finding neïmo: an interview with bruno dallesandro
  • TUESDAY, JANUARY 22, 2008

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From their first moment of impact, the clash of decades duking it out within the confines of Neïmo’s music is blatantly obvious. With pulsating synths, dance floor drum beats, flashy guitar showmanship, and Bruno Dallesandro’s rebel rousing vocals all exploding at once, the band coat an affinity for early 00’s nitty, gritty guitar rock with a sleek 80’s/90’s disco glam not entirely surprising to hear from four fashionable Frenchmen. While Neïmo released From Scratch to critical acclaim in their home country all the way back in early 2005, the band’s latest five song collection serves as a sneak peak of what most Americans have probably been missing out on these last few years: Bouts of bodacious rock lead by a front man not entirely afraid of sounding semi-arrogant at times. Whether panting for his very own “Hot Girl” or tempting time with an ever-confident sense of invincibility (“The Hourglass”), Bruno’s got bravado.

Having just wound up a recent string of dates in NYC, and with a new album on the way, Neïmo are certainly a band worth getting acquainted with. I had a chance to trade emails with Dallesandro earlier this month – David Pitz
* * * * * * * * * * * *

First things first. Other than the fact that you call France home, a lot of our US readers probably don't know much about Neimo. Can you give a brief description on your history together?

We met in high school a few years ago, Camille, Matthieu and I. We started as any other band playing covers, and eventually decided to write our own stuff and produce it on our own. We'd been very impressed by clubs and bars like Pulp and Bar III in Paris, where DJ's would play rock and mix it with new wave and electronica. So we thought that's what we should do, but playing it live in those same clubs, with just a guitar, a keyboard and a drum machine. We eventually wanted some more organic drums, so that's when we found Alexis who's been with us for two years now.

Like a lot of young upstarts, you recorded your debut From Scratch in two days. The result is an album that is very raw, to a certain degree. But in that live recording environment, you managed to capture a lot of the energy you draw on during your live performances. Do you plan on preparing your sophomore release in the same way? Or are you taking a different approach this time around?

Yes and er… no. We've been recording in three main sessions over last year, which means we took much more time to arrange and produce it. We wanted something more sophisticated, playing the new songs live until they were perfect and ready to be recorded. Nevertheless, while in the studio, we always searched for the energy and spontaneity of a live recording, so we'd play altogether on 3 or 4 takes and then keep the best one.

I recently received your latest EP. Is this a commercial release or merely a teaser of what is to come?

Let's say it's a teaser, some songs on the EP will definitely be featuring on the album that's due soon. And at the same time we were really eager to have a few tracks out and play them live in NYC.

I definitely hear varied influences at play within the five songs offered on the EP...almost like 70s/80s bits of hair metal glam toying with the garage rock revival of the early 00's. Who are some of the artists that inspire you to do what it is you do?

Artists like Blondie, New Order, The Smiths, The Stooges, David Bowie have had a huge impact on us. We actually still consider Bowie's Ashes To Ashes and the Scary Monsters album like our main production influence, even if it might not be obvious right away.

Any current bands you guys are really fond of? Anything to tip our readers on?

I really love that British band Vincent Vincent And The Villains at the moment. Great lyrics and I love the vocals and the retro rock’n’roll attitude. Really fresh. And then we come from Paris, and there's a rock scene going on for a couple of years, so I say you should take a look to friends of ours like Stuck In The Sound, Sourya, The Dodoz, The Tatianas, Miggles Christ, Rock & Roll, The Second Sex and lots of other bands. We all met each other in a bar called The Shebeen in the 5th District and we all pulled each other up being friends and rivals at the same time, getting wasted and setting up gigs together. They're all pretty much exciting and you can find them on our myspace page.

"Hourglass" is a song I am very curious about. You seem like such a confident group of guys. Are lines like "I break the fucking hourglass" about your own sense of invincibility, or do I have it all wrong here?

You're not mistaken. But it wasn't to show self-confidence. It's actually a song about my obsession with time passing by and refusing to let it drive your life. So when I say I'll break the fucking hourglass, I mean I'd rather live fully and die young.

"Hot Girl" on the contrary is obviously about a modern femme fatale. Can you tell us (without going into specifics, of course) a little bit about the gal that inspired this one?

We've all met that one girl that changed our life, whether it's sexually or culturally speaking. And it's just about giving props to such girls.

You recently played a handful of shows here in NY…I believe it was your second stint in the states. How did it go? Did you notice any differences between these December shows, and those you played here last April?

It was actually our 3rd time, if you include our performance at CMJ in October. And there's been more and more crowd each and every time we've played. It's weird sometimes coming from afar and realizing that people in another country - and NYC is a legendary city for us - actually like your work and enjoy your shows. So we'll be coming back, that's for sure.

In your experience, how does playing in the US differ from touring in Europe? Is it more challenging at the moment?

Playing abroad is always challenging for anyone I guess. I wouldn't say that playing in NY or LA is that different from London or Liverpool for instance… It's just exciting. But what's very funny about it is to realize that crowds react differently to songs according to the country you're in. "Hot Girl" always does great in France, whereas the British like "Echoing Pixels" better and in America "Peter And The Wolves" or "Johnny Five" will be the crowd's favorites. So we always try to write a setlist accordingly to our will and people's expectations.

When can we expect to see the follow up to From Scratch? Got a title yet?

If we stick to our schedule, it should be released in spring and the title for the moment is Modern Incidental, as it is all about urban stories.

What would you say are the long term goals of this band? How far do you feel you have come in making these a reality?

Conquer the world, become the best band ever, drink good red wine everyday, find a gift for my brother's birthday and have some fun. Let's say I'm still having a hard time with the birthday present.

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