Not so long ago we received a mail from a so-called « Note A Bene » Label, pointing us towards a trendy electro band. « Not too bad » was our thought after listening to it, and after a few internet researches we find out this « If the Kids » band has two ex-members of the rock band Silmarils.
If you’re about the same age as the « Ginette « we sent to the interview – yeah this dates so much back we had to send a thirty years-old-…remember Noir Désir ? Silmarils is more or less the same age.
Ginette met « If the Kids » during rehearsal at Mains D’oeuvres in Saint-Ouen, where the band is staying. A mug of beer and 4 songs written just for her later – so she thinks and so we let her believe- Ginette was ready to expertly lead this fucking interview.
Ginette: So…If the kids: Where? When? How?
Brice: I had a few electro tunes I wanted to stage and needed a female voice (singer?) ? I had tried out a ton of different singers before I thought about my friend Marine I had met in the live theatre of Paris. I also called my buddies Vince & Aymeric and tadaaa. It was kind of a hasty start back in 2009. We then put my electro tracks into music we could stage up.
Ginette: I heard the name of your band is a tribute to Sham 69.
Brice : Hehe it’s a great name isn’t it ? The Bérurier Noir sang their cover at the Olympia with this gal sitting on their shoulders. Great cover.
Ginette: So Aymeric is your old pal from Silmarils, isn’t he?
Brice: yup, he is.
Ginette: while we’re talking about that, has there been any change or evolution since Silmarils ?
Brice: you mean musically speaking ? Well we’ve gotten older! I’ve always moved electro music and have always been a DJ even if I have also played rock. You just have to be subtle, this is what I try to do with my colleagues from If the Kids, but yea…I guess there is a big leap between then and now.
Mademoiselle Marine: Also depending on the people you put together different things can happen. I’m not David so it HAS to be different. And Silmarils was a boy’s band. (male’s band ?)
Brice : David apart, you also bring something else. And Marine has no moustache….yep a boy’s band… now you’re talking about this, Marine inspires me a lot when I compose. I really think about her. She’s kind of a Muse I guess.
Ginette : You’ve met Marine through acting lessons, right ?
Brice : yes exactly, we were in the same comedians troupe. I played music and she acted.
Mademoiselle Marine: It was improv. We used to do sing improvs. He got to hear my voice on different levels because that’s the idea…mixing different styles.
Brice : I liked what she had to offer and her presence as well. I liked that she was such a hard worker too. We needed it. Having never sung in a band before she adapted pretty well. It’s really comfy.
Mademoiselle Marine : Well I AM an artist, am I not ?
Ginette: Definitely! You embody what you sing! It’s interesting and it works. There’s not only sweat coming out of you when you sing. For me it definitely makes a difference comparing to those lady singers that only serve as cosmetics to the song.
How would you define your band’s style? If you do feel the need to define it that is…
Mademoiselle Marine: It’s a mix but with a strong electro background. Rock, Pop, Hip Hop…With an electro dominance.
Brice: Yup our core stuff is electro.
Ginette: Brice, you are the composer…do you compose all of the band’s music ?
Brice. Yep. And writer’s name is Gene Barbe, he’s an Englishman. When we started we had JB who is still around? He always said we had to work with the Brittish. Everything in France was so complicated for me. That wasn’t a bad idea but you’d have to be a great writer. So we chose Gene who is poetic and with whom Marine gets along. He also thinks about her when he writes. He is kind of the fifth member of the band.
Mademoiselle Marine: he is a tormented man who pours poetry and commitment into his writing. It helps me to interpret some stuff.
Ginette: You need profound texts?
Mademoiselle Marine: definitely ! It’s a funny fact our music sounds a little pop and soft that makes a contrast with the profound meaning of the lyrics. It’s important to me, it really drives me. On stage, the words just drive me and they matter to me as much as the music.
Brice: Marine is not a simple girl. It would have been complicated to have junk texts for her.
Ginette: You mean she isn’t only a pretext. Singing « doudadidaddada » isn’t enough for her?
Brice: no she isn’t. It’s good there are texts that are up to her talent. It’s good she’s into them.
Mademoiselle Marine: that’s it…I recognize myself in them. It’s important. And I know Gene, he’s not off tracks when he writes for me, he gets me and that’s reassuring.
Brice: Yes he writes thinking about you, he knows what you want and who you are. And she’s right it brings seriousness to the softness of the rest.
Ginette: What are your lyrics about?
Mademoiselle Marine: About a woman who runs away in order to live her love. She’s under the pressure of her family because her lover is from a different religion. Or «to buy is to obey », it’s really telling and I think it’s a contemporary topic…there are other ways to consume. There’s also a story of a woman who died in her flat and got eaten by her dog.
Brice: there’s also one about the Loneliness we feel behind our screens « i need some company ». It’s a most beautiful text, and very true.
Ginette: yes, you can have 1000 facebook friends and still be alone in your room.
Mademoiselle Marine, you started as an actress, how did you come to Music? Was it because Brice asked you to?
Mademoiselle Marine: I practiced music while improv classes. The stage directors were already pushing me to sing more. I had also been writing French songs. I had composed a little, but not so much. Actually, I feel more comfortable with people doing it than doing it by myself. But the stage… is obviously my place.
Ginette: Is it easy for you to go up on stage?
Mademoiselle Marine: No, it’s horrible. But when I’m there it’s ok. Right before…it’s a nightmare. I feel sick and scared. But when I’m on stage….it’s awesome. I’ve been practicing my confidence in music classes. Being an actress helps too. I know I can occupy the space on stage. But as far as the voice goes I’m not so confident about myself. It’s getting better and better.
