Rinôçérose is a French electro band based in Montpellier. They released an album called Futurino last year to popular and critical acclaim. Band member Jean-Philippe Freu heads the band, along with his wife, Patrice Carrié. Jean-Philippe was kind enough to have a chat with us over Skype a while back. Dario helped us out with the translation into Chinese.
Layabozi: OK, well thanks for taking the time to chat with Layabozi in Shanghai. We have been listening to your new album and really like it.
Jean-Philippe: It’s probably our most pop album. We worked with a lot of guests on it and we did songs!! We are particularly proud of some of them!
LBZ: I really like the one with Ninja from Go! Team! I saw them a couple years back here and they had a lot of energy (especially her). How was it to work with her? And how was the song written?
JP: We are also fans of the Go! Team!. We contacted her and asked her to come to Montpellier for a studio session. The track was already recorded and she tried some stuff on it – rapping singing. For the lyrics we asked her to write on the “time machine” theme. She liked the idea (but she didn’t take 300 years, just a couple of months when her lover was more in love with her.) It’s really fun and romantic!
LBZ: Yes, it’s really fun. But let’s go back to the beginning: Can you tell us about how you all became rinôçérose and how you became a popular band?
JP: In the middle 90s we tried with Patou to imitate our favorite house tracks with very cheap and unadapted instruments (small and cheap keyboards, guitars!! no synthesizers!) We found our sound like this. The early demo got strong interest from some labels and we released our first album Retrospective on a Spanish label (Elefant records.) After that, V2 England signed us for the album Installation Sonore, released in 1999. Then we started touring worldwide! It rocks.
LBZ: So you and Patou are both from Montpellier? We are interested to hear just a little bit about your city and how it affects your music.
JP: It’s a cool city, sunny with a very young population because of all the universities. The sea is just 7 minutes driving from my house! It’s a kind of French California!! But it’s difficult to analyze how it affects our music.
LBZ: So cool! Sounds great. I read that Nostradamus went to university there. Anything to say about rinôçérose and Nostradamus?
JP: He says that we gonna rock electro until the end of the world!
LBZ: It seems that you have changed quite a lot as a band, especially for the last record. You have moved from house music to a more diverse sound. What has caused this change?
JP: After 2 instrumental albums we wanted to experiment at working with vocals. We did it on 2 albums (Schyzophonia and Futurino.) We are actually working on a new album and we are going back into instrumental tracks!
LBZ: So no vocals for the album you are working on?
JP: Yes, some, but probably just one or two. No more than three.
LBZ: About vocals: Rinocerose sings mostly in English. What is the reason for this and what are the difficulties in singing in a non-native language?
JP: Because rock ‘n roll is English! There are no particular difficulties because the singers write the songs and they are all English or American
LBZ: Your song “The Cubicle” has been used for an iPod commercial. How do you feel about that now? And: Which movie soundtrack do you wish Rinocerose had been part of?
JP: “Cubicle” is (probably because of the commercial) our most popular tracks! and by the time it opened to us the Japanese market. I would love to be in a Scorsese movie with thieves and guns.
LBZ: Yes, you have a good connection in Japan. Also, you just missed out on the new Scorsese movie coming out soon. Too bad. I could see your music in one of the scenes where the mafiosos go on a crime spree. We want to see you here in China. Any info about that? Also, if you were to play Shanghai, China, where would you play? We have small, grimy underground clubs where you are more likely to encounter the locals, fancy foreigner clubs, or the larger concert venues. Choose one…
JP: If you want to see the Futurino show with all the towers and stuff we definitely need a large venue, but we also like small clubs, so you choose.
LBZ: We just want to see you, but tell me a little about your stage show now, please.
JP: It’s an imaginary city projected by 3D projectors on 5 towers (4 meters high.) It’s great you can check on youtube or the Electronic Shadows website (the Parisian designers who create the set up and images.) We play all the Rino classics and the best, last song from Futurino.
