Françoise Cactus, the singer, drummer, and co-songwriter of the prolific French-German indie duo Stereo Total, has died. The band broke the news on social media. “We are devastated to announce the passing of our beloved friend, singer and drummer Françoise Cactus,” Stereo Total wrote on the band’s Facebook page. “She died peacefully at home this morning February 17th, 2021, of cancer. Rest in peace, notre amie! ❤️ FOREVER 16!”
Cactus and multi-instrumentalist Brezel Göring formed Stereo Total in Berlin in 1993. Cactus, a self-professed “anti-diva” previously sang and played drums in the French garage band Lolitas.
Stereo Total issued their debut full-length Oh Ah in 1995. As a band, they adhered to a number of founding principles: Instruments should be affordable, even cheap, lyrics should be sung in all kinds of languages (except English), and big record labels should be avoided, as should contemporary taste. Cactus and Göring looked lovingly to the past for inspiration, and their sound reflected a fondness for lo-fi pop and 1960s Yéyé.
Stereo Total released a steady stream of records between their 1995 debut and their final album, 2019’s Ah! Quel Cinéma! In 2001 the duo issued Musique Automatique, their best-selling record, which included tracks like “L’amour à trois” and “Wir tanzen im 4eck.” On their 2015 LP Les Hormones, Cactus took on production and mixing duties for the first time, in addition to her roles as songwriter, percussionist, and multi-lingual vocalist.