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Phoenix: Infectious French Pop
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Phoenix: Infectious French Pop



You might be tempted to channel surf when a commercial comes on. If you do, you could miss a great song.

(Soundbite of song, "1901")

PHOENIX (Rock Band): (Singing) Counting all different ideas drifting away, past and present, they don't matter, now the future's sorted out...

SIMON: That's the French band Phoenix with its song "1901." The song's been featured on a recent Cadillac commercial in the United States and is taken from the band's fourth album, "Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix."

(Soundbite of song, "1901")

PHOENIX: (Singing) It's 20 seconds 'til the last call, going hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey. Lie down, you know it's easy, like we did it all summer long.

SIMON: Phoenix is currently playing to sold-out venues in the United States. They have been called rock's great French hope by no less than Rolling Stone magazine. Thomas Mars and Laurent Brancowitz of the band join us now from the studios of WOSU in Columbus, Ohio. Thanks very much for being with us, gentlemen.

Mr. THOMAS MARS (Band Member, Phoenix): Thank you.

Mr. LAURENT BRANCOWITZ (Band Member, Phoenix): Thank you.

SIMON: Laurent, I've been told that your mother does not like that album name -"Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix."

Mr. BRANCOWITZ: It's true. She's German. Playing with the name of Mozart is like a crime, you know. When we told her the title, she laughed a lot and cried. That's when we really knew it was a good title, when you have these kind of reactions.

SIMON: Your song, "Lisztomania"...

(Soundbite of song, "Lisztomania")

PHOENIX: (Singing) Lisztomania, (unintelligible)

SIMON: Is the Liszt of whom you were singing the composer or the Roger Daltry/Ringo Starr film?

Mr. BRANCOWITZ: Both. We saw "Lisztomania" before we wrote that song. And it's, to be honest, it's not my favorite movie but I love the idea. The one we like is the Hungarian composer and the fact that his life is really connected to Paris, too. It's very inspiring, his life.

(Soundbite of song, "Lisztomania")

PHOENIX: (Singing) From a mess to the masses, Lisztomania, think less to see it grow, like a riot, like a riot, oh, not easily offended, no one to let it go, from a mess to the masses. Follow, misguide, stand still, disgust, discourage´┐Ż

SIMON: We're talking to Thomas Mars and Laurent Brancowitz. They're two members of the band Phoenix, from France - this may be obvious from the accent. Thomas, may I ask you a question that might be personal?

Mr. MARS: Yes.

SIMON: So you and Sofia Coppola, that's true?

Mr. MARS: Yes, yes, we - I mean, it's true since a long time.

SIMON: OK. That's what I read, but I just want to make certain.

Mr. MARS: We have a daughter together.

SIMON: Oh, that I did not know. Congratulations.

Mr. MARS: Yes. Thank you. And another one coming.

SIMON: Well, double congratulations.

Mr. MARS: Thank you.

SIMON: Your song, "Too Young," was featured in her film "Lost in Translation." Let's listen a little bit to that.

(Soundbite of song, "Too Young")

PHOENIX: (Singing) Baby, when I saw you standing at the end of a street, I knew a time was gone and it took me like ages just to understand that I was afraid to be a simple guy. I try my best to smile´┐Ż

SIMON: Did you write that just for the film?

Mr. MARS: No. We wrote that for the first record we did. She liked it. She liked that record. She like the song called "A Honeymoon" first, and she send us one of the best music video we could ever had, which was Bill Murray dancing on our music.

(Soundbite of song, "Too Young")

PHOENIX: (Singing) Deep inside my heart, I felt it was shouting like a crowd dancing. I guess I couldn't live without things that made my life what it is. Can't you hear me calling? Oh, yeah. Everybody's dancing. Oh, yeah.

SIMON: Your song "Love Like a Sunset" has been the object of a remix done by the American band Animal Collective. Have you heard it?

Mr. BRANCOWITZ: Yeah, of course, yeah. We all love it.

(Soundbite of song, "Love Like a Sunset")

ANIMAL COLLECTIVE (Music Group): (Singing) Visible horizon.

SIMON: Now, when you hear a remix, this particular remix or another, are you flattered - or is there a part of you that wants to say, oh, go write your own tune, just don't use ours.

Mr. BRANCOWITZ: No. We are flattered, for sure. We did everything we could so everybody could remix our music. You know, we put the separate tracks of the songs on our Web site. We prefer, though, that the remix stays a bit less good than the original, you know. But no, we love it and we love the fact that at some point, you know, the music belongs to everybody.

(Soundbite of song, "Love Like a Sunset")

ANIMAL COLLECTIVE (Music Group): (Singing) Here comes a visible horizon. Right where it started, oh, and then we start the end.

SIMON: What do you think of Carla Bruni's music?

Mr. MARS: What do we think? Maybe we should invent our own truth and just imagine that she's the first lady that suddenly released a very beautiful album. (Unintelligible) yeah, she wrote a very good album, actually. The first album is good. And she makes men become crazy.

(Soundbite of song, "Rome")

PHOENIX: (Singing) Who's the boy you like the most? Is he teasing you with underage?

SIMON: Gentlemen, very nice talking to both of you.

Mr. MARS: Thank you.

Mr. BRANCOWITZ: Thank you so much.

(Soundbite of song, "Rome")

PHOENIX: (Singing) Static silhouette somehow, single in his bed someday. Quiet 'til it falls, falls, falls...

SIMON: Thomas Mars, Laurent Brancowitz, members of the band Phoenix. Their album "Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix" is out now.

(Soundbite of song, "Rome")

PHOENIX: (Singing) Oh no, what did I say? What can I say? Rome, Rome, many tears have fallen here, I'll be driving, you look the other way. It ain't easy to ignore, when the shutters open all the way.

SIMON: And this is WEEKEND EDITION (French spoken)...

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