Phoenix: Lisztomania Rising

The Lovers of Math, Metaphor and Mozart On Writing Their Infectious Pop Hit

Gallic quartet Phoenix reveal the story behind their 2009 hit single “Lisztomania” in this clip taken from music video virtuosos Antoine Wagner and Francisco Soriano’s new documentary From A Mess To The Masses. Titled after a lyric from Phoenix’s global smash, the film was assembled from footage gleaned over the course of two years on the road. The duo traveled with the band, fronted by Sofia Coppola's beau Thomas Mars, to 85 gigs around the world, shooting on anything from iPhone to Super 8, 16mm to HD. “Something magical was in the air. There was no storyline, no structure, but it seemed obvious that there was something there,” says Wagner of first joining the group after they played the Bonnaroo festival in Tennessee. The filmmakers chronicled the making of the band’s Grammy-winning fourth album, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, and their meteoric rise to fame through a tapestry of interviews with key players, jam sessions on the tour bus and live shows. But they avoided interviewing the band members themselves, concerned that it would break the intimacy with the audience. “The less they face the camera, the greater the sensation of being part of the experience becomes,” Wagner explains. “We tried to make the film as loyal to their music and universe as possible.” Replete with the ebullient and cryptic pop rock for which Phoenix are lauded, the documentary is an enlightening insider’s look at France’s most popular musical export since Air and Daft Punk.
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