In what feels like a Michel Gondry-directed fever dream, New York based french-speaking art punk Annabelle Cazes, aka Glockabelle strategically attacks her keyboard and glockenspiel with thimbles on each finger in the video for her song "Ne Touche Pas." Off her latest EP Wolf BBQ which came out May 19, "Ne Touche Pas" ('don't touch' in English) is both precious and haunting, a sweet electronic frenzy in a minor key.
Watch "Ne Touche Pas" by Glockabelle:
We asked the NYC born and raised artist to tell us all about the current New York and Parisian rock scenes and how her sound came to be.
Do you think you can communicate the ideas of your songs better through French than in English? Does signing in French help to create your sound?
Singing in French has always been a trademark of my sound, mostly since I grew up speaking French at home. As the child of francophone parents, I wanted to write in a language which felt most personal to me. Also many of my lyrics have a surrealist sense which I think just sound better in French than in English. I come up with most of my lyrics based on their complementary rhymes, vowel sounds and cadences.
How did you come up with the idea to play glockenspiel with thimbles?
The idea occurred to me after my mother mailed the glockenspiel from New York to Paris without any mallets; instead of buying some, I went to the Bon Marché department store and bought 8 thimbles and began experimenting. I figured if I could employ my classical piano technique to the glock, I might be on to something.
What's your favorite place to visit in Paris that tourists wouldn't know about?
My favorite place to visit in Paris has to be the music studio of my good friend Etienne Jaumet who is an amazing electronic composer and saxophonist. He has all sorts of vintage synths and drum machines in his studio which I love checking out.
Who are some French artists that we should look out for?
If you want modern French artists, I'm not the person to ask since mostly what I listen to is old! I am a huge fan of 1960's yé-yé girl pop such as the singers Clothilde, Stella, and Zouzou, and also 1980s French pop such as Elli and Jacno, Lio, Ruth, Marie et les Garçons and Lizzy Mercier Descloux. One of my all time favorite French film score composers is François de Roubaix, who did the music for the cult children's tv show "Chapi Chapo."
What are some of the main differences you've noticed between the French and North American noise, punk or rock scenes?
One thing I've noticed about the French rock scene is that more and more bands seem to all be singing exclusively in English. Why? I suppose it's to be more marketable. Anyhow, I sometimes find it funny that here I am based in NYC, singing mostly in French!
What are your favorite NYC venues? Paris venues?
My favorite NYC venue has to be Rough Trade where I played last week opening for Kaki King: great sound, excellent facilities. In Paris, there is a very small bar which has live music called the Pop-In which has a cool little room downstairs; it's very intimate and great for playing to a small audience.