experts in that field, we asked them whether they could agree to the neurosis-theses, or what they would you choose as the main characteristic of today's girls?
d: well, i think that bad girls do exist. girls and boys are equal, no? so i dont think you could have bad guys but no bad girls. you can find neurotic boys too.
q: bad girls are a different kind, but just as dangerous.
finally we asked them about berlin, a city full of girls to write about. probably because getting girls and getting laid is no concern for prospective pop stars, their affectations for berlin were not necessarily associated with the girls here.
d: to be honest, i thought about moving to berlin once. 3 years ago one of my best friend moved there for a year and i visited her two times. i was quite interested in berlin cause it's full of movement, creativity, and it's super cheap.
q: we had a lot of fun djing at the club rio last year but it's closed now, right? i don’t speak a word of german so that's a major put off when it comes to living there. but it's cool and cheap.
true. cool, cheap and as our mayor adds: sexy. anyway, there are gigs to play and some friends to visit - and berlin is longing for the teens to hit its stages, cause "we love the teenagers".
thanks to max from kitsune and the teens, it's been a pleasure. more info is to be found through this media node. grab their stuff following the links on their myspace or click the pic below for their exclusive kitsune release.
die deutsche version findet ihr hier.