What's On The Hi-Fi Interview with Anoraak

As a follow-up to some stellar singles including “Nightdrive With You,” French electro artist Anoraak (a/k/a Frédéric Rivière) has released his excellent debut album Wherever The Sun Sets (on Grand Blanc and Naïve).  The Valerie collective member continues to deftly play with retro electronic sounds and romantic grooves.  The album’s first single “Above Your Head” is available as a free download from the Anoraak MySpace page.

Listen to “Above Your Head” MP3

Wherever The Sun Sets has been spending a lot of time on our hi-fi of late, and we were happy at the chance to catch up with Frédéric to talk about the new release, the influence of retro American pop culture and, of course, the unrivaled Mr. Miyagi.

Wherever the Sun Sets is your first album, but by no means a first release. Could you tell us a bit about how you got started as an artist (including the excellent Nightdrive With You EP) and about joining Valerie Collective?
 I've actually been playing music in bands for 15 years now, so it's not a new interest.  Anoraak is about 8 years old now and was born in Paris.  I kept it as a "bedroom project" for a couple of years, and thanks to MySpace and the cheering from many random people, I let it grow outside my little student room.  When I moved to Nantes 5 years ago (on the French west coast), I met all the guys from Valerie, and we started it as a family of artists, helped by the blog.  Nightdrive With You came out in that period.
Were you surprised by the reception to the track “Nightdrive With You”?
Definitely yes, especially because at this time, the music scene was all about banging beats and saturations!
You have described your sound as “romantic” in a larger sense, a sound which draws upon various influences from the late 70’s and 80’s.  Is there an attraction to American pop culture?
You've got it.  American pop culture is definitely my background as a kid.  I was born in 1980, so I grew up in a world taken by American music and movies.  And I have a special crush for this late 70’s culture.  I'm really into old school disco and funk music: I've got that feeling of a time where simple things were cool. Romantic is a way to explain my love for good feelings, sunsets and a little bit of melancholy.
Sally Shapiro and Siobhan Wilson make guest appearances on this album. How did the idea of working with these artists come about?
 It really came about spontaneously.  I’ve worked on a remix for Sally in the past, and her voice fits the tracks perfectly.  Siobhan is a friend of friend, and when I saw her live once.  I just thought we should sing one together.  She liked the idea, so we did it!
We hear you are a fan of Karate Kid.  You won’t find any argument from us. Any reason in particular why it is a favorite?
 Aha!  It's always tricky to talk about that movie, but I just love it.  It's so funny, and I think it's one of the only "karate movies" that really describes perfectly (but in a funny way) the spirit of karate.  I must say that I did practice karate for a certain time, maybe it helps.  And I love Pat Norita (Mr. Miyagi in the movie).
Any plans to head over the US in support of the new release?
 Nothing to talk about yet, but it's getting planned.  More news about that really soon!
If you close your eyes, where do you imagine Wherever the Sun Sets being listened to?
 On a Sunday morning, in a car going to the seashore, in a plane....  I hope it can fit many situations!
Who do you see as creating particularly interesting music at the moment?
 The new Ariel Pink is amazing.  I really love everything about it.
Do you see France currently holding its own on the international music scene?
 I don't really know.  I guess I don't have the step back to see that from a distance, but French music is exporting much better now.
What is on your hi-fi at the moment?
- Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Before Today [my album of the moment]
- Minnie Riperton - Adventures in Paradise [always with me]
- Luke Million - Italo Journey [I've just discovered this Australian guy, creating new Italo Disco crazy tracks]
- You! - Battles [a new French band people forget to talk about, amazing]
- Cut Copy - the whole discography [because it's Cut Copy!]
MySpace | Valerie 

What's On The Hi-Fi...Podcast Thirteen

While you listen to the podcast click here or on the image above to go to our podcast artist gallery to find out descriptions, links and more. You can also subscribe to our podcast free at What's On The Hi-Fi - What's On The Hi-Fi - What's On The Hi-Fi

Listen to "Podcast 13” MP3

Artist - Track Names

What's On The Hi-Fi...Top Ten CMJ HI-FI BANDS

Check out our gallery of bands that were featured on What’s On the Hi-Fi and are playing at CMJ 2010

