Charly & Faust Guitarist and the Genius behind Jeff II: Jefferson Fichou

Guitarist Jefferson Fichou aka Jeff II (Photo by Zoe Pelloux)

If you’re into innovative music that blends electronic with rock’n roll there’s a good chance you’ve come across the stylings of Jeff II, who’s debut track “Sleepless” garnered international attention and praise for its unique fusion of rock and electronic music when it dropped last year. In fact, the debut of the music video for Jeff II’s “Sleepless” was such a hit that, aside from pulling in over 110k streams on YouTube in a matter of weeks, the track earned him a Bronze Medal at the Global Music Awards.

Jeff II has been praised for his unique fusion of rock and electronic music coupled with stellar guitar playing, which is setting new trends in the industry.

Last year Tunedloud! wrote that Jeff II’s “Sleepless,” “merges virtuosic guitar gymnastics, high-octane EDM rhythms, and rock star flamboyance,” adding that, “[Jeff II] comes across as an artist that thinks outside of the box, not interested in doing anything half-assed, but preferring instead to immerse himself in a hands-on approach to every detail of the song. We can see him banging the drums, thumping the bass lines, hitting the keys and twisting those guitars strings until they scream. And the results are one of a kind.”

Jeff II is the solo project from masterful guitarist and all-around musician Jefferson Fichou, who hails from Paris, France. In terms of what he was aiming for with “Sleepless,” Jefferson says, “I wanted to make a ‘producer’ type of track sounds like there’s a full real rock band playing. I think those two genres, rock and electronica, have much more in common than what most people think. The adrenaline, the energy are very similar.”

The responses that “Sleepless” garnered from fans and media outlets prove that Jefferson clearly nailed his mark. Considering Jefferson’s musical history, it’s not at all surprising that Tunedloud! took note of the artist’s ‘rock star flamboyance,’ as he is a rock star through and through. Though his work as Jeff II is relatively new, Jefferson started rocking stages across Paris back in 2011 as the lead guitarist, DJ and composer of the incredibly popular French rock band Andemik. As a lead member of Andemik, Jefferson performed at some of the most iconic venues in Paris, including the Bataclan, Moulin Rouge, Le Trabendo, the Gibus Club and the Olympia.

During their 2013 performance at the Olympia, Andemik performed alongside famous Canadian pop star Natasha St. Pier in a massive event that was nationally broadcast live on France Bleu Radio.

“I was lucky to start performing at a young age, I dove right into the music scene after graduating from high school,” recalls Jefferson.

“I was immediately comfortable on stage, it was natural for me. It’s surprising because I have always hated speaking in public, or presenting something in front of my classmates in high school. But when I play guitar on stage, I don’t have to talk so I feel at ease, it’s my comfort zone really.”

Managed by Olivier Jollet, a former executive of Universal Music in Berlin, Andemik achieved an astonishing level of success with their catchy fusion of hip hop and hard rock. As Andemik rose to fame and went on to perform on national television on the TV5Monde series “Acoustic,” and was voted “Best Live Band” at the International Wolfest Music Festival, Jefferson quickly became a well-known guitarist in France. All of this and he was only 20 years old at the time.

“It was a great experience… I learned a lot about how to work in a touring band and how to deal with the business aspect of music… There are a couple of mistakes you need to avoid to move forward as a group of individuals making music, having a big ego or attitude takes you nowhere,” Jefferson explains.

Formed in 2011, Jefferson and Andemik played together up until 2014 when the band split due to obstacles on the business side of things.

Jefferson admits, “Unfortunately due to issue with the management and the label Lucky Charm Records we had to remove our catalog from most internet platforms.”

Andemik proved to be a phenomenal stepping stone for Jefferson, who would soon make his way to the U.S. where he immersed himself in a variety of other new and exciting projects. While his ongoing love affair with guitar is what initially sparked his passion for playing music professionally, and Jefferson undoubtedly loves to shred, he admits that the transition from being an amateur to a professional guitarist came once he was able to play across multiple genres with ease and precision.

“To me the game changer was to learn and to play different music genres. It’s hard to make a living when you are playing in bands only… So in my case, I wanted to keep playing live but I also wanted to be a session guitar player. I would say that my real professional life as a musician started when I was able to do both. It’s a tricky business and you should be able to rely on multiple streams of income to really build a sustainable career.”

In addition to being a session guitar player for other artists, Jefferson plays lead guitar in multiple other bands, all of which are completely different in terms of their vibe and sound.

Charly of Charly & Faust & Jefferson Fichou performing in LA (Photo by Zoe Pelloux)

In 2017 Jefferson came on board as the lead guitarist for the folk electro pop band Charly & Faust where he proved to be a key influence and a driving force in the creation of the band’s debut album “Wild World.”

Faust of Charly & Faust says, “Jefferson adds a real soul to our music with rock psychedelic vibes, he plays really clean with enough craziness which make the music really unique… has a very high knowledge of the music, he understands music, he knows the classic but he is good to break the rules by creating new sounds and style which makes him very special.”

Adding a unique electronic vibe with bright keyboards to the band’s overarching 60s vibe, proved to be an integral creative influence in Charly & Faust’s sound on “Wild World.” Jefferson co-composed and played lead guitar on the band’s first single “No Rush,” the music video for which earned numerous accolades including earning Best Music Video at the 2017 ARFF Barcelona, being chosen as an Official Selection of the 2017 LA Short Awards, and becoming a Semi Finalist at the 2018 Los Angeles CineFest.

As a member of Charly & Faust Jefferson played at some of LA’s best known venues such as The Whisky a Go Go, The Viper Room and The Mint, and the band was also featured in Music Connection Magazine 2017 edition of the Top Hot 100.

Never one to stay idle, Jefferson is also a lead member of the music collective GETSOME!, which was founded by Shanks Green in 2015 and is comprised of professional musicians from Texas, South Africa, Massachusetts and the Bay Area.

Shanks Green says, “[Jefferson] is a showman… He looks like a rockstar, and hits his marks like a pro. And in videos he’s got an electric, natural charisma. He helps give our videos a legitimate edge.”

Influenced by bands such as LCD Soundsystem, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Iggy Pop & The Stooges, GETSOME! offers up a blend of classic rock and post punk with some highly danceable beats. So far the band has released three music videos, including “Sheen,” and they are slated to release the music videos for “Heaven’s Just a Body to Climb” and “Lock Step Love” in the near future.

Shanks Green (left) & Jefferson Fichou (right) as GETSOME! performing in LA (Photo by Roger Leonard)

In addition to working on an upcoming album with GETSOME! Jefferson is busy in the studio where he is finishing up his first full album for his solo project Jeff II.

We all know that the music industry is one of the most competitive fields for an artist to stand out and truly find success, and Jefferson Fichou is one of the few that have managed to do it.

At the end of the day Jefferson says, “You’ve gotta keep reinventing yourself each and everyday. It takes a long time to find some sort of stability in this industry, it’s mentally challenging, but it’s worth it. Music is a passion and being able to make career out of it is a blessing.”

Portia is a journalist & poet from Los Angeles. You can find her work through №3 Magazine, ElephantJournal.com, Gypsyrich.com, Stillstoked.com and more.

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