Ex-London, now Berlin based duo Noblesse Oblige was formed in early 2004 by German songwriter/producer Sebastian Lee Philipp and French performer-cum-songwriter/chanteuse Valerie Renay after meeting at a masked ball in Hoxton during which Valerie was performing a live art show.
Their debut album Privilege Entails Responsibility (the English translation of the band name) was released in the U.K. in 2006. Its eclectic mix of disco punk, sixties French chanson and raw acoustic folklore combined with lyrical wit and dark humor proved an appealing combination among the London crowds. Its first single releases Bitch and Daddy (Dont touch me there) quickly became indie club regulars throughout Europe.
Having re-located to Berlin in autumn 2006, Noblesse Oblige started working on its follow-up album In Exile, released in autumn 2008 on RepoRecords. Written and recorded in the bands own Neukölln music studio, the album is a journey through its writers diverse musical tastes and styles, taking influences from gothic horror movies, African tribal tunes and contemporary pop music. The songs are accompanied by tri-lingual lyrics that range from child-like nursery rhymes, over the bands ever present obsession with sex and death, to more sensual and dreamlike tales of unfound love and loneliness. Having toured and performed with artists including Dresden Dolls, Vive La Fete and Patti Smith among others, Noblesse Oblige gained a notorious reputation for their wild and spectacular live shows. Taking turns in playing guitar, samplers, piano, keyboards and drums or melodica, Sebastian and Valerie blend edgy electronics with a raw live sound that captures the sleazy, ambiguous tension within the duos sensual performance.
From hipster nightclubs in Paris to S&M dungeons in Rome, back to warehouse raves and art galleries of East London, Noblesse Oblige have toured most of Europe and since their 2007 tour of Brazil beyond back and forth over the past 3 years, resulting in a steadily growing loyal fan base. Closely linked to the art world through their regular appearances at international galleries and art institutes as well as Valeries own background in theatre and live art performance, Noblesse Oblige count Turner prize winner Wolfgang Tillmans, Porn legend Rocco Siffredi and contemporary composer Michael Nyman among their fans, whilst the bands more danceable music has been supported by key club DJs such as Mark Moore (SExpress), Erol Alkan and Joost van Bellen.
Remaining members of Leigh Bowerys cult 80s band Minty asked Noblesse Oblige to re-record its underground hit Useless Man using Bowerys original vocal takes, which was included on the limited edition of Privilege Entails Responsibilitys second single release Quel Genre de Garcon / Lil Dirty. Noblesse Oblige songs have been remixed by artists including Motor (Novamute), Mona Mur, En Esch (ex-KMFDM) and Musiccargo (Amontillado Music), and their music has been used in several film productions and music compilations as well as international catwalk shows. Their innovative artwork and photography is regularly seen in galleries and printed media, such as the cover of Lydia Lunchs collection of short stories.
For hip underground director Edwin Brienens Lamour toujours, Sebastian and Valerie were asked to star alongside Austrian cult actor Erwin Leder (Das Boot). N.O. also regularly appears as DJs in the club scenes of Berlin, London and Paris.
Between 2005 and 2007 their own club night Caligula was a popular event in London and received positive press attention. It was regularly voted Critics choice in Londons Time Out magazine, following a range of successful events that introduced an impressive range of Live acts including Motor (Novamute), Pam Hogg, Cursor Miner (Lo Recordings), Comanechi and Tetine (Souljazz) to name a few.
Besides her work as half of Noblesse Oblige, Valerie is a successful theatre and performance artist who trained with Philippe Gaullier in London and has directed several theatre shows as well as art festival appearances around the world. Recently she has re-emerged in the Berlin art and performance scene as her alter ego Femme Façade.
Sebastian is a music producer with his own Berlin recording studio in which he has most recently worked with The Hidden Cameras and Birol Ünel among others.
For 2010, Metropolis Records proudly welcomes Noblesse Oblige with the release its third album Malady, an occult concept album that cites the visual mysticism of Kenneth Anger, Aleister Crowleys storytelling, and the morbid melancholy of Christina Rossettis poetry. The album was initiated by the bands involvement in Robert Pacittis 2009 London Spill Festival Tarot Deck project, for which Noblesse Oblige (in collaboration with photographer Manuel Vason) were asked to visualize their own interpretation of The Lovers Major Arcana card. Malady blends world music sounds, pop kitsch and new wave theatricality to create a unique musical landscape.