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Thomas Mars, frontman of Phoenix gets ready to tour last year’s hugely successful album Bankrupt! They play Academy, Manchester, 11 Feb.

Your album Bankrupt! has been out for almost a year now. Do you feel differently about it now than you did when you were making it?

We’re getting there. The songs on this album were hard to play live and they need time to sound decent. We love them more now.

Do your albums create a certain feeling in you and are there any that you look back on with greater fondness, more for personal reasons than the success they brought?

They each represent a moment in our life. We are not very nostalgic people but each time we play an older song live it’s true that it reminds us of a lot of things.

Do you think that the way you demo the songs in French makes the eventual translation and the lyrics a bit weird?

I always thought being French and singing in English was a blessing for us. It is not a common thing – people are not familiar with it – so it can only be good and new. It’s the same for lyrics. They don’t have to be perfect. They have to be awkward and distorted.

Do you enjoy the fact that you’ve managed to have a really successful career but don’t have the celebrity and press intrusion so many bands face?

We do everything we can so that music comes first. A lot of times identities interfere with that so we are happy to put ours aside.

How does being on the road affect your relationship with one another? 

We don’t need time away from each other. It’s the opposite. We never fight. We did fight for one whole year when we started the band. I think we got it out of our systems then.

Were there any albums in 2013 that really turned your head and made you hungry to write songs?

There were songs more than albums. Not necessarily out in 2013 but we just listened to a lot of stuff. There were three songs that changed my musical landscape: Jasmine by Jai Paul, Street Hassle by Lou Reed (including the music video) and Bound 2 by Kanye West (not including the music video).

Lianne Steinberg

Interact: Responses to Music Q&A: Phoenix

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