Interview: Put On Your Dancing Shoes

TheShoes by Diane Sagnier

The Shoes, Photo Credit: Diane Sagnier

Whether or not music plays a big part in your life, every fan of electro pop should be aware of The Shoes. With a few singles and an album under their belt (not to mention their recent hit “Time To Dance”), this award winning band is full of ideas and plans for the future and nothing is going to stop them – they are ready to rock the world! Here we talk to band members, super enthusiastic and positive French blokes, a.k.a. Guillaume Brière and Benjamin Lebeau.

Julija: Please introduce yourself shortly. Where were you brought up and how was your band formed? How long have you been into music?

The Shoes: We met a long time ago when we were 10 years old. I always played music, because my grandma wanted me to play Waltz on the piano when I was a little kid. My younger brother is a very talented drummer so we decided to form a band with him and Benjamin in 1992. Since that moment Ben and I never stopped making music together. The Shoes is our latest project. We’ve been involved in every style of music.

Julija: Your first album “Crack My Bones” is really amazing! How do you go about writing songs?

The Shoes: We have no rules for song writing. Sometimes I write a whole song, sometimes Benjamin. Sometimes both of us. We usually send ideas to each other via Internet and it’s like a tennis game. There are a lot of surprises. When we’re happy with a song we finally get into the studio together to finish the production.

Julija: What are your favorite tracks from the album?

The Shoes: To me it’s “Stay The Same,” because it’s the first song we finished during the mix and it was very exciting. And I think it’s pretty unique with a very clear sound (thanks to our mixer Lexxx). During the live shows I play drums to it and I love it. For Benjamin, it’s “Wasting Time”, because he sings this one live like Morrissey! [laughing]

Julija: What makes The Shoes different from the other bands in the genre?

The Shoes: I don’t know. Maybe it’s a real blend of many genres. We love songs, but we also love dance floor, it brings something interesting to the mix. With this philosophy we feel close to Hot Chip, Caribou or Metronomy.

Julija: Now let’s talk about the “Time to Dance” video. Where did you get the idea for it? What was it inspired by?

The Shoes: It’s all about Daniel Wolfe. It’s like he’s a part of the band. He understood our music and he gave something very personal for it. He made the video for “Stay the Same” (starring Johnny Harris). It was a real surprise for us. We respect his work, so we don’t have to tell him what to do or how to do his job. When you trust your director 100%, he gives 100% of himself. The director wants to feel free to create something crazy. It blows when the record company is trying to disturb him with unhelpful input.

Julija: What’s the story behind Jake Gyllenhaal starring in this video?

The Shoes: He appeared in a Vampire Weekend video before. He’s interested in music. And he has  good taste. He really liked the song. And he’s Daniel Wolfe’s friend, so it was very natural. I still can’t believe that! The video production company “Somesuch & Co” did a very good job. We love them.

Julija: How was it working with Jake?

The Shoes: He was very charming and professional. It was during the snow storm in London. It was so freezing! We were in very warm parkas with scarves and gloves and Jake was in front of the camera dressed just in his fencing costume! What a man!!! And every hipster he killed in the video was very happy to be killed by Jake! Especially girls. [laughing]

Julija: Sounds like fun! So if you had your time over, you wouldn’t do anything differently?

The Shoes: Hmm NO! We’ve been VERY lucky this year!

Julija: Can we expect to see The Shoes in any summer festivals?

The Shoes: We will be playing in a few festivals in France and Belgium, but we will focus on writing new songs.

Julija: What are your future plans as a band?

The Shoes: We got loads of ideas! We will release an EP with new videos by the end of the year. A lot of shows. And especially a tour in the US! We can’t wait!