PEGA actually started when Aude told me she wanted to learn some Portuguese and I wanted to improve my French, so it was like a language exchange class.
We talked about music and then I invited her and some friends to come jam at my place for fun. Mostly women came to jam, but it was not exclusively limited to women either.
At one of these weekly Sunday sessions we were with eight women, some knew how to play music but most of us did not.
We changed instruments all the time, nobody really knew what they were doing. We were just experimenting.
In my case, I am more or less schooled in piano, but I never expected to play the guitar.
We all had to learn our own instrument. Aude did not know how to play the bass and I had to learn to play the drums, all through jamming together. Separately and outside of the jam sessions, we did take some lessons with musician friends who mastered a certain instrument.
After a while of doing the jam sessions, we got a bit bored and stuck playing the same sounds. We wanted to build some real songs. As we were the three people who were the most regular at the jam session, we stuck together.
During a few days, we wrote a couple of songs, but our first song was a very painful experience.
We really had to learn how to write proper songs.
Since none of us could read sheet music we invented symbols for each melody or rhythm that we wrote on paper as our own musical language. For example, we have the “Croissant” symbol drawn like a croissant. On our papers we would draw/write “Croissant 1”, “Croissant 2” or “Croissant 3”, to mark different variations so we all could remember the structures and phrasing of our songs.
Now we use words and measures too, so our language has evolved
Yeah, we use words such as “Velvet (Underground)”, “Crazy Cats”,”Opera”, “Freestyle”, “Samba” or “Doom”.
One of our songs on paper would look like: “Freestyle” followed by “Samba” and then “Doom”, with numbers for each one of the instruments.
At that point the interview gets interrupted by a street savvy Belgian-Moroccan rapper who wants us to record his short street skit, to which the PEGA women start beatboxing along with.
For our next recording session, we need more time to compose our new songs.
We got two songs done and a few more in the oven which have to mature a bit before we can record them.
People tell us that we now sound much better than on our self-released first EP, which was quite a challenge to record and we were still learning our songs properly.
Our music sounds better and more energetic live than recorded for home listening. I have a record of La Jungle, which I don’t listen much to, but I love the energy of their live shows.
We hope to never repeat our live shows in the exact same way each time. It’s already very different to play alone at home, to practice together and to play a live show for an audience.
From one concert to another, we also feel different reactions from the audience.
It’s true that we feel from the first moment on stage what the room is like. Whether it is going to be a good day, a really good day or not at all.
It really depends on the atmosphere.
Barbara shakes her head in disagreement while the other two tease her.
I just don’t look into the audience or try to feel the room.
You’re so shy!
We are opening for Shannon Wright at Botanique soon (24/10), but playing on a big stage scares me less as I have more room to move and I don’t have to fear knocking over stuff or tripping over my pedals. But it’s always better to play in the middle of an audience.
I really prefer smaller venues, with low stages and close to the public. I’m a bit scared of playing the high stage at Orangerie as people are farther away. But we will be playing Les Ateliers Claus (14/12) which is a big reference for us [Barbara makes an angelic opera sound] and we’re also looking forward to the gig in BRASS for the album release party of the Tank, who sound great online, and also at the Labokube for the Les Nuits de Beau Tas. And soon in Ghent too, at De Koer and Kinky Star. Really looking forward to these! We would also love to do a little tour in Northern France, in Normandy where I am from.