FIJI is a Swiss electronic music duo from Bern with a sound made for the world – with Simon Schüttel at the synthesizer and a multilingual vamp at the front: Simone De Lorenzi stands in the footlights half way between Iggy Pop and Amanda Lear.
FIJI is a universe dedicated to music, dancing, irony and positivism that says no to anything square without being pretentious. An attitude which transforms their live into a compelling and energetic show that enabled FIJI to play even in such renowned premises as the Miles Davis Hall at the Montreux Jazz Festival. On that occasion Fiji shook the front
of the building, together with Santigold and Madness. And proper madness they rouse on every stage from which they fire their sound bombshells. At the Gurtenfestival in Bern, the Kaufleuten, the X-TRA, the Mascotte or the M4Music Festival in Zürich, the Münchner Muffathalle, the Swiss Beach in Vienna and the 4cento in Milan or as support band of Goldfrapp, Ebony Bones, Kosheen, Micky Green or the Belgian indielectro clasher Vive La Fête, which invited Fiji to join their Swiss Tour on the spot.
About their last album SPELL ON ME:
Fiji front lady Simone De Lorenzi once claimed in an interview that the band name doesn’t convey a particular meaning. Nevertheless, Fiji have established themselves as the most intriguing Electropop outfit to emerge from Switzerland in recent years. The ubercool branding and stage set-up might be impressive. But don’t be fooled. De Lorenzi – who besides her arresting voice is also notable for her bizarre stage antics – insists tat their music is what makes FIJI force to be reckoned with in the years to come.
It’s been three years since Fiji released their critically acclaimed album Fun factory. Their EP No fucking cinema, released in December 2011, proved to be a teaser worth paying attention to: this first glimpse of hope late last year has now materialized and is finally available in form of a 11-track collection entitled Spell on me. With this brand new album, musical masterminds Simon Schüttel and Simone De Lorenzi clearly aim to take a step beyond the Swiss boundaries. They successfully converted Fiji’s past trio format into a flourishing writing partnership in the studio, and have been joined in their live shows by the “growling bass” (Londonjazz) of UK- Austrian hybrid Philipp Moll.
The music evokes the imagery and glamour of the 80ies and seamlessly continues where Generation X would have left off, rather than seeking to portray a mere retrospective of the decade: the concept is minimal, intelligent and soft with shades of sustained reverie and undeniable sexiness at its core. De Lorenzi’s seductive voice sends regular shivers down the listener’s spine. The stripped back yet buzzing arrangements avoid the use of any Pop clichés: the song Perfect Summer Night draws upon the sex appeal of an early Grace Jones and the jittery arpeggiations in Clouds Don’t Care wash over you like a warm morning shower. The powerful track Spell On Me stands out as a potentially timeless Electropop hymn, firmly restoring Fiji’s former stature as Swiss Electropop’s main protagonists.
During further listening, the album’s subdued beats and overall dreaminess bring to mind artists such as Goldfrapp and Les Rita Mitsouko. This is music for the night, to be enjoyed most when dancing in a sleepy city, reminiscent of the movie La Bohème. All in all, Spell On Me is a warmly persuasive and glorious affair rather than an aggressive one and we can’t but hope that during their upcoming live shows Fiji will raise to meet the high expectations generated by this latest release. This is not to be missed!
Text: Lukas Vogelsang
Translation: Philipp Moll