Deriving his name from a French word for “tawny,” an orange-brown or yellowish-brown, Sory is a mysterious and emerging Parisian electronic music producer and electronic music artist, who has started to receive attention for a sound that’s heavily influenced by electro pop and electro funk. Thematically, the French producer and artist’s work draws from his lifelong obsession with robots — with the material taking the listener on an intergalactic future in which humanity is at one with machinery.
Last month, Sory released his debut EP, the four song Fall ‘N’ Rise, which featured lead single “Sitting on a cloud.” “Sitting on a cloud” gave a hint at what listeners should expect from the effort: slickly produced electro pop that nodded at funk and disco, centered around vocodored vocals. The EP’s second and latest track, the cinematic “Cyberpunk attack” is centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, thumping beats, four-on-the floor drumming and an enormous hook. Arguably, the most retro-futuristic of Fall ‘N’ Rise’s four tracks, “Cyberpunk attack” manages to bring Daft Punk, Giorgio Moroder and John Carpenter soundtracks to mind. That shouldn’t be surprising: the song imagines an attack in which humans are captured and made into cyborgs through the implantation of bio-mechanical components. In the case the song’s composer imagines a future in which a memory chip that captures the entirety of his personality, memory, talents and history was implanted in his brain. The track asks if that were to happen, how does one regain their humanity and soul?
Formed in 2017, VAPA (an acronym for the French phrase Vous n’Avez Pas d’Avis, which translates into English as “You Have No Opinion”) is an emerging French electronic music collective that’s inspired by what the French journalist Jean-Yves Leloup has dubbed “conscious dance floor,” the project aims to bring people together through music but while addressing larger social issues, linking the hedonism and freedom of the party to the seriousness of our age — with a hint of optimism.
The project’s sound draws influences from Thylacine, Jon Hopkins, Agoria, and Essaie Pas but paired with the voices of personalities, fellow musicians and journalists as a way to to take an honest look at the world, to raise questions and our fears as a way to push the listener into action. “An introspective quest put into words and melodies!” VAPA’s mysterious creative mastermind says in press notes.
VAPA’s latest single “Nuages Oranges” is an eerily atmospheric track and sensual track centered around shimmering and squiggling synth arpeggios, rapid-fire beats, a dance floor rocking hook and the dreamily sultry French vocals of VoxAxoV’s Charlotte Cegarra. And while sonically bearing a resemblance to Octo Octa’s Between Two Selves and From Here to Eternity and From Here to Eternity . . . And Back-era Giorgio Moroder, the track focuses on the climate crisis, exile, existential anguish in the face of the world that’s adrift — and then hope.
Juno Francis is a mysterious and emerging Berlin-based indie synth pop duo, featuring two Swedes, who serendipitously met through mutual friends and had an instant creative connection. With the release of “Dance With Me,” the Swedish-born, Berlin-based duo have received attention in Germany for a sound that they describe as a mix of 60s psychedelia and cheesy 80s sounds. But interestingly, “Dance With Me” sounds as though it were inspired by Giorgio Moroder and Daft Punk – in particular, Moroder’s From Here to Eternity . . . And Back and Daft Punk’s Homework comes to my mind.
Building upon a growing profile, the Berlin-based duo released their latest single “Queen’s Anthem” today – and the single continues a run of shimmering and sultry pop centered around rousingly anthemic hooks but unlike its predecessor, it’s decidedly ‘80s inspired, reminding me of Stevie Nicks and JOVM mainstays St. Lucia and Washed Out. Certainly, as a child of the ‘80s, the track manages to bring fond memories of much simpler – and perhaps, far safer – times.
