... Very artistic, very stylish, very French. Sylvie and Aurélie have created the masterpiece "Brigitte": Great music combined with an all-round perfect visual image. When we met for our interview, we were instantly impressed by Sylvie´s and Aurélie´s look as well as by their kindness and humour.
It soon became clear that they are close friends and complement each other very well. In France they were last year´s top newcomers with the album "Et vous, tu m´aimes?" that has already sold platinum.
AVIVA-Berlin: First of all, congrats, mazal tov, on your award "Groupe ou artiste révélation scène" aux Victoires de la musique 2012. What does this award mean to you?
Aurélie: It was really cool for us, because it was the award for the best show on tour. We love our crew, the musicians and the technicians are really amazing. So it was important for us to say thanks to them for that. Before having this award we were on tour for more than one year and it was great, we had a lot of fun in France and we sold many albums. So we were already very lucky, it wasn´t so important to have an award. I think it´s good for people who don´t know you, but I don´t know, does it change something?
Sylvie: No, but my mother was so proud!
AVIVA-Berlin: Do people recognise you on the streets after the award?
Sylvie: Without my glasses, no.
Aurélie: Without my Sylvie, no. (laughs.)
AVIVA-Berlin: How did Brigitte change your lives?
Aurélie: Before we played music in different bands, but we were losers, we can say that (laughs). Not successful at all. We were thinking about stopping music and maybe open a restaurant or doing something with more future. We decided to do Brigitte because we really loved each other and we wanted to do something together where we could feel free to do exactly what we dreamed to do. No limits, no style, no church, just having fun, be who we want to be, who we really are. So yes, Brigitte changed our lives. We are stronger than before, we are more feminine than before and we are freer than before. It was really important for us. We give each other confidence.
AVIVA-Berlin: Do you remember the first time, you two met? Was there an instant connection?
Sylvie: Yes, it was amazing…(She turns to Aurélie, to let her translate from French into English)
Aurélie: She said: "The first time that I saw you, I fell in love, because you were so different to me, but exactly, who I wanted to be. Really Parisian, beautiful, feminine and you knew everybody" – But (laughs) I didn´t feel like that at all!
The first time I saw her, she was on stage in Paris. People told me, that her band was not signed and I was like: "Oh my God, this is impossible, this girl sings so great, she plays so well and her songs are amazing! What happened in this world that this girl doesn’t have a label?"
Then, for my second album, I wrote lyrics and asked Sylvie if she could put music on them. She did and it was so easy and so good and free - we had a lot of fun doing that together. After that, one day we were in a falafel shop of la Rue de Rosiers, a very typical Jewish place, and we said, let´s try to do a band together!
As we wrote the songs together, which is very intimate, we talked about our stories, the bad and the good things that happened to us and we cried in each other’s arms and we laughed in each other’s arms. Because of what happened to us, when we were writing songs, we became friends. We were so naked to each other at this moment.
AVIVA-Berlin: Femininity is a big topic in your music, you sing as women in love, heartbroken women and confident women. The name Brigitte stands for every woman, not only for Brigitte Bardot or Brigitte Fontaine. The drawing on the album cover shows Aurelie lifting her skirt and showing her underwear and in "Jesus Sex Symbole" you sing about being proud of having eaten the apple and about Jesus´s sexy naked body. What do you love about being provocative?
Aurélie: We think that a woman has many sides. Woman is plural, always. You are la maman et la putain – the mother and the slut. You wear make-up and you can wear no make-up. You can be very deep and you can be very empty and just having fun. In every woman, there are all those things. You don´t have to choose, we don´t have to choose, we are plural. Provocative - why not? Sexy - why not? But also desperate, in love, shy: it´s a mix of everything. For us this cover is to show, we are women and we embrace who we are. We are here. It’s not a sexy thing, it´s more like a feminine act.
But we are also provocative. Jesus Sex Symbol is about a woman, who asks what we don´t usually ask of God: Give me sex, give me money, give me wine, give me a crazy life. But please God, forgive me…I love Rock´n Roll! (laughs) I love your long hair. I love your naked body. I´m sorry, I´m like that, I will never be a nun. But I love you. (laughs)
AVIVA-Berlin: For the Vintage Erotic Film Festival "Eros 69" you were asked to do a cover song and you chose "Ma Benz" by the rap-group NTM. In their music video we see cars, hip-hop-gestures and half-naked women dancing, the typical rap music video. In your video we see a woman, who is not that young anymore and who looks very tired dancing, in underwear and tights for an adolescent boy. How do you see yourself as female artists in this song, what is your message for other women?
Aurélie: First, we really loved this song and we really loved this band. NTM was one of the best Hip-Hop bands, we’ve ever had in France. We decided to do this cover, because we love this song. Most of the people who just look at the video, thought it was really macho and mysogyne. But if you listen to the lyrics, it´s not macho at all. It´s just about desire and sexuality. And that´s not just a man-thing, it´s also a girl-thing. We didn´t change the lyrics, we didn´t change the melody, we just changed the rhythm and it became almost a girl-power song. When we´re on stage we want to say: be who you are, don´t be afraid to be the most beautiful, the most sexy woman you have inside you, don´t be afraid, to have them on their knees. It´s just a song about desire.
The lyrics say: "Laisse-moi zoom zoom zang, dans ta Benz Benz Benz" – "Let me zoom zoom zang in YOUR Benz Benz Benz. That means, that it´s the girl who drives the car, it´s not the man.
AVIVA-Berlin: Brigitte is much more than just music - you have produced beautiful photo series, your videoclips are also very artistic and creative. How do you combine all that, how much influence do you have on these things?
