Meet The Team: Les Inrocks

Les InRocks has been exciting and educating France’s independent music heads for 30 years.

Established in 1986, the magazine has become a cultural staple in the country, and is still widely looked up as France’s key tastemaker for new artists.

The likes of  Oasis, The Libertines, Pulp, Franz Ferdinand and The White Stripes have all been given a leg-up by the title over the years – with recent favourites including Fat White Family.

The Smiths, meanwhile, were given a huge boost in France by the love shown to them by InRocks (and founder JD Beauvallet).

Paris-based InRocks also runs its own festival and live nights, which have recently welcomed acts from Alabama Shakes to Bo Ningen, The Districts and Wolf Alice.

We caught up with some of the Les InRocks team to ask how they spend their days (and nights)…


JD BEAUVALLET, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

* What’s the coolest thing that’s ever happened to you at Les Inrocks?

The best memory has to be meeting my childhood hero David Bowie for an amazingly long and in-depth interview. He greeted me just saying: “Hi, I’m David”!

I have met all of my heroes and never was disappointed, from Scott Walker to Morrissey, from Eno to Lou Reed, from New Order to Wu Tang Clan…

* What does Les Inrocks mean to you and why were you proud to work there?

It allowed me to postpone real life and adulthood forever. It has kept me as uncynical, as unblasé, as overexcited as possible. I could only get one job and I have created it for myself.

I have spent the last 30 years of my life thinking night & day about the magazine, about what we could do, what we had to invent and it’s been completely worth it, and not boring, the whole time.

It allowed me to work with great people and share our passions without any limit. It’s been an amazing trip.

* What do you hope to achieve at Les Inrocks in the future?

Use the fabulous tools at our disposal for making music more central than ever in people’s life. And invent the tools of tomorrow to get music where it belongs – at the centre of the universe. My universe, anyway.


Noémie Lecoq, journalist

*What’s the coolest thing that’s ever happened to you at Les Inrocks?

Hearing Bernard Lenoir quote one of my articles live on air. Two of my biggest teenage obsessions (his radio show and Les Inrocks) colliding. Very surreal moment.

Interviewing some of my favourite artists (Johnny Marr, The Libertines, Richard Hell, Floc’h, Jack Black…) and getting to ask them questions I’d had in mind for years.

Going abroad to meet some artists at home to understand them better (walking on a Wirral beach with The Coral, spray painting on Berlin Wall with Troy Von Balthazar…). And being paid for it.

* What does Les Inrocks mean to you and why were you proud to work there?

I started buying some issues of the magazine when I was 14 because they often had articles on some Britpop bands I loved.

Some sentences and opinions were frankly hard to understand for a 14-year-old, but that seemed even more fascinating to me.

That same year, I started going to gigs regularly. Each year in November, the Festival des Inrocks was an event I’d look forward to – I was blown away by Fiona Apple there in ’96, The Beta Band in ’98, Pavement in ’99…

Then I started putting random records on my Xmas wish list, just because Les Inrocks had recommended them. That’s how I was introduced to Elliott Smith and Rufus Wainwright, amongst many others.

* What do you hope to achieve at Les Inrocks in the future?

Keeping on feeling so nervous before an interview that I need to check thoroughly every single detail about the person I’m going to meet.

Whenever an artist I’m interviewing says they like my questions, that’s the greatest compliment to me.

Keeping on falling in love with a song and writing about it.


Stéphane Deschamps, reporter

* What’s the coolest thing that’s ever happened to you at Les Inrocks? 

I would say first, doing a long face-to-face interview in a cosy New York hotel with Scarlett Johansson, to talk about music. Very inspiring…

I did another interview with her a few years later, but it wasn’t as good as the first time.

And also, the first time I went to the US was for Les Inrocks, to do an interview with John Lee Hooker at his home in California. He was old, and almost fell asleep during the interview, but being seated next to him in his sofa, touching his hand and his guitar, is a great memory – I had been listening to his music since I was 14.

