Published Jan 01, 2006The beat boogies down in four-four time. Then a guitar breaks in, followed by a porno-bass line, some electronic burbles and finally a soft voice, repeating endlessly: "Suicide. Suicide. Suicide."
"We want to make really commercial album, a really cheesy album," explains Jean-Phillipe Freu, who alongside his wife Patou Carrie, founded the French guitars'n'house act Rinôçérôse. "The theme about death can touch everybody one day or another. We all like to think about death and the ways to keep it away."
Their latest release, following-up their North American debut Installation Sonore, is all about death from the title track "Music Kills Me" to paeans to "Dead Flowers," "Professeur Suicide," "Dead Can Dance" and "Highway to Heaven." But if the titles are dark, the duo's music is anything but avoiding the usual downer industrial route in favour of ecstatic, disco-infected house. "It is a really happy album," says Patou. "We tried to speak about death but without sadness."
Her husband agrees. "We don't like when music gives you sadness. We wanted to make an album about death that leaves a good feeling. That could change a lot of things about thinking of death."
Needlessly lumped in with their French-house brethren like Daft Punk and Air, despite not living in Paris, Rinôçérôse have been working overtime to distinguish themselves since their career-making turn on Moby's Area One tour, where their show-stealing performances saw the band bumped from the rave tent to the penultimate slot on the main stage.
Named after a misspelled psyche-patient's painting, Rinôçérôse formed in 1995 following the death of the husband-and-wife psychologists' previous indie rock act, one of the biggest in their provincial university town of Montpellier. Inspired by the likes of 808 State and Danny Rampling (who often mixes musicians in with his DJ sets), the duo decided to take their sound in a new direction. But they maintained their focus on instrumentation, not incorporating the electronics until well into the creation process.
"We always start albums with Patou and me creating the beginning of a song, working with guitar and bass. We use the beat but we don't care about that, we just want the tempo. After, when we are finished the song, we give it to [their long-time programmer] Johnny Palumbo, who has a studio and he works alone." Those combined efforts nail down the right direction before bringing in the rest of the band which comprises three guitarists, a bassist, a percussionist, a flautist, a synth player and a drummer to create a world where the line between electronic and organic is a fine one indeed. "We are somewhere in between," Freu says. "We are lost in space."