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!]
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