9 December 2021
Band: CHATEAU CHATEAU (Tucson, Arizona)
Who: An evolving community of musicians led by power couple
Alex and Bleu. With beginnings in an abandoned aerospace warehouse
in 2018, Chateau Chateau has grown into Tucson’s favorite self-deprecating
glam-rock band, dusty and sparkly. They take pride in supporting
the LGBTQ+ community.
This up and coming sensation is gearing up for its second album, hitting the streets in 2022. It’s the follow-up to their notable 2020 debut LP Princess. An effervescent cocktail guitar/synth pop thrills with real-life stories of falling down and getting up again. Glam and glitter riot tattoo grrl Bleu is the charismatic Amazon in the middle and she’ll tell us all we need to know (so far) about Chateau Chateau and her personal struggles in her young life.
But as usual, we start a Turn Up The Volume interview with music
to get us in the right mood. And why not with some fucking shit…
In your bio I read that CHATEAU CHATEAU is an evolving
community of musicians. What does that mean in reality?
“Ultimately, the band is led by Alex and I, Bleu, who write all of the songs, guide the vision and keep everything running on and off stage, but we welcome almost anyone who wants to make magic with us. We’re open to making music with anyone who loves what Chateau stands for as much as we do.
We often have horn players, dancers, synth players, etc. perform with us and become part of our little community.
It isn’t uncommon for you to see a rotating cast of performers from show to show. But some members like Jay, Bleu’s brother, have been with us for years. Jay switches between guitar, bass, synths, and more depending on the show and who else we have on stage.”
What’s the story/meaning behind the band name CHATEAU CHATEAU?
“At one point we had a whole story around it, but honestly we each picked a few names
we liked, and Chateau Chateau fit us best. You could say we’re a large, sparkly, grand, hard to miss group just like a French castle, though.”
Greatest musical influences?
“Definitely Talking Heads, of Montreal, Blondie, Joy Division,
Fanny, The Strokes, The Kinks, and Bowie.”
What track would you play to introduce CHATEAU CHATEAU
to music fans who never heard of you?
“Probably I Don’t Love You Anymore right now, but honestly our new album about to be released is a really good evolution of our music and showcases a good mix of everything we’ve done before, but at our best.”
What’s I DON’T LOVE YOU ANYMORE about?
“This song is actually my favorite story wise on the new album, the chorus quotes things my dad said to me growing up. When I wrote it I had found an old diary which had letters that my dad wrote to me when I was a teenager. My dad has an illness that changed his mind. I started getting punished for things I never did, and to this day still get treated like an awful piece of shit child. Even though I was a straight-A student, worked full time, was an athlete, etc.
Everyday I was told horrible things about myself and was constantly threatened with things like taking away health insurance, taking me off his will, etc. if I didn’t do exactly as he wanted. He unwarrantedly told me I was worthless, resentful, stupid, throwing my life away, and other things that as a young woman you shouldn’t have to hear. He would also send me articles on how being gay is a choice and constantly tell me I’m going to hell.
When I stood up for myself it only got worse. I learned patience, how not to treat people, and how to be on my own from a young age.
I had to build myself from the ground mentally and physically. I took the experience and learned and grew from it. Writing this song felt really good, I’ve always been so afraid of speaking about him and our relationship, and I fought too hard for too long to try to keep it. This song is the most honest I’ve ever been.”
On debut album PRINCESS the main vocals were
mostly by Alex. What or who decides who’ll sing?
“We’ve had a different vocalist on each album/era so far. This decision was part of a bigger conversation that Alex and I are constantly having: who is Chateau, what do we want to represent, and what is our identity. We decided that I can better represent who Chateau Chateau is, they think I’m a better vocalist so I dedicated a lot of time to improving my singing and frontman skills to do the job justice.
I also enjoy it a lot more, Alex never really liked the pressure. It’s a tough role but I love representing and getting to pour my emotions in vocally now, not just through music and lyric writing. If Chateau history was a little different, I would’ve been the front person from the very beginning according to Alex.”
I love the artwork of the LP. Who designed it
and what did you want to visualize with it?
“I design all of our artwork from album covers to Instagram posts to concert posters! For each era, I’ve wanted the look to evolve with us. The LP told a story of going from a really dark place of substance abuse, self harm, low self esteem and rock bottom, to taking back what’s yours and finding a voice and confidence in yourself and by yourself. So taking the original photos in my favorite crazy, kind of dingey dive bar in my hometown felt right.
The mannequin represents modern pressures and standards everyone is expected
to fit, and how without individuality and expression, we’d all be the same, and
going through the same motions. And having it in black and white with rainbow
lettering felt right for the message as well.”
This year’s 3 singles are all glam and glitter dance crackers, as glam
and glitter as all band pics and singles’ artwork are. Is that look essential
to the band??
“That look has always been a part of Chateau’s image and is essential to who we are.
It started with the conception of the band – Alex didn’t want Chateau to look like every other band. I also like to think he wanted an excuse to wear glitter makeup. We wanted to basically throw a party at each show, to have fun and make sure our audience had more fun than anyone else.
