Interview: Juveniles

Juveniles are a synthpop duo from Rennes, France. Working with French producer Yuksek, they released their self-titled debut album in June. Breezy, danceable tracks such as ‘We Are Young’ and ‘Strangers’ have prompted many comparisons; particularly within genres as encompassing as French electronic and English new wave. Jean-Sylvain Le Gouic (left) and Thibaut Doray (right) from the band spoke to Impact prior to supporting White Lies at the intimate Hoxton Bar & Kitchen.

You’re supporting White Lies for three shows in London. The first was last night, how was it?

Yeah, it was good. Rough. We were on stage for like 20 minutes, with a four minute soundcheck. We drove all night from France to get here. The guys were great. The audience was cool, and then we played a second show at White Heat (nightclub).

The likes of Daft Punk and Phoenix seem to be flying the flag for France in the charts. Is this a good time for French music?

Yeah I think so. I think it’s always been a good time for French music, at least for the last 20 years. We decided to call it ‘the French touch’. There has always been this place for French electropop music. All the artists from Ed Banger records, Justice for example. You guys in Britain are hard to impress, but there are always new scenes coming here more and more.

It’s always been a good time for French music…’the French touch’

Jean-Sylvain, you have somewhat of an English accent. Do you like being in London?

I’ve never lived in London. But yeah, I guess my accent suggests I love being here.

Are you pleased with how the debut album turned out?

We’re really pleased to have worked with Yuksek on the album. It was a huge turn in our music to work with him. Also, not just releasing one or two songs on an EP, but a full length record. We’re really pleased the way everything has turned out with all the shows coming up.

The YouTube video for ‘We Are Young’ has over a million views. What do you make of that?

We are amazed. It’s like a million! And it’s the first song we released.

You’re playing large festivals and smaller shows like tonight. Which do you prefer?

Everything. For these small shows in London, we travel here and experience the city, which we really like. We have friends at each show. We’re looking forward to traveling really far away; playing in Turkey, for example, in September.

How would you describe your sound?

It’s pop. Synthesizers. Electronic. A little new wave maybe. Electropop music. You guys call it synthpop. We really like Hot Chip here. They are the great UK band at the moment for us.

Who are your musical influences?

Hot Chip! Cut Copy. 80s singers obviously; Morrissey, The Smiths, a lot of that 1980s UK scene.

You’ve been compared to many 80s bands?

When you use synthesizers and these voices people will read your music differently. We have so many people in their mid 30s/40s at the show saying “Hey, this is really great, reminds me of when I was a teenager!” and then compare you to a band you’ve never heard of. Some people can hear New Order, or The Cure in our music. Basically like 30 years of pop music.

What music are you listening to at the moment?

Disclosure. We really like their record. I think I’m still stuck in 2011/12, we listen to (Hot Chip’s) In Our Heads a lot. Also, Zonoscope by Cut Copy. We are waiting for the next Cut Copy album, looking forward to it.

We like to make people dance

What are your future plans?

Continue the tour, smashing every French festival we have. And getting onto working on the new album. We’re writing new material right now because it is a good time. Never stop.

We can expect a second album?

Maybe not right now, but yeah. We really would like to continue to make people dance. We like to make people dance. We extend the songs when we play live, and when people started dancing this is when we realised that we could play clubs. Last night at White Heat we started at 1am. People were drunk, we were between two DJs and we played for 30 minutes. It’s a bit strange but turned out to be actually very fun.

Do you see yourselves as more pop than rock then?

Not really because live we are a bit more rock. There’s a different sound on stage. Maybe the second album is going to be a bit more dance. Like Abba! We’ve made an 80s influenced first record, we’re going to make a late 90’s influenced second record. Who knows? Perhaps we’ll become a boyband! We could put it on playback and mime, then we wouldn’t need to sing!

Robert Smith (@robertdgsmith)


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