“Two years exactly,” replied frontman Thomas Mars when asked how long it took to craft the band’s anticipated new album, Bankrupt!, due to hit stores on April 23. “January 11, 2011 until January 11, 2013.
“We said yes to (play) Coachella a year ago, so that was the deadline,” Mars continued.
When asked if Bankrupt! would have been a different album if the last Phoenix full-length, their breakout album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix hadn’t been such an overwhelming success, guitarist Laurent Brancowitz remained steadfast that the band’s good fortune didn’t alter their recording process.
“I think it would be the same, but it’s impossible to tell. We’re glad that the success of the previous record gives us a little extra attention for the (new one),” Brancowitz said. “(The new album) is very precious to us. It needs those few extra listens for it to reveal itself. I think that we had more freedom and less pressure in a way because we had that success.”
As conversation turned to the first single from the new album, “Entertainment,” they discussed making the song’s grandiose music video, which was shot in the Koreatown area of Los Angeles.
“Actually, we wanted to do something very Korean,” Mars explained. “Patrick Daughters, the video’s director, is a fan of K-dramas, so he has a profound knowledge of it. He knows how it works, and he has some respect. It was very important to us that it was respectful. So I think it turned out good.
“No French actor could do that,” Mars said in regards to the individual performances in the “Entertainment” video over Stryker’s protests to the contrary. “French people can’t act. It’s true. I didn’t think French people could do music, now maybe the next step is acting.”
The band was coy when asked to explain the meaning behind song titles on Bankrupt! like “S.O.S. in Bel-Air” (“We really don’t want to go there,” quipped Brancowitz) and “Drakkar Noir,” named after the men’s cologne that was popular in the 1980s.
“It’s for you to find out,” Mars said about the song. “We never wore it, but we grew up with this cheap…it’s more to camouflage testosterone or something.”
They were equally evasive when asked to confirm that they had indeed hung out with Sir Paul McCartney on the Coachella grounds over the weekend.
“He’s not a guest tonight,” Mars laughed. “We arrived during the night on the tour bus. When we opened the your bus door, he was standing there. “He was very nice. He talked about that he’s recording right now and he’s very excited, and he’s just super nice.”
Stryker also inquired about the wildfire rumors that fellow Frenchmen Daft Punk would be joining them onstage for their Coachella performance, which they never confirmed or denied, although they did admit to texting with the dance duo.
“I don’t know where they are,” joked Brancowitz. “They move very fast.”