Phoenix Tease More Alpha Zulu With Tonight

Acclaimed, GRAMMY-winning French band Phoenix have announced their seventh studio album, Alpha Zulu, set for release on November 4th, 2022 via Loyaute/Glassnote Records. Produced by the band themselves, and recorded in Paris’ Musée des Arts Décoratifs, which sits in the Palais du Louvre, Alpha Zulu promises everything Phoenix do best: effortlessly catchy melodies married with always-innovative production, resulting in what is destined to be one of 2022’s albums of the year. Indeed, Alpha Zulu – the four-piece’s first album since 2017’s critically acclaimed record Ti Amo – is an immediate reminder of what has made Phoenix one of the most beloved artists of the last two decades, reinforcing the band’s enduring and continued influence on pop culture.

Phoenix @ Shepherd's Bush Empire

The announcement also comes alongside a new song and video. Tonight is a duet with Vampire Weekend frontman Ezra Koenig in a Phoenix first: they’ve never had another vocalist on a track before. The result is simply sublime. The video was shot in Tokyo and Paris (partly in the band’s own studio in Musée des Arts Décoratifs), with Koenig and Phoenix inhabiting similar spaces in wildly different parts of the world.

Vampire Weekend @ Glastonbury Festival 2019

Check out the Oscar Boyson-directed video for Tonight below:

As documented in their 2019 book, Liberté, Egalité, Phoenix, comprised of Thomas Mars on vocals, Christian Mazzalai on guitars, Laurent “Branco” Brancowitz covering guitars & keys alongside bass-man Deck d’Arcy have been little short of family for more than 30 years. The book concludes with Branco saying that for the first time in their existence – one that has produced some of the most elegantly conceptual pop-rock albums of the century – he and his brothers were trying to follow the path of least resistance and see where it took them.

Phoenix @ Brixton Academy

When they said their goodbyes in spring 2020, they knew they were unlikely to see each other again for a while. Phoenix don’t work on music much alone, so they weren’t really trying ideas out remotely. When they were finally able to reunite months later, “we were almost in a trance”, marvels Mazzalai. Adding to that otherworldly feeling was their new recording space. “We felt it would be a fantastic adventure to create something out of nothing in a museum,” says Branco. “And so with the pandemic, we could live exactly this scene, to be alone in an empty museum.”

Phoenix @ Shepherd's Bush Empire

During lockdown they had to enter through a distant doorway, taking a 10-minute walk through dark, empty rooms teeming with aesthetic history. The flashlights from their phone picked out draped statues, Memphis Group sparkle and, just before the turning to their studio, Napoleon’s “grand, goofy” gold throne. “I was a bit afraid, when there was too much beauty around us, that to create something could be a bit hard,” says Mazzalai. “But it was the opposite: we couldn’t stop producing music. In these first 10 days, we wrote almost all of the album.”

Phoenix @ Shepherd's Bush Empire

This time, they navigated this jubilant explosion of creativity alone, guided by the spirit of the late Philippe Zdar, their most profound collaborator and friend, who died in 2019. “We lost more than ever, almost,” Mazzalai says of Zdar, a bon vivant whose spirit infused their 2009 breakthrough, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. “We had many moments where we could feel his ideas. Jeté, that’s a word he would say, when you’re throwing something very fast.”

Phoenix @ Brixton Academy

Working at the Musée brought Phoenix full circle, in a way. As kids growing up in Versailles, they had rebelled against the oppressive French classicism they grew up around – the idea that culture belonged in a museum. And yet, here were four of France’s most important cultural ambassadors, making their next work in such a space. It worked perfectly: away from the exhibits at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, their studio became a holding space for a jumble of works: Dalí next to Medieval pieces and Lalanne sculptures. “The backstage of the museum is like a mashup,” says d’Arcy . “It’s very pop in a way – like how we make music.”

Phoenix kick off their European tour in support of Alpha Zulu with a return to London’s Brixton Academy this November.

Phoenix’s 2022 European tour dates are:

16 – London, UK – Brixton Academy
18 – Milan, IT – Alcatraz Club
20 – Berlin, DE – Columbiahalle
22 – Brussels, BE – Ancienne Belgique
23 – Brussels, BE – Ancienne Belgique
25 – Amsterdam, NL – Paradiso
26 – Amsterdam, NL – Paradiso
28 – Paris, FR – Olympia
29 – Paris, FR – Olympia

Photography by Kalpesh Patel

Phoenix Bring The Madness With Alpha Zulu

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