French sensation Joséphine de La Baume wears many hats. She's an actress, appearing in films like Rush (2012) and Waiting for Anya (2020), as well as a model, film director, and singer. Previously, she was in the French indie band, Singtank, alongside her brother and Alberto Cabrera, and in 2018, she started the rock group Film Noir. Film Noir released their first EP, Vertiges, in 2019, and their second EP is slated to drop on June 26th.
De La Baume has been confining with none other than Rita Ora, so who better to conduct her interview than Ms. Ora herself? Read below for more on what the duo has been up to during quarantine, de La Baume's new music, film and television projects.
Rita: I want to first ask you about quarantine and what you’ve been doing, how your brain has been handling everything, and what your process is.
Joséphine: I’ve been cooking a lot, I’ve been exercising like a monster, there are a few of us quarantining together, so we all push each other. You’ve kind of turn into “Shelly from Equinox.”
R: I have! I’ve turned into an instructor, a very serious, strict instructor. We’ve been together for over a month now and we’re lucky to be with each other because some people are alone.
J: We’ve been very lucky, and it’s been a strong bonding experience. And we somehow have turned into a commune. Everyone cooks for each other, help each other out when one has to make something, let’s say a music video, the whole house turns into a film crew. For this, you took my picture and now you’re chatting to me even though we’ve been endlessly chatting every day!
R: We always have something to talk about.
J: It’s quite impressive I must say. So much to say! But I think it’s the same for everyone, there are days when you’re able to be very productive and days where my attention span reduces to 30 seconds. A lot of the time you have to sit with your thoughts and process everything that’s going on. However regimented one might try and be, it’s difficult to ever completely detach yourself from what’s going, the pain that a huge amount of people are going through, the panic in hospitals, the sense of uncertainty. I tried to have a specific schedule at first and then realised that every day is completely different, and you have to ride the emotional waves, one day at a time. Something might affect you on the news one day and drag you down, the next day you might feel inspired to write.
R: You really inspire us in the house to do things and you always bring such a good energy and laugh and a positive outlook. You’re a very good housemate, and very creative. Talking about creative. What was it like shooting with me? I don’t think I’m a professional photographer but you’re very easy to shoot, we had fun. It was a nice way to work, wasn’t it?
J: It was really nice! It’s nice to work with people you know. People have their own skills and we can’t replace those, but we’ve managed to make it work. And because we know each other so well, it’s also a different eye where I felt comfortable and allowed myself to be more vulnerable. The visuals reflect maybe more of the truth in some way. You and I also shot a music video and it was nice to see that we could do it with nothing.
R: I agree. I would love it if you could teach me some French at some point.
J: Can you first get the Duo Lingo app to start and then we‘ll work on it in a deeper way. Maybe I’ll find you a French lover instead.
R: Let’s talk about your song because I love it and I think you should explain to everyone what it’s about.
J: The song I’m singing on the visual is called “Hustling His Way” and it’s a very erotic song about a man who’s trying to forget about a woman he loves and in order to achieve that, he’s hustling and couch surfing, losing himself in the arms of all these women/nymphs, going from one to the other to get by. But he ends up lonelier, in a way. After a breakup, people try and fuck the pain away, but in this song, it’s told in a kind of mythological way, where the women are turned into nymphs falling at his feet while he covers them with sexual attention and then off he goes in the morning to meet another one.
R: Well we know a few of those people.
J: Yes, it was written about one.
R: So is this part of a bigger project, an EP?
J: Yes, it’s part of Film Noir second EP, Tendrement. The first EP was called Vertiges (Men of Glory) which was about a heartbreak and the second one which means tenderly, like what you write at the end of a letter which is almost a sequel, where you’ve processed the pain and have more perspective and tenderness. It’s also about different people. Some of the angrier songs were written a while ago.