I recently exchanged emails with the members of Juno Francis for this edition of JOVM’s ongoing Q&A series. In this interview, I chat with the emerging and mysterious band about their shimmering and infectious new single, their influences, Berlin – in particular, places to go, things to see and places to see music, and more. And of course, with governments across the world closing bars, restaurants, nightclubs and music venues to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the impact on the music industry – especially on small and mid-sized venues, and the touring artists, who grace their stages has been devastating and life altering. Over the course of this pandemic, I’ll be talking to artists about how the pandemic has impacted them and their careers. Naturally, there are a lot of lost gigs and lost opportunities and artists across the world have been frantically figuring out what their next steps are – if any. In the case of Juno Francis, they tell me what they’ve been doing to remain creative, as well as continue the momentum of “Dance With Me.”
Check out the interview and the single below.
Solina Records · Juno Francis – Queen’s Anthem
WRH: Much of the world has been in quarantine and adhering to social distancing guidelines as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hopefully you and your loved ones are safe and healthy. How are you holding up? How are you spending your time? Are you binge watching anything?
Juno Francis: We are safe and healthy and spending most of our time hanging out with a webcam drinking wine or working on some new material. New favorite shows are Foodie Love, Killing Eve and a little bit of Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! when the quarantine loco vibe strikes.. 😉
WRH: Since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, festivals have been postponed or cancelled outright, artists of all stripes have postponed, rescheduled or cancelled tour dates. Most of the world has been on an indefinite pause. How has COVID-19 impacted you and your career?
JF: All shows have been cancelled or postponed and of course that is affecting our career, but we’re working on new material and some live streams instead and it’s not that bad.
WRH: You’re currently based in Berlin. What brought you to Berlin?
JF: Well we both moved here to float around in the music scene with the intention to float into a person to do great music with. It’s a city we both find fascinating and crazy, right up our alley
WRH: I’ve been to Frankfurt many years ago for the Frankfurt Book Fair. What can I say? It was a free trip. I desperately want to see Berlin though. So, say I get on a Lufthansa flight to Berlin. Where should I go to get a taste of local life? What’s a tourist spot that I’d have to see to get a true sense of Berlin?
JF: Berlin has many sides and in our side there’s not that many tourist spots or book fairs, but if we were your guide for a weekend we would probably show you ”Juno Juno Shop” a great vintage store and the location for our studio. We would take you to nice wine bars and show you some nice industrial areas where you can boogie woogie to some disco beats all night long. 🙂
WRH: Where’s your favorite spot to see live music in Berlin?
JF: We describe our sound as mix of psychedelic 60s and 80s pop. So far we only released songs that sound more 80s pop but later this summer we will release an EP that show the other side of the Juno Francis project..
WRH: Your latest single “Queen’s Anthem” officially drops today. I love the track It’s got that anthemic 80s synth sound paired with enormous hooks – and as a child of the 80s, it brings back a lot of memories. What’s the song about?
JF: It’s a nostalgic memory of growing up in Sweden and the mixed emotions connected to moving back. It’s also about believing in yourself and the longing for something more.
WRH: How do you know when you have a finished song?
JF: It’s all in the vibe, if it feels right and sounds right it’s done. Some songs take a week to finish others months and some haunted ones never seam to be done..
WRH: What’s next for you?
JF: We are working on an EP at the moment and aim for a release in the middle of this summer. It will be exploring other sides of the project and sound a bit more dreamy and mysterious…
Deriving their name from a playful, Anglophile nod towards the famed physicist Issac Newton, the Paris-based electro pop act Isaac Delusion — founding members and creative core Loïc Fleury (vocals, guitar) and Jules Paco (keys) — was formed back in 2010. With the release of 2014’s self-titled debut effort, the act received attention for a sound and approach that meshed the acoustic instrumentation with a bold use of electronics — while nodding a bit at dream pop.
The duo then toured exclusively across France and the rest of the European Union to support their full-length debut. Interestingly, 2017’s sophomore effort Rust & Gold found the duo’s sound shifting from the ethereal and atmospheric dream pop of its immediate predecessor with the material focusing on tangible emotions, soulful rhythms and insightful observations on one and the human condition.
The Paris-based electro pop’s first two albums have managed to amass over 500,000 Spotify streams a month. Building upon a rapidly growing profile across their native France and elsewhere, the act played Pitchfork Paris, as well as sold-out headlining shows at venues like L’Olympia and Elysee Montmarte.
