DTCV is the project. The project of Lola G. (French musician) and novelist, screenwriter and guitarist (James Greer). They’ve been on the go since 2013 as we say here. They’re quite funny and very serious and they live in the desert. They write brilliant pop songs. Their new album is called Confusion Moderne and it’s class. Read their manifesto here. They answered some questions for me just before they headed out on tour.
In relation to the new album you mention classic French pop – do you think it would have sounded different if you’d written it in France?
Lola: France and I have always disliked each other so I don’t think I could have written the album there. Same thing with the two covers we did on the album. I like France better from a distance. It’s complicated!
Does the desert add a filter to your work?
Lola: It adds silence.
James: A filter of dust.
How does the dynamic work between both of you? Do you always agree on musical direction?
Lola: We don’t know how it works, but it works! I am neurotic so I can only write songs by myself, but once in a while, we do write together and the result is always good so we should do more of that.
James: I just do what Lola tells me. Sometimes I don’t, but rarely.
Did you have to film the video for “Bourgeois Pop” secretly?
James: Sort of. I filmed it myself with a fairly inconspicuous camera. People looked at us weird but in the desert even at the Dollar Tree you can do pretty much whatever you want.
You have strong political opinions – does that make life more difficult?
Lola: Actually no, but that’s because most people have no idea what kind of stuff goes through my head.
James: Life is difficult already. We also have strong opinions about alcohol, which makes life easier.
Where have all the protest singers gone?
Lola: They’re around, just not in rock. The best protest song I’ve heard recently is probably M.I.A.’s “Borders” (Few’s song of the year 2015). Also there’s the Black Lives Matter movement in the U.S. which is hugely important. And of course, Peaches.
James: They’re working at the Dollar Tree.
What was the first piece of music you loved, and why?
Lola: It was a song from the 60s called “Sunny” that the old lady next door used to listen to. I loved it so much I learned it phonetically when I was three or four. It still gives me goose bumps when I hear it.
James: “Killer Queen” by Queen. It was the weirdest thing I’d ever heard. I grew up in the suburbs.
What is your favorite song that you’ve written and why?
Lola: A new one I just wrote called “Big Grey Sun.” It’s going to rule.
James: I have a sentimental attachment to “Monochrome Girl” because it was the first song I wrote in DTCV. And I like “Big Grey Sun,” it rules.
How do you know when a song you’re working on is complete?
Lola: It never is!!
James: When we get the record back from the pressing plant. And listen to it with horror etched on our faces.
Do your songs change much when played on front of a live audience?
James: Yes, a lot. We’re exactly like The Who.
What song by another artist do you wish you had written and why?
Lola: “Heatwave” by Martha & the Vandellas. Every song I write is an attempt to be as good as Heatwave. Also the riff to “Iron Man,” because it’s the riff to “Iron Man.”
James: Every song on OK Computer. Also “Does He Love You?” by Rilo Kiley because I’ve listened to it probably a thousand times and I can’t figure out how or why it works. But it works.
What artist(s) has been your biggest influence and in what way?
James: Probably David Bowie in the sense that he was great and now he’s dead and I’m afraid of death.
Lola: The Clash, in every way. Also the song “Christine” by Siouxsie made me want to play bass.
Name a song that makes you happy and why does it have that effect?
Lola: “Gimme Shelter.” It makes me cry and smile at the same time. One of the best songs ever written with the word murder in it.
James: “Everything Flows” by Teenage Fanclub. I don’t know why. It just does.
What is the best new band that you’ve heard recently?
Lola: I really like this girl Ta-Ha. She makes a kind of atmospheric R&B that I find addictive. Also a great British band called Dream Wife.
James: I’m looking forward to playing with Bent Shapes in a few days on tour. I’ve heard really good things about them.
Is Donald Trump the devil incarnate?
Lola: If he was the devil I would like him.
James: He’s not interesting enough to be the devil. He’s a petty demon at best.
Do you view the future with hope?
Lola: Lots of hope. When you see how trees and wild life have repopulated the deserted areas around Chernobyl, you know there’s always hope.
James: You can’t beat hope. Which doesn’t keep the world from trying.
What song would you like to have played at your (or his) funeral?
James: I actually wrote this down once so that in case of sudden death my family wouldn’t play something awful and treacly. But now I forget what I wrote down. Let’s go with “Teenage Riot” by Sonic Youth.
Lola: I want to be recycled as a tree when I die so just bring a nice bird to sing on my branches.
What question would you like to be asked that you never are? (And what would be your answer?)
James: I really don’t have anything to say that isn’t in my songs or books or films. Sorry!
*Donald Trump by Vin Zzep.