We were lucky enough to catch up with the notoriously shy Frenchman ahead of his London album launch at the Neon Noise Project this Saturday to talk his ever close proximity to disco, his new live show
Hey Pascal. How are you today?
I’m fine thanks. Just back from Glasgow where i played at The Arches and it was an amazing start for the tour.
You make reference to rave in the album title and opening track. What does rave mean to you? What's your concept behind the album theme?
I used to go to a few rave parties in the 90s but in fact it was not really my cup of tea. I would prefer smaller events around Dijon. Occasionally I would go to big raves in Southern France to see some big acts like Orbital or Jeff Mills. But Rave Age is not a descriptive title. This album is not pure rave stuff based on past sounds. I did use some techno sounds but there is also a strong disco influence at the same time. I think the word 'ravisco' is a good description.
Rave Age is a multi-faceted body of work, with diverse influence form punk and indie to 80's synth pop. Is this a reflection of your music collection, or did you chose to work with artists from a particular background because you wanted to bring those influence into our sound?
When I make music and I focus on an LP I don’t think too much about concepts. I just make music and it’s at the end of the process only that I realise what I intended to do. So I suppose this album is a mix of what I was listening over these past few years. It includes techno but also pop stuff, and of course disco, which is never too far in my music.
You've done away with the vocoder and bought in a verity of artists to work with, like Sexy Sushi and Mickael Karkousse. How do you decide who to work with? What vocal qualities do you look for in a collaborator?
They are people I follow for some time, because I love their work or their voice. We meet up in festivals and between two dressing rooms we say: one day we should make some music together. This time I decided to actually make it. Sexy Sushi is big on the French punk scene. Making a song together was just about seeing what would happen. Karkousse is the singer of Goose, and we use to play a lot together in Belgium. Joe Reeves was part of Shit Disco and I was crazy about their first album.
What music were you listening to in your leisure time while recording the album?
I listened to music that is very opposite to what I do, like always. So I was into Kolsch and Pachanga Boys. Kind of Balearic summer music.
Sexy Sushi's performances are renowned for their flamboyancy. What were they like to work with? Are they as sexy up close?
We didn’t meet actually. I sent an instrumental track with some directions and she sent back the vocal parts. I would have enjoyed a real studio session together but it was more convenient that way.
Are we likely to see any of your collaborators joining you on stage during the Rave Age tour?
I suppose it will happen on some events that one singer will pop up on stage but it’s not possible to gather them all the same night. The show for rave Age is based on actual live performing from the musicians and the scenography, but not on the vocal performance. I suppose it would have been possible with one dedicated singer on the album, but that wasn’t the point of that LP.
I went to see The Legend Of Kaspar Hauser last week. It was an extremely surreal experience! How did you get involved? Were you already a fan of Davide Manuli? What's he like to work with?
Yes I really loved his previous movies. They take you to a dimension where you lose yourself. There is no hint about time and space. They are about revisiting some legends or old stories with some modern eyes, referring to God but also music and the techno culture. Each movie is an experience. So we met in Italy and we started to think about Kaspar Houser. It’s far from being commercial but I was happy to take part in his work. Davide is someone very special, just like his movies. From another planet.
The video for Stamina is quite surreal – What's the idea behind it? Has Davide Manuli been influencing on you?! 😉
Kaspar Hauser and Stamina have different moods but you are right saying Stamina is also a strange piece of movie. It talks about our lives nowadays with a sarcastic view. The way we are obsessed about food and our bodies and all the magic pills that help you to reach perfection. Stamina is a light track, something to dance. I’m happy the video took the song to another level, with some meaning, keeping the original humour from the track.
Your new live show debuts in London at Fire on Nov 3rd. The V Mirror used during the Flashmob tour was an incredible piece of kit for high impact visuals. Can you tell us about the VTLZR live show? What can we expect?
This time I will come with a drummer and a keyboard. It takes the music to a different level. Our first show in Glasgow last week was really super. VTLZR is the full show with the LED mirrors I used on the previous tour, together with 48 lasers on the front. It makes some really weird effects, like the bending the light beams. All that synced to the music. But it’s quite difficult to describe a show in a few words… We are enjoying a lot performing it and hope to bring it soon to the UK.
Rave Age is released November 5th on Different Recordings.
Vitalic debuts his new live show in London for Neon Noise Project's Halloween Soiree at Fire on November 3rd. Full info and tickets here: