Swedish/Belgian duo Victoria+Jean return with a Henrik Alsér (The Hives, Coldplay) produced follow-up to their 2016 critically acclaimed debut album ‘Divine Love’. The first taster from ‘Free Insult’ is available to stream below. Built upon a sinister synthesized baseline, it intermittently ignites with bursts of distorted guitars, thundering drums and Victoria’s visceral vocals.
We asked Victoria to tackle out Boom! questions …
Who are the members of the band and how did you meet?
As the name suggests, there is Victoria and there is Jean, we are the pillars.
Our story of Victoria+Jean is a telling of love, betrayal, lost and success. From the first time Victoria, laid her eyes on Jean, she knew that she was someone she wanted to spend her life with, so did Jean.
We have been together for 10 years and we have made music together. The music we produce together is something we want to share with you.
Victoria growing up in Sweden and spending most of her youth in London then Paris, while Jean who has Italian roots growing up in Belgium. If you see us together you will overhear us speak French, English and Swedish.
To make a long story short, we met on stage, literally. And didn’t know it at that time, but Jean, was to play on my solo album, so we were destined to meet one moment or the other. And since then we have not left each other. Hundreds of concerts around the world later, here we are in 2019, for a new chapter.
For some time now, there is a third, who will not be there all the time, but who’s name is Henrik Alsér, met him at the SXSW, also on stage, he’s the only one who has penetrated our universe and seduced us. A real master.
What artists have influenced your sound?
Prince is an artist who has influenced us enormously. With his dynamics, not did he only succeed in creating songs, but a genre. Totally exciting. With his pop, rock, soul, hip hop, jazz, blues to form a genre that we can probably not better describe as by “Prince”.
We also think we have a genre “V+J”.
There is also Talk Talk and Mark Hollis, sublime!
Sunn O))), Melvins, a lot of noise punk actually.
Muddy Waters Blues, John Lee Hooker to name just two .. are Stunning!
Then there is Mali with it’s psycherock of the 60s and 70s.
My Bloody Valentine for the Sonic and their great pop construction!
And XTC, for their formidable power and inventiveness, who have been inspiring many groups for years, and no one realizes it, or at least very little!
We could go on for hours hours …
What was the inspiration behind your new single?
Free Insult is a hymn, frantic, hectic, simple, rough.
Many of our “gay” friends tell us that it could be a hymn for them !! Really !
We have fun describing it between Motörhead / Slayer / Gossip.
The inspiration is above all our past life of the last three years, made of betrayal, lies, and lack of subtlety, but at the same time, reunion with real people, beautiful ones, those who make you vibrate, and help you to a real reset in life.
Free Insult is a huge fuck to these people, and we shout at the same time for those who do not dare to shout! We are always open to a good old big fuck don’t you think?
What are your aims and hopes for 2019?
Hope makes you live, doesn’t it .. but at the same time it is a very big “thing”.
Let’s say, let us all reach tranquillity and have access to a glimmer of hope that we all deserve.
Life is short, why make it so complicated.
What were your favourite albums of 2018?
Strangely enough, or not as strange as that, we do not have a favorite album for this year, and it’s been for like that for many years to be honest with you.
But recently we bought a reissue of Wire, and John Lee Hooker, House of the Blues.
You guys are from Bristol and Sweden – what other new artists from those countries should people check out?
..and from Brussels first and foremost !! The bad kids we are, well, it comes from there; )
So, for Bristol, it’ll be our friend James, who’s the bassist of “Heavy Lungs”, besides being beautiful people, they are excellent! it feels good !! Beautiful, talented, intelligent, powerful on stage, what more to ask for?
We’ve had it of these bands who are slow witted, we want power !!
There is a revival here, in Bristol, that is extraordinary, and it’s only just the beginning. For instance, Look at the band « Idles »! And by the way, Idles and Heavy Lungs share the same stage.
For Sweden, our friend Joel Wästberg and his project Sir Was, Diggin a Tunnel, beautiful album !! Sir Was is divided between electronica, psychedelic pop, jazz and hip-hop where Madlib, Tame Impala and Portishead meet to form one.
This is the strength of this “Diggin a Tunnel” which is remarkable for its irreproachable serenity.
And it’s created with Henrik Alsér. And Joel played on our new album as well.
And shall allow ourselves a second one for Sweden, we’d like to talk about Ylva Homdahl incredible singer of « Wildhart » and drummer in band « Holy Now » , Ylva has a duet with us on the new album, both of these bands are from Göteborg .. Two excellent bands, whom we love above all and have everything to be famous !!
Wildhart distills an electronic pop knowing to be sometimes atmospheric, eyeing the side of the downtempo, sometimes terribly energetic. A big gap that can be illustrated with the very demanding ‘Shake Off’! Rhythmics, synths, we have all the ingredients that make this Scandinavian touch of clean style pop! We don’t see the time pass when listening to them. And then we hear a lot of Prince’s influence on them too ; )
And Holy Now, which I had a chance to be invited during there recording sessions of their second album, in Göteborg, it’s beautiful it’s fresh, efficient, well composed, and they are especially happy to be together on scene, and in life in general, it’s beautiful to see! They are coming to tour in the UK soon!
And because we are Belgian above all, there is Brussels, « Great Mountain Fire », outstanding musicians and melodists as well. A beautiful example of self-denial too! Good lads, who will be releasing their new album soon! Somehow we are very similar in our way of being, to feel the music, in its amplitude. We hope one day to tour together with them!
If you could give one tip to any aspiring bands what would it be?
That this is one of the most beautiful professions in the world, but also one of the most difficult, self-denial, patient, elegant. To never give up and that doubt is an integral part of this path. The more your dream is big, the less you’ll lose sight of it. Do not let anyone dictate whom you are to be, NO ONE! – and especially to elaborate the pleasure of being what we are, simple souls passing by.
We live in a troubled time, and we must cross it together, federate, help each other to relax this great fabric of lies.