Romandy in Music: Get to know the Swiss-French band ‘Les Fils du Facteur’
As part of the “Romandy Week” organized by the Consulate General of Switzerland in Atlanta, the Swiss band Les Fils du Facteur is giving a virtual concert in front of Lake Geneva. Recently, the Consulate General had the opportunity to interview accordionist and keyboardist Emilien about the history of the band, the production of their newest album, and life as a musician during the pandemic.
Who are ‘Les Fils du Facteur’?
We are Les Fils du Facteur, a Swiss French band from Vevey, a town located in the canton of Vaud. That is actually where Sacha and I first met. The name of the band refers to the English expression ‘postman’s son’, which is used to describe illegitimate children. Intrigued by the idea of not knowing where someone is exactly from, we decided to use the name for our band. We have been playing for seven years now and making a living from music for the last three. Our fourth album has just been released, and we are proud to see how much we have evolved as a group. The album is called Jusqu’ici ça va and contains twelve tracks that are much more ‘pop’ compared to the previous ones.
How did you become a band?
Initially, it was Sacha who was very involved in music, as he was part of other groups and had different projects in the past. I, on the other hand, played piano at home. When we first met, we clicked right away and agreed to spend our weekends busking in the streets. At first, it was just for fun, and we would leave a hat in front of us in order to earn some change to buy a beer. However, what started as just a hobby soon became more serious, and we found ourselves thinking about a name for the band. With time, two other French musicians, Antoine (drums) and Olivier (keyboards), joined us, giving Les Fils du Facteur its four members.
How do you create music and has your style changed in the last 7 years?
While we all work together, it is Sacha who does the most part by writing the lyrics. Once he comes up with something good, the draft is sent to all members, and we work on polishing the words and sounds. It is a creative process where we allow ourselves to change anything we want in order to create the final version of the song. In the very beginning, our music was simpler and the sounds were more accordion and guitar, as this fit really well with some old groups that inspired us, like La Rue Kétanou or Les Ogres de Barback, for example. After that, we started to add more instruments like drums, keyboard, and bass, but still kept the acoustic part. Now, even though we play more pop and modern music, it is still us at heart. We are truly proud of our evolution and how our new album turned out.
Do you have a favorite song?
As every song has a story, it is difficult to choose a favorite one. However, we can all agree that Ostende has a special meaning to us because we drove from Vevey to Ostende in Belgium to film the video. We were on the road for approximately eight hours one way and spent three days producing the video. This experience made the song special to us and when we perform it we can truly feel the emotions behind it.
Why did you choose Ostende in Belgium, out of all the places, as the title of your song?
We are drawn to places that have an aesthetic appeal like the one in Ostende — lost and sentimental. There are locations like this where one looks at the houses and the cars, and everything seems nostalgic. Ostende, to us, is one of these places, and that is what we truly love about this small coastal town. If someone listens to the song without watching the video, the vibe feels much more paradisiacal, and the listener might think we are singing about the Mediterranean Sea on a sunny day. However, the video shows a totally different atmosphere — it’s cold and rainy — and we love to play with these contrasts.
What is the most memorable moment in your career?
Discovering a new audience in Canada and traveling there to perform was one of the most memorable moments for us. We had the opportunity to perform as the opening act for the Canadian band Bleu Jeans Bleu at Club Soda, an enormous venue that accommodates 1000 fans at a time. Since the group is very famous, the concert hall was crammed with people, which was an amazing experience for us. One thing I will never forget about that night is when I jumped into the crowd, and they carried me around the venue. For me, that was a truly magical moment.
How has your job changed with the pandemic?
The pandemic changed the jobs of many, and we were no exception. We still call ourselves lucky because we needed to prepare the new album at the time the pandemic started. Nevertheless, our usual rhythm has changed drastically. Usually, our concert schedules had us traveling to a different city every week, but we had to stop all of that suddenly. We were in South Africa for an event with the Embassy of Switzerland when we heard about the virus and understood that it was time to return home. Shortly after we landed, the first lockdown was in place, and we realized we would not be able to perform for some time. Even though we have been able to use this time to write new songs and reflect, it is still difficult as it is unknown how long before we will be able to perform in front of an audience again. However, we try to stay positive and look forward to traveling and playing again in the future.
Follow our Instagram account @swisscgatlanta to find out more about the Romandy Week and enter our giveaway for a chance to win the band’s newest CD Jusqu’ici ça va!