Brice: she’s being humble. I have nothing to say about her voice. She really surprises me on stage, especially when conditions are not optimal. She’s really good. I’m happy, we’re always making progress.
Mademoiselle Marine: the goal is to have fun, and that people have a good time We only do music. You have to be generous and to take advantage of those moments. That’s how I live. Don’t take yourself too seriously and always try t go as far as possible so you won’t disappoint anyone, no yourself.
Ginette: ok. And what kind of music do you listen to?
Brice: Yes that’s normal, they’re big advertisers….they came to get our music, and that promoted us very very well. Basicly it means our music has the potential to be to people’s liking.
Mademoiselle Marine : Let’s be honest, it’s a great showcase. Now people invite us to places we wouldn’t have been otherwise. It broadcasts our music to a public that probably wouldn’t have come to us.
Brice: as soon as you are on those medias, you instantly become a hero, it’s unbelievable. We’re lucky with Lacoste and Kiabi. They have massive advertisement campaigns that cost loads of money. It’s an open door to new opportunities as well. Thanks to Kiabi we receive messages from Spain and Italy because the adverts is European.
Mademoiselle Marine: It’s reassuring too. It means we’re professionals, it’s comforting. For me it means we’re going the right way.
Ginette: If I asked, it’s because I’m interested about how people can live on their music. I’ve heard you tried to work as an independent but that it was complicated?
Brice: very much so, do you want to talk about it?
Ginette: Sure, those are important topics that not everyone is prone to cover. It’s also interesting to have an overview of how the economics of music work nowadays.
Brice: In the beginning you kind of have to be independent. But you quickly burn all your money. It’s sad but the cost for developing a band is huge. So you can start an independent. And thanks to commercials we had small incomes for videos, we could rent places…but the limits come soon enough. Without money, if you don’t step it up in major or record labels that have money, you risk your band’s development.
Ginette: so what’s your record label?
Brice: Note A Bene, it’ a small independent label. We get some money…they invest.
Ginette: I don’t know how they invest, but they’re really good in communication. I have been contacted by three different persons to meet you. They’re hard workers.
Brice: you see, that’s what I mean when I say you quickly need a record label. They’re good; they really want to make it. You have to give it all you have in this business.
Ginette: I don’t want people to think I’m a commercials fan but there’s always some talk about the musical industry’s need to adapt, and find new business models…. What I mean is…if people buy so little of your music, do you only live on commercials and festivals?
Brice: yes Gaby ! Record Labels are fighting to get their artists into commercials. 15 years ago we all didn’t care. We used to play the original soundtracks for commercials. Nowadays it’s such a free way of promoting yourself that record labels fight to get their artists in commercials. And advertisers want developed bands. They don’t want unknown kids or original soundtracks anymore. Yes, the commercials exist and they help. But it doesn’t sell your music. In order to sell your records you’d have to get on the 4 major radio stations. That’s how you sell.
And you only go on festivals if your record has worked out. If you have a record but no promotion of it won’t work out. Business hasn’t changed that much. They make you believe that you have to be on stage. But you don’t get on stage unless you’ve sold some music first. So yes, we do need to build new models, but people keep thinking the same old way.
Ginette: we were talking about your past as a rocker. Do you feel a huge difference from those times?
Brice: of course! It’s complicated: 20 years ago we’d throw money out of the windows. Our clips would cost a million Now with 30 000 Euros you’re happy.
Mademoiselle Marine: and you had a huge tour bus tour!
Ginette: and Today it’ more Easy Jet?
Brice: clearly/ Record sales would get you going. There were fewer artists on the market. It all exploded with MySpace. That’s when we really got aware of the insane amount of bands playing in their basement. And that’s also when you realize you’re a lucky bastard if you get to sign with a label. The market got saturated. There’s less money. If you look at it closely there hasn’t been any rock band coming out in the last 4 years, since the BB Brunes. Why? It costs too much to develop for an uncertain return on investment.
Ginette: that’s so sad…
Brice: rock music is too expensive. Recording drums is very expensive. Maybe it’s bullshit but let’s say that for 4 songs a day you need an unbelievable studio that will cost you 8000 Euros a day for 3 days. Then you need to deal with the guitars…rock bands are too expensive to develop/ Since BB Brunes there hasn’t been any. You’ll probably talk about Skip the Use or Shaka Ponk but they have been developing for a long time. They already have 2 or 3 albums and have just become known. They have come a long way, it’s frustrating.
Ginette: Reality is far from the romantic conception of the guy alone in his room shooting a clip with his mobile phone.
Brice: that’s bullshit. There are exceptions, but it’s clearly not a general truth.
Mademoiselle Marine: Yea but today you can get funded by your listeners. We haven’t tried yet.
Brice: you mean crowd funding like kisskissbankbank? You can try but you won’t get nearly enough money. You can get 50 000 box and then ? You need to go on. Sometimes people makes you believe you will be successful through YouTube…there’s always a record label behind those schemes.
Mademoiselle Marine: Yeah but crowd funding helps you discover artists you wouldn’t have known of otherwise.
Brice: sure, an artist that has 20 000 views on a platform…you have to give him your consideration or take him into account.
Ginette: I’ve read you’re also known in UK and Latin America?
Mademoiselle Marine: thanks to the commercials.
Brice: the first one was Lacoste for a perfume with Alexa Chung. We made the buzz in UK and went on every big TV channel. The Guardian talked about us. I’m not saying we’re famous there, but as we’re unknown here in France, there’s no comparison.
Mademoiselle Marine: Kiabi helped us to get known in France
Brice: Kiabi is a French/ European campaign and we’ve signed a two years contract with that song. It’s not crazy but it’s good.
Ginette: thanks for this lively moment and I’m looking forward to your album and to seeing you perform live.