Glamorous electro-rock duo Vive la Fête hail from Belgium and are, perhaps, one of the most distinctive European bands to successfully fuse synth pop and electro with a sexy, decadent aesthetic and punky energy. Originally formed as a side project by Danny Mommens, ex-bassist for Belgian indie rock legends dEUS, to play some music together with his girlfriend, Vive la Fete (which literally translates as "Long Live the Party") quickly established themselves as a potent musical force and became a full-time job for everyone involved with the project. Vive la Fete was formed in 1997 in Belgium when Mommens met Els Pynoo, ex-model and wannabe singer. The two quickly discovered their mutual love for all things kitsch, '80s electro-pop, and Serge Gainsbourg and became romantically involved. The very first recordings of Vive la Fête were made by the pair in 1998 in Mommens' home studio -- these eight-track demos were later released by Kinky Star as the Je Ne Veux Pas EP (aka Paris). The first full-length proper, Attaque Surprise, was issued in 2001 by Belgian label Surprise Records. Pynoo handled vocals, Mommens switched from bass to guitar, and the band's lineup was rounded up by Dirk Cant on bass and Roel van Espen on keyboards, while Dirk Jans or Matthias Staendert took turns handling drums. With a sexy, vibrant sound influenced by trashy '80s electro-pop as well as guitar rock and the intention to make "music for everyone -- homosexuals, lesbians and everyone else -- to have fun to," Vive la Fete were ready to take on the world. And the world surrendered, although not quite the big wide one that villains from spy movies seek to dominate, but merely the world of high fashion. Perhaps thanks to Els Pynoo's previous modeling experience and her contacts within the industry, or for some other, less obvious reasons, Vive la Fete's music soon became a highly sought-after soundtrack for various fashion shows.
By the time the band got around to releasing its second record, Republique Populaire in 2002, famous French couturier Karl Lagerfeld had proclaimed himself a huge fan of the group. He frequently used their music during his shows, and soon offered the band an opportunity to perform live at some of his high profile shows in New York and Tokyo. That same year, Mommens took part in what was to become dEUS' farewell tour in support of their singles compilation, fittingly titled No More Loud Music. Upon finishing the tour the band called it quits, much to the dismay of their fans. Mommens was now free to concentrate on Vive la Fete full time. In 2003, the band issued their third and perhaps strongest record, Nuit Blanche. In support of Nuit Blanche, the band toured relentlessly -- since their lyrics were almost exclusively in French, their appeal was understandably somewhat limited to continental Europe; however, they also performed successful shows in Russia, Mexico and Brazil. In 2004, dEUS mastermind Tom Barman decided to resurrect the band for at least one more record, and Mommens promptly went back into that fold. The sessions proved tumultuous, and Mommens left the band for good before the record (issued a year later under the title Pocket Revolution) was completed. Vive la Fete continued their run of successful albums with Grand Prix, issued in 2005; Vive les Remixes, a collection of remixed tracks and covers (including, among others, a live take on Deep Purple's "Child in Time"), followed a year later. In 2007, Vive la Fete returned with Jour de Chance, which the musicians themselves considered their "rockiest" effort to date. ~ Sergey Mesenov