BRIGITTE: Double Entendre
French duo Brigitte are doubly outrageous as they are musically fierce. Listen in as member Aurélie Maggiori chimes in about life, love and the pursuit of vixenhood with Brigitte collaborator Sylvie Hoarau.
Image: Courtesy of Brigitte
Some would argue that when it comes to being sultry, passionate and daring, the French do it best. Romantically-speaking within a musical context, I have always been drawn to the appeal of those lounge-type Parisian acts, who eloquently and flawlessly know how to make the vulgar look and sound that much sweeter. Take for instance, the uncontainable ultra retro Pop-Electro-Rock-Hippy band Brigitte, whom for the ten years prior to their meeting traversed the musical landscape as solo artists— Aurélie Maggiori (the blonde) and Sylvie Hoarau (the brunette)— before coming together to pen lyrical phrases that are translated as such: “Cock-munching, stone-hearted, thieving bitch go play games with the single men…” under the Brigitte flag.
There was hardly a dry eye in my apartment when I first heard that number. And to think, the Fates could have played this game much differently; Brigitte might have never formed, thus killing off their collaborative achievements to date including 1) cosmetics giant Lancôme’s use of their hit tune “Oh La La” for the launch of their newest range in lip-color “Rouge in Love”; 2) Target tapped Brigitte’s “Battez-vous” single for the launch of the Jason Wu for Target collection; 3) Brigitte are nominated in two categories for the Victoires de la Musique (read: The French Grammys, which air on March 3, 2012) including Best Breakthrough Live Act and Best New Artist of the Year for 2012; and that’s just to name a few. (Dare we mention they’ll be in Los Angeles shooting this April for the film Tucker?)
Currently on a crazy European tour, the two MILFs are selling out their brand of sex appeal, like crazy, while, well, being moms, too. Between rehearsals, the late night performances and feedings, member Aurélie Maggiori steps in to speak on behalf of the dynamic duo and to fill us in on all that has led them here.
I find these days that you see artists who seem to have personality, but—I don’t want to say that they don’t have the talent to match, but usually the image outweighs the music. It appears that Brigitte has found a way to balance both and be great at both. What was your process in finding that collaborative voice?
Aurélie: Thank you. Yeah, first, we’ve played music for a long, long time. We had bands; Sylvie had a band called Vendetta for like ten years and I played solo for like ten years before [Brigitte]. And it wasn’t so exciting as it is now because we worked with a lot of men [Laughs]. Yeah, it’s true! But I think like, we never allowed ourselves to do exactly what we wanted to because maybe we were shy or—I don’t know exactly. It wasn’t very easy for us because like for ten years, life wasn’t so happy.
Yeah, the 20′s suck actually. [Laughs]
Aurélie: Yeah. [Laughs] And when we decided to make a band together, we said that maybe this will be the last thing in music that we will do in our life because for ten years we tried to do something [separately] and nothing really happened with that. So maybe this will be our last thing in music. So if it’s the last thing we do, we want to do exactly what we dreamed. We want to put everything that we really want. We want to be exactly who we are and to play with all the music that inspired us. In the lyrics, to put all the words that we want to say, to put in all the inferences that we have and try to really do something that makes us happy. It was the beginning of the band. Like we wanted to do something together because we really love each other and we wanted to do something like we never did before.
I guess you guys made a good decision because the album went platinum. [Laughs]
Aurélie: It’s funny because we’re not used to having this kind of popularity in France [Laughs]. We used to be like, most of the time when we used to play for gigs, it wasn’t like for what we do now. Now every time we play, it’s sold out everywhere in France, in Belgium, in Switzerland—it’s crazy for us, really.
It’s amazing that at the moment we decided to be free and to do exactly what we wanted to do, and not taking care of what people want —just doing what we dream of with all of our inspiration like Jacques Demy, the cinema of Cassavetes—all these things of our lives. we talked a lot about our lives, our pasts, our experiences, also prémonitoire—our premonitions, how we saw our future, our fantasy and all these things, and we tried to do something with all these things that was very important for us.
