VICTORIA+JEAN – “BIG BILLIE”
V+J EP (2014)
Sweden’s Victoria + Jean created huge ripples this side of the Atlantic when Indie Week Europe’s 2015 winners performed several nights during Indie Week Toronto. Their live performances have the hitting force of a tsunami, to be more accurate, and Victoria+Jean’s powerful live performances were a huge smash. This is one band that must be seen live: their power and force must be seen to be believed.
There’s really no point in playing the reference game when defining Victoria+Jean; it just wouldn’t work for them. Although Victoria sings and Jean plays guitar – like thousands of others across the globe – their first album Divine Love is from another world.
Victoria spent just enough time in Stockholm to enter this life, passed through London to get an education before she discovered Paris and got to know the backgrounds of fashion and music. Then comes Brussels, her meeting with Jean, an uncommonly talented musician and latent globetrotter. The Victoria+Jean duet is born. The world is little more than a village. Guitar cases scratch the floor of a Boeing whilst the artists have their noses stuck to the plane’s window as they fly off to Rio or New York. One day, filled to the brim with tales, images and notes, they realise that there’s enough raw material and songs to make an album. Their first opus reflects their lives: between cities, between flights. London, Stockholm, Paris, Brussels, New York… The album sleeve mentions some of today’s greatest sound engineers, those mysterious sorcerers who toiled on some of our favourite records, including John Parish (P J Harvey), Ian Caple (Tricky, Tindersticks, Bashung), Christoffer Berg (Depeche Mode, The Knife, Fever Ray) and Rob Kirwan (U2, Depeche Mode, The Horrors), and the high priestess of mastering, Mandy Parnell. An eastern wind blows over the artwork in the form of Oleg Dou, an up and coming Russian contemporary artist.
There’s still a lot to do from Stockholm to Moscow, going through Brussels too… Victoria+Jean’s journey starts here. Divine Love. For anyone who still doubts it: love is divine.