Parisian Le Prince Miiaou is Maud-Elisa Mandeau – singer/songwriter, arranger, producer – and she jokes – "multi (bad) instrumentalist". On stage, Le Prince Miiaou’s music is played by Norbert Labrousse (drums), François-Pierre Fol (cello/keyboards/bass), Pierre-Louis François (guitar/bass) and Maud-Elisa Mandeau (sings, guitar, bass). Maud-Elisa has made four albums, including debut Necessite Microscopique, last one Fill The Blank With Your Own Emptiness and her new one, Where Is The Queen?, recorded in a castle in the Charente region where she was brought up in small town Reaux. Currently they are on a massive tour including festival dates such as Liverpool’s Sound City earlier this month. Six video extracts from new album songs are included here. Below Maud-Elisa talks about her music ...
1 I’m just wondering how Maud-Elisa Mandeau became Le Prince Miiaou. Is Le Prince a character from French legend, a special cat or just a great name for a band?
Maud-Elisa: Le Prince Miaou (with one "i") is the name of an Indonesian fairy tale. I added an "I" to make it mine. I picked it because I liked the fact it was masculine when I’m a girl, I didn’t want my stage name to be too obvious. And it worked! Lots of people don’t know what to expect when they hear the name.
2 Where you record your albums seems to be important. Your latest Where Is The Queen? was at a castle in Charente. Why did you choose that location?
Maud-Elisa: Because this is where I come from and where I live, so it was easier to find someone to lend me a place like this old castle’s theater. I don’t like to record in a regular recording studio, the surroundings and atmosphere affect the way we work. I like it to be special and different every time I record an album.
3 Early in your music career you were singer and guitarist in a post-rock band. What would you say your style or genre of music is now?
Maud-Elisa: I’m not really good at describing my music! The tags we put on bands, on music nowadays are too reductive and never really match. I could say that my music is rock or pop rock but it won’t give a clear and right idea of what I do. (Of course this applies to a lot of music not just mine!)
4 Did you ever have doubts that music was the career for you?
Maud-Elisa: Always! Every time I have to go on stage or make a radio show, every time I have to face an audience I feel like this is not what I’m meant for! Writing music is something I love, but performing and facing an audience is something unnatural for a human being, even if I manage it can be scary and stressful!
5 You have a massive tour going on with the live band – what is the best and worst thing about being a band on the road? Are you good at being a gypsy and living in transit?
Maud-Elisa: It’s pretty easy to be on the road with the people I’m on tour with. We know each other very well, so we know how to respect each other’s space. The hardest thing about being on the road is the road! The time we spend in the van – sometimes just to play a short hour. I’m not a big fan of the unknown, so my first thought is always "I don’t want to go!" but once I’m there I’m always surprised in a good way and don’t regret at all.
6 You sing mainly in English – does that free your imagination?
Maud-Elisa: Yes, well not my imagination, but I feel more free to say what I want because in France I know that people won’t get it immediately! Singing in English puts a distance between me and the words and between my words and the audience (in France). And so far it’s easier for me to express myself this way. But I think another reason – and maybe the main reason which explains why I sing in English – is because of my influences, all the music I listen to is Anglo-Saxon.
7 What would you recommend people to go and listen to of music you have online (YouTube, Vimeo etc) if they want to prepare for seeing you play live in Inverness?
Maud-Elisa: Maybe they can go on YouTube and watch some of my video clips hand-made. It can give a glimpse of both my music and my world...
I made a series of teasers for the release of the album: seven very short videos all of them structured around the title of the album which is a dialogue. The dialogue is in every video, but the story and the context is always different.
8 Have you played in Scotland before? If not, what would you like to see and hear – and maybe eat – when you come to Inverness?
Maud-Elisa: No, I've never played or been to Scotland, I really want to see the area, the Loch Ness of course! the monster would be even better! I don't really know what to expect but I look forward to discovering the landscapes and everything...
Le Prince Miiaou play Mad Hatters’ Oui Love Stage at 8.30pm on Wednesday (June 4). Find out more about the music at www.leprincemiiaou.comLike on Facebook/leprincemiiaou and Follow on Twitter: @leprincemiiaou