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Dinner at the Thompson’s - Imported Cool
Monday, April 25, 2011

Dinner at the Thompson’s is the funky, jazzy, smooth combination of American singer Lucille Tee and French producer FabLive. Their music defies conventional categorization, but I have one category it fits perfectly into – amazing. Despite it only being April I can almost guarantee that their album, Off The Grid, which is due to be released stateside on May 17th, will make my year end top ten list. The first time I spun it I knew I was listening to something special. It has a vibe that’s straight up cool, and I immediately wanted to find out more about the multinational duo with the odd band name. Unfortunately, they now both live in France, and only Lucille Tee speaks English. Fortunately, they were gracious enough to answer some questions over email and Lucille Tee was kind enough to translate FabLive’s answers for me. With our email interview I not only found out more about the dynamic duo’s music, I also learned who the Thompson’s are, and who else Lucille Tee and FabLive would love to have dinner with.

Adam Bernard: Who are the Thompson’s and why are you having dinner at their place?
Lucille Tee: The Thompsons are the family next door. We wanted a name that was a generic American name. The idea for the name was that it represents an evening's experience. A dinner is a social event where you discuss, eat, dance... you never know what can happen, good or bad. We enjoy the good things in life, spending time with people in intimate settings like dinners, but it was mostly an idea that made us laugh.

Adam Bernard: From what I’ve read you two met when Lucille Tee jumped on stage to sing with FabLive’s band. Was this a “she was invited on stage” type of deal, or was it a “who the heck is this girl... wait, she can sing” type of deal?
FabLive: It was a bit of both. It was an impromptu invitation on the night of the show. I was curious to hear what this California girl would sound like. When I heard her voice on stage I knew that a great singer was present. With her amazing voice, its sensuality, musical intelligence, and the energy she gave off, there was an originality and definitely a lot of soul.

Adam Bernard: How do you think being from such totally different places affects what you each bring to the table musically?
FabLive: Growing up in Normandie, I was nurtured by my father's musical tastes. He was an organ player and a fan of soul and jazz. England being just across the English Channel, I was also very influenced by British music. It was a longtime desire to create a project around soul music. At one time I was the producer for a rap project. I was also evidently influenced by French music, such as Serge Gainsbourg, and François de Roubaix in film, which gives to Dinner at the Thompson’s an originality, a personality. For example the track “Running,” it's a reference to these French 60's soundtracks. So, to answer the question, I think that the mix of cultures, French and Anglo-Saxon, brings something different to our sound. It allows us to bring a rich musical mix to our songs. Despite our different cultures, we have a lot of points in common in our musical taste.  

Adam Bernard: The latest mixing of those cultures has brought about your new album, Off The Grid, which was released in France and Germany, but won’t hit America until May 17th. Why the wait to release it in America?
Lucille Tee: We are independent, and we prefer to take our time to develop the album in different territories. The stateside release was important for us, and it took time to develop it as we envisioned.  

Adam Bernard: What kind of mood do you think the album sets?
Lucille Tee: It’s a sort of voyage into space and time with a blend of genres and differing musical periods grounded in hip-hop, soul and funk and mixing in other musical styles like original soundtracks. It creates a sort of deep blue mood with a lot of sunshine. Definitely good for cruising in your car, or for a dinner party.

Adam Bernard: What do you consider “off the grid” about Off The Grid?
FabLive: The concept for this album was to create a mix of our different musical influences and not to pigeon-hole it into one genre. It's also a mix of live playing and programmed beats, so it's not an album that is necessarily easy to categorize, to place on a stylistic grid. There’s also the underlying meaning of the lyrics. It's important to us as artists that we nurture our own vision. I've stretched the meaning of Off The Grid to mean having a different sound and living outside the norm. As musicians we are on a different schedule and routine than normal working folks. We travel, we create our own goals and rules, we make our own deadlines. Being Off The Grid is about creating one's own universe. It's about the desire to be in equilibrium with nature, with society, and with ourselves and our artistic desires and vision. It’s a way of life.

Adam Bernard: The album’s tracks are listed as days. What’s the meaning behind this? Are you eating dinner at the Thompson’s A LOT?
Lucille Tee: No, no. The idea came from the fact that we are often on the road and we imagined the days as a sort of travel log of our adventures Off The Grid.

Adam Bernard: Is there anything you give each other a hard time about?
Lucille Tee: Fab's English accent. {laughs} 

Adam Bernard: Finally, since we know you’re eating at the Thompson’s, who else would you like to have dinner with, and why?
Lucille Tee: A whole lot of folks. Most importantly, though, would be to invite people who'll mix well together, cause a good dinner is about sharing ideas, good food, people, and of course music.
FabLive: Lee Fields, Guilty Simpson and Insight would definitely be our special guests since they spiced up the album. We would love to invite Fela Kuti, if he were still with us, to share a good African dish and experience a percussive evening simply making beats on the table while speaking of ideals close to heart. That’s the basis of a lot of things for us.

Related Links

Facebook: facebook.com/DinnerAtTheThompsons
Last.fm: last.fm/music/Dinner+At+The+Thompson%27s
MySpace: myspace.com/dinneratthet
Twitter: twitter.com/dattglow

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