I think that’s awesome and it resonates, you know? You can feel it. It’s not something that you can just hear in your music, it’s also something that you feel and sense when listening to your music. The authenticity of it…. And I see so many different influences when I watch your videos. I see ’50s. I see ’60s. I see hipster. I think of Paris, Texas…[Laughs]
Aurélie: Yeah, it’s true. All of these things. We don’t want to have just one church. [Laughs] We want to play with everything. So Classical music and also Jazz from the ’40s and ’50s, the music from the ’60s, the image of the modern style gala of the 19th century—we wanted to mix all these things. Sylvie comes from La Réunion. Do you know this island? Me, I’m from Tunisia, so we wanted also to play with those influences that were here since we were born. We wanted to mix everything like that and it was such a pleasure for us to build something together, and also to mix our two voices always together. It’s like [together] we created a new voice for us and this voice is Brigitte. That’s why we chose the name for this band. It’s because it’s a mixture of our two voices and also because “Brigitte” is a name for the mommy, the aunt, the girl next door, and also there’s something really a little bit hot like, you know. [Laughs]
Aurélie: Like the pornstar from the ’70s, Brigitte Lahaie. Very famous. Amazing woman. Now she’s a journalist. And also Brigitte Bardot and Brigitte Fontaine, [the latter] who was a singer from the ’60s and who still sings now. This name means a lot for us. It’s the pluriel [the plural]; it’s like in every woman. There is not only one woman for us. In every woman, there are a lot of women. There is the mother. There is the friend. There is the whore. There is the woman that works. We are everything. Every woman is everything. You can’t say a woman is only one thing; a woman is pluriel.
I don’t think we are really feminists, but maybe it’s kind of feminine but not feminist. It’s really about the woman, I think.
I love it. And I adore you for saying that you can be a mother, a sister, a whore—everything! I was like, “YES!’ [Laughs]
Okay, let’s talk about the globalization of music in general. I like what you said about mixing the cultures given the fact that you come from two different places and then influenced by even more things beyond that. How do you see the world changing in terms of that? For instance, you sing in French mostly. Do you think there’s more room for people to appreciate your type of sound?
Aurélie: I think. What’s really funny for us is that we choose to sing in French and in France, a lot of people now choose to sing in English, but we choose to sing in French because it is our mother language. I think we can’t say the same things in English because we never lived in the US or in England, so we can’t exactly say the same thing in English because we would not have all the nuances that will make people say, “Ah cool, she said that. I like that she said that. It’s funny.” We can’t play with the words as we do it in French. And it’s funny because we thought that American people, English people, people who don’t speak French would never care about what we do because maybe they will not understand. We really feel that we are really French, but our music now, Target took to use for one of their commercials. It’s really crazy for us, like what’s most important is to just be who you are and if you’re really honest, people will understand you even if they don’t speak the same language as you. This is what we feel [now].
You mentioned Target, which I think is for the Jason Wu commercial. And then you have Lancôme for their new lipstick. You’re getting ready to shoot Tucker as well. You guys have a lot of things happening. How have you been managing life since the “blow up”? [Laughs]
Aurélie: We’re on tour like five days a week! [Laughs] How do we do it? With our kids, it’s crazy. We hope for a week with more than seven days! [Laughs] Hopefully one day, but we do like every woman that works a lot. There are a lot of women who work from morning until night, like I think of the journalists, the girl who works at the hospital—sometimes during the day and sometimes all night. They have kids, but it’s about organization. I think also it’s important to do something that you really like in your life, and to teach your children that it’s important to be free and to do what they really want to do in their life. I want my daughters to be free and to understand that they have to do what they want to do in their life. And what’s most important is love.
Did music come to you or did you find music?
Aurélie: I think it came to us. We never decided in our life to do music. We always made music. It’s like I never woke up one day and said, “Oh I want to be a singer.” [Laughs] Never. I just made and played music since I was young. But as I told you, maybe four years ago when we decided to build this band, we talked a lot together and said maybe this is our last chance. If this is our last chance and it doesn’t work, what would we do? We thought about opening up a restaurant, since we both like to cook. [Laughs]
[Laughs] You’re up for the two nominations at the Victoires de la Musique, and you’re going to find out in just a few short days. How do you feel?
Aurélie: Yes, it’s really cool. After having the people who often came to see our shows, the people who bought our album, it’s also cool to have the nomination to come from those who work in music. So it’s important for us, so we are really happy about that and also because we are playing on the show. We will perform a song live on this show, so that is really exciting. We want to do something big, so we called our friends to ask them to build our dresses because we like to wear sparkly dresses [Laughs]. We said we want to do an amazing show, in avant-guarde on stage, so everything around us is really excited too. We’re like a family crew.
So since everyone around you is like family, who will be the first person you thank when you win one or both of your awards?
Aurélie: Ah, Sylvie, of course. [Laughs]
Before you go, can you share one thing about you and Sylvie, the band Brigitte, that no one knows, that we would only find out if we suddenly became flies on the walls of your life?
Aurélie: Something that no one knows about our band…. Oh! [Laughs] Before every show, we kiss each other and we can’t go on stage without kissing each other. [Laughs]
Buy Brigitte’s debut album, Et vous, tu m’aimes?, on iTUNES HERE.
Follow Brigitte on Twitter, @BrigittetheBand