There’s a pleasant haze around So Frenchy So Chic this year. The annual festival once again features the kind of eclectic blend of French pop, electro and yé-yé artists we’ve come to expect from the music line-up, but with headliners like psych-pop singer Laure Briard and genre-hopping festival veterans La Femme, it’s also leaning into a novel wave of Gallic psychedelia.
Since last hitting the So Frenchy stage in 2015, six-piece band La Femme has charted its own curvy course through the bounds of French psych rock. The band’s acclaimed 2013 debut album, Psycho Tropical Berlin, claimed one of France’s prestigious Victoires de la Musique awards with its energetic psych punk and surf rock, while 2021’s Paradigmes dialled up a spaced-out energy with a wash of lush synths.
And the band’s latest record – the smooth-as-silk concept album Paris-Hawai – changes things up yet again. “We’re really big fans of Hawaiian slide music and particularly lap steel guitar,” guitarist Sacha Got says. “The idea is that you’re in Hawaii or on the beach by the moonlight.”
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Paris-Hawai only came out this year, but Got and the band are already working on the follow-up in their post-European summer downtime – he’s just tight-lipped on how the next set of songs will sound. “I can’t really talk about it,” he teases. “It’s going to be big guitar solos and some English songs too.”
La Femme’s restless energy and constant stylistic shifts mean that there have been plenty of changes since they were last on our shores, eight years ago. But not everything’s different. “We’ve changed, grown up, but I think the spirit of the band is the same,” he says. “It’s like crazy rock’n’roll and a good party, you know? In the recording production, we’re trying to go more crazy, more deep, and we’re going through a lot of different styles – but it’s still the roots, the vibes of the band.”
Got is keeping the So Frenchy So Chic set list close to his chest, but for the band’s return to the festival stage in January, La Femme will be diving into the full back catalogue for a greatest-hits-style set. “We’re going to play a mix of every record,” he says. “You know how it is – sometimes we play the songs that people like to hear, the most famous, and sometimes we try some new stuff too. We’re going to play some new stuff from the new record.”
The group’s last trip to Australia was only a week long, but once La Femme’s sets at So Frenchy So Chic in both Melbourne and Sydney come to an end, Got is hoping to extend the stay long enough to take advantage of the Australian summer – safely, of course.
“I would really love to surf, because I’m a big fan of surfing,” he says. “The only problem is I’m a bit scared about sharks, you know? If there are some good spots without sharks, I’m down. I still have stuff to do in my life and I don’t want to die already by a shark.”
Broadsheet is a proud media partner of So Frenchy So Chic in 2024, which takes place on January 14 in Melbourne and on January 20 in Sydney. Tickets are available now.