La Femme | Turns Out This Vine Keeps Yielding
![Alt Text](https://images.squarespace-cdn.com/content/v1/56c346b607eaa09d9189a870/1621436895187-NNLMNNR0B9B6HC07Z9DA/175_Flaunt_Magazine_In_the_garden_Issue_web_flaunt.com_Digital_Cover_La_Femme_Toide1.jpg) In these strange pandemic times, the tentacular, robotized arms of the automated future have become something of a creepy bearhug. “I love the robot aesthetic, so I wanted to go into a new kind of era, a new way,” says Marlon Magnée, co-leader of La Femme, one of the finer bands in the world. Magnée is referring to the album art of coquettishly warbling, waxing, and wonderful new record, Paradigmes—a genre-defiant gem, a can opener, for the aurally needy (and perhaps the auto-tune disinclined). Magnée describes its public-facing frontside as nostalgic [cue: cult film Metro Police], but also abstractly suggestive—the sonic innards alluding to a kind of momentum shift, a sexy, blind-folded (or was it eyes closed?) somersault into the now, the new, the next. Magnée—who shares lead duties with Sacha Got, whom he formed the multi-member act with in Biarritz in 2010— talks of pandemic-shrouded material, eager for un-masked oxygen. Isolation has meant more music, of course, but also—as is wont in the Zoom Boom—the honing of computer skills. Deep cut digital animations and comics have visually supported Paradigmes’ single rollouts—their assemblage initially daunting, according to Magnée, but due to the social deconstruction, refreshingly learnable. “When you’re doing art as a professional,” he shares, when asked about an internal tug to create, to learn new things, despite the oppressive environs, “sometimes it can be hard, or you can be corrupted by all of the feelings. But you have to do it, because it is your duty.” He then summons the aforementioned techno-bearhug, “For me, I started to question everything that happened with the pandemic—that we would start to live in this extreme digital world. At the beginning, we didn’t know what was gonna happen—fuck, maybe everything is gonna stop forever. And it wasn’t the end of the world—after some time passes, what’s going to stay is the records, the video clips.”
Indeed, Paradigmes will remain under the fingernails belonging to said bearhug for some time to come, in part because La Femme have amassed an enchanted fanbase, but also because they refuse to pigeonhole or become output feeble by the increasingly mechanized, copycat music industry. “It’s a very important time,” Magnée shares on the criticality of keeping one’s teeth sharp, “Because the truth is more obvious now, because of the camera, because of social media, but it’s also more corrupted. So it’s very intense, and it’s even more crazy that we called the record Paradigmes, because I think the whole paradigm—everyone is going to change. And now, perhaps people are more spiritual, more aware of all the imbalance and inequality in the world. Soon, we’re going to have a big, big change in society. It’s already been happening.” We know this much: time moves fast and things change even faster. The sounds of our experience can’t always be padded by beautiful, intertwining vocal lends from femmes Clara Luciani, Grace Hartzel, Clémence Quélennec, and Alma Jodorowsky—all of whom feature in the ongoing La Femme project. No, sometimes the sound of our experience is grating, awful, unfortunate. But that’s not the point. The point is to find the pockets of crystallization and let them breathe, sparkle—to jostle the paradigm. We conclude our conversation on the topic of competition (my having read the day previous that some 16,000 songs are uploaded to Spotify everyday), and whether it plays, or has played, a role in the band’s longevity and relevance. “Competition is healthy,” Magnée remarks resolutely. “It’s not a goal—it’s just something funny. I think competition can be stupid if it’s too much. In the end, it’s not a game, and we don’t fucking care. Justin Bieber—it’s not my cup of tea—but so many people love him. Why not? I do wish, though, we could hear more underground music, and not as much from the mainstream system. And yes, sometimes you can see a band and be jealous, like, ‘Oh, fuck, they are really good,’ and you’re going to work even more when you go back home. It gives you a slap.” Magnée smiles and then signs off from Paris, “But you know? Sometimes it’s good to be slapped.”
Photographed by Elise Toïdé