After three albums, all of which have sold hundreds of thousands of copies, Toulouse rappers Bigflo & Oli are releasing a new opus this Friday entitled The others are us. After a break of a year and a half, the two brothers are back with 21 titles, oscillating between rap and more open pieces on French variety, embellished by “feats” including one by Francis Cabrel.
Tonight, they are at the Accor Arena in Paris to reveal them to their audience. Olivio, aka Oli, returned for 20 minutes on this new project, and those that will follow.
You come back with a new album after a year and a half break. Didn’t you miss the euphoria of the stage?
It was a bit of a special period for us, but we had done so much, we needed that time, to stay in a place for more than ten days. We wanted to find ourselves as authors, to spend time just writing, thinking about the stories we wanted to tell. We went on break when everything stopped with the Covid, so we didn’t feel left out. And then at the end, after a little over a year, the time was getting long, we were cut off from the public, we no longer published anything on the networks.
After this complete blackout on social networks, isn’t it hard to have to reconnect?
We have changed our vision and our relationship to all that a bit. We are less on it, today we are no longer afraid of emptiness on the networks if we do not publish anything. We didn’t post anything for almost two years, we came back and we had millions of views. It’s reassuring to see that there is an audience that is loyal and follows us. We say to ourselves that we prefer to concentrate on the artistic, on the writing of the songs rather than making stories which are not used for much. We want to speak up when we have things to say.
Stuff to say, as in “Sacré Bordel”, the first title that speaks of French identity, released just before the first round of the presidential election? Is it important to get involved in politics?
I think we had that desire. We felt more legitimate than at a certain time, because of our ages. We wanted to address social issues that were a little deeper, a little more committed. It is committed to admit that sometimes we are lost, that sometimes we ask ourselves questions. We wanted to put words that we heard a lot from our generation, to come back with substance, we took advantage of the elections to get out Holy Brothel because we said to ourselves that it was the only time when young people in France asked themselves these questions. It was the perfect way to come back differently too.
Does it set the tone for the album coming out this Friday?
There is a feeling of freedom above this project. We took the time to look at the world from all angles. The break brought us into introspection, we dissected a lot our identity, our career. I think about The letter to our grandparents that address the differences between generations. We let go thanks to our experience, also reassured to have made three albums which were a hit. We could make a little song like Lili or seven minutes of rap in intro like The life after. We can talk to different audiences by inviting lots of artists who don’t necessarily have to do with each other. We became Florian and Olivio again, as at the time, both in the studio in Toulouse. This gave this project rich with many different things.
There are again several feats with Julien Doré or Vald. And Francis Cabrel. Was it hard to convince him?
Finally it was almost the easiest, it was natural and it proves the class of the legend that he is. Two years ago, just before the Covid, he invited us to a concert, in the small hall in the village of Astaffort. We shared with him, we sang Shame. And then we got news. He’s a super open person, despite the age difference, super curious. He listens, and without being a young jerk, it’s quite rare among guys of his generation who have often seen a bit of everything. He understands that there are different points of view, that things have evolved. He offered us this magnificent chorus [pour Trèfle] around the 3-leaf clover for people who are less fortunate, a piece with some hope. It was a truly unique moment for us.
As the albums go by, this less rap opening is more and more significant. Is it wanted?
I feel like time has given us a bit of a reason. Things that may have been a little frowned upon at the beginning in rap, in “what are they doing? “, it is misunderstanding that we could have had at a given moment. Now rap has really opened up and we seem less like UFOs because things have relaxed. We’ve seen guys like Gims come out of the rap circle, I’m thinking of his song with Vianney. It’s less and less closed, there are fewer and fewer barriers between musical genres. For us, it’s always been a desire to open up, to take on a lot of influences, to be able to allow ourselves songs that are fairly simple to cover.
At less than 30 years old, you have four albums to your credit, filled stadiums, participated in a TV show, launched your clothing brand, been the subject of a Netflix docu. What dreams do you have left to achieve?
There are plenty left, but the ultimate dream for us is that it lasts. We have achieved a lot of things and now we dream of being able to continue to fill large halls, to have this audience. It’s off to a good start, but you never know what the future will hold. We launched a festival, it’s a kid’s dream to be able to bring together a lot of people around music. We want to write a film, we’ve been working on it for a few years, but it takes time. Why not one day also make music in Spanish. Fortunately, dreams, we find each time we realize one. And we don’t forbid anything.
You told us that you were still in real life in your previous albums. What has changed the most despite everything with the success?
What has changed the most is accepting that we have evolved on many things. We also agreed to be both different on many points, sometimes we don’t even agree on certain visions of life. We are lucky to be well surrounded, we always struggle to keep our feet on the ground. I tend to believe that not much has changed, except to accept some small changes in visions, points of view. We come back in the album on certain things, we say that we have evolved.