Biography

French-born Charlotte moved to London in 1995 after growing up in a small town in Pays de la Loire. She had a brief spell in a band there, but found that in London, “music is just so much more a part of the culture,
unselfconsciously. Here, music comes to you. ” In ‘97, two years after she arrived, she recorded a duet with Simon Raymonde (a single, “In My Place” - a Robert Mitchum cover).

Le Volume Courbe - it means “the volume curve” - is the name of a sculpture by an old friend in France, called Marcel Marionneau. “When I was a teenager, I’d loved this sculpture, and when I needed a band name it suddenly hit me. The beauty is, it can mean so many different things. I also dream of converting the waves of the curves on an electrocardiogram machine, from someone in a coma, into music - I’m still looking into the practicalities of that.”

Settling in England, Charlotte began composing and making tracks, receiving vital encouragement from musicians like Hope Sandoval, Kevin Shields, David Roback and Colm O’Ciosoig, all of whom contributed to her debut album, most of which was recorded at home. “Kevin and Hope were very important to that project. They were the first artists that I respected to say I should make it happen, and I trusted their opinion. These people gave me confidence.” A single - “Harmony” - with Alan McGee’s Poptones label ensued; giving Charlotte the opportunity to craft slowly but surely her distinctive material, a breathless band apart.

Serge Gainsbourg was her mother’s favourite artist, so the first record Charlotte was given was his “Love On The Beat” (“full of orgasms - what was she thinking?”), before the more artful designs of David Bowie, The Velvet Underground and The Stooges captured her blossoming imagination. The first song she ever wrote survived to become the title track on her first personal salvo.

“”I Killed My Best Friend” was actually an improvisation when I first sang it. I didn’t speak English well at the time; in fact I don’t remember writing it. But I do remember being annoyed at my mother and my best friend, and thinking: I must kill them, at least in my head, at least for a while! A lot of these songs were recorded at different times, in different states of mind, so the voices and atmospheres vary…no, I don’t find it scary at all! It may be nostalgic, but there’s humour as well. It may be intense at times, but I hope the elements of dark comedy come across…”

After spells studying film and photography, Charlotte concedes suggestions of cinematic influences are inevitable. Though they may not be the obvious nouvelle vague ones you’d predict. “When mixing “Harmony”, I was thinking about the structure and editing of Citizen Kane. I’m a fan of Polanski (The Tenant, Repulsion), Cocteau (Orpheus), and the way Harmony Korine creates a mood.” Andy Warhol’s grainy footage of Edie Sedgwick and the Factory superstars also made an impression.

“Ain’t Got No…I Got Life” was a radical interpretation of the Nina Simone classic. “She’s one of my favourite women singers. I asked Martin Duffy to play the piano, and it was mindblowing, but then I realised she was one of the hardest people to cover, and perhaps this was a stupid idea! It took me two years to sing it - eventually I just thought, well, I just have to try to make it mine…I don’t see myself as a traditional chanteuse.” The “I Killed My Best Friend” video proved this - “the quickest, cheapest video ever made” - with its delicious, tongue-in-chic noir style involving a girl, a gun and a cigarette. Bonnie And Clyde met Pierrot Le Fou, only more quickly, and more mischievously.

Le Volume Courbe - hard to describe indeed – don’t play rock’n’roll, and don’t play world music. It’s out-of-this-world music. It’s in-your-own-world music, what-in-the-world music. It’s a diary of dreams. In reality, Patti Smith once handed Charlotte her socks, which is something that doesn’t happen every day. “I admire the likes of Patti, Nico, Yoko Ono for sticking to what they do, for their attitude as artists. I hope I’ll always be doing something creative, something aesthetic.”

Since the album, Le Volume Courbe have supported My Bloody Valentine at the legendary Roundhouse shows of 2008 and popped up subversively in some unlikely places. The “Freight Train” single emerged in 2007, and graced the soundtrack of high-profile Channel 4 TV drama Skins. Other tracks to feature in films include “I Killed My Best Friend” in the Lindy Heymann film “Kicks”, and “I Love The Living You”, which scored the final scenes of the Nick Moran film “The Kid”. LVC also contributed a track to the Roky Erickson tribute album “The Psychedelic Sounds of the Sonic Cathedral”.

The “Theodaurus Rex” EP was recorded by Charlotte with her friends and band; Melanie Draisey, Theodore Hall, Chris Mackin, Wildcat, Lascelle Gordon and Barney Slater. Its striking artwork features Belgian surrealist Paul Nouge’s “Le Bras Revelateur”. Unique, radical and rich with personality, Le Volume Courbe’s playful, powerful songs of innocence and intrigue are, once heard, not easily forgotten.

Chris Roberts