French band with Korean music video

French band with Korean music video
Phoenix, comprising (from left) Thomas Mars, Laurent Brancowitz, Chris Mazzalai and Deck d’Arcy, hit No. 4 on the Billboard album chart.

For a while, it seemed as though French alternative rock act Phoenix were going to be overshadowed by feted director Sofia Coppola.

The band were, at one time, better known for the fact that their frontman Thomas Mars was dating the Oscar-winning Lost In Translation (2003) director. Now married with two children, the couple have collaborated on soundtracks for her films.

Speaking over the telephone from his home in Paris, guitarist Laurent Brancowitz dismisses the idea that there was ever any friction over that.

He says in lightly accented English: "Actually, for us, it's great to be part of the same family as someone as cool and talented as Sofia. And we are proud to see someone we love doing so well."

If anything, he adds, Mars would prefer not to be in the spotlight. Says Brancowitz, 40: "He's just scared that, sometimes, there are some people who are interested in the band only because of the celebrity. Usually we do not meet those kind of people.

"Our music is weird enough to attract only people who like music."

The band also comprise bassist Deck d'Arcy and guitarist Chris Mazzalai, who is Brancowitz's younger brother. They perform in Singapore for the first time at The Star Theatre on Jan 15.

With each album, Phoenix's brand of electro- pop-rock has reached a bigger audience. Their fourth album, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (2009), won a Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album, while their latest album Bankrupt! (2013) made it to No. 4 on the Billboard album chart, their highest-charting disc in the United States to date.

It is a long way from where they started in the mid-1990s in Versailles, "a small town with no music scene".

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