“This album is kind of a tribute to the night in its nocturnal way. We really tried to create an atmosphere of the night,” says L’Impératrice founder Charles de Boisseguin of his band’s debut album.
Whilst the album succeeds in capturing such a nocturnal quality – its shimmering synthesisers and dance floor-ready grooves scream nightclub – and a feeling of coming to life, it also possesses a radiating pop essence that seems to exist outside of a time and place: where night creeps into morning and the day soon bleeds back into night.
de Boisseguin started the band as a solo project but over the years it has blossomed into a six-piece, a six-piece who have crafted a seamless collection of French electro pop disco songs for their debut. If the album has an air of that French charm it’s not only because of the band members nationality but also because of the surroundings Boisseguin grew up in: being born in Paris but growing up near Versailles, in St Germain en Laye. “This city has played a role in our musical style because of all the artists who emerged from there: Air, Phoenix, Etienne de Crécy, Alex Gopher and Daft Punk. They created what we know as the “French Touch”, which I grew up with as a kid.”
Despite this piece of pop-soaked cosmic disco being an ode to the night and loaded with infectious melody and hip-swinging rhythms, it’s also something of a soundtrack. Not only did the album take inspiration from cinema like Tarantino’s Jackie Brown but the band’s story and narrative exists to soundtrack a real-life spy thriller,as Boisseguin explains. “Matahari is an anagram of Mata Hari, the famous Dutch spy. This woman made everyone believe she was a dancer, a spy, and she made a living through all her lies. She was audacious and that’s what still makes her a heroine to us. Maybe not the most famous heroine but enough to be connected to what we try to tell through the name of the band: L’Imperatrice means the Empress. Mata Hari’s faces were what we are: a band of six different musicians. Through Mata Hari, we tried to compose our own fitting original soundtrack.
The band may claim that, “albums that sold 500 copies in the 1970s are the records that interest us most,” yet they’ve created a debut album destined for wider appeal.