Martin Solveig, The French Finesse: Smashing The Barriers
Frenchman Martin Solveig is, basically, one amazing dude. On some levels he doesn’t take himself seriously at all, and yet works tirelessly to bring something new, fresh and exciting to EDM lovers around the world. For a man who has experienced such accolades over the years it’s refreshing to see. “It’s been done a lot, especially by urban artists in the US,” says Solveig. “Guys like Busta Rhymes or Missy Elliot, or even Justin Timberlake. Those guys are monsters in terms of popularity, but they don’t act like ‘I’m a fucking rock star’, they laugh at themselves a lot and do a lot of silly things. It’s always what I prefer, so in my small acting range I’m trying to follow that kind of example.”
He’s discussing his Smash video series, which meld music and video together and will culminate in the release of his new album by the same name just as he heads to Australia for the Creamfields festival tour. He stars in the episodes as a washed up and lovelorn tennis star. “The starting point was a special scene from the movie The Royal Tenenbaums,” explains Solveig. “So when I re-saw the movie, I had already worked out the character of the fake manager but I wanted to have for myself the sort of character...not exactly Martin Solveig but a kind of distorted Martin Solveig. So I became a Richie Tenenbaum; a former tennis star who has become devastated by a love of a girl that he will never have. That’s my character, that’s the one that I wanted to play. We are about to shoot the third one which we are going to be releasing in the next couple of weeks.”
The first single off the new album is Hello, a collaboration with pop-indie darling Dragonette which has captured punters with its catchy hooks and club-friendly beats. In fact, it recently won Best Indie Dance Track at the 4th annual Beatport awards. The video for the track, starring Bob Sinclar, was shot in front of 12,000 rabid tennis fans at Roland Garros smack-bang in the middle of the French Open. Nerve-wracking stuff. “They made it very easy for us, and that was something that we didn’t expect,” says Solveig of the formidable crowd. “They were a proper tennis audience, and we played very bad tennis compared to what they were used to watching. I explained on the microphone ‘guys, we are not going to be playing good tennis, but if you want we can have fun together and make it seem like we do.’ They loved the idea and the whole crowd were very demonstrative and it really helped us.”
It soon becomes apparent that Martin Solveig is a very funny guy. He writes and directs all the Smash videos, but isn’t looking to move from music to film just yet. “Some people have said that ‘it’s not on purpose, but you’re funny.’ I find that very amusing. I’d certainly love to direct more, and to write more. It could definitely be a turn in my artistic career a little bit later on, but at the moment I’m really trying to focus on my music.” Good plan, and it’s going very well for him. He admits that things have gone very smoothly for him on this album as well as revealing a startling revelation about his extensive back-catalogue. “Normally I’m a bit of a struggler, working for ages on tracks and stuff, but things have happened smoothly and I’ve been very relaxed,” he says. “I’ve never been that proud of an album that I have done. I am really proud of this album, because every track has something to say, and is bringing something to the table. I can’t wait to make you listen to it, and I’ll actually be performing quite a few tracks from the album during the Creamfields tour.”
The guests appearing on the album are decidedly indie-pop, and while Dragonette appears to dominate proceedings with four tracks, “She has a great range, so we have tried to explore this a little bit together,” explains Solveig. “There’s Kele from Bloc Party singing on the new single and a couple of others which he won’t reveal right now. We are coming to Creamfields with a whole new album ready, which means a lot of new tracks which will be played for the first time in Australia,” says Solveig. “I’m also coming with my whole video team, and we will be shooting a new video for Smash in Australia. Then there will be a couple of surprises ion the stage but I can’t tell you about that yet.” Want your face in a video? Get to Creamfields.
Martin Solveig plays Creamfields with Wynter Gordon [USA], Bingo Players [NED], Dada Life [SWE] and more on Monday April 25 at the Melbourne Showgrounds.