Six months into 2017, Phoenix released its sixth studio album. A collection of songs dripping in the band’s signature synth-pop and tinged with a slight sense of nostalgia, Ti Amo carried a subtle disco vibe with an in-your-face attitude of carefree delight. The Neighborhood discusses the long-awaited release (almost half a decade in the making) with the band’s bassist, keyboardist, and back-up vocalist Deck D’Arcy.
Hi, Deck! It’s nice to meet you. Ti Amo contains a lot of different sounds and a lot of different waves to ride. Did you guys plan for the album to come out this experimental-sounding?
Nice to meet you, too. No, we did not really plan things. We did not really know what we were going to end up with. But yeah, we worked more through improvisation for a while. The only idea we really had was to do something different but we didn’t have anything precise in mind.
I see. But what kind of sounds were you going for with this album?
When we record an album, we don’t really refer to anything particular. Those are all the memories of what we had before. So, in the past year we listened to probably a lot of French and Italian music so you see us going after an Italian flavor of love. It’s sometimes totally random, you know? We actually just bought a couple of keyboards and a new guitar and we just try stuff with what we have. We try out new instruments and new setups each time we do a new album. A new studio as well; we change locations every time.
Oh hey, that’s cool!
Yeah, so it’s all about doing some kind of new stuff with new tools, new palettes.
How does the band like to bond or hang out outside of the recording studio or outside of your tours?
It’s a bit ridiculous but touring and being at the studio takes up 95 percent of our time. When we take some time off, we hang out together pretty often but I don’t know, really. We are pretty close friends. We grew up together. We met at primary school so we’ve been around all together for a while.
I was wondering, what are the perks and downfalls of being able to think, write, and create music in different languages? I mean, you guys used four different languages in this album.
Yeah we have a little bit of edge. But again, it’s totally random there was no idea behind that. I wanted to include this Italian reference, fior de latte, and we all loved it. I guess that encouraged them to go on and to go with multiple languages. There were no preconceived plans for that. You know when something feels good, feels right, we just go out and do it.
But what’s the hardest part of being multilingual artists?
We don’t find any problem with it at all. There are many problems when you make music but that isn’t one. That’s more of an asset. Actually, the thing is we tried to make all of it French in the past and it did not work. We counted so many songs where we tried to insert French that felt a little bit odd and then yeah so this album is the first time we’ve managed to put a little bit of French in a song.
That’s interesting. I also noticed your lyrics are very specific when you describe settings and scenes. Do you think mentioning very physical and tangible scenarios helps bring across abstract thoughts and feelings in a song?
Yeah. We try to be specific so it can be less specific. It’s a bit contradictory, no? Once we like the lyrics, we’re going to keep them. We will try to be specific so that people can try to find the meaning, the what, the why, you know? It’s all about how you are listening to music. There are kids coming from anywhere who grow up listening to a great song thinking it’s about them. I know some friends from a different time and the same thing goes. We all feel that the lyrics were written for us. We noticed that when people try to explain what we write, it’s always different. But a lot of times it’s much better actually.
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