Interview with Nouvelle Vague


From the Funky Mofo archives: Concept cover albums are either a superb success or in most cases a novelty idea taken to the point of total cheese. Nouvelle Vague is thankfully a success mixing 60’s style bossa-nova with 70’s/80’s New Wave (yes, it does work!). Funky Mofo exchanged e-mails with one half of Nouvelle Vague – Marc Collin.

Funky Mofo: The album has a really fresh sound to it, obviously that was one of the elements you were looking for when recording. Yet all the tracks are cover versions. Why did you decide to cover popular (and lesser known but by popular acts) songs?

Marc Collin: The concept is simple: going and extracting within 70s/80s punk/new wave catalogue (a time when me and Olivier Libaux have listened to extensively) those magnificent songs that were forgotten (no one ever talks about these bands’ songwriting, the audience likes them for their attitude, sound, etc).

I found interesting, in this period of 80’s revival, to adopt a different angle. The choice of tracks was very spontaneous, thus the tracks we’ve chosen were the ones we liked the most and that filled one criteria: Fucking Good Song!

That’s why The Cure appears alongside Tuxedomoon.

FM: Why did you choose bossa nova as your main style?

MC: Firstly because of a fantasy, a vision: I would like to hear Love Will Tear Us Apart sung by a Brazilian woman accompanied only with a bossa nova guitar on a Rio beach.

FM: Both of you have a long history in New Wave, Electronica, Punk and Pop music. Were you ever tempted to add heavier sounds to the tracks?

MC: No, we really wanted to focus only on the song, make it shine through with the meeting of the arrangement and the original voice (ex : Sisters Of Mercy).

FM: Considering there are 100s of Punk and New Wave tracks out there, how did you choose the songs/artists to cover? Did you have any specific tracks/artists in mind?

MC: As I was saying earlier, it is really our culture, so there were a lot of tracks that we thought about straight away.
We didn’t really think too much about the tracklisting, we just wanted for it not to feature only famous artists.

FM: I notice there are no French artists covered. Why?

MC: Because this music is essentially British.

FM: You’ve picked possibly some of the best new female talent around to perform the songs. Where did you find them? Was it difficult to find singers who hadn’t already heard the tracks?

MC: To my greatest surprise most of these singers didn’t know the original versions, maybe they are too young or into another culture (Soul, Jazz, Country etc). I had already worked with most of them on different projects so the choice was very easy.

FM: Why only female artists?

MC: Because the original interpretations were sung by men!

FM: You have quite a tour ahead of you. Are you looking forward to it? What can we expect?

MC: We have decided to push Nouvelle Vague concept even further on stage, keeping just the guitar, some keyboards and most importantly 2 singers, so far we have received an excellent response.
We have also strengthened the live set by adding some more covers, they are good surprises I think!

FM: Thanks for your time!!

MC: It’s been a pleasure.

Jo Whitby& C.B Lux

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