"...Ten seconds into the single I realise they’re right. They are France’s coolest rock band."
Drum Perth 07/09
"Katerine Gierak’s snarling Gallic purr having the desired effect even before you hear the translation. Tu descends, indeed." Drum Media 07/09
"Gierak is a diverse songwriter and her band’s music is hard to pigeonhole. While big, loud, chaotic punk rock is their specialty, they’re prone to throwing in danceable grooves or some dark, moody ambience just to keep things interesting." Time Off Magazine, 07/09
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Rages and break-ups, failures and crashing deceptions, identity and existentialism, all to the sound of throaty, rocking and sensual vocals. Australia please meet Mademoiselle K. This Pretenders-era Chrissie Hynde-style rocker with her black hair, sultry looks, leather jacket, jeans and cowboy boots, is a natural front-person and Mademoiselle K’s live shows are famous for both her and the band’s electrifying energy.
You’d imagine her with cigarette in mouth and beer in hand—nope! Katerine doesn’t smoke, drinks herbal tea and has a weakness for chocolate: “It’s not really very rock'n'roll” — she couldn’t care less. Aged just four she caught a glimpse of a guitarist in the Bois de Boulogne in Paris and that was it: music was to be her path. At five her mother signed her up for early-learning music classes. She wanted to play the piano, as did most of the other kids, but “pianos cost too much and we didn’t have enough room, so I started on the recorder instead!” Three years later came her first guitar and her first stage appearance, thanks to some cardboard boxes knocked together during a visit to her grandparents in Poland: “My cousins and I used crepe paper as scenery, the house was thatched and our show starred Goldorak the robot.”
She won a prize for classical guitar, spent time learning from her inspirations (Nina Simone, BB King, Janis Joplin, Mahler, Ravel, Radiohead), started hanging out in the music shops in the Pigalle area in Paris, and discovered the electric guitar thanks to “a friend who won one in a competition on radio”. The rest is history.
Initiated by the solo project for Katerine Gierak, songwriter and composer of 2006 gold- selling album ‘Ca Me Vexe’, Mademoiselle K hit the scene as a band for the first time with a lengthy and successful tour in support of this debut release, and together went onto write their second album ‘Jamais La Paix’ as a four piece: Pierre-Antoine Combard (“Peter”, guitarist), Pierre-Louis Basset (“Pilou”, bassist), Katerine Gierak (singer, guitarist) and David Boutherre (drummer).
The album was produced by the Scotsman, Ken Allardyce (Green Day, Weezer) in collaboration with Laurent Binder in February 2008. ‘Jamais La Paix’ is an explosive album, constructed out of almost surreal sketches and images with a musical tension that is sustained, maintained and appeased in the purest spirit of rock. ‘ASD’ (translates as ‘blind yet sober’), ‘Maman XY’ (Mum XY) a screamingly beautiful song about existential questions of identity, ‘Enjoliveur’ (Hubcap), a sensual and suggestive song about being free and following ones desires, and ‘Jamais La Paix’ (Never In Peace) the title track of their second album, which reflects the urgency, intensity and momentum they had created together as a band. All this is defused in the self-derision that characterises the group, for example in the first single ‘Grave’ (Serious).
Despite the success of the first album, the second album was a whole new battle and also created a new place for each of the group’s members. Moving away from the anecdotes of the first album, other doors were opening. Unleashing the elements (‘Le Vent la Fureur’ - The Wind The Fury) sets the tone at the beginning of the album: it is a brash invitation to join in a journey that ends with floating in ‘Espace’ (Space) with the boys. There is even a tea break with ‘Tea Time’ and its punk overtones, which reflects the road already travelled.
Although Katerine claims that she really did let everyone play a real role in the composition of the album and in the group’s identity, at the same time she had to confront her doubts regarding her place as the leader, as author, almost dispossessed of her role as composer. During this period of confusion she locked herself away for ten days – out of this time came ‘Alors je dessine’ (so I draw), a soundscape on the inability to write which was composed “in the old fashioned way”, alone. She remains the leader of a group which is predominantly masculine but as she says in Enjoliveur, ‘Je Nique le vent et pisse debout’, “I screw the wind and I piss standing up”. Meet Mademoiselle K.