Interview With Anoraak

Anoraak | Long Hot Summer Night

Affectionately known as “the boy from Nantes” Frederic Riviere née Anoraak, never ceases to mesmerize his fans by knocking out danceable, transfixing tracks and striking remixes.

Anoraak’s 2008 EP “Nightdrive with You” encapsulated the sound and sentiments of 80’s synthpop nostalgia and Italo-disco with sweepingly illustrative tracks such as “Nightdrive With You” and “Midnight Stars”. His followup debut album “Wherever the Sun Sets” keeps the emotion and energy soaring with his ode to endless summer romance, carefree destinations and boyish desire.

Ditte: You’re a member of the Valerie Collective, which consists of College, Russ Chimes and Minitel Rose to name a few. How did the Valerie Collective get started?

Anoraak: It started in 2007, we all met thanks to Myspace, and we were living the same city, and shared an interest about late 70’s and 80’s pop culture. So we just called it collective, because there was no willing to be a proper label, just keeping it more like a family.

D: Back in July you DJ’d with MSTRKRFT at Webster Hall in NYC. It was a bit of a teaser for your fans in the US. Do you have any plans to tour in the States?

A: I’ll be able to say more about that in a little time…

D: You’re a master of remixes and recently you remixed the Psychic Neon track “Psychic Chasms” Do you feel that these collaborations/remixes have increased and broadened your popularity outside of Europe?

A: I guess so, regarding the fact that remixes just became a promo material, or a way to send a bit more records. But I’m cool with that, I see remixes as a good exercise, where I can try new things.

D: After the track “Above Your Head” was released, I read that it was the first of your songs to sound exactly in it’s final execution, as it sounded in your head.  I’ve always been curious about the arrangement of the songs on your EP “Nightdrive With You”- especially “Never Ending Romance Disaster” and the title track “Nightdrive With You”  The title track captures the feeling of driving around a cool night perfectly. Did either of those songs evolve from inception to completion? Or was it a similar process as “Above Your Head” where they sounded exactly as they did in your head, as they do on the album?

A: Not really, because they were not made the same way. “Nightdrive…” and “N.E.R.D”  took more time to get done, they were like drafts to me, evolving every day, I think I have 5 or 6 different versions of these songs, I was trying things with them. “Above Your Head” was composed on a 2 hour flight from Spain to France. I had the full song in my head before taking off, I switched on my laptop straight when the belt sign turned off and wrote it.

D: You collaborated with jazz-folk singer. Siobhan Wilson, and Sally Shapiro, Sweden’s disco princess, on your new album. How did those pairings come about?

A: Spontaneously! I saw Siobhan singing in a club in Paris a couple of months before starting the album recordings, and when it came to Dolphins & Highways, I thought something was missing so I asked her.

For Sally, I had this track that I  liked but I didn’t feel like singing on; I sent her the track, she sent it back with the vocals!

D: On “Wherever the Sun Sets” there are a lot of come down moments or “watching the sunset moments”. By that I mean there’s the rush and the excitement of “Long Hot Summer Night” and “You Taste Like Cherry” and then there the subtler moments such as “Here You Go” and “Above Your Head” What’s the story/meaning behind “Here You Go” and what does the line “Give yourself a chance to forget” mean to you?

A: It can appear a bit abstract as it’s a 4 sentences song 😀 It’s like compressing 30 lines to 4, and the story is basically about leaving everything to a new place, a new job, a new love a new whatever, like “Give yourself a chance to forget what you already know, everything is possible”. I hope you understand what I mean, it’s totally clear to me but a bit hard to explain ahah!

D: There’s something about your sound that is nostalgic. There’s an element of the film “Risky Business” and a certain Miami Vice-ish and “Midnight Express” mood to your music. Would the opportunity to score a film appeal to you?

A: Sure, I would love that!

D: What are some songs that make a “good indie road tape” for you?

A: I could mention many many things, I  actually wrote this song (Talk To Me) thinking about my teenage music loves, like Pavement, The Rentals, That Dog!, Pearl Jam… But as an example, here is a mixtape I made a couple of weeks ago for a french web magazine called Brain Mag : http://soundcloud.com/anoraak/mix-brain

D: Although “Wherever the Sun Sets has the mood of summer to it, it was released just at the close of summer, into autumn. What is the transition of summer into autumn like in Nantes?

A: Days are getting shorter, the sun begins to be shy, and the tree takes crazy colors, but still it’s really beautiful. But I hate November, it’s the worst month of the year to me, sooo cold and not enough light. I’m really obsessed with summer and sun because i grew up my early years in the south of France, and since I moved from there my goal in life is to find back a sunny place ;D

D: What did you, the boy from Nantes,  want to be when you grew up?

A: I was changing every 2 days! I really loved sport as a kid, but I couldn’t keep going on one, I had to change all the time, i got bored really fast ahah!

For more on Anoraak please visit his Myspace and Website.

“Wherever The Sun Sets” is available on iTunes

♥ ♫ Ditte

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