Aurélie: The label let´s us do exactly what we want to do. From the beginning we were on our own. We recorded our first EP alone, Ma Benz, Battez-Vous and La Vengeance d´un Louve, then we produced three music videos and all the photographs. When we were already on tour around France, the label said: "We want to do something with you, but we want you to be free to do exactly what you do, we´re just behind you, to give you money and help you to do more." It was perfect.
AVIVA-Berlin: What are your plans for the future with Brigitte?
Aurélie: For us it´s already amazing – to be here today, talking in English, in Berlin! Two or three years ago, we wrote all of our songs in my dining room, with the babies…it´s crazy for us.
AVIVA-Berlin: You both have kids, now that you´re on tour, do you take them with you?
Aurélie: No, it´s too intense. We have good mothers, friends – our families help us a lot. But we´re like many women, who decide to have kids and to work; for you journalists, it´s the same. A woman who travels around the world has to organise and manage things to take care of her kids and also to be free to work.
AVIVA-Berlin: What is the most important thing, you want to teach your children in their lives?
Aurélie: I love this French word "oser" (to dare). Don´t be shy, do what you have inside you, do it, say it, don´t be afraid.
I have two baby girls and I never felt a culpabilité (guilty) to be sometimes far away from them. We go back every week to Paris for two or three days. I feel like this is also a kind of education, to tell them, I do in my life, what I always dreamed to do. It happened to me now and I want you to know that it´s possible in life, to do exactly what you want to do. When I was first pregnant, I was really scared, because I felt, that I was a loser and I didn´t want my daughter to think of her mother as a loser.
AVIVA-Berlin: Do you remember one special thing that your parents taught or gave you in your life?
Aurélie: My parents gave me love and they really listened to us and let us express ourselves. Sometimes they were a little bit strict, but always with love behind it. I think, that is the most important thing, when you raise kids, to love them and to listen to them.
Sylvie: My parents gave me courage to continue. They always accepted my life. My mother didn´t like my ex-boyfriend and she never told me. She accepted my life and also my music. I think my mother was always proud of me.
AVIVA-Berlin: Were your parents also musical influences?
Sylvie: There was much music in my home, when I was a child. My father played the guitar and there were always many friends visiting. I think it’s a good souvenir: music, friends, singing, playing guitar. It was important for me to grow up with this atmosphere of music.
AVIVA-Berlin: Aurélie, you also sang in the Yiddish band "Adama", but you didn´t sing in Hebrew, right?
Aurélie: No, just in Yiddish, but I learned Hebrew three years ago, because I went to Israel, with my ex-husband for three months. I lived in Tel Aviv.
AVIVA-Berlin: Do you remember some Yiddish words?
Aurélie: Yeah of course, "Bay mir bistu sheyn" I really love this song. Our song "Le Cœur de chewing gum" is really close to it.
AVIVA-Berlin: Aurélie, you said, that you love the music of the Israeli singer Arik Einstein, and Sylvie you mentioned Klaus Nomi as one of your favourite musicians. Besides those two and other musical inspirations like The Beatles, Marilyn Monroe, Jeanne Moreau, Georges Brassens, Prince and Alanis Morissette, which artists from the French scene of today influence you?
Aurélie: We have a friend called Ornette, who is a very good keyboardist. She did her first album one year ago. She’s really talented. In France, we also have some very good hip-hop bands, for example 1995, very cool.
Sylvie: Keren Ann!
AVIVA-Berlin: You also worked with Keren Ann on the movie Thelma, Louise et Chantal. If there was a movie about the two of you, which title would it have?
Aurélie: "De la formidable liberté d´être deux" – "From the amazing freedom to be two". Our music video for "Oh la la" is like a trailer for a road movie in California. Maybe the name of our movie would just be "Oh la la"!
AVIVA-Berlin: On your album there is one song in English. You sing with a very strong French accent.
Aurélie: You need to be French to understand the humour of this song. It´s just French expressions translated word by word into English. Like "speak English like a Spanish cow." We say: "Elle parle le français comme un vache espangole". It means, she doesn´t know how to speak it at all.
We didn´t want to sing in English. We like to play with words, with very classical French, French from the streets, slang and mix everything. But in English, we can´t do that. Everybody says, it would be better to sing something in English, so you can travel with your music ... But we say, no, we don´t care, we want to write French songs. After a while, we said: "OK, we will write our English song, but you will see. It will be French."
AVIVA-Berlin: How do you complement each other? What are your biggest differences and similarities in life and in art?
Aurélie: In our art, we are not so different. We love almost the same things. The differences are more that she has black hair and glasses and I´m blond. So many times people think in stereotypes, the brown haired girl with the glasses and the blonde girl, with big boobs, but it’s not really true. Sometimes she is the blonde and I´m the brunette – inside. (laughs)
AVIVA-Berlin: Thank you very much the interview, all the best for your future and see you in september!
Aurélie and Sylvie: Thank you, see you soon!
Et vous, tu m´aimes?
Label: 3eme bureau/ Wagram Music/Indigo
Please also read the AVIVA-review on "Et vous, tu m´aimes?"
More Infos at:
Brigitte at Facebook
Brigitte at Myspace
Brigittes Blog at tumblr
Musikvideo zu "Oh la la"
Acoustic-Version of "Cœur de Chewing Gum"
Weiterhören auf AVIVA-Berlin
Keren Ann - Keren Ann
Keren Ann – not going anywhere
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Berry – Mademoiselle
IMANY. The shape of a broken heart
© Photos: Sharon Adler