Visions of the Future
Le Galaxie used to be 66e – an Irish rock band who produced intense indie-rock tracks and took things rather seriously. Then the band members decided to take a radically different direction and became Le Galaxie – a futuristic electronic-based band with one eye on the future and one on the latest Doctor Who episode. Aoife Barry talks to band member Michael Pope, aka Le Michael Galaxie about all things Le Galaxie. From the Event Guide, June 2008
If Le Galaxie met their former selves, 66e, they’d probably get out their lasers and shoot them between the eyes – but not before showing them their latest sonic creation on their new micro korg. Because Le Galaxie are everything that their old band wasn’t – and then some. Tired of being who they were, they became something else, something inspired by all things sci-fi – and they’re absolutely loving it.
They weren’t alive in the 60’s, they barely saw the 70s, and they hated the 80s – so now the band are all about the future. “It was a very organic thing,” says Michael about the band’s transformation. “66e ran its course. We said let’s take a few risks and see what happens.” But what makes an indie rock band decide to turn into an electronic influenced band obsessed with the future? “In those few months some of us got really into science fiction – watching things like Dr Who,” laughs Michael. “We initially intended to get a singer, but we kept going – from then literally it was meant to happen.” And it turns out that sounding like Mogwai battling with M83 is actually ten times more exciting than pretending to be Sigur Ros. “Why didn’t we think of this before – it’s so much more fun!” is how Michael says the band sum up their attitude to Le Galaxie.
“66e took their music so much more seriously – not that we don’t take the music end of thing seriously,” he explains. But for all the fun, games, and funny outfits “there is heart in there,” he says.
With Le Galaxie, the band aim to create good music – songs that you can connect with. “[There are some songs] you can put on but happily ignore them,” says Michael. “With us, you wholly connect with it. We punch you in the face with a soft electro glove.” The sort of pain that all electro fans love.
The band’s approach to live gigs is now markedly different to how things were in the old days. “I’m itching to get up [on stage] and hop around,” says Michael. “With 66e, we really focused on making our delivery serious. I was told I played one gig sitting down!” he says, taken aback at his earlier, seemingly po-faced approach to music.
These days, a Le Galaxie gig is usually ‘crazy’ – which must be a lot more exciting. “It absolutely is – our first gig was back in August (2007). I had an idea what to expect but I genuinely surpassed myself when I got up and played,” he says. “This might sound conceited but what came out was all this energy. I just thought, ‘Why didn’t we do this before?!’”
For a band that like to think they’re not of this planet, it seems that their futuristic sound has people thinking they’re not even of this country – something which they consider a serious compliment. “One of the biggest compliments we heard was when Michelle Doherty, who presents Night Shift on Channel 6, played our video and after she played it she said ‘They’re from Ireland, would you believe it!’” says Michael.
For the recent release of their debut single, ‘We Bleed the Blood of Androids’, the band decided they needed a video to match the dystopian lyrics. “I directed it myself, and the end product was exactly as I had pictured it,” says Michael of the video, which features the four band members undergoing a number of nasty scientific experiments which result in some horrible facial disfigurement.
Filming the video themselves and retaining a sense of creative control over all things Le Galaxie is important to the band, says Michael. “We are so hands on with everything,” he says. “Technically two of us could have gone on our recent radio tour, but all of us wanted to do it, for example.”
It’s clear that the band have a slight obsession with all things sci-fi – but there’s one specific element to it that grabs Le Galaxie. “We aren’t a retroist band. We love that these periods each had their own visions of the future. It comes across in our visuals. We were very interested in different people and their vision of the future,” explains Michael. “We love dressing up – it’s really basic, like ‘ooh let’s put on these shades and take a picture, that’s cool’.”
So what’s up next for the band? Well, there are the Dublin gigs this month, followed by a gig as part of the London Calling event in London on 19th June, and then the recording of a new EP in July.
So – dressing up, conjuring up images of the distant future, playing crazy gigs – it’s no wonder the band are loving their transformation. And best of all, it came as a complete shock to them. “We surprised ourselves there,” says Michael. “The annoying thing is we realised that the surprise is how much we enjoyed being in the band. It really is so easy. I have said that for myself, this is the best band I have ever been in! It’s by far the most fun – our hearts are all in it.”