Posted May 6, 2015 by Jeff in Tunes

Feufollet: In a Cajun swamp-pop state of mind


The Louisiana act Feufollet has retooled its sound into something it calls “Cajun swamp-pop” for its new album. On Two Universes, the group explores a melting pot sound that meshes Cajun, classic country, indie rock, swamp pop and Americana. Some tunes even sound like ‘60s pop. Chris Stafford spoke to us via phone from an Atlanta tour stop.

Tell me how the band first came together.
We were very young when we started the band. Me and my brother, who is the drummer, put it together. In Lafayette, where we’re from, there’s a cultural community of people who speak French and play music and everything. We met other kids around our age who were doing the same stuff. I started playing when I was eight years old. I’m 27 now so that’s most of my life. We’ve had a lot of lineup changes over the years. My mom is in the music business, more on the promoter side. She’s the programming coordinator of this big festival that we have in Lafayette. Our whole lives she’s been active in helping to book the band and promote us and act as manager. The whole family was really supportive.

Elvis Costello praised your last album, 2010’s En Couleurs. How did he get ahold of it?
We met him in New Orleans. He was in town for JazzFest and some friends of ours had a tribute to Bobby Charles, who’s a famous songwriter from Louisiana. Elvis Costello was part of the show. We were there and got to meet him. Somebody introduced me to him and told him to check us out. He bought our album on iTunes and liked it. I thought it was pretty wild, but pretty cool.

In 2012, your singer left the band to join the circus. What’s it been like moving forward without Anna?
Anna was a big part of our band. She was one of the lead vocalists, along with me. She was a big part of the sound. In terms of songwriting, she was another act of the songwriting. It took some time to retool. We’ve tried a few different things but we’ve known Kelli for a long time. Our bassist and I have done other projects so we knew it would be a good fit. She’s a good writer and a good singer. We knew we had a musical connection. It’s been really easygoing.

It took us a minute to figure out what to do but it’s been a great experience.  

Talk about your approach on the album.
We like all different types of stuff. We grew up playing very traditional Cajun music but as the years go on we have more influences and our writing takes shape in different ways. Also, Kelli is a big country music fan. Her material has that kind of flavor. She grew up playing old-time fiddle music. It’s part of her upbringing and experience and it feeds into the sound overall.

“Know What’s Next” almost comes off as psychedelic rock. What were you going for sonically?
I don’t know. I wrote that song close to ten years ago. At the time, I don’t think it would have been a song that would have gone on one of our records. I’ve written songs for years and years. I’ve had other groups. That would have been stuff in French with a more traditional flavor. With this record, we wanted to go a more all original music route. In the past, we relied more heavily on more traditional tunes that are part of the repertoire or more obscure songs that we would retool to make them different and fit our band. We picked up songs that I had laying around. “Know What’s Next” and the title track are both older sounds. One was written as a rock song with no intention of being played by a Cajun band. The same thing with “Two Universes.” I wrote it as a country song or a singer-songwriter song. Kelli had some stuff that was written a long time before this album was put together. The aim was to assemble all the stuff we had and figure out ways we could make it all fit together.

Talk about the concept for the title track.
I think it’s a love song. It’s one of those things that’s maybe a reminder to not be complacent and not let yourself get bored in the relationship. It’s important to keep surprising each other and keep some kind of spark going. That’s the theme of it. I wanted it to make it sound like a ‘60s pop song. It’s weird, the melody just came to me. It has a happy little feel.

Is music from Lafayette much different from that of New Orleans?
Both have French culture but it’s quite different. New Orleans grew in a more urban colonial way. Lafayette grew out of this agrarian and sharecropping culture. The music is way different. New Orleans is where jazz came from and arguably some of blues and rock ‘n’ roll. Our music is mostly old traditional fiddle music. As it grew and changed over the years into what people call Cajun music, it got influenced by things people were hearing on the radio. It’s similar to country music. It’s like country music in French. There are so many varying styles within Cajun music. People recognize New Orleans all over the world but now they know more about Cajun culture. It’s becoming on the map in a global way.

Where do you go from here?
I don’t know that we have any idea. We’re releasing the record on this tour. We’ll tour on it for a little while. We have some songs. I have a few songs and Kelli has a few songs. I don’t know. Who knows what will come out of us next? I don’t think we have any expectations or specific ideas. A lot of it will come out once we get together to think about it. That will dictate the kind of sound and feel that we’ll go for with the next one.






Jeff started writing about rock ’n’ roll some 20 years ago when he stood in the pouring rain to hitch hike his way to see R.E.M. on their Life’s Rich Pageant tour. Since that time, he's written for various daily newspapers, alt-weeklies, magazines and websites. Feel free to comment on his posts or suggest music, film and art to him at [email protected].