The Teenagers - dedicated followers of frivolity

With their raunchy, poppy debut single and geek-chic good looks, The Teenagers are every girl's dream band. charlotte cripps meets the next big stars of the MySpace generation

The Teenagers are an all-male, French indie-pop band who sing about adolescent topics in English, with thick French accents. We are having a tête-à-tête in a London café to discuss the release of their debut album, Reality Check.

Their repertoire has teenage-sounding titles such as "Starlett Johansson", "French Kiss", and "F*** Nicole". The punchy new single, "Love No", is a resumé of complaints a boyfriend puts up with from his girlfriend, including spending too much time on the computer, and even wearing a disgusting bathrobe.

The bewitchingly good-looking lead singer, Quentin Delafon, sings about love, sex and relationships over two-chord lo-fi indie, performed by guitar player Dorian Dumont and bassist Michael Szpiner.

The trio, whose real ages range from 25 to 26 years old, are unapologetic about their band name. "Technically speaking, we are not teenagers. But on some level, this is where we are stuck mentally," says Delafon. "Being in a band is a good excuse to live out the teenage dream, non? But later in life! Some of the songs are based on our own experience, while others are pure teenage fantasy. My own teenage years were much quieter."

In 2006, this underground band struck a chord with the MySpace generation and were signed to Merok, the label that launched Klaxons. Their brand of risqué pop music is not exactly angst-ridden, but is, as they put it, "totally horny".

The first of the group's releases, in May 2007, was the X-rated Homecoming EP. It was already an underground anthem by the time it hit the shop shelves – but it received no airplay due to its expletive-filled chorus about sleeping with an American cheerleader.

The video, displaying pretty teenage cheerleaders carousing in a hotel room, was directed by the fashionable Kinga Burza on a micro-budget. She had used The Teenagers' MySpace page in the background of the Kate Nash video for "Caroline's a Victim", so was keen to help them out.

In November they released the second, and rather milder, single, "Starlett Johansson", in homage to their favourite Hollywood actress.

So The Teenagers are poised for career take-off, but the big question is: will the popsters ever gain mainstream acceptance? With the somewhat unsavoury debut single behind them, it is hoped that the new album will show another side of the band.

"When we first started writing songs, we had no bigger picture of an album. We had no expectations. It was just great fun. We just sit down and squeeze our brains," says Delafon. "But we don't want to be an underground internet band forever, because it's a dead end."

The Teenagers formed in Paris on Christmas Day, 2005. "We bought some frozen pizza and vodka. We spent Christmas together. It was fun," says Delafon. "On Boxing Day we set up a MySpace page and we had written the first track, 'F*** Nicole'. The rest is history."

By 2006, The Teenagers had more than 10,000 MySpace friends and a record deal. Now the band have a whopping 70,021 friends on MySpace, listening to songs such as "Sunset Beach" about jilted lovers ("I saw her dark hair, blue eyes and an arse to die for... she said she works in fashion... she told me 'I can play air guitar'... that's when I decided to bring her back home...").

The Teenagers cite as their influences Britney Spears and Kylie Minogue, rather than The Libertines. "We listened to French pop music like Serge Gainsbourg in the Eighties, when we were really young. I quit listening to French music when I was a teenager apart from the French electronic band M83, who, like French bands Air and Phoenix, also sing in English. M83 are not famous in France at all." Other influences include The Strokes and Jacques Lu Cont, aka British electronic musician and producer Stuart Price, whose acclaimed remixes have included The Killers' "Mr Brightside" and Madonna's "Get Together" on the album Confessions on a Dancefloor.

But it seems that The Teenagers don't really have a sense of belonging in the indie crowd: "We are featured in NME, which is cool because it gives us some visibility – but I don't feel we are in the same field as The Enemy. What we are doing is very different," says Delafon. "I suppose we are very lucky. We signed a record deal before we had played a gig. I have seen my fair share of bands struggling – but we are able to live from our artistic vision. We are the MySpace generation. You just make music with your computer by yourself. You don't even need a label. You just need to create a MySpace page. We've never rehearsed like other bands do, every Sunday night in the basement."

