The first single from The Claudettes‘ NO HOTEL, “Chez Les Yé-yé”, takes the Serge Gainsbourg classic back to its American Blues roots — think blues with a beret instead of a fedora. But behind Yana’s sultry vocals and Michael Caskey’s furious drumming (and deliberately asinine dancing), there is a disconsolate message — just as, behind the “tom toms” and “yeah yeahs” of Serge’s “Chez Les Yé-yé”, there lurks something sinister.
“The trappings of ‘Chez Les Yé-yé’ are swingin’ ’60s parties, pounding drums and spazzy dancing, but the lyrics are about an obsessed man hunting for a woman he’s crazy about, with a switchblade in his hand,” Johnny notes. “Our video features the Chicago dance troupe Lucky Plush, breaking into the studio and having a wild dance party all around us. But then the musicians start to feel that they, who are making the music, aren’t even invited to the party—that they are not only not the center piece of the dance party, but they’ve become completely invisible and dispensable to the revelers.”
Iguana got the idea after witnessing a DJ set at the Ottawa Blues Festival, wherewere performing in 2014. “There were thousands of people dancing and having a blast, while one guy was pushing buttons to play pre-recorded music. Then, back on the road in the van you hear more music on the radio where the producer is the star, the technology is the focus, the proven hit-making songwriting team is in place and musicians aren’t spotlighted at all, even if it’s their killer performances that are sampled. I guess you could say that musicians are not invited to the party anymore, as far as pop music goes.” he declares.
But even as the musicians are cast out, the party rages on. See it unfold as you watch new video for “Chez Les Yé-yé”.’