A Guide to Paris with Broken Back in Paris, France

When Jérôme broke his back a few years ago, regular life took a pause and he chose to keep occupied with music. So he created a band and named it…Broken Back. While Jérôme had other plans for his future (he co-founded two start-ups by the age of 23) he chose to move forward with his music career. Talk about making the best of a bad situation. It’s indie-pop gems like “Happiest Man on Earth” and “Halcyon Birds” that make Broken Back a band you need to keep an eye on in the coming years.

This interview was conducted just a few days before the Paris attacks on November 13, 2015. Here is a short note from Broken Back and his team: “[We] are really moved by the events which affected a lot of people in the music & live scene in France. However, [Broken Back] didn’t want to change the answers he gave, as Paris is and will always be the way it was described: about culture, freedom and discovery.”

What is the best thing about Paris? Culture. It’s like every street corner you pass there is something new to experience. There’s so much stuff that I think I’ve barely enjoyed five percent of what the city really offers.

What is the worst? Our Parisian mood in general. That is definitely not a myth. We are all in a hurry over here, don’t ask me why, I’m still trying to figure it out!

What is a perfect day in Paris? One of the many possible perfect days would be : 1) A cup a coffee 2) Song writing 3) A cup of coffee 4) Song writing again 5) Brunch on the Seine quaysides with friends. This is one of the places where you can find a little bit of quietness in the center of the city. 6) A cup of coffee 7) Going to my drummer Sam’s place to play music and rehearse the show 8) Dinner at home with friends 9) Going out to see Hozier playing live in my favorite venue “La Maroquinerie.”

What’s it like being a musician/band in Paris? As I wasn’t born a Parisian, I’m discovering the city through my musician life, and that might the best journey. As I have to meet a lot of people I’m working with, I’m traveling to every part of the city, going to Spotify offices, video-making studios, to my label Columbia, to the artist entrance of concert halls, to other musicians’ apartments… I’m going everywhere for different reasons and yet still discovering new places every day.

Recording the interview for Spotify Session Paris, via @brokenbackmusic

Describe a typical week in your life these days. This is approximately something like this – Monday and Tuesday: Studio sessions as I’m working on the album. Rehearsal on Wednesday. On the road on Thursday; show in the evening. On the road on Friday; show in the evening again. Saturday, back to Paris and going out with friends to have some drinks on the quaysides of Canal Saint-Martin. And Sunday, just playing guitar for fun and finding new melodies.

What inspires your songwriting? The city of my childhood, Saint-Malo. This is where I grew up. It’s a small piece of paradise by the sea in the west of France. No doubt this is where I feel the most inspired these days.

What’s your favorite way to interact with fans, before, during and after the show? After every show, Sam and I go see fans just to have a chat with them. This is really important to us because shows are these very special and short moments when you can finally go from digital statistics and views to real life and real people. I mean, this is something!

If you could tour with any band or artist from any time in history, who would it be? Supertramp!

Do you have any pre-show rituals? Sam and I have a kind of strange and specific move/dance, that would be too complicated to describe with words.

Which bands/artists are you listening to these days? Lately, I’ve been listening to Chet Faker and Hozier a lot. I truly believe that these guys are pure genius. If you want to know a bit more about what’s in our ears when we hit the road, I just built this playlist: https://goo.gl/WpO32o



Paris photos by Cecy Young.

This Yodel by Era Bushati



Best place to eat:

I love Clasico Argentino. As a big fan of good meat and red wine, I recommend this place if you like Argentinian empanadas.

Best place to drink:

Little Red Door. It’s a kind of speakeasy in the neighborhood of Le Marais.

Local tip?

Don’t take a public bike if you’re not used to it. Parisian drivers are crazy.

If someone was visiting what must they do?

Go to a Broken Back concert, obviously 😉