The long-awaited debut album by DEUX FURIEUSES was released on May 20, 2016. The lyrics are inspired by life and politics, the music is fuelled with anger and determination. More than a smack on the head, ‘Tracks of Wire’ will hit you with full force square on the face. Driven with passion and fury, each song is as sharp as the cutting edge of a blade.
1) While DEUX FURIEUSES have apparently soft moments, theses moments are only deceptively soft, and they are delivered with a vibrant punch. What is the haunting 'Are We Sexy Enough' about?
We wouldn't really describe any of our songs as soft. But we are interested in quietness and stillness as well as loud, frenetic extremes. We love brooding, building fury as well as explosive fury. “Are We Sexy Enough?” is about the many ways we can be raped, the rules we are told to follow as girls growing up which will protect us, the way society rewards females who sell themselves in a sexualised way.
2) 'Tracks of Wire' was produced by Rob Ellis. How did you meet him and what was it like to work with him?
He was a long time hero of ours from PJ Harvey’s original trio and we just emailed him with our first demo introducing ourselves and asking him to produce us. He actually thought we were French and the demo very good so he met us at the BFI to talk about it and came to a gig. It was an intense ten day session, he was serious about getting the music and performances right.
3) Four singles released over 18 months, each with a video. Except for 'The Party of Shaitan', they are in black and white. Deliberate choice of stark aesthetic to convey a socio-political message?
(We have only released three singles “Can We Talk About This?”, “ The Party of Shaitaan” and “Are We Sexy Enough?”. Neither “Kill Us” and “Dream for Change” have been distributed for release or available to buy out with the album.)
On all three videos we made artistic choices to bring out the musical mood and the message of the song. We discussed it all in depth with Dan Donovan who directed them, looking at images and videos and emailing ideas and locations.
On CWTAT video we chose black and white because the lyrical theme was very dark, disturbing and uncompromising and this seemed the most atmospheric way to do it. We were looking for contrast between darkness and light. We wanted to cast shadows with the cross image that became the cover. We had one light I think and wanted to stand out dressed in black against white. It was very low budget and Dan Donovan filmed us in his garden shed one at a time as there wasn’t enough room for the two of us with our gear. We also used the idea of splicing us both together in greenish CCTV footage. Dan did a brilliant job with the editing, putting across the edgy feel we wanted.
On “The Party of Shaitaan” we wanted something different..a riotous, garish, explosion of colour, lots of reds and oranges. Dan melted our faces and there are lots of teeth, it is quite nightmarish. We were influenced by Samuel Beckett’s “Not I”.
On “Are We Sexy Enough?” we wanted to simplify, perform the song in a huge empty space with lots of candles using longer, slower editing . We were thinking of the vigils in India for Jyoti Singh who was gang-raped and thrown off a moving bus in Delhi and later died. We didn't want to distract from the brutality of the words. Yes again, stark, atmospheric, mournful was our intention.
On “Dream for Change” we didn't have the budget to do a proper video with Dan Donovan so made one ourselves using some live footage from our first ever gig shot by Lubert Daz. The footage of Vas as she slow marching around her neighbourhood in a black hooded cloak playing her snare drum was just filmed by Ros on her phone. We then edited this together with the live footage and phone footage from our Russian tour. We wanted this video to have an ominous, dream like quality, a sense of change coming for good or bad.
4) Mixing with Mark Freegard. How did you meet him and what was it like to work with him?
We had worked with Mark before and he is right up there with the best mixers. The performances are all there on separate tracks and he reconstructs it all back together again with drama and real understanding of the song. Sometimes he gets it right for us on the first mix he sends us like Time to Mourn which made us cry and other tracks like Kill Us had many mix takes as we explored where it might go. He added additional production textures as well which you can hear on tracks like “Are We Sexy Enough?”. Mark also recorded and produced The Party of Shaitaan single after the album session at his studio in Glasgow where he was mixing the rest of the album.
5) 'From Fear to Fury' is an instrumental. Do you believe that an instrumental can have have as much power as a song?
Interesting question! Vas wrote this piece as an outro to Time to Mourn and played it to me on guitar. It does have vocals but no words other than the title. It had no song verse/chorus song structure, just a ferocious drum groove and the melody of the wail. This gives it a power that the other songs don't have. It can change, it can get really furious. We have only just started to explore it live and it is quite liberating. How can fury be captured by an ordered song structure?
6) If you had to choose one song only from your album, which one would it be, and why?
VAS: “I Want My Life Back” - This was the first track we demoed and we knew we were on to something as a duo. We knew we wanted things to change and to say something. We felt at the time it was just two of us against the world, we wanted to take control of our situation and this song made us feel strong.
ROS: “Can We Talk About This?” – This was the last song I wrote before the album session and I was trying to say a lot in very few words. I remember driving home from the recording thinking we had really nailed this song and that it should start the album.
7) 'Tracks of Wire' is released on May 20. Then you have a gig launch with BLINDNESS on June 5 in London. What are your plans afterwards? What is your vision?
That is going to be a brilliant night although we are gutted it will be Blindness’s last gig. Our plan is to have a drink! In the longer term we have no record label or money to record our next album, no booking agent or tour. We shall see if the release of the album will help us get into a position that will allow us to carry on.
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