INSECTE. Five Brussels-based Parisians have emerged from their cocoon and given way to their first EP minimalistically called 1. Their psychedelic pop has a certain retro feel to it. Like an old tune waking up your childhood stereo boombox. A nonchalant universe inhabited by quirky lyrics and surreal stories sung with an ethereal voice full of spleen. I enjoyed the mystery of the texts, the floating absurdity and happy chaos. La Valentine is my personal favorite. Soothing good vibes overflow from this four-tune EP. If you like their first, you’ll be glad number 2 isn’t far… (listen to it on soundcloud, links below).
I sat down with Oscar, voice and mastermind and Yerko, the bassist. Humble and somewhat shy, cosied up on one of the huge sofas at JAM’s rooftop bar, this is what they had to say about their promising project.
You are a young group, you’ve been together for a year. You have a clear pop vibe. With languorous melodies which is not to say it’s not complex and quite dense. Would it be fair to see some traits of the French Touch? Early Daft Punk perhaps? AIR ?
Oscar : It’s possible… though those are not necessarily the groups we identify ourselves the most with. But in terms of melody, yeah, you could flair that French touch.
Your songs have a little retro feeling too, like an old hit coming back from the past.
O : I think that retro vibe stems from the 60’s French pop melodies that have somehow permeated our own. I’m thinking Françoise Hardy, Polnareff, Sylvie Vartan, etc.
You sing mostly in French. Is that important to you?
Yerko : It’s neither necessary nor deliberate. It’s more a natural thing than a commitment. It’s true that sometimes, singing in a foreign language can give a sort of quirky edge, an exotic taste. Foals did a song in French. Even the Beatles… But sometimes it just sounds fake.
From Paris to Brussels. That’s a hell of a change…
O : We don’t really feel out of our element or far from home… And then again, we started our music project in Brussels so can’t compare the scenes. Plus I have to admit we do spend much of our time with fellow French people.
Y : Life in Brussels is sweeter. And we live in St Gilles so there’s definitely a ‘village’ feel to it. But there is less of that Parisian ‘electricity’. When we started the group in Brussels, we immediately met a lot of Belgian bands like Le Colisée who lent us a hand, came to the studio, encouraged us… Here, groups are all about solidarity and playing in everybody else’s band.
An debusted urban legend about Belgium?
O : Beer. Boy, did we drink piss in Paris. Since I moved to Brussels I discovered real beer and must say I like it.
How do you live the stage?
O : We’re getting better. I guess Yerko seems to be the most comfortable so far. But we’re all evolving with every gig.
What was your favorite live performance?
Atelier 210 for the EP release, without a doubt. The atmosphere was so generous… It was spacious and intimate at the same time.
Favourite song right now?
Y : I don’t listen to much music, actually. The last tune that stayed with me was Present tense of Radiohead.
O : Without feeling too ashamed, ‘Deja vu’ by Post Malone featuring… Justin Bieber.
When you find music you truly dig, do you play it on loop until it sickens you or do you listen to it parsimoniously to keep it strong?
O : I play it until I’m done with it and then move on. And there is no nostalgia left in me, when it comes back on play years later.
Y : I’m a glutton. I listen to it until I absorb it. And I’m more of an album person, rather than a single song. It’s a concept I really respect.
What is the hardest lesson you had to learn in life?
O : Learning that to get something done, you need to do it yourself, hands on. For a long time, I was in a sort of ‘waiting room’, expecting others to fill in the blanks.
Y : Doing what makes me trip, without caring about the others, the public, the industry.
So….Brusselsprouts…. How do you have yours?
Y : Brusselsprouts are beautiful. But I’m more of a broccoli person ;)