Anna Jean is the lead singer of the Paris-based indie-pop band “contemplating adulthood with all its mysteries.”
Formed in 2013, Juniore was born out of the desire to create a girlband comparable to some of the great female groups of the 1960s. Now comprising of lead-singer Anna Jean, drummer Swanny Elzingre—whom Jean met online—and a mysterious bass player known as The Thing, Juniore formally introduced the world to their unique brand of “yéyé noir” in 2017 with the release of their debut album Ouh là là which was produced by Jean’s schoolfriend Samy Osta. Featuring songs that set dark French lyrics to upbeat melodies, the album is a dissonant, melancholic ode to breakups, one night stands, and walks of shame, which aims to create a paradox of emotions.
Jean herself is the perfect frontwoman for the stylish up and coming Parisian band, appearing onstage in Paco Rabanne dresses and having been featured in Hedi Slimane’s Paris Sessions 1, a project immortalizing the new generation of French music through black and white portrait photography. Below Jean reveals how her dream of creating a girlband came together, the inspiration behind some of her lyrics, and how she approached curating FvF’s latest Mixtape.
How did you meet the other members of Juniore and why did you want to start a band together?
I started the band about five years ago. I had this idea of making music with friends—a very adolescent sort of idea. That’s where the band name came from. I gathered all my closest friends and we started rehearsing, which mainly involved chatting, drinking beer, and eating pistachios! Not very serious, but serious fun. After a while, the girls I initially started the band with all had to leave—some got married, others moved to the other side of the globe, or got promoted in their day jobs. I realized finding female musicians was very difficult. So that became a thing. I met friends of friends and Juniore was a place where girls would come and go. We’re ladies who get together to make music, and who have decided that it’s okay if you haven’t fully grown up by the age of say, 40.
You’re based in Paris and your songs are all sung in French. What French singers inspire your music? Are they from a specific era?
We’re adopted Parisians, and have learned to enjoy our Frenchness. We’ve always had a special fondness for the music and style of the ’60s. And France produced a lot of great films and music during that time. I discovered most of it in my twenties and fell completely in love with Françoise Hardy, France Gall, Sylvie Vartan and Serge Gainsbourg, especially. There’s something about the optimistic melancholy, the paradox of that era. It works on us every time.
Your Bandcamp bio says that you’re inspired by Quentin Tarantino films, and you can really see the director’s influence in the music video for your track Les héros de Barbès. Can you tell us a bit more about how you use cinema to inspire your music?
We do watch a lot of films. I wouldn’t say that we’re proper cinephiles, but we are part of a generation that grew up on frozen pizza and television. Much of our common memories are from watching films and TV. Also, we really enjoy storytelling in general, and the idea that music is a way to express emotions, happiness, sadness or even humor.
“It’s terribly cheesy but it’s true; we love that music has no language and all languages too.”
You’ve got a European tour coming up which kicks off in Berlin. What do you enjoy about performing in other cities, and playing in the German capital in particular?
We love playing in Berlin! Last time we performed there was on a Sunday night and the place was full of the loveliest people. We had a chance to talk a bit after the show and found that the crowd was even more diverse and mixed than most places we’ve played. That’s something we really enjoy about music, how it allows you to meet people that you otherwise may have never met and who you can become instant friends with. It’s wonderful. We feel very fortunate. These are definitely strange and worrisome times, but it’s not all bad. Concerts are special, music is fun, and that’s all that matters. We play every show like it’s the last and try to make the best of every night.
Why did you choose the tracks for this playlist?
We made a playlist of a few alternative versions of classic hits. Bowie in Italian, France Gall in German, Nancy Sinatra’s These Boots Are Made for Walkin’ in French by Eileen, Last Kiss by the Les Chats Sauvages and even an Arabic version of James Brown by Moroccan Fadoul. It’s terribly cheesy but it’s true; we love that music has no language and all languages too.
Anna Jean is the founder member and leading singer of the Paris based indie pop band Juniore. You can listen to the group’s debut album, Ouh là là, on their bandcamp, follow the band’s activities on Instagram, or buy tickets for their upcoming Berlin gig on the 16th April at Auster Club. If you want to listen to more curated playlists from international artists, head over to our Mixtape section.
Text: Emily May
Photography: Julia Grandperret