October 23rd, 2008
Boxing Day 2005, Paris. Quentin Delafon, Michael Szpiner and Dorian Dumont are eating frozen pizza and getting drunk on vodka. They decide to set up a MySpace page for an imaginary band. A random girl called Nicole sends them a comment… The Teenager’s first song, “Fuck Nicole,” is born. Within eight months the French trio have amassed over 10,000 MySpace friends, bagged a record deal and decamped to London. Any worries that the jokers-turned-electro-popsters would play it safe for their debut single were soon dispelled with Homecoming, which features the catchy chorus “I fucked my American cunt.” The Teenagers – all in their mid-twenties – are here to prove that adolescence is only a state of mind.
How would you describe your music?
Quentin Delafon: Sleazy French pop.
Do you write for yourselves or your fans?
QD: We’re pretty narcissistic so we write for ourselves. But it’s cool that people enjoy it.
Michael Szpiner: We share our selfishness.
Dorian Dumont: Share our selfishness… that sounds good.
QD: We’ll have to use that again.
Career highpoint so far?
DD: The first time we played Reading festival. That was our first big show.
MS: And the first time we played in America. Doing shows in places like Seattle, LA, San Francisco, New York, Vancouver.
QD: Vancouver isn’t in America.
Do you have a pre-gig ritual?
QD: We gather round, I grab their arses and we say the name of the place we’re about to play.
MS: We sound like Madonna.
QD: No. She does like a big Kabbalah group chant. It’s different. In the beginning we used to hit ourselves because we were so nervous.
DD: But it didn’t help us to play our instruments.
If you could teach the world to sing, what would you teach them?
QD: I don’t think we’re ones to teach anyone how to sing!
MS: Maybe Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen.
What do you listen to on the tour bus?
QD: Everyone listens to their own music. For me at the moment it would be Robyn, Yeasayer, Vampire Weekend, Crystal Castles.
DD: Kings of Leon, MGMT.
What do you argue about?
MS: The seats in the van.
DD: The seats on the plane. Window or aisle.
QD: Or who wins at Mario Kart on the Nintendo.
Any scary fans yet?
MS: In America we saw the same girl at three of our shows. Then we saw her back here in Nottingham again. But she’s not very dangerous or frightening. She just looks young and fragile.
QD: Vampire Weekend are dangerous fans. They’re like stalkers. Every festival we play they are there, playing after us. It’s like, ‘What the fuck? Get a life!’ Always hanging about backstage. It’s so weird.
DD: In Norway they even came on stage with us.
QD: Yeah. ‘Get your own gig!’
Photography: Ben Rayner
Words: Ben Cobb
A full version of this article first appeared in Wonderland #15, Oct/Nov 2008