- Thu, 2012-07-12 20:49
Pioneers of electroswing, Parisian collective Caravan Palace are set on delivering their party-inducing live show to as many dance-floor shape shifters as they can manage this summer.
Following the release of their second album Panic, we caught up with the band just before their Secret Garden Party 2012 appearance, to find out how their music comes together, their festival fancy-dress advice and the harder and heavier sounds working their way into the latest electroswing productions...
"I Like Music because...it makes me feel alive." Caravan Palace
ILM: Hello Caravan Palace. How are you?
Caravan Palace: Slightly tired but metaphysically happy.
ILM: Over the last few years Electro Swing has grown incredibly popular. You were there at the beginning, where did the idea for the genre first come from?
Caravan Palace: In 2005, we (Arnaud, Charles and Hugo) were working together for a few years in a jazz manouche band, playing in bars and weddings. But we were also electronic music producers, each of us recording on others' tracks. We were commissionned for a 20's silent porn film soundtrack, and the rest came naturally... We can assume that if we were playing in a ballroom band and producing Metal tracks, we would have invented Metal-Musette :-/
ILM: For those new to the sound, how would you describe it?
Caravan Palace: The name tells a lot: a crossover between electronic music and swing music. While the second one has had its own era (20's to 50's), the first is a lively music, evolving and re-creating every day. So, electroswing can have a lot of different faces, from tears to laughs, from sad and rainy Parisian weather to a blue and sunny sky on Broadway.
ILM: What was the vision behind your second album Panic?
Caravan Palace: A different electroswing. The popularity of the genre led us to consider our own "creation" differently, in a more ambitious and unexpected way. We wanted to show the public that the genre had an infinite, or at least a very extended field of crossing possibilities. For example, the first album was really influenced by jazz manouche (Django Reinhardt and Stéphane Grappelli), and it has almost totally disappeared in the second album, to be "replaced" by the American Swing, in its very wide diversity.
ILM: How would you describe the Caravan Palace process of making music?
Caravan Palace: It's a pain!!! Making a Caravan Palace track is always long, difficult and frustrating! We are four co-producers, each one of us working in our own home studio. The first step is to make "sketches" of songs. We send it via email to the other. If they answer quickly, you can consider that your song is a good one. If not...! Then everyone tries to work on it separately, sending his ideas regularly to the others. When we think we have something good, we meet at Charles' studio (the bigger one, and in the center of Paris) to record the instruments and finish the song.
ILM: You're playing Secret Garden Party this year, what can we expect if we come to see Caravan Palace live?
Caravan Palace: Not to sleep, for sure! The public often tells us that we give them energy for the rest of the festival, like a battery charger! It's important for us to give everything we can during the concerts, because it's a short time with the public, and we want them to remember our concert long after it. So, put on your best dancing shoes, your slightest T-shirt, and have a tea with honey for your voice, because it'll be the eighth instrument of the band ;-)
ILM: What do you look forward to about festival sets in particular?
Caravan Palace: When people come to a festival, they leave their troubles at home and feel free to party, so the mood there is always more "electric" than in a club. We love that time in the year when everything can happen, especially when you don't expect it!
ILM: Once you've played your set will you join the festival crowd for the party?
Caravan Palace: Of course, as we already did! Secret Garden Party has always been really special for us. The first time we played there two years ago we had just come back from a three week US tour and we were totally jetlagged, but the place was so crazy we partied all night long!
ILM: The fancy dress theme for Secret Garden Party this year is 'Standing on Ceremony' - will you be dressing up?!
Caravan Palace: Every concert is a ceremony, so, we're always dressed for it ;-)
ILM: We still haven't decided on a costume. What do you think we should wear?
Caravan Palace: In a pink tracksuit with a bow tie, you'll be perfect ;-)
ILM: Out of all the live sets you've seen (by any other artists) which will you never forget?
Caravan Palace: Massive Attack. But I cheat because I've seen them four times, so they had four chances to be unforgetable!!
ILM: What music have you been listening to recently?
Caravan Palace: The last album of Fiona Apple. And Gotye too, a very intelligent mainstream music...
ILM: What's next for Electroswing? Do you think the genre is here to stay?
Caravan Palace: The electroswing sound is about to be mature. In every electroswing afterparty we've been to recently, we've noticed that DJs were playing harder sounds, leading electroswing to new landscapes. That's what we also try to do!