With his first two opuses (the debut album Olympic released in 2016, and Joshua in 2019), French 79 has since contributed to remodelling the French Touch genre, making it the envy of the entire world.
In line with pillars of the electronic music scene such as Erik Satie, Jean-Michel Jarre, Air, and Daft Punk, the Marseille-based artist is a master of the synth and formidable songwriter. His signature tracks "Between the Buttons", the certified platinum "Diamond Veins feat. Sarah Rebecca" and "Hometown" helped set the imaginary boundaries of a brand new musical universe.
After an international tour of over 100 dates some of which were sold-out very quickly -, Simon Henner no longer has to prove the potential of his sensational show on stage. Once back in his native South of France, he locked himself away in his studio in the heart of the Phocean city. This is where everything started a few years ago with his two bands, Nasser and Husbands, and his collaboration with Kid Francescoli whose hit " Moon" which he produced and co-wrote has now gone diamond.
Following his most recent experience - a collaboration on the album of French techno star NTO; a remix of Cliff Martinez's Drive soundtrack; a reinterpretation of Erik Satie's "Gnossienne No. 5" for Deutsche Grammophon; the remix of “Diamond Veins” by international star Tiësto... -, French 79 is now getting ready to take things to the next level with his forthcoming album, TEENAGERS. " If the first two albums were respectively about birth and childhood, this third album will logically be dedicated to adolescence. I wanted to pay tribute to this moment which still defines me today, because I really discovered those repetitive, psychedelic and synthetic sounds at this age. They made it possible for me to escape, to build and find myself. I tried to put myself in the same psychic state I was in when I was a teenager, that precise moment when you feel like you've got your whole life ahead of you, or even better, you'll live forever.”
TEENAGERS is an album on which keyboards and analog synthesisers are predominant, just like on its predecessors. But it reveals a much more personal and ambitious side of Simon Henner. TEENAGERS alternates between signature songs like the masterful opening song " One for Wendy", as well as unsuspected romantic and nostalgic songs ("Romantica"), epic and flamboyant tracks ("Memories"), tracks with liberating harmonies ("Heroes"), sensational electronic swirls ("FOIX"), pop gems ("You Always Say" feat. Prudence, the singer of The Dø), tracks characterised by a carefree bliss ("Teenagers"), tracks with a destabilising energy (" Freedom" ) and sumptuous introspective tracks ("Walking on Mars").
But Simon Henner completely lays bare his soul when expressing his full vocal capacity at the microphone. With " Burning Legend", "Life is Like", and "Graceful”, the Marseille-based producer gives a glimpse of his extraordinary sensitivity and helps bend the idea that producers do not know how to reveal themselves. "Singing helps me embody my music alone on stage. I like to show who I am and try to convey what I feel. Making songs is a very personal process, sharing and performing them keeps me from being selfish." Not only does this opus reflect his wide range of talents as a songwriter and producer, but also it definitely takes us on a very powerful sensorial, and introspective journey.
“I love songs that make me surpass myself, overcome my fears, feel invincible; freedom is really what motivates me in life. That's why I love my job so much, because I'm totally free to do what I want.” And for Simon Henner, there is nothing that embodies freedom better than adolescence and its sweet hint of naivety. In this sense, TEENAGERS is the soundtrack of an age in which anything is possible; uncertainties, desires, and hopes are closely intertwined." My music is inseparable from my life, I am constantly looking for intense and unforgettable moments, epiphanies engraved in the memory."
TEENAGERS results in a tour de force: it represents a new milestone in the history of music and places French 79 among the artists who revolutionised electronic music and music as a whole. If TEENAGERS gives us such unique and strong sensations, it is also due to the fact the album’s soul is filled with magical places, such as Jean-Michel Jarre's own Parisian studio and the Miraval studio in the South of France.
" These legendary studios have witnessed uninhibited and daring creations. At Jean-Michel Jarre's studio, I felt like a kid in front of all those legendary keyboards I'd always dreamt of. There was a true soul and an incredible atmosphere in this timeless studio: the arpeggios came to life, the chord progressions took on another dimension. I laid hands on those synths, those drummers and those sequencers that marked music forever; I touched the instruments that were used to compose the films and series soundtracks I grew up with. I felt like I was living a real sci-fi moment, as if I were travelling through time and space. This moment immediately took me back to my teenage years when I discovered these masterpieces. Many old sound memories as well as new melodies appeared in my brain."
The album was mixed by Damien Quintard (Brian Eno, Parcels, Justice, Sade, L'Impératrice...) in the heart of the 17th century Provençal estate of Miraval - where the studio that welcomed Pink Floyd, AC/DC, and The Cure is located. This renowned venue which recently reopened after being bought by Brad Pitt let French 79 achieve a long-time dream: "When I mix the album on the console and the reverb of Pink Floyd's song 'Another Brick in The Wall', it gives me a divine sensation that I will remember for the rest of my life. I almost had some sort of mystical experience there (...) That feeling of being connected to those bands in a kind of " cosmic reality" felt like a fountain of youth, just when I was finalising the TEENAGERS album."