INTERVIEW : PAROV STELAR
Combien d’étés avons-nous dansé sur Parov Stelar ? Combien de titres de Parov Stelar avons-nous écouté en boucle ? Combien de fautes avons-nous fait en Googlant son nom ? Le producteur autrichien, désormais inventeur de l’électro swing, fondateur et directeur du label Etage Noir, vient de sortir son nouvel album « Voodoo Sonic » et a répondu à nos questions. On passe en VO !
They say that you are the inventor of Electro-swing. Did you imagine that you were going to be at the origin of a musical trend ?
No not at all and everything kind of happened by accident. In the very beginning I put a Billie Holiday record on my turntables, and it got stuck. It sounded like a great loop, like a vocal sample on repeat. Cool I thought, fired up my computer and started working on a beat for that. It all worked out great and that was a bit of a magic moment for me. That’s how all of it started. I think Electro Swing delivers a very positive feeling and joy, an urge to move, get off your feet and dance. At the same time, it’s a little odd to hear these old sounds mixed with modern electronic beats, but this is exactly what it needs for people to remember.
Your tracks are synchronised in dozens of commercials, and we recognise them right away. What’s the secret of a Parov Stelar song ?
I don’t have an answer to that question. For me it’s important to find my own style and form of expression. To create something unique that hasn’t been there before in that kind of way. I think this is the key to success.
What are the 3 best samples in the music’s history for you ?
No way for me to mention just 3 and I don’t even want to start creating a list or a ranking. There are literally countless of « best » samples.
Your first EP was released in 2004. According to you, what has changed in music in 15 years ?
In the beginning I started out as a DJ, but realized very soon that the audience deserves more, the audience wants to see the music, not just hear it. That’s why I started forming the live band. Live music is as important for the fans as it has ever been and it will stay strong.
With recorded music there are changes indeed and I think that everything is more fast paced these days. There are so many releases and the attention span of the people gets shorter and shorter. So it’s more important these days to put your message across fast and understandable. However, for me creativity and artistic freedom is still the highest priority and I don’t let myself to be influenced too much by these trends.
You have given more than 1,000 shows and played in the biggest festivals. What are your best memories of the stage ?
There are many great moments. Actually almost every concert has it’s moments, no matter if you play for 500 or 50000. Of course it’s something special to have sold out shows on Broadway in New York or to play Coachella festival. France is definintely part of the club of countries with the most energetic fans. It’s so awesome to play in France, whether it’s a sold out show at Zenith or a festival like Solidays or somewhere throughout the country.
You have already collaborated with Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga, Lana Del Rey, Lukas Graham, Marvin Gaye, Bryan Ferry, Klingande …. who’s left on your wishlist?
I don’t want to name anyone big in particular, because it’s not about the big names. I enjoyed and liked working with all of them, working with Anduze or Karafizi is also very special.
The album combines three EPs, with an unreleased track: Sophie And the Hacker. What’s so special about this one?
There is no big story or plan behind it. We simply love the track Sophie and the Hacker and it needed a bit more time to finish. Also we thought it’s a really great bonus track for the album in order to have a new song on the finished project that comes on top of Voodoo Sonic 1, 2 and 3.
How do you deal with your side project « Sterlartronic »? Two projects, two styles ?
I never put myself just into one style of music. I realize that Electro Swing was the kind of sound, which made Parov Stelar famous and I feel honored and grateful for that. However, I like to produce different styles of music and some of that is just far apart for what Parov Stelar stands for. That’s why I like releasing those tracks under the mantel of Stelartronic.
Can you tell us a little about your label Etage Noir? Why a French name ?
The name comes from one of my first recording studios which happened to be in the basement of a house. It was always dark and pitch black if you didn’t turn on the lights. I always liked France and the French language, it’s very charming, so for me it’s that place in the basement that was called the « etage noir » and I used it for the name of the record label from that time on.
Apart from Schubert and you, there is another Austrian artist we should listen to over and over again ?
After naming Schubert you shouldn’t forget Mozart 😉 There are many different scenes in Austrian music and lots of promising artists coming out of Austria.