Microqlima Records released the French duo’s third album uplifters last year. Thematically, the album was centered around misplaced nostalgia for one’s long-passed youth, As a result the album’s material is imbued with a longing for the freedom, simplicity and unguarded honesty of their younger selves — and regret for the missed opportunities you can never get back. And much like its predecessors, uplifters‘ material was written and sung primarily in English with a handful of songs written and sung in their native French.
Album single “pas l’habitude” was one of the few album tracks written and sung in French. While the song is a breezy synth pop song, centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, plaintive and dreamy vocals, a sinuous bass line and an infectious hook — but the song’s breezy and easygoing nature is superficial: the song is actually an achingly bittersweet ode to the proverbial loss of innocence and getting older. Life and its ambiguity after all, will break your heart countless times over. It’s up to you to pick up the pieces and move forward.
Franc Moody is a London-based electro pop collective, centered around its core duo and creative masterminds Ned and Jon. Jon comes from a family of classical musicians and as result, he grew up surrounded by oboes, cellos and violins. Ned grew up listening to the music that his parents played on car trips — classic soul, 50s/60s New Orleans music, Chuck Berry,Little Richard and Eddie Cochran. “I loved the melody and the groove of that music, but I think really I loved the energy of it as well,” Ned explains in press notes.
The London-based collective’s core duo met when they ere part of a a collection of bands and musicians, who took over an abandoned warehouse in North London back in 2014. “It was called the Arch,” Jon recalls. “When we moved in, it was bare bones concrete walls. A horrible place basically. We built these two analogue recording studios. There were old microphones, hammered organs, and beaten up guitar amps. It was quite craggy.”
The Arch quickly became known for raucous and packed live shows and parties that went well into the night, with live bands frequently getting on around 3am. We’ve all been to similar parties: there’s no bouncer, one port-a-potty with a line of being desperately waiting to pee but the vibe is amazing. Interestingly, Ned and Jon cut their teeth as live musicians in that environment. “We learned to love performing music that made people dance, in the same way those old funk and soul artists used to,” Ned explains. “In fact, what we were doing at the warehouse was sort of in a similar tradition to the Zydeco sessions and crawfish boils around South Louisiana, purely focused around dancing. It was quite simple.”
Franc Moody started in earnest when the duo moved out of The Arch and began to focus on a project that meshed their various influenced. No longer living in the warehouse, they struggled to find a space big enough to fit a drum kit. Instead, they stated programming drums and an electronic aesthetic began to permeate through their older influences.
Their debut effort, 2016’s self-titled EP consisted of a series of Giorgio Moroder-like instruments; but their breakthrough single, the critically applauded “Dopamine” found the band truly establishing their sound: a disco-tinged sound that was subtly indebted to Prince. Building upon a growing profile, the duo released their sophomore EP, 2018’s Dance Moves which eventually amassed over 20 million streams.
They’ve also developed a mesmerizing live sound, inspired by the warehouse rave scene that they came up in — and those live shows find them surrounded by a cast of collaborators and friends as their backing band. In fact, they’ve opened for Friendly Fires and a number of other acts. Recently, the London-based electro pop collective remixed “pas l’habitude.” And while they retain Loïc Fleury’s achingly plaintive French vocals, they turn the song into Random Access Memories-era Daft Punk like club banger, centered around a sinuous bass line, shimmering synth arpeggios and four on the floor drum programming.
Over the past couple of years of this site’s nearly 10 year history, I’ve managed to spill quite a bit of virtual ink covering Stockholm, Sweden-based multi-instrumentalist, electro pop artist, electro pop producer and Labrador Records label head Johan Angergård and his various projects including Djustin, Club 8 and his solo recording project The Legends.