Track of the Day....”Time Is of the Essence” from Cold Mailman

Cold Mailman
“Time Is Of The Essence”
from Relax; the mountain will come to you
Kråkesølv October 2010

Listen to “Time Is Of The Essence” MP3

“Time Is Of The Essence” is the new single from Cold Mailman’s second album Relax; the mountain will come to you. At the core of this Oslo collective is Ivar Bowitz (singer, singwriter, guitarist) writer, working with his friends to give flesh to the structures he creates. The result is indie-pop tracks which are airborne, bouyed by guitars and melodies and Ivar’s restrained vocals with lighthearted storytelling.

Here is a link to a live living room performance of “Time Is Of The Essence.”

Also, check out the album’s other addictive standout “Pull Yourself Together And Fall In Love With Me.”

Cold Mailman will be playing several dates throughout Norway in October and November, and hopefully we will be seeing them play a few dates in the rest of Europe later this year.

Official | MySpace

Track of the Day…”Either Way” from Beta Radio

Beta Radio
“Either Way”
from Seven Sisters
Self-released 2010

Listen to “Either Way” MP3

Beta Radio is the collaboration of longtime friends Ben Mabry (vocals, guitar, glockenspiel) and Brent Holloman (vocals, guitar, glockenspiel, banjo, piano). Together, these guys from Wilmington, North Carolina blend together a welcomingly familiar and disarming blend of Americana (folk / gospel) and pop, buoyed by charming melodies that burrow into your head.

Earlier this year, Beta Radio self-released their debut album Seven Sisters, a release which includes standouts “Either Way” and “Highlight on the Hill.” Ben tells us that the track "Either Way" is a track that he wrote while on vacation with his family in Hawaii. Ben was at a Samoan event and started hearing the melody for what would become the song. Se, he went into the bathroom and recorded the melody in his phone so he would remember it. Brent and he worked on it and then that winter, they recorded that song with their first round of songs in the studio. They decided to add the drums just a few days before they recorded it - one of Ben's favorite parts of the song.

You can stream all of Seven Sisters on the band’s official site (link below) and download a digital copy from major digital outlets (iTunes, Amazon).

Official | MySpace

Track of the Day...”Summer Loving Song” from Katell Keineg

Katell Keineg
“Summer Loving Song”
from At The Mermaid Parade
Honest Jon’s Records

Listen to “Summer Loving Song” MP3

It was years ago at the NYC’s Mercury Lounge when we first saw Katell Keining perform. She came out to play songs from her release Jet, the room comfortably filled with people who seemed to know what they were in for. From the first track, the Brittany-born singer-songwriter exuded a disarming intensity and passion – her unique and powerful voice pushing with abandon to the back of the room. Joining the drinking crowd, she grew more emotive, her voice changing in register and focus, culminating in the song“One Hell Of A Life”, an arresting and unapologetic look back at a life fully lived.

Katell’s latest release At The Mermaid Parade was released earlier this year on Honest Jon’s Records. A continuation of Katell’s singular form, frequently basking in the glow of New York, from the title track which takes place at Coney Island’s unrivaled Mermaid Parade to “Summer Loving Song” which invites you on a road trip in the dog days of summer.

MySpace | Official (not up to date) | Honest Jon’s Records

Track of the Day…“Reconstitution” from Alexandre Chatelard

Alexandre Chatelard
from L’Homme et la Femme
Ekleroshock (2010)

 Listen to “Reconstitution” MP3

Parisian Alexandre Chatelard creates a retro futurist world, one that is erotic and both blessedly louche and humorous.  Tracks like “Parade” call to mind an image of Sylvia Kristel playing with her nicest pearls while perched upon a wicker chair, while “Scene de Crime” seems ripped from some lost French adaptation of Flash Gordon.  The single from L’Homme et la Femme “Reconstitution” straddles the line between these disparate worlds – synth sultriness and rock guitars mixed with Alexandre’s nonchalant, Gainsbourg inspired vocals.
Fans of Sébastien Tellier take note.
MySpace | Ekleroshock