Interview: French experimental poptronic group, aglaska.

I recently feature this dynamic French band’s music on a playlist a couple of weeks ago. Before I go on, you have to listen to the track that hooked me. I think you’ll understand their appeal:

The explosive first 10 seconds of the track sucks you in instantaneously, the mixture of French and English lyrics smooth the vocals together flawlessly, and the celebratory nature of this song make it in my opinion, a perfect listen. I contacted the mysterious Frenchmen behind the band and got to dive in a bit deeper as to their band’s creation story, the reason behind the band’s name and what it’s like to be a band in Paris. Read all about that and more below!

MFL: Let’s start from the beginning. Who are you guys/gals? I know you are based out of Paris but tell me more, please!

 Aglaska: « aglaska » is a band of 3 guys : Louis, Hugues and François-Henri between 23 and 24 years old. We are not really based in Paris indeed, we grew up together in the same high school in Saint Germain en Laye near Versailles where lots of great bands come from (Phoenix, Air…) !

 We used to play in a band named “38, Feuille d’AGLASKA” which was a first experience for us: first compositions, first gigs in France, first contests (Ricard SA Live, Wolfest Challenge, Pression Live…)… that helped us a lot to define now our musical identity.

The project “aglaska” is young: we recorded this EP last winter and did our first gigs under the name of “aglaska” this summer (Paris, Marseille, Toulon, Bordeaux, Montpellier). We’re just finishing our studies, so now fully dedicated to music and ready to explore some new  stuff.

MFL: Are you receiving much attention from the music world yet? I stumbled upon your track “vwayaj club” and was instantly a fan.

 Aglaska: Thanks! We really appreciate that! The release of the EP was a week ago so “music world attention” is kindly  growing for us: some blogs shared our songs (My Band News, Pause Musicale, Ricard SA Live, Le Continu, Jet Society, DiamondDeposit, Music for Lunch, SoulKitchen) as well as local radios ! It makes us very happy !


MFL: Congratulations on the release of your first EP! What has the process of writing, recording and releasing been like?

 Aglaska: Really interesting… and a really long process J It’s always frustrating for us to put songs on a CD since it never sounds completely “finished” for us ahah. We recorded in a friend’s studio near Paris which is also our producer, Arnaud Gavini. He brought us the opportunity to explore new sounds with a lot of vintage synths. That means we had a completely new approach to our music, helping us to forget laptop stuff etc.

 Moreover, Arnaud Gavini is a drummer (for Rover, Inigo Montoya…) and he helped a lot for drum part recordings. We appreciate his “drums style” and we had a lots of synergy together.

 You mentioned the process of “writing”. Our lyrics are based on a “contemplative approach”. Our text does not describe clear stories but “ambiances” : we like “images” that strong words can bring. Note that we use English but french also which is new for us. Even if “English” is really efficient and lyric for songs, French can deliver strong “images” in a few words. We appreciate that!


MFL: What have you done to celebrate the release?

 Aglaska: We made a Release Party for the EP release last 28th October ! It was a really nice event, we invited everybody that contributed to our work, some medias, music industry professionals and of course our friends !


MFL: Who in the music world do you look to for inspiration?

 There is something unavoidably catchy and infectious about your music. It’s so easy to listen to! I want to know who your inspirations are because since I enjoy your music, I’ll likely enjoy your inspirations’ music as well. I heard a tiny bit of M83 in your music. There is something sort of epic and intergalactic about some of your songs.

 Aglaska: Thanks for the compliment! I think you’re right, we really enjoy M83’s music. It might have given us the “intergalactic” aspects of our songs with a lot of very long reverb on guitar and voices. We have few bands in common like M83, Phoenix or Arcade Fire that we all enjoy and listen to.

 We also enjoy different stuff: François-Henri discovered music mainly by listening to French electronic music producers as Alan Braxe, Etienne de Crécy and Cassius; Hugues is a huge fan of Neil Young and dream pop from late 90s like Mercury Rev; and Louis is enjoying a lot music from Noah Lennox (Panda Bear, Animal Collective) and Bradford Cox (Atlas Sound, Deerhunter).  We could actually name hundreds of bands that influenced us! What we particularly like and want to do ourselves is pop music that is really catchy and easy to listen but that has something particular, more experimental into it, listenable over and over.


MFL: What’s the story behind the band name? I did a short Google search and I can’t find anything besides social media tied to your band!

 Aglaska: We had a band called “38, feuille d’Aglaska” (which doesn’t make any sense!), and when we decided to go on a new direction, we just kept the word “aglaska”. The word actually doesn’t exist in any languages but it sounded nice to us (at least for french speaker) and we found it beautiful when written. It evokes Alaska, and people always remind us our music sounds “cold” so we guess that the name suits well with our music ! We like big landscapes and even if we’ve never been to Alaska, that’s how we imagine it is !


MFL: What’s it like to make music in Paris? Feel free to share the good and bad side of it!

Aglaska: A lot of great bands are coming from here and elsewhere in France and the musical scene renewed a lot in the past few years, with many new acts singing in French which is pretty new : Flavien Berger, Inigo Montoya, Blind Digital Citizen, La Femme, etc.. So the musical scene is pretty active and a lot is done to help young bands. But the competition is also very harsh and it’s difficult to find your place here because there is not so many concert stages where young bands can actually play. With the process of recording this EP, we actually encountered a lot of musicians and we shared a lot about music and that helped us !

MFL: What is next for aglaska in the coming year?

 Aglaska: For the moment, we are focused on the release of this EP with a clip and shows coming. We are also already writing new songs that we plan to record shortly and we are excited about that but we don’t really know what it’ll sound like! We plan to release another EP and tour as much as possible. Maybe an album will come after but that’s something we can’t tell.

Their debut EP, Vwayajis out now and can be purchased on iTunes!

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