Do you remember the days when you had to put on a nice frock and a pair of heels to go to a gig? The years of standing or jumping around in grimy nightclubs with music pounding in your ears? The world of music is changing. Okay, maybe I’m being a bit melodramatic, but things really are afoot and Paris-based website La Blogothèque has something to do with that.
Brainchild of Christophe Abric, the project started when Christophe began filming bands playing live in odd locations around Paris – what he termed Take Away Shows. Now, 6 years later, the Blogothèque is still at the forefront of cool musical projects with its newest venture, “The Switch”, which features bands playing simultaneously in front of a tiny audience in two different apartments and broadcast live on YouTube.
Hg2 got a chance to chat with Christophe about take away shows, the future of music and his favourite parts of Paris.
How did you first have the idea for the “take away shows”? Who was the first band?
It was in 2005. YouTube was emerging, and I was seeing more and more bad videos uploaded, filmed from the crowd during a show. It was great, but there was more to do… We just had to figure out what. It was only when I saw Arcade Fire going out in the street to play after their first Parisian show that I had the idea. We had to provoke something, to create a unique moment and capture it.
It took a year to convince a band to do it, believe it or not. But at that time, labels didn’t understand me when I was explaining the project. Meanwhile, I met Vincent Moon. When Spinto Band agreed to be the first band we’d film, I asked Vincent if he’d like to do it with me. One of the best moves I ever made.
How do you get bands to agree to doing a show for you?
It’s changed a lot. At first, it required a lot of energy, craziness. We’ve quickly been known as the ‘two crazy French guys’. Then people got excited, and it was easier. Bands, labels were coming to us very easily. Now, it’s different : there are so many websites doing “Take Away Shows” like this that the difficult thing is getting something different from the bands.
What are some of the most interesting spots in Paris you’ve filmed and why?
It’s not an easy question. It’s not only about the location, it’s about a moment, where we are, but also who’s there with us, what’s happening, what are the encounters. But if I had just a place: Paris city hall with Battles. That was quite crazy.
Do you have any cool or unique new places on the list for future artists?
It’s a secret ;)
What kind of equipment do you use for the shows?
One camera. Just one, light. Never more. And a lot of microphones. But everything needs to be very, very discreet. The purpose is that people in the street react to the music before they even see there’s a team filming.
Tell us about your newest venture, The Switch. What is the concept and how are you filming it?
It is very different from the Take Away Shows. The spirit is the same, though – finding new ways to experience music through live acts and video. We’re having two bands playing in two different private apartments with a small audience. And we’re broadcasting the two shows live on YouTube. It’s quite ambitious, and crazy… We had nearly 30 people working on it, the biggest team we ever had.
What are some of your favourite places to eat or party in Paris? Do you ever chill with bands and, if so, where do you take them?
Right now, I’m lucky (or lazy) – my two favourite places to eat are super close to my home. Aux Deux Amis and La Cave de l’Insolite, in the Oberkampf neighbourhood, have incredible fresh natural food, and great wines, in a friendly, very ‘Parisian noisy’ atmosphere.
When I have time with bands… well I usually push them to play music!
Have you ever done any filming in other cities? If so, where and at which locations?
Are there any upcoming bands or artists that we should know about?
At Blogothèque, right now, we’re all about Alt-J (∆).
Can you give us an inside scoop on which artists we might expect to see on the Blogothèque in the near future?
Guess what ? Alt-J (∆) ! And we’re proud of having a piece of videos with the Alabama Shakes.