MNNQNS on Erasmus and aesthetics

MNNQNS are a perfect example of the exciting, electrifying rock scene currently growing in France. Ahead of the release of their debut album, our new friends from across the Channel divulged a little more on their story so far.

Hello, MNNQNS! Thank you for taking the time to speak to us, how are things? Good year so far?
Hey, thanks for having us! Yes definitely, this is an amazing year for us – we toured a lot (Europe and China so far) and our first album will be released later this year.

I’ve been in bands since I was 13 and this immersion in British culture has been pivotal for me.

How exciting! Though French at heart, it seems MNNQNS originally began with Adrian in Cardiff… set the scene for us, what’s the story there? Was the plan always to start a band?
I was doing Erasmus studies there, but actually, I ended up going to shows and writing songs instead of going to class… I’ve been in bands since I was 13, and this immersion in British culture has been pivotal for me. It definitely shaped my way of thinking about music in general. 

We obviously understand your name a little bit, but is there something more to it? What does the term “MNNQNS” mean to you, and what do you want people to think of when they hear it?
I guess I wanted something that sounds a bit pretentious, as I always liked the attitude of bands like The Jesus & Mary Chain; you can’t help but think “are these guys total poseurs or what?”. It’s always great to challenge people a bit I suppose.

Nowadays, it feels like French bands are getting better and better.

Your sound manages to be nostalgic of old-school punk and rock ’n’ roll, while still creating something new and unique to you. Is there a particular music era that stood out for you as being especially important? Do you think MNNQNS would have had a place in that period?
The late 70s to early 80s are very important to us – it feels like a period when everything was possible in terms of trying new sounds. To me, the way bands like Talking Heads mixed genres was much more subtle and intelligent than how it was done in the 90s, what with all this ‘fusion’ thing going on. I don’t really think we would fit in that period though: they didn’t have social networks at the time, how could you even make friends without that?

How do you guys feel you fit into the wider music landscape? While ‘rocking out’ has always been a big hit in the UK, is the case the same in France? Do you perceive any difference between the music scene there compared to the rest of Europe?
France has some history with rock bands but it’s definitely not as well-known as UK rock. Nowadays, it feels like French bands are getting better and better; this is probably why a lot of them are now touring Europe, the US and Asia.

Sometimes it makes sense to think of music like you would a visual.

Is it all about the music? You have a very sleek style, what kind of aesthetic do you want to create? Are appearance and visuals important components to your art?
Personally, appearance and visuals are as important as the music itself. I’ve been raised in a family of art teachers so I’ve been exposed to many forms of art early on – I’m pretty sure I got my first name from typeface designer Adrian Frutiger! Amongst others, I’m a huge fan of the Bauhaus aesthetic: in my opinion, this German art school has created some of the greatest fundamentals of modern art and design. Sometimes it makes sense to think of music like you would a visual, like in terms of textures, lines, hierarchy, repetition…

So that’s two EPs you’ve released now, and most recently your single ‘Desperation Moon’. You mentioned a debut album earlier on, what can we expect from MNNQNS now? 
Yeah, we’re releasing our debut album on Brighton’s Fatcat Records, followed by a small UK tour in October (London, Leeds, Brighton, Manchester) and many more shows in the rest of Europe. We can’t wait!

MNNQNS’ debut album, Body Negative is out 11 October 2019. For now, catch up on Spotify and Apple.

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