April 14, 2013 / 2:36 AM / 6 years ago

French indie band Phoenix set to headline Coachella festival

INDIO, Calif., April 13 (Reuters) - Grammy Award-winning French indie rock band Phoenix returns to the stage at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival as headliners on Saturday, ahead of the release later this month of its fifth studio album.

Phoenix, composed of lead singer Thomas Mars, Deck d’Arcy, Laurent Brancowitz and Christian Mazzalai and from the Paris area, has performed twice but never headlined at Coachella, an annual three-day event over two consecutive weekends in Indio, California.

“Our vision of Coachella is that you can never be medium. It’s either fantastic or a big catastrophe, we don’t like medium things. For us, it’s always been an extreme experience. The first time we played was our worst show ever, and the second time was one of our best shows ever, it’s either a huge failure or success,” said Mazzalai, who plays guitar.

After the success of the 2009 album “Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix,” which spawned hits such as “1901” and won a Grammy for best alternative music album, Phoenix returned to the studio to record “Bankrupt!” due to be released on April 22.

“We have the album of our dreams and there was no compromising at all. In three years, we grew up and we have a different vision, but we’re still the same with having total freedom,” Mazzalai said.

“Bankrupt!” was inspired by the idea of “starting from scratch with a clean slate,” he said, adding that it led the band to explore new ideas and themes. Mazzalai said the band would have a surprise for festival-goers on Saturday.

There is speculation that French electronic music duo Daft Punk may join the band on stage after a teaser music video from the duo was shown on Friday.

Saturday’s line-up at Coachella was kicked off by Baauer, the 23-year-old DJ behind the viral YouTube hit “Harlem Shake.” The song has led to a trend in which people make videos of themselves standing still during the first part of the song before breaking into wild, energetic dancing.

Rapper 2 Chainz, one of the few R&B and hip hop acts featured among the rock-heavy line-up at Coachella this year, performed at the festival as well as British electro-folk musician Bat for Lashes.

British folk artist Ben Howard played a soft set of songs from his “Every Kingdom” album, while the Dropkick Murphys got the audience dancing with their crowd-rousing Irish rock tracks including “Rose Tattoo.” (Additional reporting by Mario Anzuoni; Editing by Paul Simao)

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