When you first meet Ellie and Bertrand James, it’s quite easy to feel that they’ve been playing music together for a while… but siblings have their ups and downs, teenager rivalries, like some other pop bands have experienced beforehand. Though having grown up in France in a British family (they both have dual nationality), it is Californian sixties pop music that formed the background to their childhood. As they grew up, their paths separated : Bertrand began his drumming career with TOTORRO in 2011, and Ellie joined MERMONTE as keyboard player and singer.
In 2018, she summoned up the courage to invite her brother to listen to the songs that she wrote in her bedroom, mostly voice and keyboards ; the spark was there. A few years later, the duo meet Yurie Hu, from Korea, also singer and keyboard player in a band called YachtClub. Her experience in improvised music made of this newfound sister the perfect match for their songwriting : LA BATTUE was born.
This new extended family, with their very British sense of humour, is the mirror image of another quirky team, the Tenenbaum Family. Wes Andersen is one of their inspirations, to which can be added the repetitive and dreamlike music of Steve Reich/Philip Glass, the experimentations and love of analog sounds in Broadcast, Stereolab’s verve, Local Natives’ and Grizzly Bear’s orchestral pop… All these influences are brought together by their taste in vintage, fifties, rich vocal harmonies. The songwriting is simple, effective and catchy, and smells of the fresh summer breeze ; quite normal when you grow up listening to Pet Sound, the cult album of another family affair, the Beach Boys. However, behind this apparent laid-back attitude, a soft melancholia haunts their surrealistic lyrics and their offbeat sense of humor, finding it’s inspiration in Monthy Python or Flight of the Conchords.
This mix of cultures and influences make LA BATTUE a unique band.
As they aim to make bodies move to the beat, whilst keeping the music pop and fresh, the six songs in this first EP guarantee to make LA BATTUE the best sunshine pop band around, certified guitar-less. And no matter how hard you look, it’s hard to find an equal in France…or anywhere else, for that matter.
Photo credit : Laurie Guillemot
Biography : Guillaume Cohonner