Besides the fact that the band seems to be on the same four-year schedule as the Games — they first played the festival in 2006 behind It’s Never Been Like That and again in 2010 — guitarist/keyboardist Laurent Brancowitz explained that the band has been training “like athletes” to improve their stamina.
“It’s a big responsibility,” Brancowitz said in our latest Radio.com Essentials profile. “We know there’s going to be a lot of people that are going to spend one hour each watching us. If it’s a really bad moment, it’s going to be like 60,000 hours wasted.”
As headliners, the band certainly doesn’t want to disappoint, but due to their past experiences at the fest they’re having concerns. “We’ve played there twice,” guitarist Christian Mazzalai said. “And we did maybe our worst show and our best show there.”
“This time,” Brancowitz interjected with a smile, “we aim for an average show.”
But as Daniel Glass, the President of the band’s record label Glassnote Records, explained, these four guys — Brancowitz, Mazzalai, bassist Deck d’Arcy and singer Thomas Mars — don’t do anything half-heartedly. For the last two months, Phoenix have been in seclusion getting ready for the live show, which will feature songs from their new album, Bankrupt!, out April 23. They’ve even hired a new lighting designer to echo the magnitude of the Coachella performance.
“It’s a badge of honor,” Glass said of headlining. “There are far and few between who really get there and stay there and earn it the right way.”
From the minute Glass heard Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix in 2009, he knew they were going to be big. “I thought I was dealing with a masterpiece the first time I heard it and there was nothing that was going to stop us from signing it,” he said.
Glass also believes he was destined to meet Phoenix on their fourth album when they had found their sound and were ready to take America by storm.
“I think it takes time to grow bands,” Glass said. “The ones that have the hit singles too quickly, they burn out and they don’t really have the gravitas or resume or repertoire to play. The nice thing about Phoenix is there’s 60 songs to cull from and that’s a career.”