French pop-rock duo Jawen hit American shores October 19th, with their first US debut entitled 1, 2, 2, Is Five. Already well-known in France, the group consists of two brothers, singer/guitarist Olivier and multi-instrumentalist Nicolas.
The brothers first became interested in music when their older sibling DJ'd at a nightclub, thus introducing them to disco and funk music. They later expanded their listening habits and have found inspiration in James Brown, Jimi Hendrix, Curtis Mayfield, Al Green, Rolling Stones, and the Beatles. It is from this diverse range that they developed a sound that fuses together funk, rock, and classic soul with an added electronic vibe.
"My vision for the CD is for it to be wide-open, but at the same time to have its own sound. We always try to include rock, pop, R&B, and funk elements in our music. We enjoy playing diverse musical genres," says Olivier. "Thus, I would describe the new CD as a distillation of pop and soul music. For me that era of music is open for doing whatever you want with no musical boundaries; think about food -- you don't want to eat the same stuff every day."
It is from this quest for spontaneity that they found the album title and song 1, 2, 2, Is Five. "It is based on something that is spontaneous, I think that everything should be spontaneous. The sound is very spontaneous. The first sounds of the song remind you of a plastic rock band and you think it is obvious and then it is not."
The brothers are excited about coming to the states, but are no strangers. Nicolas studied at Berklee College of Music and played several gigs around Boston. After college he returned to Pairs where he re-united with his brother to form a group. During a jam session in Paris they met bassist-producer, Yann Cortella, who became their producer. Then in 2008, after moving to Normandy, they released their first CD, leading them to ink a deal with their current label Believe Digital and move along to the US.
"We want to open our music to other countries and it's easier for us because we sing in English. I sing in English because my influences were all English. American music and the rhythm of the English language is better than French to fit into this music. It's difficult in France when you sing in English to promote your music on the radio," says Olivier, noting the path taken by Phoenix and AIR. "French people don't really know Phoenix. You ask people in the streets, no one knows them -- everybody knows Daft Punk. I think for our music it's better for us to start a new adventure, a new story in the US."
As part of this new story, they will be playing both large and small venues. You can download their album on iTunes.