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7 questions with Joul Jacquin

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Joul Jacquin, lead singer of Dr. Eggs: 'It's like a football match when we go on stage.' Photo Supplied

Jazz-electro musician Joul Jacquin, lead singer of Dr. Eggs, is a globetrotting phenomenon. Born in Paris, he was raised in Thailand, is now based in Hong Kong, sings in both English and French, and has a huge fan base in Nepal. For 10 years – the first three spent with his former band members – Dr. Eggs has toured the world, sometimes playing 150 shows per year. This weekend he brings his brand of wild performance to Phnom Penh to play two gigs. He told Julis Thiemann his regrets over going solo, and where the energy comes from.

First thing's first. Why the name?
The first show we did, we went on stage and had a fight with some eggs. We were dressed up like the Doc from Back To The Future  [scientist Dr. Emmett “Doc” Brown], and [the audience] asked, “What is the name of your band?” and I just said “Dr. Eggs”. The gig was really terrible. Everybody in our high school remembered it because it was so terrible. But then we became quite famous and I thought we should keep the name.

You have a music school in Hong Kong and play four instruments, but when you started 10 years ago, you were clueless. Did you  pick it up along the way?
Yeah, exactly - I was learning something every time we had a practice. My best friend was the first drummer, and I had to teach him how to play drums and I was not even a drummer myself - it was kind of miserable but fun at the same time. We were a bunch of friends and we were going to do something together.

Why did they leave the band?
Everybody was worried about their living. I never was. I was lucky to always find money when I needed some. After three or four years of touring and playing, it was pretty intense. Sometimes touring for three weeks without going back home - girlfriends don’t like this kind of life and guys need a woman . . . We split up over the lifestyle.

Did you ever play with your old friends again?
We hadn’t seen each other for eight years, but we did a tour together through France last December. It was pretty funny because we didn’t see each other, had two practices, then hit the road. It worked pretty well because after you spend so much time with people, bam-bam-bam everything comes back: the music, the same jokes - just like we never left each other. It was really intense and sad, we have The Establishment - like family ties. I think if we had been freer [from convention], we would have never split.

Why are you in Cambodia to promote your album?
I like to choose a place where I haven’t been before and where I would like to go for vacation. Making music is a bit of an excuse, you know! Actually, I wanted to discover the music scene in a less developed country like Cambodia.

How many days a year are you on the road now?
Not as much as before because I am trying to produce more things now. Now it’s more about having a good trip. Last year, we went to the US for two and a half weeks, and it was pretty wild. But we are also getting a bit older and can’t go on the road all the time. We are just focusing on very good gigs or very good trips. I wish we could do it more often. For me, it’s OK, but the musicians are getting tired after more than two weeks of not eating properly or drinking a little bit too much. I enjoy this kind of life, moving around. Meeting new people and being good friends for a night.

And finally, you dance like crazy – where does that energy come from?
I don’t know, I just feel like this. I grew up watching the Jackson Five, Prince and James Brown. I need to move! It’s like a football match when we go on stage. The music really excites me.

Dr. Eggs will perform on Friday at Equinox and on Saturday at Sharkys at 9pm.

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