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We Were Evergreen are an alternative indie-electro-pop band from France. The Parisian trio was born in 2008, after a New Year’s resolution that, for once, actually stuck. Brought together by a shared fondness for all kinds of pop music and nursery rhymes, they tell stories of small trees growing too fast, of yodeling yaks and children flying south for the winter: stories of adolescence, of things lost, then found –then lost again. There’s a naïve freshness to their toy-like instruments, and their mellow-yet-uplifting choruses will inevitably get caught in your brain – just throw in some live sampling, a lot of percussions and a dash of electro, and you’ll find your hands and feet joining in too.

France Rocks Austin: SXSW 2012 Interview with We Were Evergreen

This is We Were Evergreen’s first time at SXSW. What are your impressions? How would you compare it to other festivals?

Fabienne: You can’t.

Michael: It’s so different from the rest. It’s so big. It’s much bigger than anything else that we’ve seen.

Fabienne: And there are a lot of really good things going on at the same time in a lot of different venues. It’s huge. It’s great!

William: I think it’s comparable to The Great Escape in Brighton [England] and Eurosonic in Holland. It’s very international.

Michael: And it’s about ten times as big. It’s crazier than most things you will see, I think.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve seen so far?

All: Patrick Watson.

Michael: Without a doubt.

William: In a church.

Michael: Yesterday.

William: It was amazing.

What did you know about SXSW before coming?

Fabienne: People told us about the parties and the craziness of it.

William: The first thing we knew was that it was for press and the industry. Then someone told us, “It’s going to be really cool. It’s a big party.” So it’s a mix between industry and a big party.

Describe a little bit about how Bureau Export has helped you out?

Fabienne: It’s because of them that we are here. It’s thanks to them.

Michael: Bureau Export has helped us with a lot of various things before SXSW.

Fabienne: For the UK

Michael: We went to the UK for a long time. We were there for about six months. They’ve helped us with shows and with contacts. They’ve been a really, really good help. And exactly, it’s thanks to them that we can go to the States.

William: We met the people at US Bureau Export in Paris. They said to us that we might have you showcase with us. We were really pleased with it! It was really helpful for many things. The main thing was a lot of contacts and helping us for the EP.

Is it hard for a French band to come over to America and perform?

Fabienne: Basically it’s also very expensive because you need to have work visas. It’s a big trip to organize so you can’t do it alone. You need some support, some structure to help you enter the territory…

Michael: …to be worthy enough to go into the States. [laughs]

Fabienne: So it’s absolutely necessary to have someone who can help structure you to do your own thing.

What’s an interesting thing going on in French music nowadays?

Fabienne: A lot of things! Housse de Racket?

Michael: The thing is the particularities of French music, maybe. There are some elements of mainly the electronic scene that are very French and very specific to perhaps our culture. There’s some stuff going as well with French singing artists. We have a tradition of chanson, which is neither pop nor folk but a songwriting tradition. There’s some of that that is still going on in France. But apart from that, because the world is now cosmopolitan and France is now cosmopolitan and there are so many bands that sing in English. It’s hard to pick out the difference between French bands and other bands because French bands might sound like something from another country. So I think that France is a nice blend of different inspirations taken from other places. You’ll maybe find that in the electronic scene or folk scene. But like everywhere, you’ve got some good stuff going on from loads of different places in France.

William: Another fact is that in France, the government helps the artists a lot and protects them. They have minimum fees and social protections. I think for French bands, it’s really hard to go abroad. It’s really hard when you go on the road. If you don’t have an album or you have an album and it’s not promoted somewhere else, you begin from nothing. It’s little pay and it could be really bad conditions such as the sound or a really quick sound check. And to come back to Bureau Export, that’s why it’s really helpful to go there at the beginning. We have loads of friends who have bands and when they go abroad, it’s really hard. They have one or two shows and it’s really hard for them. When we decided to do that big trip in the UK, it was relieving to know that exists and they could help us.

Any final words for America?

All: Check out We Were Evergreen!

William: We would like to go west.

Fabienne: There’s so much to discover! We go back to New York City after SXSW and we can’t wait.

William: …and invite us to Coachella!

Michael: We want to play Coachella next year!