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LEJ in Sauveterre-de-Rouergue: in 2015 “Millau, the concert where we thought everything was going to change”

After opening on Thursday evening, the Fête & Détours de la lumière festival continues this Friday in Sauveterre-de-Rouergue. On the program, in particular LEJ, the group of three friends, Lucie, Elisa and Juliette, who have known each other since childhood. And if they come from Seine-Saint-Denis, it was during a visit to Millau in 2015 that their lives changed…

They broke through in 2015, releasing a “Summer 2015” video on the internet that garnered tens of millions of views. Inside, for a little over three minutes, they then resumed, with incredible skill, extracts from the best titles of that year, rearranged in their own way, with astonishing fluidity. LEJ, a musical trio of vocals, percussion and cello, made up of three childhood friends from Seine-Saint-Denis, Lucie, Elisa and Juliette, has since charted its course, released several albums and scoured festivals. They will be in Sauveterre-de-Rouergue this Friday evening for the second day of Fêtes & Détours de la lumière. Elisa looks back on the path taken since this first visit to Aveyron, seven years ago…

Do you remember the state of mind you were in, in 2015, when you came to Millau?

Yes very well. We didn’t understand what happened. When we released the clip it was three or four days before Millau and we started thinking that something was going on. When you make a buzz, as was the case, it’s quite intangible. We make views on the Internet, we have phone calls, but we do not see the people in front of us. We were just telling ourselves that it was a flash in the pan, that it was going to go down.

And in Millau, you realized that it wasn’t just on the Internet…

We arrived around 2 p.m. to do the soundcheck and we saw that there were already people sitting in front of the stage. It wasn’t really something we were used to. We didn’t understand. It was a very, very naive misunderstanding. We wondered why they were there and it was our manager who told us it was for us. We didn’t believe it. People stayed all afternoon in the middle of the sun to be in front of the stage in the evening. We did the soundcheck, then when we came back for the concert, we saw that they had added barriers, that there were more than 1,000 people when they were considering between 200 and 300 people and there, the people sang everything by heart… We were shocked. At the end of the concert, it was the first time that we were asked for photos and autographs. I remember looking at the girls and telling them that I didn’t have a signature to do autographs. It was crazy. Millau is really the concert where we said to ourselves that everything was going to change and that we were going to have to work and keep our feet on the ground.

At the time, it was the beginning, but you already had a certain confidence on stage. Did you feel it was imminent?

In 2013, we won a competition and we were able to go on stage with Tryo. We had played a song and a half in front of 3,000 people, but we really understood that this is what we wanted to do. We even wondered why we hadn’t realized this earlier. I think it’s because we’ve been doing classical music scenes for years. And it’s not the same energy at all. From there, we felt at home on stage, even if it was in front of 80 people.

Since then, you’ve gained a lot of experience, you’ve released several records, done a lot of concerts. How did you find a balance in the life of an artist?

To be honest, I don’t think we really found it. We have to deal with our personal relationship, which is the equivalent of a sisterly relationship since we’ve known each other for 28 years and our professional relationship. It’s both great to work with your best friends, but it’s also hard because you have to be able to take a step back from things. We’re still working on it, we’re getting there, but it’s a lifetime’s work for bands that last. Afterwards, we never said to ourselves that we no longer had a normal life.

When you released “Not afraid”, in May 2020, right at the time of the Covid, you could not defend it on stage. Did that worry you?

It scared us. There was no festival. Fortunately, at the end of last year, we were able to do a real indoor tour of about twenty dates. We were so relieved to be able to perform it live. Already, on the previous album, many people had told us that our music made sense on stage. So, we were a little panicked not to be able to share that with people right out. But we were lucky enough to have a tour and it was amazing to see that even a year after the release, people came to fill an Olympia to see us on stage.

Your music lends itself very well to the outdoor festival format. It’s a different vibe again…

I think festivals are my favorite thing. There is a challenge. When there are lots of other artists, it’s a challenge to tell yourself that people haven’t paid their place for you, but that if they come, you have to manage to keep them until the end. But above all, it’s only at a festival that you can play in front of 40,000 people. What I love about this job is making people dance, smile and jump.

There, in Sauveterre, you share the poster with Tryo (past Thursday evening). You share a strong story with them…

It’s so cool to see them in the same places as us. It happened several times this year, we follow each other a bit at the festivals. We have a bit of the same story with Bigflo and Oli. Seeing Tryo, people we admire, who we are very close to and who often give us advice, on the bill at the festivals we go to, it’s a bit of confirmation for us to say to ourselves that we is still on the right track.

The festival program

After the first evening on Thursday with Ben Mazué, Tryo, La Femme, the Fête & Détours de la lumière festival, organized by Ajal, in Sauveterre-de-Rouergue, continues until Saturday. And there are still places left. Friday, August 5 Main stage: Kenji Girac, LEJ, Olympe Chabert.Festival off: Irina Gonzàlez, Les fine gueules, We don’t care,Saturday, August 6 Main stage: Zoufris Maracas, Sona Jobarteh, La Mal Coiffée, Cuarteto TafiFestival off: Elium, The Musical Charcuterie.

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