Interview

Le Villejuif Underground

These talented modern crooners, who mention Usher, Billy Crawford and Ja Rule as musical influences, just released their new album, When Will the Flies in Deauville Drop, 11 witty and irreverent songs, full of humour and irony. Having done our background check, we knew we were about to deal with a gang of hectic and barely reachable kids, either scattered across France or on the road checking-in at as many venues as possible. Still, we packed our pockets with various lucky charms and took our chance.

Interview by Hadrien Panelli
Photos by Léo d’Oriano, shot in Paris, France

 

Everything is fine in the van because we have fancy drinks and some strawberry pie that we took from yesterday’s catering

So you’re in the van on your way to your second show of the weekend?
Nathan: Yeah bro. We left Epinal and we’re on the road to Annecy. The landscape is pretty nice here… The get-in was at 3pm [it’s 4pm when we start the call] and we have three hours left of driving. Everything is fine in the van because we have fancy drinks and some strawberry pie that we took from yesterday’s catering. We’re touring with our mates from Bryan’s Magic Tears and they’re 30 minutes behind us. Ha-ha!

Are you driving?
Nathan: Oh no, surely not. We have our good friend El Loco to take care of us. El Loco is our bud from Nantes and he’s now living in our Villejuif house where most of the band’s songs were written and recorded. He inherited it because we’ve all left to live with our women.

Subba gave me a theme for the interview: Furbies. Do you remember them
Antonio, Adam, El Loco: Yeeees. Furbies! Sure we remember them. We had some at the house. Those mean creatures could even talk.
Antonio: Adam used to torture those monsters when he was younger.
Thomas: Our Furbies belong to El Loco now. He’s looking after them.

We definitely dig Beefheart, especially the early recordings and the first album, Safe As Milk (1967)

There’s a lot of humour in your music. It’s not that common nowadays. Do you look up to musicians of the past (Zappa, Beefheart, The Residents)?
Adam [aka Peter Porc]: We definitely dig Beefheart, especially the early recordings and the first album, Safe As Milk (1967).

Could we compare Nathan to Don Van Vliet and the Villejuif house to the Trout Mask house?
Adam: I’d never thought of that but there are definitely some links between the two. It was for both bands a communal space of living and creation… But man, with Van Vliet it was more about sequestration than fun.

What about your vision of rock music in Belgium?
Adam: I have one thing to say: BRONT!
Nathan: And our friends from Cocaïne Piss. We have the same booking agent in France.

The ’90s were a special time for you, right?
Adam: Oh, for me yes. I started playing music in the ’90s. Your question reminds me of an anecdote. When I was a teenager, I went to see Blood Arm at La Maroquinerie and I was crowd surfing to the stage when I spit on the singer while he was on the ground. The crazy thing is that this guy interviewed us in Berlin last year. I showed him the video of my glorious moment. He was shocked!

The last time we came, we trashed the place. This time will be even better

Are you excited to come back to Liège in March?
Nathan: Sure man. The last time we came, we trashed the place. This time will be even better.
Adam: We’ll avoid eating in a friterie. When we played in Ghent, we had some issues with a Turkish frites seller. Nathan threw a chair in the air in the snack bar and the guy called the cops. Nathan was finally held in custody for a few hours…

Can we end with some recent film or music references that you want to share
El Loco: Toy.
Thomas: Kaaris.
Antonio: Bryan’s Magic Tears.
Nathan: In terms of movies, you should check Mandy with Nicolas Cage, made by Benjamin Mendy, you know [laughs]!
Antonio: I’ll go for Heaven Knows What by Benny and Josh Safdie.

 

Le Villejuif Underground will be performing
on 6 March at KulturA (Go With The Flow), Liège
This event is free for members. Join here.
More info