The French pop-rock group Louise Attaque is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its first successful album, with a reissue and a day-event to resonate the hits “Ton invitation” or “J’t’emmène au vent”, a song described as its ” passport for the party”.
The formation stood out in the French musical landscape in the 1990s with a rock spirit in an acoustic packaging. Acoustic guitar and violin respond to each other, in the service of a delicately gravelly voice and texts in French.
For this quarter of a century, the Parisian formation is releasing its first eponymous album on Friday, with, among other things, a collector’s version in a 28-page hardcover book. And on April 26, Louise Attaque will play six times in the same day in the Parisian performance hall the Elysée Montmartre. A good “cardio test” has fun with AFP Gaëtan Roussel, singer and guitarist.
“We want to say thank you to the people who have allowed us to live this adventure for 25 years, and when we celebrate our birthday, we invite people”, unfolds the leader.
On the album cover, there is the face of a little girl with big eyes drawn in broad strokes by bassist Robin Feix. The name Louise Attaque is a convoluted reference to a beloved American group, Violent Femmes. “From the name came the idea that Louise is a character who represents us, we wanted the music to be embodied but not by us on the cover,” Robin Feix told AFP.
The concept is pushed very far. “Louise had a very practical side, it was she who wrote directly to the owners of venues and bars where we wanted to play, in the style of a seven-year-old girl,” he confides. “Louise asked them, for example, in her letter if her friends could come and play with her that day”.
A little piece of paper changes everything. “I had another band but we couldn’t make it and one day there’s this little ad left in a rehearsal studio, they had left only one little ad my mates told me later,” recalls For AFP violinist Arnaud Samuel.
“French rock group is looking for a violinist, good level, references Tom Waits, Nick Cave, Violent Femmes, contact Robin”, he recites.
“It’s a chance that we came across Arnaud,” said Gaëtan Roussel.
Louise Attaque swallows the scenes before releasing her record. “We wanted to play live very quickly, saying to ourselves “we will go to the public and they will come to us”, we wanted to do a “max” of concerts even in small places at the beginning”, underlines Arnaud Samuel.
While no song is released, “I take you to the wind” hooks the public. “In the bars, we played it three or four times a night, we used it to set the mood, we saw that it was going straight, people went home knowing the words,” explains Robin Feix. “This song was our passport to the party we were going to do next.”
The whole challenge for the group was that their style on stage – “very stripped down, quite rough in the delivery of the songs”, synthesizes Gaëtan Roussel – is not distorted on disc.
Marc Thonon, boss of the Atmospheric label, has the intelligence not to want to coat their music with effects. He accepts their request to be produced by Gordon Gano, leader of the Violent Femmes. “He was the perfect producer, he used our hollow faults to make it look like us, Gordon understood that we just had to help us stay ourselves”, greets Gaëtan Roussel. Jackpot, the record has sold more than 3 million copies.