Photo by Matthieu Dortomb
Amélie and Quarles are a girl and a boy living in Paris. They’re great cooks and can easily taste the difference between average and amazing wine, which is impressive given their young age. They also have a strong sense of style and know way more about 80’s pop culture than most people that actually lived through that era. Although you may not be familiar with Amélie and Quarles yet, you may already know them as the glittery synth disco duo Jupiter. Jupiter has been busy since their formation a handful of years ago, putting out original music on labels like Kitsuné and also topping the blogs with remixes for artists like Metronomy, Sebastien Tellier, Anoraak and many more. It is now in 2012 that the duo is ready to finally release their debut full-length record, entitled Juicy Lucy, which is slated for release on June 4. The record compresses their sound into 11 tracks, shining with their trademark carefree style that bridges the gap between many sub-genres of dance and pop from the past and future. Luckily with the help of our friends at Vitalic Noise, the opportunity to chat with Jupiter and learn more about their lives was possible. Read on for the result.
Hey guys, please take a second to introduce yourselves and explain what you do in Jupiter.
We are Amélie and Quarles, we both live in a wonderful Parisian district called Montmartre and we basically do a bit of everything in Jupiter. In the studio we share tasks without any particular rule, every track we produce follows a different creative pattern. On the road, Amélie sings and plays lead synth while Quarles plays bass (synth & electric). We also have a stage musician who's in charge of the rhythm section and plays all sorts of electronic stuff.
Where and how did you two meet? Were you each involved in music individually before forming the duo?
We met in London—where we were studying at the time—during a party: everyone but us had left the dancefloor despite the awesome tune which was playing (Junior's “Mama Used To Say”), that's how we realized we had a lot in common music wise. We had been musicians for ages, but not in a serious kind of way.
What kind of music were you listening to growing up? Were your parents into similar music at all?
As we're both the last of many siblings, our musical education was profoundly influenced by our older brother’s and sister's tastes, rather than our parents. Luckily they were into the good stuff, so we grew up listening to some of the best music of those days as well as all the classics. Come to think of it, there was some cheesy stuff too but it was always culturally significant. At least that's how we remember it.
Needless to say, your music and artwork has a retro ‘80s image and influence. What sort of things from that era do you draw inspiration from? Any bands or movies in particular? What are some of your favorite things about that time?
The ‘80s are responsible for some of the best (and worst) music ever, but so are the ‘60s, ‘70s and even the ‘90s. At the time we started Jupiter, we were listening to a lot of ‘80s stuff, so I guess that image kind of stuck. If we were to pick, it would be the usual stuff: Michael Jackson, Miami Vice and synthesizers in general. Simply put, pop culture as a whole. We also dig a lot of French music/movies from that time, but you might not be aware of their existence ;)
On the other hand, we listened to a much greater variety of stuff while writing our debut album, so we truly hope it shows.
What was your first release and when did that happen? I remember first hearing your track “Chip” and the cover of “Mama Used To Say” a handful of years ago. Were those some of the first things you two did?
Our first actual release also happens to be the first track ever written by Jupiter, "Starlighter," which came out in September 2009. "CHiP" followed shortly after and so did "Mama Used To Say."
So you guys just wrapped up the recording of your full-length record, which comes out next month. Can you tell us a little bit about the recording process and your thoughts about the overall vibe of the album?
Like we stated above, there is not one single creative process which we follow to produce a track, so it's quite hard to explain...we can either come up with an instrumental and add vocals, or the opposite, or start with the music, write vocals and then completely turn around the music...anything goes, really. One thing is constant though; we never start a track from scratch. There's always a little something here and there that we haven't had time to exploit, just waiting to be dug out. Concerning the vibe of the album, we would say it wraps up many of our influences with the Jupiter touch. It's pretty easygoing, which is why we really wanted it to come out before the summer.
While Jupiter is a live act, your tracks are clearly supported by DJs and the electronic music community. Who are some of your favorite current producers, bands or DJs today? Do you have any collaborations lined up soon?
We're into a lot of stuff at the moment, so we're probably gonna leave some out: Siriusmo, Aeroplane, Todd Terje, Para One, Housse De Racket, Jeremy Glenn, Miami Horror, Flight Facilities, Poolside...way too many to name them all haha! In regards to collaborations, we've recently recorded vocals for Bottin and something else we can't reveal yet. We'll give you two hints: it's an American act and it's rad. [what kind of hint is that? –ED]
Jupiter also has a pretty solid remix catalogue. Out of all the remixes you have done, do you have a favorite?
As a matter of fact, we've been getting very busy with remixing in the past few months and we've still got a few lined up (Citizens! and Midnight Magic among others). Our favorite is usually the last we produced, so by the time you read this interview it might have changed...
Has Jupiter made it to North America yet? When can we expect to see you in the USA?
We'd absolutely love to gig around the USA but so far we've only ever visited as tourists. It's been a dream of ours to play over there ever since we started the band, so expect us soon!
Where is your favorite place to play back home? Do you have a favorite venue?
We love DJing at the Social Club in Paris, but we prefer to go clubbing at Chez Moune, which is more into disco than electro. When it comes to live venues, the best we played in France is in Toulouse. It's called Le Bikini; they serve the best food, their equipment is top notch, the place is always packed, and the crowd is up for everything.
I heard that you both have high standards for food. Where should I grab a bite to eat next time I’m in Paris?
We're true epicureans, but so are most French people. Still, it's better to know your way around the Parisian food scene to avoid the many rip-offs designed for tourists...
For the best steak frites opt for L'Entrecote
For a tangy Japanese curry we'd go to Aki
For a good poulet roti try L'Hotel Amour
For delightful funghi pasta run to Pulcinella (Montmartre)
And the list goes on, and on...
When it comes to preparing what to wear for shows, what are some of your favorite fashion brands or designers?
We're into Tigersushi Furs, Roseanna, Raphaelle H'Limi, and the exotic side of Paul Smith.
When you two are not working in the studio or touring, what are some other things you spend your free time on?
Spend time with friends, go out, see live music (from the other side of the fence), cook and watch movies. Quarles is more into video games and Amélie is more of a reader.
At the moment, what are some of your favorite non-dance music records?
Kindness World, You Need A Change Of Mind
Beach House Bloom
Sebastien Tellier My God Is Blue
And there you have it! Some excellent insight from one of my favorite acts that you all should be aware of at this point. Check out their stuff and get familiar, I heard a rumor that they might be heading our way in the somewhat near future. Big thanks goes out to Justin at Vitalic Noise, Olivier from Grand Blanc Publishing & Management and of course Jupiter themselves. Don’t forget that Juicy Lucy drops on the 14th of next month and updates can be found on Jupiter’s Twitter and Facebook.