Phoenix: 'The first time we met R Kelly was on stage'

Band talk about collaboration ahead of recent XFM presents with Ford SYNC studio session

Phoenix: 'The first time we met R Kelly was on stage'

Photo: Dan Dennison/NME

Phoenix have revealed that R Kelly drove for three days to perform with them at this year's Coachella festival in California, meeting them for the first time on the stage.

The French band were joined by the R&B singer for a special performance of his single 'Ignition' mixed with their own '1901' at the US festival earlier this year.

Talking before their Xfm presents with Ford SYNC studio session, frontman Thomas Mars revealed that the collaboration was never rehearsed. "He didn’t come before, he doesn’t fly," says Mars. "So he drove from Chicago to Palm Springs, three days. Spent 10 minutes on stage, then drove back three days. That was cool."

Discussing the origins of the collaboration, Mars continued: "Once we had it, we did a little demo of the idea we had, very simple, kind of a combination of his songs and ours. We sent it to him, and actually, he said yes. Then we met him on stage actually."

Mars says that R Kelly did not stick around for long after the gig ended, describing their time together as a "very brief moment of pure joy." He added: "He disappeared and I guess drove back. Which is a commitment. For someone to commit six days of their life for 10 minutes on stage, and what a ten minutes they were. He’s working all the time I guess, he has something crazy in his big bus studio. You could feel it was easy for him, it was natural."

Phoenix will return to the UK for a number of festival appearances this summer, including Reading & Leeds Festivals in August. For more artist sessions head to

Read More On This Artist

More News
Paramore's Hayley Williams: 'There aren't enough heavy Christmas songs'
Mark Ronson's 'Uptown Funk' becomes first song in UK history to break two million...
Madonna maintains that recent music leak was an act of 'terrorism'
Kasabian's Serge Pizzorno criticises 'pointless' Queen's speech
Brandon Flowers says The Killers 'lack a drive'
Wu-Tang's RZA: 'the chemistry in the group's not all that good right now'
Morrissey names London gig as his favourite from recent European tour
The Cure perform massive 40-song set at London Christmas show
Kate Bush attends marriage of Elton John and David Furnish
AC/DC's Phil Rudd: 'I want my job and my reputation back'
Lady Gaga thought to be working on new music with Nile Rodgers
X Factor winner Ben Haenow claims Official Christmas Number One
Kiss to collaborate on two songs with Japanese pop group Momoiro Clover Z
Lynyrd Skynyrd to perform first two albums live for DVD release
Q-Tip gives Iggy Azalea hip-hop history lesson in lengthy series of tweets
David Fincher to direct HBO show based on 1980s music video experiences
Questlove tells of years-long attempts to taste Patti LaBelle's cooking in new animated video
Hackers threaten to release Iggy Azalea sex tape snapshots
The Rolling Stones release video thanking fans for recent support
Jenny Lewis and Ryan Adams perform together on 'Jimmy Kimmel Live' – watch
Nicki Minaj unveils 16-minute short film 'The Pinkprint Movie' – watch
Azealia Banks and Action Bronson involved in Twitter beef

More News


Please login to add your comment.

Latest Tickets - Booking Now
Know Your NME

NME Store & Framed Prints
Inside NME.COM