France is on the brink of discovering one of the greatest Indie Pop sounds of a generation. Hailing from deep within the French Alps, Sierra Manhattan have got the sound and the confidence, now they need the public. Third Outing caught up with band members Antoine and Rémi, to find out what the European Indie scene can soon expect...
Tell us a bit more about Sierra Manhattan. What's the dream?
Antoine: Sierra Manhattan started as a solo project approximately four years ago when I was living in Annecy, French Alps. I recorded a few EPs and small albums under the name of Yang and then changed it to Sierra Manhattan two years ago. When I moved to Lyon, people asked me if I could play the songs on stage, so I asked Alex Van Pelt (Coming Soon, François Virot), Rémi (Satellite Jockey, Kcidy), and Florian (Satellite Jockey, Astronomy Domine) if they wanted to help me with this. It's pretty fun to play the songs as a band.
Sierra Manhattan's sound in one sentence?
Antoine: People tend to like the word 'Love-Fi'.
Rémi: These are just love songs ! Beautiful romantic songs.
Dancing sounds like The Pastels. It's quite obvious, don't you agree? What do like about this song?
Antoine: I'm a huge fan of The Pastels. We actually covered the song Nothing To Be Done with my girlfriend. I really love this casual way of singing. I also love bands like The Vaselines , Nathan Roche, Television Personalities and Felt for the very same reason. Seems so easy to do it, and when it's your turn to sing...
Earings is another great tune. Kiss Me as well. It's safe to say we dig the record.
Rémi: As they're love songs I guess it's hard to talk about it...just listen to the lyrics if you want to know more about it!
"It's pretty stimulating to see all these bands, labels, and people who put on gigs everywhere just to make the scene survive. I mean for nothing more than to help each other out".
It's great because the sound is refreshing, and apart from The Pastels-esque track, quite unique. You take risks.
Antoine: I think I'm just a bit lazy. I try to write the songs as quickly as possible and then I try to find all the elements I can add. I rarely work more than an afternoon on a song. After that I tend to think about it too much and I can't like it any more. As a band it's pretty different, I bring the songs to rehearsal, we listen to them and use them as a demo. We rework the songs to be fun and easy to play.
You've started a record label in Lyon, France. How's the music scene?
Antoine : Well we started the label AB Records with my two friends Leslie and Valentin in Annecy, at first to put out our own music onto CDs. After that we started putting on a few gigs around there. There are a lot of good bands there like Chateau Sologne, Space Fisters, Swan Morgan, Smutt, but there's only a few spots to play. When we lived there, we used to go to Le Bistro des Tilleuls where our friend Adrien used to put on gigs every Friday night, and also to a few squats to see weird noise bands or punk shows. Lyon's music scene is quite impressive! There's a lot of incredible bands and many different styles. Check out Les Halles album Forum, Litige's Demo Tape and Satellite Jockey's Falling.
In generally, then, what's your view on the current French Indie music scene?
Antoine: It's difficult to answer this but I'd say that it's pretty stimulating to see all these bands, labels, and people who put on gigs everywhere just to make the scene survive. I mean for nothing more than to help each other out. We have a lot of friends all around France, Switzerland, Belgium and I'm always impressed to see how many great bands there are, Listen to our buddy Présent Parfait from Strasbourg, Régis Turner from Brussels, WTF Bijou from Vevey and Taulard from Grenoble.
We'll check them out, Last one, three good bars in Lyon to go for a night out?
Antoine: I'd say Les Capucins to have a pint and listen to a good punk show in the centre, Le Court-Circuit for a nice local beer and Le Trokson probably...