“I don’t know if I know any other Argentine musician, but I am very obsessed listening to Charly García“, reveals Flora Benguigui, from Paris. “I don’t know how or why, but I recently found him and got hooked on his music,” he says via Zoom. And although in this part of the Atlantic everyone knows that Charly’s work has a universal character, it is a surprise what the frontwoman of L’Impératrice, the group that plays tonight in the digital edition of the Marvin Festival (and will be available on demand until Sunday).
It is that in addition to not speaking Spanish, she gives voice and charisma to flagship group of the new generation of artists on the French music scene. And his partner Charles de Boisseguin, founder, keyboardist and violent of the band created in 2012, adds: “Lalo Schifrin is one of my favorite Argentine composersAlthough many believe that it is from the United States or some other part of the world. “
The rally doesn’t end there, since Chinese Bandalos, one of the most representative groups of the advanced Argentine musical, he often mentions L’Impératrice among his influences… “Really? Good to know. We’ll listen to you!”, Promises Flore. “When we go to Argentina, able we can go see them live. “They could also share the stage, since their proposals are close.” I love the idea! “, Charles enthuses.
“We have a lot of fans there. We interact with them through social media, as well as those in Brazil, Ecuador and Mexico. We never think of doing anything in that market. That is why it is a blessing that this happens to us. Despite the fact that we sing in French, we can go to other places, “he points out. The French sextet will offer an appetizer of its magic for groove and dance on the streamed version of the Marvin. “We are happy and grateful to be at this event,” celebrates the singer. “Yes OK it’s frustrating not being able to play live in this edition of the festival, we love to participate. “
Last year, L’Impératrice was one of the European artists who knew best how to take advantage of the pandemic by organize a virtual world tour after the cancellation of 60 concerts, which included his debut at the consecrating American music festival Coachella. In June, the band announced 10 dates adjusted to the circumstance, recorded in different Parisian locations and issued according to the schedules of the cities of the world in which they are most popular.
“It was quite difficult carry out that great tour, because we had to cancel and rearrange the dates, “explains the singer. However, they succeeded, with one of his most forceful and best finished performances of that tour at the emblematic Grand Palais in Paris; a show available until March 2022 on the YouTube channel of the musical arm of the Franco-German channel Arte. “I also feel that we took this opportunity to do a lot of work on the new album.”
Indeed, This series of shows allowed L’Impératrice to feel and advance the songs from his brand new album, Tako Tsubo, launched on March 26 and already a candidate to rise as one of the best of 2021. “We really finished it in December 2019, so it was difficult to work on it again,” confesses Flore. “We spent a lot of time out of the quarantine to tweak it and include new songs.”
The effort was worth it because if their debut album, Matahari (2018), transformed them into one of the revelations of contemporary French popular music of recent times, The sequel enshrines them as the groovy pop steamroller. “We made the record we wanted,” says the 23-year-old charismatic vocalist. “Within the world of music, you always have to be running because you are on tour, going to the studio or many other things. Then you never stop, nor can you take advantage of the time to dedicate yourself to the album. If the pandemic had something good for us, it is that we led Tako Tsubo towards the sound we were looking for.”
“And what were they looking for?”
Charles de Boisseguin: –First of all, we wanted to do something different and surprising compared to Sun. This time we put a pretty French touch to the songs, in the structures and in the base.
–Tako Tsubo respira y suda groove…
“ We belong to that, and we had the courage to dare. We play with the heart, and with the groove. This is real. We admire disco music, funk and James Brown, for example. It’s all about the rhythm, both in the music and in the voices.
In addition to the iconoclastic and French patent pop produced in the eighties by the legendary duo Les Rita Mitsouko, L’Impératrice’s musical proposal also draws on the legacy of the French Touch: that Parisian dance revolution that has in Daft Punk to its greatest icons. “In my teens, I grew up with Daft Punk and with the entire French music scene of the nineties. They were my soundtrack“admits Charles.” Unconsciously, that sowed the seed in me to make this kind of music with a lot of passion and to create the band. “
Flore says Daft Punk were probably the ones who taught them to give the groove that French touch: “They were the first artists in our country to captivate a global audience. Although, unlike them, we decided to sing in our language.”
–Your new album has more songs sung in English than the first. Why?
Floren Benguigui: –The theme itself asks you in which language you have to sing it. Regardless of whether it is in French or English, we try to preserve the energy of the song. That is not why we neglect the meaning of the letter.
The new of L’Impératrice conceptually revolves around the “broken heart syndrome” or “Tako Tsubo syndrome”, as it is known in Japanese. A disease, for now, incurable. However, contrary to the title, the sextet tried to think about the sentiment of the public during its creation. “As we are six musicians, we always think about what we feel and what we believe that people will also feel“, reveals Flore.” We thought very well about the songs we wanted. “
– Did you consciously try to be one of the new international artists that French music has?
Flora Benguigui: –We don’t know how our music got into the world, but the feedback from the public is very good. It is very difficult for a local artist, singing in French, to transcend. We didn’t care, and we did anyway. When we tour the United States or Mexico, we perceive that the public likes our songs in French more. And that is fabulous.
In the last decade, France has been enjoying fresh, identitarian and innovative artists such as La Femme, Polo & Pan, Pirouettes or Papooz. Charles de Boisseguin says that they feel part of that outpost. And his complete companion: “A lot is happening within the world of music in France. But a band that works live like us, there aren’t many.”
– How did the feminist movement impact the music of your country?
– 10 years ago, feminism lit a flame in the world of music. As in other expressions of art. But despite what was achieved, it is still not enough. I do not know if I have a great influence, but I put my contribution so that things improve.
“And the French youth are taking over?”
– It’s all wrong with politicians because you can’t demonstrate. People opened their eyes last year, and our generation is carrying that transformation in tow. The pandemic is subsiding, so I am confident that we can move forward soon.