The french Funk-Soul-Synth-Disco sextett L’Impératrice released their second studio album Tako Tsubo on the 26th of March. Spoiler: I have not heard such a multifaceded and versitle album in the last month! We talked with the band about the recording process of Tako Tsubo, their influences and plans for the future.
Dive into atmospheric soundscapes
When I first listened to the album, I immediately found myself between atmospheric synthie-sounds, strong groove accompanied by a short accentuated guitar and the soft, graceful voice of Flore Benguigui. Every song of the album reminds me of a journey, where the destination seems to be unclear until you hear the next soundscape appearing. The melodies are catchy, the synthesizers very well played and the basslines add a slight disco-touch to every song.
A great example is the song Fou, that incorporates the principle of interlocking perfectly: Every instrument sticks to its part, accentuates shortly and plays as less as possible.
It is really exciting to listen to the various musical nuances of each song and how dynamics are build. Within the album there is a lot of movement and versatility, that result in numerous breakdowns and genre variations. You can find them for example in songs like Off To The Side, L’équilibriste and Voodoo?.
Tako Tsubo shows experiences of different emotions
Talking with singer Flore Benguigui and pianist Charles de Boisseguin we learn, that these genre variations and versatilities happen on purpose. The album title Tako Tsubo is japanese and the official name for the broken-heart-syndrome. It describes the effects of different emotions to ones heart. The songs of the album thematise this circumstance. „The main idea was to create a break in continuity. […] So we composed the album with the idea with many breaks. We wanted to do that because it assumes our influences that allowed us to mix them with other kind of music“, says pianist Charles de Boisseguin.
You can find the musical influences of L’Impératrice in bands like Chic and Sister Sledge. But also modern artists like Tyler The Creator, Anderson .Paak, Janelle Monae and Kendrick Lamar. These influences of Funk, Soul, HipHop, R’n’B, Pop and French music meld perfeclty into the songs of Tako Tsubo. „The idea was to create surprises and also to bring a whole mix of emotions. The listener […] doesn’t know where we’re going“, says singer Flore Benguigui.
The tention and movement of the albums arrangement can be found as well in the lyrics. „The idea of song, is to be on the side of things: On the side of society, of normality and the flow of life“, says Benguigui. Like on their first album Matahari, Tako Tsubo also contains englisch songs. This happens as a result of personal perception, Benguigui explains: „I start with creating a melody and see, which language fits the best to the song.“ In my opinion, the french language fits the genre very well. The englisch songs are a equally good alternative.
More time for creative development
For Tako Tsubo L’Impératrice collaborated with Renaud Letang, who also produced their first album Matahari. The approach for recording the new album was a different one by now. The band did not enter the studio with fully arranged songs but with unfinished demo versions. So there was more time and space to develop the album together. „He [Renaud Letang] was more involved in the creating process and in the way of finding a good sound for small details“, says Benguigui. Charles also mentiones, that Letang had a huge impact on the underlying groove of the album. When the personal contacts had to be reduced due the first lockdown in the beginning of 2020, Charles decided to produce the album by himself.
It was a completely new experience for the whole band.
But eventhough the band members were located all over France, they managed to arrange the new album. They recorded a lot of material and even wrote a new song together: Submarine. „We spent two albums working with Letang and Submarine is the proof of all we’ve learned so far“ says Flore laughing.
Those who want to see L’Impératrice live can look out for summertime. The band will play a few small festivals in France with a reduced audience. Furthermore, L’Impératrice offers a look behind the scenes and the recording process of the album via livestreams on their social media accounts every wednesday. So make sure to visit their website, facebook page and instagram account.
Photocredits: Gabrielle Riouah