None of The Teenagers even has a girlfriend right now, which makes being a professional "teenager" even more fantastical. They are still relatively unknown in France, where they spent their teenage years together in the same suburb of Paris, Sèvres. They upped sticks and moved to England about three years ago, now residing in London's East End. Both Dumont and Szpiner, who met at the age of 10, had been in bands beforehand; the latter in a hardcore metal band called Providence, and Dumont in a Swedish/French folk band, Mai. Delafon was at business school when he threw in the towel for a career in pop. "There was an artistic person sleeping inside of me," he says.

Now, as The Teenagers clock up more MySpace friends by the hour, the demand for a world tour grows. A three-week whiz around the US in January saw 500-plus capacity venues sold-out by twentysomethings (the gigs are 18-plus) in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and Washington. The Teenage US tour continues next month – they are dropping off in Mexico and Canada too, and performing at the Coachella festival in California. They tour the UK in April.

"People are so excited about us everywhere – even Australia and Japan," says Dumont. "We are so much more popular than we were at high school," says Szpiner.

Right now, the issue of maintaining a career beyond teenage obsession is not at the top of their worry list. Delafon assures me that there is "more depth to the songs than people realise". "Our songs are not just fantasy. It is making fun of the relationship between males and females and how we view things differently. It's not just about a lousy Brit boy who sleeps with an American cheerleader, there is some depth to it, but people don't tend to see it, which is fine as well," he says.

Will they ever grow up? "One day at a time – but right now we are reliving the teenage years we wanted to have back in the days."

The Teenagers tour from 1 to 12 April (; 'Reality Check' is out on Monday on XL Recordings; Andy Gill reviews it on page 19

Northern exposure: social housing in Edinburgh, where Hassiba now works in a takeaway
books An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop
Arts and Entertainment
Terminator Genisys: Arnie remains doggedly true to his word as the man who said 'I'll be back', returning once more to protect Sarah Connor in a new instalment


film review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Relocation, relocation: Zawe Ashton travels the pathway to Northampton
Arts and Entertainment
BBC Three was launched a little over five years ago with the slogan: “Three, is a magic number, yes it is.”

BBC Trust agrees to axe channel from TV in favour of digital move

Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer

Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Armie Hammer in the new film of ‘The Lone Ranger’

Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment

Final Top Gear review

Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty and Carl Barat perform at Glastonbury 2015

Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Richie performs live on the Pyramid stage during the third day of Glastonbury Festival

Arts and Entertainment
Buying a stairway to Hubbard: the Scientology centre in Los Angeles
film review Chilling inside views on a secretive church
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Williamson, left, and Andrew Fearn of Sleaford Mods
musicYou are nobody in public life until you have been soundly insulted by Sleaford Mods
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dew (Jess) in Bend It Like Beckham The Musical
theatreReview: Bend It Like Beckham hits back of the net on opening night
Arts and Entertainment
The young sea-faring Charles Darwin – seen here in an 1809 portrait – is to be portrayed as an Indiana Jones-style adventurer
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

    EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

    An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
    Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

    Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

    The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
    How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

    Heavy weather

    What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
    World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

    World Bodypainting Festival 2015

    Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
    alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

    Don't call us nerds

    Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
    How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

    How to find gold

    Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
    Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

    Not born in the USA

    Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
    10 best balsamic vinegars

    10 best balsamic vinegars

    Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
    Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

    Greece referendum

    Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
    Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

    7/7 bombings anniversary

    Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
    Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

    Versace haute couture review

    Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
    No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

    No hope and no jobs in Gaza

    So the young risk their lives and run for it
    Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

    Fashion apps

    Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
    The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

    Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

    Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
    Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

    'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

    Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'