With “Alpha Zulu”, Phoenix releases the album back to basics

This is one of the most anticipated albums of the end of the year, and it may surprise the ears of the public: deprived of a professional studio and singer (stuck in the United States due to Covid)Versailles from Phoenix are back with an album that gives pride of place to machines and samples.

That we moved away from each other is something we had never experienced. We’ve been seeing each other every three weeks since we were 16“, says the singer Thomas Mars. “When we moved into the Museum of Decorative Arts [pour une résidence en 2021, NDLR] I said goodbye to them in the tone of a half-joke: ‘See you in six months!**’ And ten months later, I returned to France. It created a frustration that was necessary and that served the record.

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The return to origins

The pandemic and the confinements forced the members of the group to produce more on their own. “With this new album, we went back a bit to our beginnings, placing our microphones ourselves. We were confined, we had to do everything“, explains Christian Mazzalai. “We had no choice, we had to buy samplers and drum machines“, abounds Thomas Mars. And this was reinforced with the loss of Philippe Zdar, the group’s adviser, the “big brother”. “We actually produced this record a lot more than the others.”

In this context, the group has therefore done well in the past. “We have always been fascinated by Krafwerk. We have adopted electronic music recording methods for our records.“, recalls Christian Mazzalai. “From the beginning, we started buying the same equipment as Daft Punk, stuff that wasn’t made for rock at the base. Moreover at the beginning, as it was the period of the French touch, there were journalists who thought that we were DJs. Our first track ‘Heatwave’ was an almost house instrumental.”

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At this time, “we had a lot more fun making our records than playing them live”, also remembers Thomas Mars. “Growing up in Versailles, where there wasn’t really an audience, it didn’t make you want to do concerts. So we stayed in our studio and we got interested in big music producers. Our passion was ultimately more the producers than the puppets. Christian’s big brother, Laurent when he landed in the group after the end of Darlin’ (first group of Daft Punk) intended to become the producer of Phoenix and then finally everyone said to themselves that to be part of a group it was all the same more glamorous. We have all become producers.

A title written between Covid and giant fires

Twenty years later, the members of the group had to resume this role of producers. Witness of this creation in the middle of the Covid era: the title “Winter Solstice”. The track was written by Thomas Mars in California, a state caught between Covid and giant fires.We no longer knew if people wore the mask to protect themselves from the virus or to be able to breathe. There were two or three days when everything was orange. Then there were two days of total darkness. I made this title during this dark night“, says the singer.

I refused to do things in my corner because we always want to do things together. But it’s like I had no choice. I did it almost in the fetal position. Just before his death, we had the chance to meet the singer Christophe. He had advised me on which microphones to use and how to use them. I did exactly what he told me on that song“, he adds.

This is Phoenix’s first album to be released since “Ti Amo” in 2017: the group’s previous records were released three or four years apart at the most. A first single was released last June, “Alpha Zulu”, and had spent two weeks at the top of the Adult Alternative Airplay, the ranking of the most popular songs broadcast on the radio.

“Alpha Zulu”Phoenix’s seventh studio album, is out November 4th.

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With “Alpha Zulu”, Phoenix releases the album back to basics


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