Q&A with Les Freres Courvoisier
If you need a set of playful yet sexy techno, you could do a lot worse than calling upon the services of Les Freres Courvioiser, a faux-French duo with a penchant for spicing up their sets with ridiculous costumes and general hijinx. In the course of putting together this week's Scratching the Surface on Les Freres, the twosome (Jonathan Canupp and Joshua Smith) gave us more bon mots and insight into their performance and influence than we could cram into the tiny profile -- and now we're bringing it to you.
Westword (Cory Casciato): How would you describe your own style?
Joshua Smith: Sexy party music for lovers, thinkers and friends. The most successful dance music, or DJs, in my opinion stems from a careful balance of sexiness and fun, and I think we ride that line like a naughty pony.
Jonathan Canupp: As Les Freres Courvoisier, we attempt to create a style that is simultaneously party music, with a deep academic flavor to it. I think for us, it's easy to reverse engineer either party music or really academic music and come up with something that can elicit a similar response. It becomes more difficult to get both of these creatures to interact with each other in a weird harmony.
WW: Will you be playing live, DJing, or some mixture of both?
JS: Our performances are a mixture of [DJing with] live and original material, with some performance as far as us being on stage acting like jackasses with microphones. But there is a strong feeling with us, that though it should be a techno circus, the focus is on the music.
JC: Depending on our levels of intoxication, we manage to almost sing into microphones, play some live material and DJ, all at the same time.
WW: What did you do musically, if anything, before this style? What drew you to this style?
JS: What draws us to this music is that it's about life and the enjoyment of it. We like a couple of things pretty keenly: sex and comedy. I think that comes across in the music. Jon and I came up with the idea to transform ourselves in these roles from kinda cool computer nerds into sexy techno stars, and the worst part is it seems to be working slowly but surely.
JC: I have been making electronic music for 12 years in myriad styles. Before electronic music, I used to make music by dubbing layers of tapes back and forth. It was an unusual style of music, probably somewhere along the lines of Ween and Folk Implosion.
Les Freres Courvoisier manifested philosophically at first a few years ago but we began performing and making music together in 2007.
JS: Jon is one of the bigger names, I think, in IDM these days, which means, really, that 5,000 dudes with glasses have downloaded your music from Soulseek. But, that being said, he is a respected producer and an amazing musician in his own right.
WW: What should people know about your music?
JS: Just because it's a joke, doesn't mean it's a joke. We are very serious about creating complex and thoughtful music, both together and in our separate projects. The theme for this one just happens to be partying and fun. So, if you listen, please don't dismiss it as something frivolous, a lot of heart and work goes into the tracks.
JC: The people should know that we come to party.
WW: Finally, anything else clever to say to the kiddies reading at home?
JS: Do your thing but don't be a bitch about it? As a person attempting to make it in one of the most debaucherous subcultures currently available, I find myself uniquely unable to offer any pertinent advice to people. Wait... no, make love, have fun, enjoy life, there are few things so serious that you can't make a joke out of it.
JC: I'm pretty sure I've been clever enough.