Posted On 30 Jan 2017
“I Could Be Happy” is Nouvelle Vague’s first album of new music in six years. It is currently out now on Kwaidan Records/!K7. In celebration of the release the group is set to tour North America in the spring.
The album marks a return for Nouvelle Vague’s founders— French producers Marc Collin and Olivier Libaux—with their signature bossa nova reinterpretations of ‘80s and ‘90s punk, post-punk and new wave hits. I Could Be Happy also includes the pair’s first-ever original compositions featuring a variety of vocalists.
Marc Collin is also releasing a documentary titled Nouvelle Vague by Nouvelle Vague. The film takes a look at the story behind the collective, from the original concept in 2003 to the current record, with a look at all the albums in between and the singers that have accompanied the group during its many tours around the world. Composed entirely of archival images (live shows, TV appearances, home movies and interviews) the film takes an in-depth view of this unique project that revolutionized what a “cover band” could be. Watch the films trailer at https://youtu.be/xoa_WG_TlOk.
Collin and Libaux started the unique project in 2004. The band employed a legion of female singers, many unknown until their performances with the band. Over the course of four records, the band sold more than one million albums worldwide including their self-titled 2004 album and 2006’s Bande A Part—which were released in the U.S. The band toured internationally including sold out shows at Royal Albert Hall in London, The Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles and Olympia in Paris.
Learn more about Nouvelle Vague in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! Now that 2016 is over, what are some words you would use to describe the year? What have been some of the highlights for you and your music? What are you most excited about for 2017?
Olivier Libaux : It’s weird because I heard so many times that 2016 was a very bad year…Actually, my 2016 was very busy, recording this new Nouvelle Vague album, plus a solo book-CD that I have written for Actes Sud Junior (a great French Publisher). Of course, many of our idols have passed last year, which is very sad, but we must all understand that people are not eternal, even if their music is. Otherwise, we are excited to present our new show and new album all around the world in 2017.
How do you think your sound has grown and changed over the years? Do you think that what pushes you to make music has evolved too? How have the band dynamics grown over time?
Olivier Libaux : I believe that our main evolution is to get rid of influences, to get into the heart of our way of making music. Also, we make it simpler, no artifice, only the essential. I also believe that a “mature” musician is going straight into the emotion of Music.
At the end of last year, you released your first album in six years! How did “I Could Be Happy” come together exactly? How much of those six years were spent working on this collection?
Olivier Libaux : We didn’t work in the studio on any Nouvelle Vague material until the beginning of 2016. We were busy with other projects – like my “Uncovered Queens Of The Stone Age” for example, or Marc’s “Bristol”. We needed Nouvelle Vague to breathe a bit. Then the time came to record some new material, and the first song to happen was “Athol-Brose”, which made us super proud and happy. The following songs happened naturally. This album was very pleasant to record.
How did you go about selecting the covers that would be on “I Could Be Happy”? What was it like writing your own original music too for it? Where did the inspiration for those songs come from?
Olivier Libaux : We selected the covers the way we usually do. Songs that we love, originally performed by bands that we love, and we feel inspired, and deliver what we think is an interesting cover, very different to the original, and giving the song a totally different perspective. The original songs were around, songs that we had written some months ago, that we recorded carefully, feeling that they would match with the covers.
Are you excited to head on out tour? Has it been awhile since you’ve all performed live together?
Olivier Libaux : Actually we never stopped playing live through all these years. Our life is made of concerts, all the time, everywhere in the world. The new thing is that we have totally refreshed our show, adding some great percussion parts, and melting the new songs with the other ones. We are truly excited by this new show, and happy to present it to the world.
You’ve had so many incredible musical memories. What moment or moments really stand out to the group?
Hmmm….there are a lot! I’ll say when Camille crossed the beach to take a swim during “Too Drunk to Fuck.” The first show At Rio s « Circo Vador » when we felt like we were The Beatles. The first show at NY Joes Pub when my computer wasn’t working 2 min before we had to go on stage! And there was a gig in Tijuana where one girl just climbed on stage and sat on Olivier’s knees for a picture!
Who are some of your favorite artists and what bands continue to inspire you and your music? Who would you still love to work with in the future?
I just heard the new Timber Timbre and I must say that I’m a big fan. I can name as well the Liminanas- I just discovered them here in Australia and the eternal Radiohead is always very good.
What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs?
A certain idea of freedom somehow. I mean the idea that you can do new and personal things, taking songs from the 80s and mixing it with a lot of different influences without any taboo and this combination of melancolia and fun.
When you aren’t performing, working in the studio, what do you like to do for fun? How do you all unwind from it all?
I’m always in search for inspiration and new ideas! It can be going to an exhibition, reading books, watching movies and listening to podcast/documentaries about life, science, history, people…etc.
I can’t really unplug…