Nicola Sirkis, 22 June 1959

Indochine (French for Indochina) was formed in May 1981 by two Frenchmen in their early twenties, Nicola Sirkis and Dominique Nicolas  in Paris. They soon added Dimitri Bodianski, the cousin of one of Nicola’s friends. They gave their first concert at Le Rose Bonbon, a café in Paris on 29 September 1981. This brief performance on stage earned them their first contract with a record company. They recorded their first single in November 1981. It included two songs, ‘Dizzidence Politik’ and ‘Françoise’, but drew more attention from critics than from the mainstream media and only reached a limited audience. The group Taxi Girl took them on tour as a support act and in 1982 a first mini-album ‘L’avonturier’  was released. With the band’s name referring to the French colonial name for Vietnam the second album ‘le Péril jaune’ (Yellow peril) had several eastern influenced details like ‘la Sécheresse du Mékong’ (Drought in the Mekong), ‘Okinawa’ and ‘Shanghai’. Their third album of 1985 however marked their true breakthrough to a big mainly young audience with over 800.000 copies. The video for one of the singles ‘Tes yeux noirs’ was directed by Serge Gainsbourg. Even other European countries like Sweden picked up on the group. The critics however weren’t to pleased with the direction the group was taking and with the follow up album ‘7000 dances’ the group was dismissed as a Cure-clone.

Bored with all the touring and recordings session Dimitri left for marriage and fatherhood in 1988. The group recovered from this blow with difficulty, although it was in fact easier to work as a trio. Early 1990 ‘Le Baiser’ came out, symbolising the new decade in the eyes of its creators. After a compilation and a solo single (‘Dans la lune’ 92) of Nicola the band kept on releasing albums in the nineties. Without Dominique who choose to leave the band in 1993. But the musical scene had changed and Indochine wasn’t as popular anymore as they used to be. In 1999 Nicola’s brother Stéphane died suddenly leaving Nicola alone. Nicola decided to carry on with Indochine in spite of his brother’s death and despite the fact that he was now the sole surviving original member of the group. In August ’99 the new-look Indochine made a major comeback on the French music scene, releasing a new album ‘Danceteria’. 2001 marked the 20th anniversary of Indochine with an album with orchestral covers and remixes of the group's greatest hits.

For the new album ‘Paradize’ Nicola asked several fellow artists like Gerard Manset, Jean-Louis Murat, Mickey 3Ds and Camille Laurens to lend a hand. The result was a very direct rock album. The single ‘Mao boy’ was given a remix by Montpellier electro duo Rinôçérose. The album was honoured  at the annual Victoires de la Musique Awards with Best Pop/Rock Album of the Year. The tenth Indochine album ‘Alice & June’ (2005) was inspired by Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’. ‘Alice & June’ tells the fantastical – and often nightmarish – tale of two teenage girls in a modern wonderland. This dark, brooding and very rock album was produced by Oli de Sat (who joined the band in 1999). To celebrate their 25th anniversary the band hinted towards a mystery gig called ‘06/06/06’. In style of the bands name the concert was held in Vietnam at the Hanoi Opera (an exact replica of the Opéra Garnier in Paris) with a fifty-strong orchestra on 6 and 7 June. The event was later released as a CD & DVD set in 2007. In 2009 ‘La République des méteors’ inspired by the hardships of WW1. After a triumpant tour across France they return to the studio in Paris, Berlin, Brussels and Tokyo for their 2013 album.

On the web:

- Indochine's website: http://www.indo.fr/

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What do we think:

DB: Indochine is one of those bands that maybe hasn’t earned it’s status by artistic values but more on stamina. It seems the band has been a steady value in the French music scene for as long as I can remember and that is an effort in itself. With Indochine it’s like fashion. If you just keep waiting long enough your old turtle neck sweater is back in style again. Same for the dark wave sound of Indochine (including Gothic look). And I have to admit that I had a soft spot for Indochine ever since I bought ‘le Baiser’ in a Carrefour somewhere along the road to Perpignan. And it never passed. I still keep listening to their albums and enjoying them. And isn't that what popmusic is al about. In fact i think their latest album show more timeless potential then the ones they made in the eighties which, to be honest, sound a bit corny listening to them now. I do believe Indochine is sincere in what they create and in doing so they rightly deserve a special place in French music history.



♪♪ - L'Aventurier - 1982

♪♪ - Le Péril Jaune - 1983

♪♪♪♪ - 3 - 1985

♪♪♪ - 7000 Danses - 1987

♪♪♪ - Le Baiser - 1990

- Un Jour Dans Notre Vie -1993

- Wax - 1996

♪♪♪♪ - Dancetaria -1999

- Paradize - 2002

♪♪♪♪ - Alice & June - 2005

♪♪♪♪ - La République des Meteors – 2009

♪♪♪ - Black city parade - 2013

Further listening (live albums): 1986 - Indochine Au Zénith;1994 - Radio Indochine; 1997 - INDO LIVE; 2001 - Nuits Intimes; 2004 - 3.6.3; 2007 – Hanoï; 2007 - Alice & June Tour

♪♪♪♪♪ = outstanding album, an absolute must-have
♪♪♪♪ = great album, highly recomended
♪♪♪ = nice album
♪♪ = be careful, requires listening before buying
♪ = best to be avoided


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