French music has moved on from the days of Euro pop beats and cheesy vocals. The current French music scene is crammed full of interesting artists, many of whom are making their move onto the international stage. From the south, Kid Francescoli and Oh! Tiger Mountain are the ones to watch. Here’s an intro to their music, styles and inspiration.
Kid Francescoli from Marseille began his singing career as an indie pop fan dreamily idolising Ennio Morricone’s film music. His music later became ‘electronised’ after he released an album in 2015 with Julia Minkin, an American singer who he met in New York.
Their relationship was conducted via the internet at the time through an exchange of music files and ideas, and has now been continued with their second collaboration, an album entitled Play Me Again. His first album was considered melancholic but the new one shows he hasn’t moved far from his ‘cottony beats, cinematic fixation and vintage synths’.
He says, ‘It’s the most varied album I’ve made, because I’m nourishing myself all the time with new music. When I started making music, I bought some CDs. Today, with the internet, you can listen to 10 albums a day: these influences from streaming platforms, such as Drake, ASAP, Rocky and Kendrick Lamar, can be heard in Play Me Again’. For the album he wanted a piece in French, a song in spoken-word, an electro track and a reggae number.
Oh! Tiger Mountain
Oh! Tiger Mountain are a Marseille band with wide-ranging influences ranging from 1960s girl groups, garage bands, punk, the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s, baritone guitars and everything else in between. They’ve headlined many of the festivals throughout France this summer.
Singer/songwriter Mathieu says of his inspiration that, ‘it’s always difficult to talk about my own work but I suppose the thing that interests me most is to write relatively simple songs that are to the point. Then I go and find the elements from everywhere that I need without having to pay heed to any particular production period from the 60s through to the Noughties. And then to do the arrangements, alone!’
The music and lyrics are written alone in his studio and he doesn’t collaborate. ‘Then I focus on the performance,’ he says. ‘I love to have absolute control on everything that’s going on in the performance. That for me is the biggest privilege that a musician has; total freedom to create.’
He describes himself, very tongue-in-cheek as a self-styled ‘soul/surf/pop crooner from Marseille’ who is all about the music. Too right.
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