Graham Reid | | 4 min read
This is what we love to hear.
We sent the Famous Elsewhere Questionnaire to Brooke, John and Ben of French for Rabbits and when it came back Brooke had written in the e-mail: "It made made the long trip from Warsaw to Berlin more entertaining!"
Yes, New Zealand musicians out there conquering the world one gig at a time . . . although on long boring journeys between.
FFR ( "lapins", yes?) have made an extraordinarily beguiling album in Spirits (more on that here) but are out there on those long train and whatever journeys between European dates.
Just so you know, we show you below their European tour poster.
You read the fine print and do the logistics of that one.
So as they look for croissants and pastis, let's have them answer the questions . . .
The first piece of music which really affected you was . . .
Brooke: The song ‘Memory’ from the Cats musical, I found it really emotionally affecting – and as a five year old, it made me feel very nostalgic.
Ben: It was a Hank Williams song, and it was very sad – it was a long time ago though, so I can’t remember what it was called.
Your first (possibly embarrassing) role models in music were . . .
Brooke: When I was small, I thought that Blondie and Pat Benetar were extremely cool. We had their records at home, and on the front of one of them Pat is wearing quite a high-cut leotard.
John: Jimi Hendrix.
Lennon or Jagger, Ramones or Nirvana, Madonna or Gaga, Jacko or Jay-Z?
Brooke: John really loved The Beatles, and Lennon was such a interesting songwriter – so definitely him. I never got in to the Ramones but I listened to a lot of Nirvana in highschool – it's teen angst defined. I don’t care either way about Gaga or Madonna...and Michael Jackson definitely - he was a strange man, but his songs are really quite excellent.
If music was denied you, your other career choice would be . . .
Brooke: I’d like to be a non-cartoon version of Captain Planet – we need more heroes like him at the moment.
John: Professional Surfer.
The three songs (yours, or by others) you would love everyone to hear are . . .
We wouldn’t want to impose any songs on anyone, but here are three chocies relating to us (just to be selfish).
Our bass player Ben has been working on songs, which haven’t been released yet – but they are so good. He just played us one in the car on our drive from Warshaw in Poland to Berlin– and it’s somehow a cross between Electric Wire Hustle and Connan Mockasin (in my mind).
If you could hear just one French for Rabbits – I think we’d play you Woke up to a Storm on really good speakers, because it shows how we are now as a four-piece band.
In Brooke’s old band Ragamuffin Children they recorded Anita’s dog Minstrel who is a brilliant singer, improvising to the piano. It is goosebump inducing. Here is a link: www.ragamuffinchildren.bandcamp.com
Any interesting, valuable or just plain strange musical memorabilia at home?
Being the nomads that we are, we neither have a home or any memorabilia to put inside it. I don’t know if we are the kind to collect rare vinyl, pieces of hair from famous musicians, or anything like that. More likely to collect books. Or, interesting pot plants.
The other day we did stay in a house in Berlin with John White & Nigel from Monkey Records. They played us their new ‘dream-hop’ song, and I will store this in my brain as a musical memory to treasure always.
The best book on music or musicians you have read is . . .
Blink's book on international touring is a pretty useful text for any band travelling overseas for the first time.
If you could get on stage with anyone it would be . . . (And you would play?)
Brooke: I’d love to share the stage with Leonard Cohen, perhaps just sit at the side and listen though.
John: “Your asking the wrong person”…. “maybe with you, Brooke”.
Ben: I would share the stage with The Shaggs playing hand claps, foot stomps & slide whistle.
The three films you'd insist anybody watch because they might understand you better are . . .
Not films as such – but try any Poirot Murder Mystery, the ASP World Surfing Championships online and our music video for ‘Goat’ and I think you’d climb inside our brains a little.
The last CD or vinyl album you bought was . . . (And your most recent downloads include . . .)
Brooke: Considering we are musicians, it is surprisingly not all that often that we collect music. If we had a record player we’d buy Agnes Obel’s album Aventine – hearing her songs every night is great. They are all very beautiful.
Ben: Parallel Dance Ensemble.
One song, royalties for life, never have to work again. The song by anyone, yourself included, which wouldn't embarrass you in that case would be . . .
The unfortunate thing about being a musician, is people make us answer really difficult questions like this. How can we choose? Imagine never having to work again – it’d be terrible.
We can’t choose! No comment!!
The poster, album cover or piece of art could you live with on your bedroom forever would be
Anything created by our friend Misma Andrews – her photographs are dreamy.
You are allowed just one tattoo, and it is of . . .
None of us have ever wanted a tattoo, and none of us expect we will. But thankyou for allowing us to reconsider.
David Bowie sang, “Five years, that's all we've got . . .” You would spend them where, doing . . .?
John would be surfing, and living by the seaside in New Zealand. I’d plant a garden, and there would be a cat, goat, dog, and chickens. I’d write lots of songs and record them to cassette and I’d also liked to visit Nepal. Ben, would just continue on as is.
And finally, in the nature of press conferences in Japan, “Can you tell me please why this is your best album ever?”
If it is, hopefully it won’t be for long. We’d like to make another.
If it is, it’s because Ben did an amazing job mixing it, David Parker did an excellent job recording it, and we somehow muddled our way through to create it.