En Attendant Ana – In Their Own Words

A quintet based out of Paris, the world last heard from En Attendant Ana back at the start of 2020, when the Trouble In Mind label released their acclaimed second album, Juillet. The subsequent three years have seen something of an evolution for the band, courtesy of the incorporation of new guitarist Max Tomasso, who joined just before Juillet’s release, and former touring sound-man, turned bass player, Vincent Hivert. The result was last week’s release of their third album, Principia, the first En Attendant Ana album to have been entirely shaped by the full band, with all five members bringing band leader Margaux Bouchaudon’s demos to life.

The record opens with the scene-setting title track Principia, it enters like a sunrise, the warm meandering guitars and steady drums bringing the whole thing swooning into life, a warm sonic bath into which Margaux’s crystalline vocals can dive. The track showcases the more thoughtful and sedate side of the band, Margaux wistfully singing of, “two parallel lines that will never meet”, finding the rarely explored heartache in quirks of geometry, before the song builds to its fizzing, ragged ending.

Throughout the record, Margaux seems to be looking at the word from an angle, it is a record imbued with a sense of confusion, searching for answers from a world that doesn’t always make a great deal of sense. Take the excellent Wonder, it seems to exist in a place of incertitude, the vocals entering on a fuzz of static as Margaux asks, “how does it start? Where does it begin?” Even as the drums come in with an earthy motorik certainty, Margaux remains unsure, “I am a good human being, my mother said, and I hope she’s right, who am I fooling? Where’s the tape, to rewind?”. As the words repeat over and over like a mantra, the music builds and swells getting ever more urgent before collapsing in on itself and drifting away on a wave of keyboards. Elsewhere The Cut Off uses phantom limb syndrome and hair-cuts to explore wider ideas of not belonging, while recent single, Same Old Story dials up the Stereolab-influence as it explores the downward spiral of repeating actions in a comfortable spiral to the point where they bore you with their banality, the sighing vocals flicking between French and English, “je connais la mélodie par coeur (I know the melody by heart), the same old story in the same old song, les mots ont tous la même couleur (the words all have the same colour)”.

If the feel of the album is one of questioning and confusion, conversely it is the most musically sure En Attendant Ana have ever sounded. There’s a sense of deliberately stripping back some of the layers, giving each instrument space to breathe and shine without weighing down a record that always wants to soar. I’m particularly taken with the gorgeously triumphant trumpets of Fools And Kings, the drum machine tick of To The Crush and the beautifully intricate guitar interplay of Black Morning, yet could pick almost any track out on an album that just constantly sounds terrific.

Following the release, I recently spoke to the band about starting their new phase, live plans and why they’re, “trying to write happy songs to make things easier”.

Photo & Header Photo by Arno Muller

FTR: For those who don’t know who are En Attendant Ana?

Vincent: We are a french indie band of friends, nothing special about us.

Margaux: I’ve known Camille for more than 10 years now. We started playing music in my bedroom when we were students. Throughout the years, we met musicians that joined or left the band. Adrien entered EAA in 2016, Maxence in 2018 and Vincent (who used to be our live sound engineer) in 2020. Actually, we never released two albums with a similar line-up. I guess it helped us reshape ourselves each and every time. Anywho, I feel that with Principia, we have started a kind of new “phase” for EAA and that the way we approached our work has opened a lot of doors and paths for us to explore for the future so we’ll stick together a little longer !

FTR: What can you remember about your first show?

Vincent: Very well, for my first show with the band (somewhere in the UK) I remember that I forget to bring my bass guitar with me, tricky for a first gig.

Camille: For our very first gig with En Attendant Ana, we played in a little venue with Margaux and three former members. We shared the stage with Maxence’s other band Entracte Twist.

Maxence: Yes, it was the hottest day of a hot Summer. I was only a spectator that day but I remember it like it was yesterday.

Margaux: I was so nervous, and hot. I just remember me sweating, my hands shaking and my fingers slipping on the guitar strings. Oh and that guy taking photos from a low-angle shot… Perfect.

FTR: Why do you make music? Why not another art form?

Camille: I’ve been playing the trumpet since I’m 6 years old so I’ve always been involved in music.

Vincent: I make music partly because I haven’t learned to do anything else with the same amount of satisfaction.

Adrien: The more playful, collaborative and festive art for me.

Maxence: Because I am too poor and stupid to do cinema. Joking aside, maybe to give a hug to my 16-year-old self and to achieve serenity and self-control in a world that lacks both of these.

Margaux: I’ve always pictured myself playing music, probably because my father is a musician himself and it felt natural for me to write songs and sort of imitate him. So when I was 6 or 7, I was a kind of an angry little writer, talking about broken dolls, miserable children or star-crossed lovers. I don’t even know why… I was a very happy child. I guess I thought it was more of an « adult » thing to be depressed. And now that I’m an adult, I’m really angry and anxious, but I’m trying to write happy songs to make things easier.

Photo by Greg Ponthus

FTR: What can people expect from the En Attendant Ana live show?

Vincent: Jokes and happiness when it’s a good show, improvisation when I forget my bass after loading the van, that kind of stuff.

Adrien: Hope, fierce and tenderness. After our last show, a man sent us a message to tell us that he’d been like in a dream, that he was in a dreamy mood. It was very kind to read. But maybe it is an exception!

Maxence: Quality jokes, false starts and songs played fast by sensible and introverted people.

Margaux: False starts definitely… But great endings.

FTR: What’s next for En Attendant Ana?

Camille: We’re going on tour across the USA, France and we hope in the UK !

Maxence: Making new songs.

Margaux: Yes, we will start working on our next album very soon. I’ve already started writing new songs and I cannot wait to see how the five of us are going to make them evolve and to go further in our working method but I’m too impatient. Let’s enjoy the release of Principia first!

Principia is out now via Trouble In Mind. For more information on En Attendant Anna visit https://enattendantana.bandcamp.com/.

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