R: It’s amazing when you can talk about your own experiences and can put them into a longer sort of story for people that might not know you personally. They are going to get to know you with this EP, and that song is so special and vulnerable, really sexy and pure and that’s what people need now more than ever. Right now there is no filter and it costs nothing, and like what you said earlier, I realize with what I do that you don’t really need a lot of things anymore, it just needs to be real. What you have done is really real.
J: It’s a very personal project and when you write, you write about yourself, but you base it on something that’s happened to you and then you take it to a wider idea of it. This second EP also talks about a lot of other events that have happened since the first. The second EP is a bit more tender.
R: Do you ever regret anything that you put out and you think ‘Oh this was too much, or too emotional, people might not understand’, or do you ever regret anything?
J: I regret a lot of things. I regret a lot of my actions but, and it’s a bit in this EP too, sadly you only learn and grow from mistakes and pain. I don’t think I’ve grown that much from joy.
R: But you wouldn’t change anything, really, would you?
J: I definitely would change some things, but as far as what I’ve released so far, they were relevant at the time. I’m never ashamed of releasing something that’s honest, whether it’s in music or in movies, the most important thing in my case is to try and give that. You can hide behind a character or a performance or a story but ultimately it’ll be more moving and powerful if you pour your heart out, or it won’t get through to people in the same way.
And sure, some things could be different as you listen again after some time but the message stays the same.
R: You are one of the most honest people I’ve ever met.
J: Thank you, but also emotional and dramatic.
R: Dramatic and funny and sexy and glorious.
J: Ah I’m gonna ask you to do all my interviews from now on. Sometimes I wish I could feel a little less, if you know what I mean. I feel a lot!
Photo Credit: @musicbymarina
R: But that’s why you make great music. But back on a positive note, what have you cooked that you’ve liked?
J: I’m about to make a south of France dinner. White lemon thyme fish with a vegetable gratin and for starters little vegetable pastries.
R: Have you ever made it before?
J: Never, it’s my mother’s recipe actually.
R: I’m excited. Thanks mom. Anyway, on top of being a musician, you’re an actress. Is there any project that you have coming up?
J: I have an English movie that came out right before quarantine which is on all platforms now called Waiting for Anya with Angelica Huston and Jean Reno and Noah Schnapp (from Stranger Things) about a small village in France hiding Jewish kids during the second world war, it sounds depressing but it’s actually a family movie and told in a hopeful way. And then I filmed a movie, a biopic about Madame Claude with Sylvie Verheyde, a great French director, about the biggest female pimp in the 60s, 70s and 80’s which will come out soon, hopefully it goes to festivals if such events start happening again. I am also writing a movie at the moment with her, about a woman I met on a bridge in Paris a while ago with an extraordinary life. I am writing a TV show too, a comedy.
R: Is there anything you think you’ve learnt from this quarantine?
J: I’ve realised I’m not exactly the person I thought I was. A lot of suppressed things came up, a lot of what seemed to be productive in my everyday life, whether it’s work, love, friends, travels, were also distractions from dealing with certain patterns or issues, and I’m having to do it now. I think a lot of people are having to do that, you now have to sit with your thoughts and heal, deal and grow. I’ve been doing an analysis which I really enjoy as opposed to therapy.
R: Yes, because naturally, we distract ourselves when we don’t want to deal with problems or conflict. Do you feel like it’s helped you a lot?
J: A lot. Taking time for yourself to be real with yourself if you have that time not just complain but be honest on how shit you might be at certain things and why that is and not victimize yourself though, you now get where it started. It doesn’t have to be with therapy. Anyway, I’m being boring…but yes, I guess I did realize a few things and though things are very heightened at the moment, it’s a luxury to even have the time to think of all that while some people are going through chaos. It’s time to deal fully, there’s no escape!
R: That’s the positive side of this whole thing, people will come out and appreciate things more, they won’t let things stress them like they used to. Hopefully, people can look at things differently.
J: And be more grateful and make choices for the right reasons.
R: Or we can just keep dressing up and take pictures and send them to L’Officiel.
J: Yes, thanks L’Officiel for giving us something to do. It was fun. Stay safe everyone.