LBZ: Sounds pretty cool! Now for a funny question: What is the flaw that makes you perfect?
JP: I love to wear wigs when I’m DJing, but I always look ridiculous.
LBZ: And what about Patou? Can you speak for her?
JP: No, she’s very secretive!
LBZ: Let’s play a short word game: I give you some French musicians; you tell me the first thing that comes to your mind about them. The first thing! OK? No cheating. Here we go…Edith Piaf.
JP: La vie en “rinôçérose”
LBZ: Serge Gainsbourg.
JP: The biggest!
LBZ: Daft Punk.
JP: They are robots! (French ultra technologic robots!)
JP: My friends…the coolest band in France.
JP: Dance! Jessie, our guest singer, wrote the song dance with them.
JP: Sexy? Or not sexy?!
LBZ: Charlotte Gainsbourg.
JP: Incest! Lemon Incest.
LBZ: OK, last one: Jordy, the Talking Baby (Dur, Dur d’Etre un Bebe)
JP: Now he should sing “Dur, dur d’être un adult!”
LBZ: Are there any other French bands I should be listening to right now (as well as our readers)?
JP: You could check the last Philippe Katerine album, who was a great success in France. We know him. He is a cool guy and a real artist!
LBZ: I will do that. Is there any artist who has influenced you sound-wise and that, most likely, no one would ever think of? We saw many, many influences on yr myspace page, but maybe the most important or most surprising?
JP: My Bloody Valentine, Daft Punk, The Stones, The Cure, and The Velvet Underground! Maybe not surprising, but true.
LBZ: How is it to be a husband and wife together in a band? Tell us some of the joys and miseries, please.
JP: The misery is you can’t bring any groupies into your hotel room! The joy is you always stay close to your wife on tour.
LBZ: I hear that. Tell me, what is the future of the band, what is going to happen with rinocerose in the coming months and years?
JP: Actually, we are working on a new album and we want to do it quickly. We have strong inspiration at the moment and we think we’re gonna work in England with Jagz Kooner as the producer (the one who produced “Panic Attack” on the last album.) It’s gonna be more an instrumental album with a couple of songs quite arty and groovy in the same time.
LBZ: You have not hit a lot of Asia. Can we expect that anytime soon? Let us know if we can help.
JP: If you want to help us you could contact our tour agency: P Pole, ask for Clement. The number is 04 67 12 81 72. It would be nice because we would love to come and play in Asia.
JP：90年代中我和Patou开始用很便宜的乐器（键盘，吉他，没有合成乐器）来演奏我们最喜欢的浩室歌曲。这样我们开始找到自己的风格。几家唱片公司开始对我们第一样本唱片非常感兴趣，然后一家西班牙的唱片公司（Elefant Records）发行了我们的首张专辑的Retrospective。后来V2 England唱片公司叫了我们做在1999年发行的第二张新专辑的Installation Sonore。以后我们开始全球巡演。太酷了！
JP：La vie en Rinocerose
LYBZ:Ｕn zest du citron。好玩的是这位女士因为这件事而会永远有名。她和Beck刚刚发行了新专辑。
LYBZ:下一个：Jordy，会说话的婴儿（Dur,dur d’Etre un Bebe)
JP：现在他应该唱Dur, dur d’Etre un Adult!
JP：My Bloody Valentine, Daft Punk, The Stones, The Cure, The Velvet Underground!可能不算意外但是实在的。
JP：其实，现在我们正在创作新的专辑。我们想快一点做完。目前我们有很深的灵感。我们打算跟制作人Jagz Kooner（他制作了我们的最新专辑中的Panic Attack）合作。这张专辑会又文雅又时髦一点。
JP：你们想帮我们来亚洲演巡的话，你们会联系我们演巡公司：P Pole，找Clement先生。电话号码是04 67 12 81 72。我们期待来亚洲演巡的机会!