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The Peace & Freedom Magazine JAD WIO Interview
(Originally appeared in Peace & Freedom, Volume 7, Number 1, Spring 1991.)
Interview with Denis Bortek of JAD WIO by Paul Rance.
You seem to be getting a lot of good international press - to give an idea to British readers, what sort of British bands have you been likened to whom you admire?
When we brought out our first maxi, we were likened to Bauhaus, which is a group I like a lot. So, it was quite a compliment. Now, however, we don't seem to be likened to anybody - a situation which I think I prefer!
"Version X du Beauty & the Beast" is my favourite track from "Contact". I like the voice treated to go with the tune, or did the tune come from experimentation with the voice? Is it really Brigitte Bardot's voice? Is this sort of experimentation going to be more common from JAD WIO in the future?
The tune came from experimentation with the voice. The backing vocals were varispeeded in the studio, and the announcements were made over a megaphone and the voice was produced via phasing. Yes, it was Brigitte Bardot's voice, but we sampled it from a record that she did in the 60s that was called "Contact".
"Version X du Beauty & the Beast" was a track where we did nothing but experiment. It was a really good experience and produced what I consider to be very good results. I would like to see us continuing in this vein in the future. However, things don't always work out the way you plan, so we'll have to see.
"Rapido" is quite popular over here. Have you ever appeared on it? Is it the type of show you like? What TV have you done, so far?
Unfortunately, we haven't appeared on it, but it's a programme that I adore. In fact, if you listen to "Ophelie", 6th track on the album, you will hear an extract from the 3rd "Rapido" ever broadcast that was a "sex special". We took the voice of the presenter, Antoine de Caunes, and the shots that you hear in the programme's opening sequence. This is a measure of how much I liked, and still like, this programme.
We have appeared in person on various rock programmes on French TV. In addition to this, our latest video, "Priscilla", appeared on the French version of MTV - M6. However, coverage wasn't as good as we could have hoped for. Although we felt the video was superb, it would seem that it was too over the top for French TV because of its slant towards bondage.
Your work is quite complex, musically. Do you find switching from the studio to live work difficult?
Is there a strong underground scene in France? I remember Johnny Rotten saying a few years ago that the French scene was more about fashion than music. Is that is how it is today?
The underground scene is really strong in France. We call it "alternative". As for Johnny Rotten's opinion - he couldn't have met the right people. From what we heard of his tours in France, he spent most of his time backstage! In Paris, however, isn't it normal that fashion is intrinsically linked to everything we do? It is not that fashion dictates what we do - it is just that being ever present, it naturally forms a part of how we live.
Who writes the lyrics, who the tunes, or is it a totally joint thing?
I write the lyrics, but we compose the tunes together.
What French bands have influenced you?
None. I was born in North Africa and lived there until I was 15 years old. Then I went to France to finish my schooling near Nimes, a town in the south where they hold a massive bullfighting festival every year. The Gypsy Kings come from Les Ste Maria de la Mer, not far from there. Anyway, I came to Paris to study French and music at university.
Those who influence me in France are painters, contemporary writers and movie makers rather than bands. Groups haven't been in existence long enough. I like the author Serge Gainsbourg; he will remain like Baudelaire. 1969 was a title which went straight to the top of the English charts of that year. He wrote the most beautiful love song of the last 20 years for Brigitte Bardot: "Je t'aime moi non plus". Brigitte tells him that she loves him and he replies "Me neither".
What are the issues in the world that you feel most strongly about?
I would like to breathe fresh air and see the sun. I have always been fascinated by the conquest of space. I dream of travelling in a shuttle and playing in front of the populations of different planets. These people would also need concerts.
Did you agree with the bi-centenary celebrations in France in July, or did you think the money could have been better spent?
There is no better way to spend money than on a party. We all needed it. Brilliant - Chirac, the Mayor of Paris, really got overtaken on this one. I hate him, so I found that great.
"Contact" is a powerful album, but commercial at the same time. Is that how you see your next LP?
Thank you, but if the album was a tube of toothpaste it would wrench your teeth out. We haven't done the same since. We wrote most of the songs this year during the summer heat in the south of France. The idea for "Contact", however, was born in Hamburg on the "Ripperban" in autumn. "Contact" came into being all by itself. Okay, we wrote the songs, but, afterwards, it took on a life of its own. I think that goes the same for anything you create. So, how can you tell what direction your music will take next?
We make music because we can, not necessarily to be commercial. It it sells, so much the better, but the main thing is that it works for us. Up to now, we have produced everything we've done ourselves. For the next album, we'll get a producer. "Contact" gave us the means to do this. We didn't have enough money before that.
What plans have you for 1990?