So, it made sense to dress like a glittery glammed out 80’s pop band. We want everyone to feel confident and comfortable to express themselves for whoever they are. Our shows are a safe space to do that. Having a range from dark lyrics to loud fashion really tries to include room for everyone.”
Although I haven’t tattoos myself I admire the art of it.
What does body-tattooing mean to you, Bleu?
“As a tattoo artist myself, everyone has their own meanings behind their tattoos and
why they get tattooed. For me, I love getting to create that kind of personal art. Some of my tattoos have personal meaning, but most of the time I think of it as art collecting.
I do a lot of my own tattoos and it’s such a fun way to express myself and beauty. They make me feel my most confident and beautiful.
I initially started tattooing myself on the parts of my body I didn’t like, and it taught me how to love and not to be so hard on myself. I also have some tattoos that tell a story and bring back memories, some tattoos only I can see and they’re a daily reminder not to slip back into bad habits. Instead of hiding my mistakes I turn them into something I can smile at and remember.”
What movie would you pick to soundtrack it with CHATEAU CHATEAU music?
“Something like Big (1988) or Freaky Friday (1977). Obviously, the fun cheesy 80’s vibes were something I had to go with. But the message of duality, growing up to make some life-changing mistakes, and thinking you know better when you’re young.
You know that feeling when you’re a kid and you just want to be a grown up because you’re tired of being told what to do, but then you blink and your life has passed you by, and now you’re trying to find the time to hang out with a friend, take a nap, have some fun, and you want to be a kid again. I think our music would be perfect for one of those movies.”
How’s Post-Trump life in America?
“Trump changed a lot. The last few years brought out the worst in a lot of people,
and divided more. But a lot of us have come together to try to create some real change.
Change is needed. In general, we fight for acceptance, progress, justice. It’s sad that
there are people fighting for things to go backwards. All of a sudden they’re talking about making gay marriage illegal again, making laws against abortion, essentially trying their best to oppress anything different than them.
It’s scary sometimes, last month I had to take the pride sticker off my motorcycle helmet because I got threatened by a man with giant American and trump flags on his truck and thought that was it for me. We do have a platform though, and we will continue to do whatever we can to fight for what’s right and donate to organizations in need.”
A lot of artists started covering other artists when the COVID-19
whirlwind turned our lives upside down. Which would you pick to cover?
“We actually got to cover Essential Logic’s Wonderful Offer! Or label, Kill Rock Stars, celebrated their 30th anniversary so all of the bands got to cover a KRS catalog song.
It was so fun to turn a post-punk song into our synth-pop version. We also have a cover coming up on our new album, Voices Carry by Til Tuesday, which has always been one
of our favorites!”
The best track and album you heard in 2021?
“I found a lot of old music that’s new to me, one of my favorites being Fanny who
has influenced a lot of the new music. Although it’s really hard to pick just one,
I discovered so many sick bands like New York Dolls, Vampire Beach Babes,
Mdou Moctar, The Old Haunts, I could go on.
I can never pick just one! I’m always jamming out to all different playlists and genres
to find new music. The weirder the better, and if you know any cool bands always send
them my way!”
Are you fans of traditional Xmas carols? If so, which one is your favorite?
“Not as much Christmas carols, but more the Pop songs! Last year we covered Santa Baby by Ertha Kitt which was so fun. We love jazz. But I think my all-time favorite is Last Christmas by Wham!. Even as a kid I was jamming out to that song all December long.
It’s just so catchy and cheesy, but has those classic 80’s synth sounds and drum machine that you can’t miss.”
Which song will be on your stereo on 31st December at midnight??
“This is also such a hard one for me. Something like Liza Anne’s Bad Vacation, The Beatles’ Ticket to Ride, or Caroline Polacheck’s So Hot you’re Hurting my Feelings. All of them are upbeat indie pop songs that make you want to dance. They’re fun and pretty optimistic, and all bring me a lot of joy.
I just want something playing that’s going to give me good vibes, I’m stoked for the new year. So far they’ve only gotten better and I’m always looking forward to what’s next!”
Name three things you really love to happen
in 2022 for CHATEAU CHATEAU, Bleu
“We have an album coming out, so I’m beyond excited for the release of that! We’ll be announcing more details soon, but for now, we’re excited to be releasing singles from it. I’m so excited to see how everyone reacts to it, it’s my first time being this open and honest, and while being this personal is a little scary, it’s been so awesome and a crazy experience.
Secondly, we get to play a festival that we’ll also announce soon, it’s going to be such a great opportunity for us, it’s such an iconic festival we cannot wait! I’m hoping to meet some other cool artists there and expand more.
Lastly, we’re planning on touring, so I’m really just hoping that we get to continue to grow our audience and meet more amazing people, see more of the world, and just continue to grow and have a blast doing it!”
Thank you very much for the interview, Bleu.
May the road rise with Chateau Chateau in 2022.
Check this out. More glam and glitter
with debut LP Princess…
CHATEAU CHATEAU: Facebook
(All artists photos of CC by Jeaninne Kaufer)