Sultry, a sensuous voice, and a hardcore attitude are the essential ingredients for a rock goddess. Bénédicte Vian is the charismatic lead singer of the French Rock band Melatonine. Before meeting fellow band members Matthieu Imberty and Julien Patterna, she spent a period in London where she became more notorious for having sparked the interest of Britain’s infamous nancyboy than for gaining attention for her music. But ever since she returned to Paris and formed Melatonine, she’s finally begun to gain recognition more so for her talent than for her love conquests.
The band’s first album Psychoglam came out in May of 2005 and quickly receives positive reviews from critics and fans alike. Unlike the French band, Air, whose popularity was reached through the use of electronic and experimental music, Melatonine sound more like an American alternative band with French lyrics. This doesn’t come as a surprise when you notice that the band’s biggest musical influence is Garbage. Bénédicte has the same ballsy attitude that made Garbage so popular in the late 90’s. Even her stage persona reflects her admiration for Shirley Manson, using pink boa feathers to decorate her microphone stand, a notorious signature mark of the fiery rock star that Bénédicte decided to use as her own.
Psychoglam sounds very much like what a French version of Garbage’s debut album would sound like, although Bénédicte’s lyrics aren’t quite as vengeful as Shirley Manson’s ever were. Although she does make an attempt to get in touch with all the goth/angst filled teens in the world with the appropriate anthem Prozak Generation, where she sings, “Et l'on s'évertue à croire/Qu'en ayant touché le fond/On se relèvera tôt ou tard/Mais ça n'est qu'une illusion/Pour nous il est déjà trop tard, Prozac generation.” (“And one strives to believe/That while having touched the bottom/One will raise oneself sooner or later/But that is only an illusion/ For us it is already too late, Prozak generation.”) But Bénédicte isn’t Shirley Manson, and Melatonine aren’t Garbage, which explains why they’re never quite as dark or tragic especially towards the end of songs like Psychoglam (where the song title is yelled as a group, using various funny voices, and cat-meowing) and Souviens Toi (where the group sing the last chorus as though it were a campfire song).
Musically speaking Melatonine sounds a bit like Garbage, since they’re the band’s biggest musical influence have you ever met any of Garbage’s bandmembers?
Indeed! I have met garbage in 1998 after winning a radio contest. We became good friends and kept in touch. They've been following every step of Melatonine's construction and gave us the chance to open for them at the "Paris Olympia" back in 2005... probably one of the most beautiful days of my life...
Melatonine opened for the band Good Charlotte, if you could choose any band who would you want to open for?
It would be Garbage, but as mentioned above, we've already done it so probably Sonic Youth although we have NOTHING in common...they're one of my favourite bands.
Melatonine has a duality to it. The music for the most part seems upbeat while the lyrics at times are rather dark. Like in A Qui La Faute where you allude to a suicide scene, in December Twenty Sex you continually repeat the desire of wanting to return a lover back to hell, and in Les Anges explores the fear of dreaming, but yet the upbeat music in a way conceals the malaise of the lyrics. Is this duality a reflection of how you’re like or merely an exploration of contrasting emotions put together as one song?
I've heard that pretty often..I was getting through a really hard time when I started writing Psychoglam, and I guess I didn’t wanted to make people feel sorry for me. It's an autobiographical album for the most part of it, but I wanted to make people dance to it..so I thought it would be a better idea to talk about my "headfucks" on a "dancey" music...A Qui La Faute is more about self and mental mutilation than suicide. In a way the whole album talks about the same story.
All the songs in the album are sung in French except for Lie To Me, was there a particular reason why that song was the only one present that was entirely sung in English?
Only because in France, we're not really allowed to sing in another language...doesn't it suck??? Otherwise I can tell you that it would have been 10 songs in English, and maaaaaaaaybe one in French!
Melatonine are a breath of fresh air in a world infested by tragic-ridden rock stars and emo boys and girls. This is the band you’d be listening to before heading out to a rave or the club on a Saturday night where instead of moping in your room you’d be too intent on applying yet another layer of glitter and hot pink lipstick. Viva la glam!