Le Page is one those indie pop bands/projects that you may (or better should!) fall in love with them at first “sound”! At least this is what happened with me when I first listened to their awesome track ‘Rescue Remedy’, back in 2007 (I guess). The rest is history… And then I wake up in 2018, interviewing Antonis Konstantaras (Terpsichore is no longer part of the duo) on the occasion of the Athens – Bristol indie pop mini-fest, this Friday, at Death Disco. Hope you enjoy as much as I did!
Hi Le Page! Hope you enjoy this ride. Please introduce the project to our readers, how did it all start and how has it evolved through the years?
Hello there! I’m sure I will! Well, Le Page is a band that recently turned into a one man project. We started out in 2007. We were just two kids that wanted to play music influenced by artists like The Moldy Peaches, Beat Happening and be D.I.Y.. We were pretty rough at the beginning and I think that we were the only Greek anti-folk band ever. After a while though, we started getting better and people started comparing our sound to indie pop artists. We just wanted to make music, we didn’t care if the band would be a success or not. Through the years we tried many different things because we never wanted to make the same record again and again. So, you have songs like ‘Ileana‘, an electronic, dream pop single we released in 2012 -our biggest “hit”- and then you have ‘Luna Land‘, a pure indie pop song. Both have their fans and I am very happy I’ve made at least one song that got some airplay and internet praise.
You probably have been asked again by the Greek music press, but I will proceed with this one: What happened with Le Page’s second half Terpsichore? Will Le Page remain a one-man project in the near future?
After ‘Ileana‘ came out, she moved to Paris. People from all over the Europe wanted to book us, so we started planning a small European tour. It was at that point that we realized that we couldn’t work like this, so she decided to leave the band. I took some years off, putting Le Page on ice and focused on other projects like Strawberry Pills, which was really cool because I had the chance to try new things. In 2015, many friends started asking me if I would be willing to write pop songs again. I took that as a sign -since most of them don’t even know each other- and decided to start working on a new Le Page release. Terpsichore is doing fine though. She currently lives a happy life in London and I am really proud of her, she’s a great person and a huge part of our small success.
I can still commemorate the day I contacted you via the then -still- cool MySpace, and requested for your demo cdr , and listening to the addictive ‘Rescue Remedy’. I always wondered what this tune was all about? Please discuss…
Wow! I didn’t know that! Thanks for supporting our band since the early days! Well, as a teenager I used to suffer from anxiety attacks. There were times that I couldn’t even get out of the house without feeling like I was gonna die. I would stay all day literally under my bed listening to music. Anyway, one of the things that I tried back then was a solution product called “Rescue Remedy”. According to wikipedia, it contains rock rose, impatiens, clematis, star of Bethlehem and cherry plum remedies and it helps you calm down. So, this song is about that time of my life and the anxiety attacks that held me back from many nice things. I worked on my problem though and now I can say that I am doing great. It’ s all in the past now. I really miss MySpace though!
Last year you returned with ‘Pause The World‘ EP on Pink Motel Records. New sound with only you on board. How was the reception of this release? Are you satisfied with the result?
Most of the people I know loved the new “poppier” approach. I think it’s better when people tell you what they think without you asking them, so I try not to ask for opinions. When you ask someone you catch them off guard and they usually try to be polite and lie. I want the truth though so, if someone tells me that my new songs are good, or bad, on their own, then I know that it’s their honest opinion. Most of the people I know liked the new songs, especially ‘Reach The Stars‘, which, I was thinking about naming “The Last Song” because we always play it last at our shows and people go: “I especially liked that last song that you played“. If I was to be a one hit wonder artist, that would be my hit. Concerning the result, yes, I am satisfied with how it turned out, but now I have to create something even better.
What is the definition of indie pop for Le Page? Which bands/artists would you consider as the most influential ones?
The mellow contradiction of making pop songs that most people don’t want to hear. Indie pop has always been the punk of pop. Music for the few, the broken hearted of this world. I could make an endless list with influential artists that everyone knows, but the short lived Greek indie pop scene of the ’90’s had a bigger impact on me. I love the fact that these girls and boys popped out, created a beautiful thing for 3 or 4 years and then vanished from the face of earth. If it wasn’t for some people like the Make Me Happy team (cheers Dimitris, I owe a lot to you), Next Time Passions, Pillow, Kissamatic Lovebubbles and a few more, I would have thought that it was all just a dream and that there was never such thing as Greek indie pop. Greek music press tends to forget some great artists from the past and only celebrates the same ones again and again. Take Fantastic Something for example, most probably the very first Greek indie pop band ever. Their single ‘If She Doesn’t Smile (It’ll Rain)‘ was released in 1983 by the legendary Cherry Red Records, people from all over the world (especially Japan) still buy them and no one ever writes about them in Greece. If they were a “macho garage band” everyone would be going crazy! Another Greek artist that I admire is The Crooner. The most underrated Greek indie artist ever. ‘Soft Escape‘ is one of my favourite albums of all time, I wish he jumps in the indie pop reunion bandwagon like many of his friends! I’d love to open for him!
You recently celebrated Le Page’s 10 years! Would you like to tell us in brief the milestones of your artistic life so far?
That’s a tricky one. Opening for Brett Anderson was a great gig that introduced us to loads of people that became friends of the band. Another great gig was the Coca Cola Soundwave fest, I believe there were almost 7.000 people there. We opened for Primal Scream and Bloc Party and it was a great but also scary experience. Our two Velvet Bus tours were amazing too, I’ve never had so much fun (and alcohol, ok some drugs too) in my life. The thing that I am most proud of though, is ‘Teddy Girls‘, our first official release. Our little D.I.Y. six track E.P.. I don’t know what it was that made all these people talk about it back then, but it showed to people that there is something more in the Greek underground scene than dudes with fuzzed guitars that do the same thing over and over again. We are the outcasts and a lot cooler than that!
How do you feel like participating at the Athens – Bristol Indie Pop mini-fest at Death Disco, on May 18? What are you going to present that night?
We feel honoured to share the stage with these two amazing bands and of course, The Rev. Jonny Kinkaid. It’s also funny because The Groove Farm were formed the year that I was born and Kissamatic Lovebubbles when I was at first grade. We are going to play songs from all of our releases and maybe a couple of Sarah Records covers.
Future? What’s next?
Hm… To tell you the truth, I don’t really know. I want to release a new summery break up song called ‘Bag Of Shit‘ in June, that’s for sure. Then I’ll start working on a new album, but I still haven’t decided if it’s going to be released under the Le Page umbrella or as a solo record. We’ll see!
Last but not least: Name the 3 tracks that you have been listening within 2018 mostly.
I have been listening to Superorganism‘s ‘Something For Your M.I.N.D.‘ a lot. They are a super cool eight piece band that met on the internet and started working their songs from there. They hadn’t met each other until they got signed to Domino Records and moved to London. ‘Over And Over And Over‘ by Jack White is a masterpiece, he is a genious and I also loved ‘The Mystery Of Love‘ by Sufjan Stevens. I think it’s one of the best songs I’ve heard in my life. He should have won that fucking Oscar!
Photo credits: Nefeli Tsalta (1st one), Panagiotis Malafis (2nd one)