#1
Background: I be a Londoner, but I live near Geneva. My band is shaping up to be 80% Francophone, with me the only native English speaker.

Does anyone have any experience with this sort of thing? I mean, the music world is mostly in english - anything that isn't becomes "World" or "Latin" (Which is ****ing B/S - as a half-Brazilian, it pisses me off to see our rappers mixed with our rockers and our classic pop ), so in terms of marketability, English lyrics would be best, but for the moment, our crowds will be 2/3 French, at least, and our singer is French, which adds to the problems.

Any advice?
#2
*damn* sorry for the double post
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Last edited by TaV0 at Jan 9, 2009,
#3
You can write alternate versions of your songs in English. And propose to write some songs in English aswell.
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#4
Well, just for a few examples, Rammstein, Oomph (German bands) and Blood (Spanish) do quite well. I don't know any French bands, but same concept probably. I actually think it's good that you speak English, so so can communicate with your English speaking fans, and hopefully get them to classify you the right way.

Maybe do some songs in English as well? That'll probably help. I'm not speaking from experience, so don't take my word for it, but I'd say it should help to have some English lyrics. That's something you could help with.
#5
the music speaks all languages, but why not just do a mixture of English adn france, say do 1 in French, then the next one in English, then the next in French etc...
#6
The Mars Volta man they kick ass, I don't know if this is good advice but I'd do all of the songs twice (one for each language)
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#7
Being based in Montreal, this is something I have experience with. Personally, I'm an anglophone, and my French, while passable, isn't fluent. My bandmates are all French-Canadian, with varying levels of English (my drummer is alright but not great, and my bassist and singer, who are brothers, are fairly fluent).
We play in English, with my singer writing most of the lyrics, and I edit them for grammar. We just feel it makes more sense than being French in content, as we'd like to appeal to more people, and Quebec is a very limited market.
#8
Interesting....To run with koslack's thoughts...

My perception is that a place like Quebec, with a very proud Francophone population will embrace a French band that is good. All things being equal, you will probably do better in a French market speaking French, than you would in that same French market speaking English.

Big Sugar had some good success by doing French versions of their songs for the Quebec market. This was, I think, additionally bolstered by the fact that they present a bilingual face in an area that is, in effect, bilingual.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

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#9
Quote by axemanchris
Interesting....To run with koslack's thoughts...

My perception is that a place like Quebec, with a very proud Francophone population will embrace a French band that is good. All things being equal, you will probably do better in a French market speaking French, than you would in that same French market speaking English.

Big Sugar had some good success by doing French versions of their songs for the Quebec market. This was, I think, additionally bolstered by the fact that they present a bilingual face in an area that is, in effect, bilingual.

CT



Oh, there are some great French bands here. Les Cowboys Fringants play the Bell Center and usually sell out. However, they're pretty heavily influenced by French folk music, so it just makes sense for them to sing in that language. My band is indie rock/pop-punk, and while there are bands in those genres who sing in French, a) I wouldn't be comfortable with it and b) you limit your audience greatly, as generally, French-Canadians will listen to english and french bands, but anglophones will only listen to english bands.
#10
Can you speak French/the others speak english? If so, do a mix, as it'll probs be best.
Check out Die Toten Hosen (alright they're german but still). They do a mix of Germanand English, they're singer is half of each nationality and so they accomodate that.

Its up to you after all though.

I think it would be cool.
#11
All languages anyone? The Mars Volta does it in some songs.

My band speaks and writes lyrics in english, even though three of us (me, drummer, bassist) speak spanish and the other two (vocals, guitar) are native filipinos.
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Last edited by shut_up_n00b at Jan 10, 2009,
#12
I have friends who are in a band in Rouen, Paris and even though they all are fluent in french they play in english because there's more countries that speak english in the world than french. Call it selling out if you want but it kinda makes sense at the same time.
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#14
I remember a French metal band in the 80s called 'Trust', (They had a hit with a song called 'Anti-social', covered by Anthrax on their 'State of Euphoria' album.) who generaly recorded two versions of their albums, one in French, one in English. (They actualy employed Jimmy Pursey from punk legends Sham 69 to re-write the lyrics in English)

This was because there was, and I think still is, a law in France that says that a very large percentage of all music played on air in France must be French speaking.
So in their home country, it was easier to promote themselves with a French version, but in the rest of the world they did it in English.
I suppose it depends on your market. If you're after hitting a world market, then it's gotta be English because the biggest music markets in the world are in English, but if 2/3 of your audience is French speaking, then it makes sense to sing in French.
I'd say it would be best to record your stuff in French for your current market, then maybe re-do the vocals in English later on if you wish to expand into the world market.

That's what Trust did and they were huge at the time.
Last edited by SlackerBabbath at Jan 11, 2009,
#15
Yes, it is all about market. If you have English versions for the masses, and French versions for the French market like Big Sugar did, then you are one step closer to 'pleasing all the people all the time.'

And yes again about programming requirements and preferences. In Quebec and in Northern Ontario, radio programmers tend to program a certain percentage of French-language content. You stand a better chance of getting played in those markets if your material is in French.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#16
Mix it around and stuff..
I find bands who use different languages in their music awesome (Y)
Don't really think it would limit your audience...
If it does..
Aim for other listeners... Preferably with a more open taste
#17
That sounds like quite an intresting situation, as long you all know enough of the other language to communicate and know what the songs mean then you should be ok
#18
Quote by Symmetry4321
That sounds like quite an intresting situation, as long you all know enough of the other language to communicate and know what the songs mean then you should be ok


That's a point.
A mate of mine (a guitarist) moved to France and put a band together that did nothing but English language rock classics.
The singer learned all of the songs off by heart but couldn't actualy speak English, so his pronunciation was waaaay off in places, which although it sounded OK to people who didn't speak English, it sounded really odd, even laughably funny, to someone who did.
Luckily, the area he lived in was very rural and there were hardly any English speakers that lived there, so they got away with it gig after gig after gig and were even quite popular.
#19
I always debated if to sing in english or in spanish too. But i just found it that lyrics in english come natural to me. So my advice is, go with whichever come natural (even if that is both).
#20
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The Mars Volta man they kick ass, I don't know if this is good advice but I'd do all of the songs twice (one for each language)


Cypress Hill does this also...alternate one verse in French and the other in English
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