It was day 2 of Good Vibes Festival. The ground was still muddy from the rain the day before, and it would rain again later during the last three performances, but for the time being, we went backstage for a brief chat with Phoenix’ Christian Mazzalai and Laurent “Branco” Brancowitz about their latest album Ti Amo, traveling, Paris, and baguettes.
So you came out with Ti Amo, of course. What was it in particular that really inspired you for Ti Amo?
Branco: In Ti Amo, we remember our childhood and the feeling of innocence and pure emotions you experience when you’re very young.
Well your sound has changed so much over time. You’ve evolved into something that’s also slightly more electronic, more experimental. What made you guys decide to do that?
Branco: We never really decide anything. We try a lot of things and then we let our emotions decide, so when we finish an album we haven’t really made a decision at any point. Just more, you know, following the compass of your heart. It brings you to places. We like new experiences. We like new emotions so we just follow that, and it brings us to those territories that you can hear in our album.
How is it different from the kind of songs that you wrote when you were much younger? Do you work the same way now?
Branco: We are more free-form now. When we were young we had a very strong principle. Now we prefer when it’s a real adventure and we don’t really know what’s happening in terms of style, and in terms of rules. We love when there’s no rules. When we were young we like to work [with] very strong rules that we created, but now it’s more free and more risky. It was a more rational standard, now it’s more emotional.
Lianne: Do you ever think you’d consider making an album in a language that you’re not as familiar with, like from Asia, or anything like that?
Branco: It could happen, but now we would have to experience to live here or something. You know?
Lianne: Do you think that you could do that? Move out here in a very tropical country. It’s very hot.
Christian: It’s very fascinating for us. It’s very different so every time we come around this kind of area, it’s practically exotic for us in very good ways. We are very attracted by it, but I do not know if we could live here. We love adventure.
Lianne: But you still find yourself going back home, so it’s always gonna be Paris?
Christian: In way, yes.
Lianne: What is it that you recommend to people when they say “Oh, I’m gonna visit Paris!”?
Christian: I recommend to just eat a sandwich with a good white wine in the bar…
Lianne: Do you think that sandwiches are…
Christian: …standing, standing. Stand at the counter.
Branco: That’s a trick that works in every country.
Lianne: Is it a sandwich if it’s not a baguette?
Christian: Not really.