The title of Caravan Palace’s new album is actually a collection of symbols that together make up the face of a robot. But this time around, the Parisian electro-swing septet has more up its collective sleeve than a quirky title.
For their critically acclaimed third LP, the band has ramped things up in every department. As a result, " " spent more than 20 weeks on Billboard’s Electronic/Dance chart and made it to the fifth position on their Heatseekers chart.
Caravan Palace’s wild, all-encompassing live show is coming to the Observatory in North Park on June 6. And founding member Hugues Payen recently spoke with DiscoverSD about it all from his home in Paris.
Q: The new album is a leap forward production-wise and sounds incredibly modern. Was that always the plan?
A: I like hearing that you think it sounds modern. That’s exactly what we were aiming for. We are supposed to be electro-swing artists. The movement tends to move in a circle and always do the same thing. We wanted to do different things.
Q: What kind of different things?
A: Well, let me explain. On the first album, we didn’t know where we were going. We made something people liked and then began to re-appropriate and redo. For the second one, we really wanted to break the rules. We did, but it wasn’t the music we wanted to hear. On this record, we just wanted to make the kind of music that we listen to ourselves.
When: 8 p.m. Monday (June 6)
Where: Observatory North Park, 2891 University Ave., North Park
Cost: $22 in advance, $24 day of show
Q: Is it difficult to reconcile seven different musical opinions?
A: On stage we are seven. But for composing, we are just four. And we know each other very well. We know where each of us wants to go with the songs. And even if it ends up being a mistake, we are free to go there.
Q: For a group of musicians, is it difficult to let the electronic elements/beats play such a major role?
A: No. We don’t listen to a lot of electro-swing music. But if we do, it’s more the crossover that has a structure of bass and beats. We find it very interesting and what we listen to every day is trap music and glitch music and we wanted to put those elements in. And it wasn’t always that way, but nowadays, when we’re making the album, we spend a lot more time in front of the computer than we do our instruments.
Q: Is there a story behind naming your album "" ?
A: It started as a joke. And we talked about it a lot. But when it got to the point of naming the album, we had to find some good arguments to do it. And there were a lot of them. It’s a robot. And the robot is the symbol of Caravan Palace from the beginning. It fits the story.
Q: The tour runs through the end of the year. Are you working on new material as well?
A: We never were able to create on tour. When we create, we need some kind of stability, some markers - your home, your children, yourself. When you’re on tour, you really don’t have any of that. We just give the very best of ourselves in what we’re supposed to do in the concert.
Scott McDonald is a writer, on-air personality and consultant with 15 years of experience in the San Diego music scene. He has interviewed hundreds of artists, from the legendary to the underground, for print and television. Follow McDonald and his melodic musings on Twitter @eight24_ or Instagram @scotteight24. Send your music musts to firstname.lastname@example.org.