This month Centennial Park in Sydney will host a brand new festival – Sydney City Limits – and French indie-pop four-piece Phoenix will be gracing its grassy knolls. We asked guitarist Christian Mazzalai about bringing the band’s latest album to the festival.
You released Ti Amo in June of last year, and the same month did your first shows since 2014. How did you feel about getting back onto the stage (particularly in front of enormous festival crowds)?
We spent more than two years in a little studio in the middle of Paris (under the roof of an old opera house) to create and record this album, so we couldn’t wait to see the world again. To travel with your friends and then play your own music in front of a crowd is a beautiful and hard to describe feeling.
Watching footage from some of the shows you’ve played this year, it looks as if you have a simple but very effective idea for the back screens; is it a live feed of the stage, filmed from directly above?
We will bring in Sydney a very big mirror we customised especially, so it could be angled 45 degrees behind us and reflect a custom screen floor under us. It’s hard to describe, but when we see people’s reactions, we can feel… like magicians with a good trick in our pocket (old school and modern at the same time)!
The festival will be held in Sydney’s Centennial Park, which is home to a sandstone labyrinth. Its design is based on a medieval labyrinth inside the grounds of the Chartres Cathedral (in your home country!). Have you seen it?
We come from Versailles with many beautiful mazes in the gardens of the castle, but we’ve never experienced a labyrinth like yours.
Ti Amo is out now via Liberation.
Sydney City Limits will be held on February 24.
SCL has been lovingly moulded in the shape of its revered older sister, the Texas institution of Austin City Limits. For its Sydney iteration, you’ll be loafing around the lush Centennial Gardens enjoying a menu curated by esteemed eateries Mary’s (Newtown) and The Unicorn Hotel (Paddington), meandering between four stages showcasing 30 acts, and perhaps stopping by the open-air gallery space which will be filled with works of photography, painting, video and street art. Also, Grace Jones.
Who’s playing: Grace Jones, Future, Young Thug, L D R U, Justice, Beck, The Avalanches, Phoenix, Vance Joy, Tash Sultana, Dune Rats, Gang of Youths, Car Seat Headrest and more.
Phoenix are also playing two headline shows in Melbourne and Brisbane; head to the band site for details.