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Subjects Info
RD: 2021-03-19
MARQUIS
Aurora
Fileunder: Indie-Rock / Post Punk
Marquis de Sade are international punk rock icons. Rising from the anarchic French underground music scene of the late-1970s, the band became beloved amongst critics and fans alike in the United States at the dawn of the 1980s for its incendiary live performances and two groundbreaking albums, before combusting in a ball of fire of internal grievances and artistic differences, as all the best bands do.
 
1977-1981: A BriefHistory of Marquis de Sade
 
Formed in 1977, in three years Marquis de Sade – Franck Darcel (guitar), Philippe Pascal (vocals), and an ever-changing roster of musicians – put the de Rennes music scene on the map by way of two of the most significant albums in French music history. Marquis de Sade’s witty, dark, and wholly modern music,which mixed punk and New Wave with healthy doses of white funk, has often been copied since, but has rarely been equaled.
 
After releasing an EP, “Air Tight Cell/Henry,” the band’s debut album, 1979´s Dantzig Twist, was a breakoutand put the de Rennes music scene on the map. Another EP,“Rythmiques,”followed in 1980, and the band’s sophomore effort, Rue de Siam, recorded at sessions in Paris and London,produced by Steve Nye, was released in 1981, before strained relations within the band led to an irrevocable split.
 
But going out at the peak of their collective powers gave Marquis de Sadean almost cult-like status amongst musicians and fans alike.
 
2017:The Return of Marquis de Sade!
 
The Marquis de Sade reunion took fruit in 2017. With an exhibition based around the band’s lyrics in Rennes looming, the bandmembers met for drinks at Café de la Paix, their former off-hours sanctuary, and hatched a plan: A single show at the 3,000 capacity Le Liberté room to celebrate their collective legacy, and to test the waters for a full-fledged reunion. Rehearsals soon commenced and, with the chemistry undeniable, it was a foregone conclusion that the show – and eventual live album and concert film release – was a rousing success.
 
“It was moving,” recalls Darcel. “The years had passed. The reasons for our separation had faded. There remained only affection and mutual respect. After a few rehearsals, everything started to click. And the old songs didn’t feel dated, which only made us want to create new music even more."
 
"The nice surprise was that Philippe´s voice was intact, and that Thierry and Eric, who had not touched their instruments for 15 years, played even better than before,” Darcel adds. “After the Le Liberté show we were offered a tour, which generated very beautiful moments, most especially at the Strasbourg Opera, which was magical, and the VieillesCharrues, in front of 40,000 people under a magnificent sunset."
 
After a sold-out tour, plans to make an album began – the unfinished chapter in a trilogy after a 38-year longbreak – and sessions commencedat NDE studio in Saint-Jean-du-Doigt(Brittanny/Bretagne).
 
Then fate stepped in with the unexpected and tragic death of Pascal, the band’s charismatic lead singer, in September 2019.
 
After grieving his old friend and creative partner, Darcel, the main songwriter and guiding force behind the band,became determined to see the album to fruition. Along with bassist Thierry Alexandre and drummer Éric Morinière, both from the band’sRue de Siam period, Darcel searched the world, trying to fill the enormous shoes of Pascal. Simon Mahieu, a young, ambitious Flemish singer, with a style that pays homage to Pascal while remaining firmly his own, got the nod.
 
2020: Marquis is born!
 
The resulting album, Aurora, is a true resurrection. First imagined as the missing chapter of that unfinished saga, Aurora had to be reinvented following the death of Pascal in September 2019. And soMarquis – as they are now known – have both completeda cycle the band left unfinished in 1981 when they split, while also carving an exciting new creative path.
 
Drawn from sessions that took place in the band’s home region of de Rennes, plus New York, Brussels, Amsterdam, Paris and Saint Jean du Doigt, and featuring contributions from fellow travelers including guitarists Ivan Julian of Richard Hell’s Voidoids and Richard Lloyd of Television, as well as New York scenester James Chance, Aurorais the culmination of those plans hatched in Café de la Paix three years ago by these legends of French punk rock.
 
“I wrote in the press release after Phillipe’s death that it marked the end of our teenage years, which feels silly now, especially considering that we are all over 60,” says Darcel. But after Pascal’s death, Marquis de Sade did indeed seem finished. The idea for a tribute album was mooted, but quickly abandoned.
 
Darcel recalls the turning point being his April 2019 with Alexandre and Morinièreto New York, where Julian, Lloyd and Chance joined them, justa few monthsbeforePascal’s passing.
 
“From the moment Richard plugged in his guitar, it was as though we were dreaming,” recalls Darcel. “At that moment, we knew there was no going back, even though, after recording two songs, Philippe was already starting to move away from the project."
 
While Darcel promises that the Pascal-fronted tracks will be released on forthcoming reissues of Danzig Twist and Rue de Siam, the results of the New York sessions proved to the members of Marquis de Sade that there was indeed a way forward after Pascal’s death.
 
Then, by chance, the band met Simon Mahieu at Synsound Studio in Brussels. It proved fortuitous.
 
“It was impossible to even imagine replacing Philippe,” says Darcel. “But we kept saying to each other, Simonhas something. This guy is damn good. Why not give him a shot?’”
 
2021: Aurora is released
 
And so,Aurorais a symbolic title, too, for a project that took so many twists and turns before seeing the light of day.It is the culmination of 40 years of Marquis’ history – now made up of three baby boomers and a millennial – that is equal parts farewell and rebirth. Perhaps most remarkably, it’s a cohesive artistic statement that picks up almost where the band left off, except this time with a sound and urgency made for a new millennium.
 
When you hear the innovative, futuristic and dystopian strains of the first single, “European Psycho” – with its incandescent coldness and blinding darkness – you’ll know instantly in your soul that it is a sound that only Marquis could make.
 
Also on Aurora, the past meets the future, with Simon Mahieu sharing vocals with Christian Dargelos, the very first singer of Marquis de Sade, whose contribution on the track “Holodomor” takes Marquis right back to its punk origins. Elsewhere, Etienne Daho, the french pop icon, Dirk Polak,the singer of the Dutch group Mecano, and Darcel himself, also contribute vocals, making this album an epilogue of sorts – a moment of meditation and rebirth – and effectively completing a creative circle as perfectly as one could imagine.
 
In French, English, Flemish, German and Portuguese, by way of de Rennes, New York, Brussels and Amsterdam, AurorapresentsMarquis’s vision of the world through music that reflects what Gilles Deleuze said about all great art: “It is what resists death best.”
 
Jeff Slate–New York City, March 2021
Track list
TrackArtistTitle
 
1MARQUISMore Fun Before War
2MARQUISEuropean Psycho
3MARQUISHolodomor (Feat. Christian Dargelos)
4MARQUISJe N´ecrirai Plus (Feat. Etienne Daho)
5MARQUISUm Immer Jung Zu Bleiben
6MARQUISA Cidade Escondida
7MARQUISBrand New World (feat. Marina Keltchewski)
8MARQUISSouleve L´horizon (feat. Dirk Polak)
9MARQUISOcean (Feat. Dominic Sonic)
10MARQUISFlags Of Utopia
11MARQUISGlorie
12MARQUISZagreb
13MARQUISLe Voyage D´Andrea

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