Another great trip : one week in North Mississippi to visit and meet people like RL Burnside, T Model Ford, Jessie Mae Hemphill… some of my very favorite musicians of all times. I remember [PIAS] made this trip possible. Thanks again, [PIAS].

* What does Les Inrocks mean to you and why were you proud to work there?

Les Inrocks means a lot of free travels to see places and meet people that I love, that I was obsessed with when I was a teenager. Working for Les Inrocks turned a few dreams into reality.

Being able to connect my passion for music and my job is the best career I could dream of. It’s like not working, indeed. But paid. Not well paid, but paid.

Les Inrocks also means a lot of magazines in my basement.

* What do you hope to achieve at Les Inrocks in the future?

I hope I don’t have too many obituaries to write – not even mine. I hope I keep falling in love with music and enjoying telling it in words.

That’s it: no big expectations, no disappointment. And when Scarlett releases a new album, I’m ok for the interview.


Ana Benabs, Intern

 

*What’s the coolest thing that’s ever happened to you at Les Inrocks?

I guess it’s the way they trust you even if you’re in an internship, and all the things that result from that trust.

To be able to cover a festival or interview an artist you love is a pretty cool thing when some of your friends (on an internship too) are making coffee for their bosses all day long.

* What does Les Inrocks mean to you and why were you proud to work there?

Les Inrocks are the first cultural media I’ve ever red (kind of a familial institution), bought with my own money and worked for so they have a special place in my life.

I’m proud to work there because it has taught me many things, made me discover and love many artists, and made me understand lots of forms of art that I didn’t know before. It’s quite impressive to work for the media who accompanied you during a great period of your life.

* What do you hope to achieve at Les Inrocks in the future?

I hope I’ll still have the opportunity to work with them near or far, because I think it’s a really great place to learn, evolve and a way to stay curious of all the art that surrounds us.


Romain Burrel, Freelance

 

*What’s the coolest thing that’s ever happened to you at Les Inrocks?

I think interviewing Mick Rock, the photographer, who shot some of favorite pictures of the seventies and some of the most iconic covers like Transformer, Coney Island Baby, Raw Power…

The guy was one of closest witness of the glam scene and very close to David Bowie. That was pretty cool.

* What does Les Inrocks mean to you and why were you proud to work there?

I consider Les Inrocks the best culture magazine in France, whether in music, movies… I’m proud to be part of this team. I love to write about a very new artist like Lontalius and also write about an old one like Cerrone.

But to me, finding new talents is the number #1 mission of Les Inrocks. And because the magazine is one of the coolest in France, as an interviewer, you can ask for real time with the artists, not only 20 minutes. Nowadays, that’s a luxury.

* What do you hope to achieve at Les Inrocks in the future?

I’m a freelance editor, but maybe in the future I ll be a full time editor in this magazine. Who knows!


Maxime de Abreu, co-ordinatOr AND journalist

*What’s the coolest thing that’s ever happened to you at Les Inrocks?

Talking about porno and eating pizza with Frank Black.

Stumbling around with a drunk Sébastien Tellier in the streets of Sao Paulo.

Being attacked by Patrick Carney’s dog in Nashville.

Realizing I call Vincent Delerm just “Vincent” now.

Walking all day long with Flo Morrissey in London.

Speaking on the phone with the ultimate pop icon, Bjork.

I don’t know… Maybe the coolest thing is working with such good friends and brilliant people every day.

* What does Les Inrocks mean to you and why were you proud to work there?

I had two kinds of heroes when I was 15 : writers and musicians. Then I discovered Les Inrocks, where… people’s job is writing about music. Wow.

I still can remember myself realizing, at the very moment I was reading the magazine for the first time, that Les Inrocks was my real place to be, my second family. It became a dream. 10 years later, here I am, living into my own mythologies.

* What do you hope to achieve at Les Inrocks in the future?

I don’t really think about the future, but I’m sure I still have so much to do, so much to learn and and so much to love with les Inrocks!