INTERVIEW: WE WERE EVERGREEN (PARIS)
Each year, SXSW is awash in those tastemakers or people eagerly anticipating and seeking through the gigabytes of music tossed out there to find the newest, latest, greatest bands to watch and herald. Me, I just go to watch bands I thoroughly enjoy instead of trekking around and panning for gold along Red River Street. One such band was France’s We Were Evergreen, a joyful melange of indie pop that calls forth British indie of the past decade, but refreshing and with an unparalleled purity to the music. It’s just fun. Right after their last performance on Saturday, Michael, Fabienne and William were kind enough to take a moment to have a quick chat (mini-dance party yet to be transcribed). Merci y’all!
(Note: Photos of their performance at St. David’s Bethell Hall during SXSW are also available here.)
So welcome to SXSW!
All: Thank you!
How did you manage playing a concert just after a giant animal band?
Fabienne: [laughs] It was so funny.
William: It was weird.
Michael: It was the best support act ever!
Fabienne: To explain to the people, there was a unicorn, a dog playing drums and an eagle. I never saw that before.
Michael: A strange experience!
William: It was also really nice. Kids came to the front of the stage at the beginning because we’re doing surprising stuff with weird instruments. It was good!
Do you have any secrets for keeping kids’ attention during a concert? You seem to do it pretty well.
Michael: Do we? No, no secrets. Maybe it’s something about the instruments or the playfulness of the music that they like. We don’t try. We don’t want to do it too harsh. If they come, they come and it’s great. But we don’t want to say, “Kids! Kids! Come on!”
William: “Like us!”
Michael: “Yeah, like us please!”
William: “On Facebook!”
So how’s the reception been for you guys at South By?
Michael: Great, great.
Fabienne: I think good. We really enjoyed the gigs we made. It’s a really good atmosphere to play gigs and people enjoy discovering bands.
Michael: We met a lot of good bands as well that we’re happy to discover. It’s a great experience because you get to be in places you’re not really used to playing. For example, we played in a church. That was a fun experience. Every day is like a discovery. It’s a cool festival for that.
William: There are so many bands going on that the audience could leave really quickly and go and see another. But it’s really nice because they stay until the end of the gig, which is really good. It’s good feedback from the audience.
What was the moment you all decided you wanted to start a band?
Michael: Well, it depends. We have different backgrounds. For example, William was in a lot of bands before.
William: 13 or 14. It was shit rock’n’roll. It was French punk.
Michael: I had a cover band and then my own band, but it was really small. It was in high school. This band came-
William: Well what about you?
Fabienne: It’s my first band!
William [as Madonna]: She was a virgin!
Michael: She was a rock virgin! But it’s fun because I don’t think you ever expected to go this far.
Fabienne: No, but we were ready for it at the beginning. In our head, I was thinking that if things are going a bit more and more and more, I’d be ready to go 100% on it. So at the beginning, I knew I wanted to go 100% and not to do it partially.
William: She was a diva anyway before she joined. She has time to eat, time to sleep,…
Fabienne: Like every normal people, I eat for lunch. That’s it! [laughs]
Michael: We met in a drama class that we were doing together in Paris, Fabienne and I. Because I was playing some stuff on Myspace and she listened to it, we formed this duet at first. It was acoustic folky music.
William: I knew Fabienne because of Academie of Musique in Paris.
Fabienne: I begged William to play.
William: She was like, “Can you be the drummer of the band?” And I tried and was really shy because I didn’t do that style or genre of music before. So I was really just a backing drummer. And each time they said, “Yeah, keep going!” It was really folk; guitar, piano and drums. We did a gig in an Irish pub in Paris and it was funny. It was a good experience. Each time we did a gig, friends came with other friends, and we kept growing. Each time we played, we’d add an instrument.
Michael: And now what we do is quite different than what we used to do four years ago. We have a setup based around a ukelele, xylophone, keyboards, rhythms, sampled loops, bass, and guitar.
William: And vocals.
Michael: [laughs] And vocals.
So where did that song come from last night? The piano one?
Fabienne: It’s an old song we do. We do it in different ways every time. Because there was a piano there, it was a good idea to use it. The room was great for doing a quiet and almost acoustic song. You can find this song on the EP.
William: You can buy it on iTunes.
And then see you in concert.
Michael: Cool, yes, see us in concert!
SXSW is wrapping up, so what’s one memory that you’ll have for years?
Michael: Patrick Watson in the church. That and…[insert random guy thanking the band]
William: Anything else?
Michael: I think arriving in Austin.
Fabienne: Yes! The first day was very impressive.
Michael: In general the first day. Discovering South By and the craziness that is this festival I think is something. It’s our first time in Austin and in Texas in general.
Fabienne: Or maybe our acoustic session we did near the river.
William: It was a wild acoustic session!
Fabienne: We tried to do it the hardest way we could. Crossing the river with the guitar.
Michael: The xylophone.
William: And if we speak about bands, I was really surprised by a French band called Housse de Racket. I was really surprised and it’s funny to discover it in Austin.
Michael: Discovering French bands in Austin!
William: My last hard coup de coeur is a Columbian band which is just playing behind us-Monsieur Perine. They’re amazing.
Michael: They have a weird name but they’re really cool! Check them out! Also for me, it was the Doldrums from Montreal. They were amazing. There weren’t that many people, only about twenty. But man, that was greatness. It was a crazy show.
What do you have coming up this year?
Michael: It’s good that you’re asking because we are playing in New York Monday night at Rockwood Music Hall Festival on the 20th of March, and Spike Hill on the 21st of March.
William: Hopefully you’re in London in May. We’re doing a big headline, full party show on the 29th of May at Bush Hall in London.
Any final thoughts or words?
Michael and William: Bye y’all!