paris, la plaine st denis, january 2007
images & edit by vincent moon
sounds by eva moari
produced by la blogotheque
It can’t be easy for them: so much on their shoulders at such a young age. But of course, we’d never feel sorry for them. After all, how often do we happen upon a group that has accomplished so much, so young? Imagine—they’ve got a following that both adores and critiques, a continually-applauded energy, and a taunting lyrical canon that radiates a special youthfulness. They’ve got so much going on that they don’t really know where to begin, which ball to launch first in their attempt to juggle.
The Cold War Kids are each 20 years old, and they’ve already released one album. They’ve even received the honor of fan-base ambiguity, being both massacred and lauded by Pitchfork and Libération (a French newspaper). Pitchfork slammed their lyrical integrity and commended their music, while Libé raved about the lyrics and disparaged the music. It was exactly these far-off echoes that made us take a listen to the Cold War Kids. And to be unambiguous: we enjoyed the album so much that we decided to track them down.
These videos take place in the middle of Plaine-Saint-Denis, which is kind of a city-in-itself near Paris that’s been undergoing urban redevelopment for the past ten years. The place has tons of parking and storage warehouses, along with a couple of restaurants. It’s that autocratic village on Paris’s periphery that produces the majority of France’s television programs, and spectators arrive in hordes on buses in order to pack the studios. The Cold War Kids were there to promote their album on Canal+ as “The Album of the Week.”
You have to understand that you can’t film anywhere in a television studio. You can’t mess up the official filming, and at the same time you can’t record what’s not supposed to go on film. So before their official appearance on Canal+, we could only find a little hallway in which to film. The guys found a rolling cart, hopped on it, and immediately started to play. If you listen and look, it appears that the Cold War Kids didn’t quite know what they had started to play. The piece starts off loud and scattered, as if it were initiated too quickly and needed to be reassembled as the band went along. It was disquieting and captivating at the same time, right up ‘til the moment that the guys hit the mark and found the right tone. It’s those moments that make you realize how wonderful it is to see a group struggle until that explosive instant when everything just comes together.
It was like this every time: they burned through their energy and then were consumed by shyness. It took a little convincing for Vincent Moon to persuade them to head into the empty and cold parking lot towards a bus in the distance. No one knew who was inside or what to expect, but the band hopped right on the bus and found a pack of students who had apparently been touring all the studios. Although they stuck to the bus steps and didn’t really know how to handle the situation, the guys were in good form. A little while later, it was nearly impossible to get them to stop. No matter what the kids on the bus did or where the camera was, the guys kept going. Obviously, the students were mesmerized, and honestly, we are still delighted about it to this day.
The Cold War Kids opened for Clap Your Hands Say Yeah yesterday evening at La Cigale in Paris.
text by chryde