EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Five Minutes With… Claude Violante
French pop prodigy Claude Violante, who has recently released new EP Road Race on Panenka Music, has accomplished much in her young career, with single “Your Way” featuring on compilation album Pussy Riot Je T’aime, and – with band Haussmann – contributing “Boys Like Us” to the film credits of Academy Award winner Jean Dujardin’s film, Les Infidèles. Her new EP is set to continue the Parisian producer’s meteoric rise, with Refinery 29 commenting, ““Think Little Dragon or Robyn, with a hint of French melancholy and a dose of disco.”
We caught up with her to chat about her love of synthesisers and drum machines, her best and worst gigs and Jean-Michel Jarre…
To those not familiar with you, how would you describe your sound?
I would say that I am doing some kind of pop music with electronic and R‘nB influences. Some of it is supposed to make you dance or cry (or dance and cry), and the rest is supposed to make you feel a little bit melancholic, but in a comfortable way.
Are there any key pieces of equipment that you are using to define your sound?
I wouldn’t say that the equipment I use defines my sound, but it definitely influences me in the writing and production process. I love machines like synthesisers and drum machines a lot. I own a few of them and they are a very important part of the music I make. I wouldn’t like to work only with a computer, I like to feel the balance between digital and analog.
What’s the best gig you have ever done and why?
I don’t know about the best of the best, but I went to Switzerland last month for a music festival that was very nice. I loved that the crowd danced during the whole gig and the hosts of this event were also very welcoming and fun to be around.
And the worst?
I think it happened a long time ago in Paris with my band Haussmann. The power cord that was supplying our machines was not very strong and various people unintentionally kept disconnecting it from its socket. We had to start one track over five times…
Jean-Michel Jarre said, “I would say that rock and roll was born in America and invaded the world. And electronic music was born in Europe and invaded the world.” What are your thoughts on this statement?
I absolutely agree. They have to give us credit for at least one thing when it comes to music! The beginnings of a precise genre are hard to precisely define, but I believe we had some pretty smart and creative people in Europe. Then, Americans did some great things with electronic music, like house or acid in Chicago and techno in Detroit, which are some of my favorite electronic genres. What is great is that we don’t do the same things all around the world, even with the same tools.
Where do you see the future of recorded music heading? In your eyes, what does the music industry need most of all?
I think we are headed into a very interesting era. Since making art is now more affordable than ever, as far as hardware is concerned, what people need now is the possibility to have the time and financial resources to do it. I don’t know about the industry but I believe that we need art to question ourselves, to show us beautiful and ugly things, to laugh about things and cry about things.
Finally, how are you feeling about 2017? How do you think musicians will be affected by the uncertainty and upheaval the world is experiencing right now?
Of course it’s not easy to stay positive these days, but I believe it’s the best thing we can do. I try not to be saddened too much, I want to use whatever anger or sorrow I feel as a driving force to try and change what I don’t like about this world.
Claude Violante’s new EP, Road Race, is out now on Panenka Music. Buy here.