Christophe Musset grew up listening to the same music as all the other kids at high school in Paris. He woke up with The Beatles and went to bed with Elliot Smith; ate breakfast with Bob Dylan and danced with The Cure. He was aware that it was a very special time in his life and that he was starting to tap into the profound emotion that only truly great artists inspire.
At the same time, just a few kilometres down the road, Ambroise Willaume and Jeremie Arcache had formed a friendship over their love of classical music. They were studying at Maîtrise de Notre-Dame de Paris, a renowned music academy known for producing world-class choir singers and classic musicians. Their musical upbringing was vastly different from Musset’s. At the academy, the kids grew up with Purcell and Mozart and George Gershwin.
One day, Willaume’s parents pulled him out of the academy, deciding that he needed a more traditional education. So that afternoon, he went to the local high school, landed in the same class as Musset and together they formed Revolver.
“When I first met Jeremie, I could sing Hey Jude and he wouldn’t know the tune,” says Musset. “He was 18 or 19, and he didn’t even know songs by The Beatles!”
Chatting over the phone, Musset is enjoying some time at home in Paris after two years on the road with the band. Last night they played an acoustic show at a small bar in the 19th Arrondissment, where Musset lives with his Revolver band mates.
Speaking about the band’s unusual history, he describes their formative years as a search for common ground, sparked by their close friendships and developed by a culture of change and growth. “The link between the classic, pop and folk culture was the melodies and vocal harmonies. So we started singing together, and our voices just came together in a nice way, ” he says.
Initially coming together to sing at kids’ birthday parties and in friends’ apartments, Willaume, Arcache and Musset developed the craft quickly. Indeed, their different backgrounds meant they had to be open to new things. “There are so many things you can learn from pop, and so many things you can learn from classical,” says Musset, who suggests that the band’s proclivity for change is caused by “getting bored really quickly.”
While the band did eventually find common ground, they found it hard to break into the Paris music scene . “We didn’t have a network in Paris, so we couldn’t even play in bars. So we played at friend’s apartments, in front of 20 or 30 people and it went from there.”
On one such occasion, they were seen by a friend of a friend, who introduced them to Julien Delfaud (the engineer behind Phoenix’s breakthrough album It’s Never Been Like That), who went onto record their debut album, Music For a While.
After two years on tour in Europe and the United States, Revolver released their sophomore album last week in Australia. Let it Go shares only one thing in common with Music For a While – it marks a change.
Revolver are playing at So Frenchy So Chic in The Park in January 2013.