Since the early 00s, Angergård has released six albums, including 2009’s self-titled debut, 2015’s It’s Love and 2017’s Nightshift, which was a decidedly From Here to Eternity/fFrom Here to Eternity . . . And Back-era Giorgio Moroder-like affair. Along with that, the prolific Stockholm-based multi-instrumentalist, electronic music artist, producer, label held and JOVM mainstay has released a number of critically applauded, blogosphere dominating singles. He’s currently working on his forthcoming seventh full-length The Legends album — but in the meantime, his latest single, “Fascinating” finds the JOVM mainstay collaborating with emerging, Taos, NM-based psych pop duo Tan Cologne, who will be releasing their full-length debut Cave Vaults on the Moon in New Mexico this year through Labrador Records.
Clocking in at 83 seconds, the decidedly lo-fi song is a breezy and infectious track centered around shimmering and swirling layers of guitars, thumping percussion and ethereal vocals that evokes the sensation of diving through warm water — and of being awoken from a surreal, feverish dream.
Fleur Offwood is an emerging French singer/songwriter, electronic music producer and electronic music artist, who quietly released two albums through Bandcamp last year. Zigzag, the emerging French artist’s forthcoming effort will reportedly further cement her genre-defying sound and approach.
Interestingly, the effort’s first single is the propulsive, club-banging “Owl.” Centered around layers of shimmering and arpeggiated analog synths, tweeter and woofer rocking beats and a looped heavily vocoder’ed vocal sample, the track — to my ears — reminds me of From Here to Eternity and From Here to Eternity . . . And Back-era Giorgio Moroder, Daft Punk and others.
The recently released video for “Owl” is comprised of looped found footage of owls — both held in captive and in the wild, which adds a creepy vibe to the overall proceedings. As Offwood explained to me in an email, the video was “inspired by the experimental video artist Chris Marker.”
JackLNDN is a rapidly rising London-born and-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, electronic music artist and electronic music producer. who can trace the origins of his music career to when he was a boy: he grew up in a hone in which his family almost exclusively to jazz, funk and classical music in equal measure. When he was 7, he sang in professional choirs — and by the time, he was 10, he had met Queen Elizabeth and recorded material at Abbey Road Studios.
With the release of attention grabbing tracks like “The Feels,” “Never Get Enough,” “Start Over Again” and “All I See,” the British electronic music artist and producer firmly established a unique sound and approach in electronic music/deep house: he frequently pairs his own vocals with productions that are simultaneously indebted to jazz and house music. Along with a series of successful remixes, JackLNDN’s work has amassed millions of streams. Adding to a growing profile, the rising British artist and producer released his self-released full-length debut Thoughts last year.
Since the release of his full-length debut, JackLNDN has followed up by enlisting two of his favorite electronic music artists, electronic music producers and fellow Brits — Fluida and Frameworks — to remix two of Thoughts songs. Album single “With You” is a sultry and summery track centered around shimmering and arpeggiated synths, thumping beats, the British producer’s plaintive and ethereal vocals and a sinuous yet crowd pleasing hook. Sonically, the song — to my ears, at least — brings Octo Octa‘s Between Two Selves and Giorgio Moroder to mind.
Clocking in at a little over seven minutes, Fluida’s remix is centered around propulsive tribal beats while retaining the shimmering synth arpeggios, the gorgeous melody and sinuous hooks of the original; however, the remix turns the song into a euphoria-inducing drum ‘n’ bass meets tribal house instrumental.
With the release of last year’s full-length debut, Confident Music for Confident People, which featured a handful of breakthrough singles, the Brisbane, Australia-based dance pop act Confidence Man — led by Janet Planet and Sugar Bones and featuring Clarence McGuffie and Reggie Goodchild — received attention nationally and internationally for a crowd-pleasing, club friendly sound seemingly inspired by Donna Summer, Giorgio Moroder and Deeee-Lite-era house music.
Adding to a growing profile and busy summer, the rapidly rising Aussie dance pop played across the international festival circuit, including a stop at Glastonbury Festival — and amazingly earning an opening slot for the legendary New Order. Interestingly, Confidence Man’s latest single, the shimmering, club anthem “Does It Make You Feel Good” continues on the momentum of the past year. Centered around a slick production featuring a thumping and propulsive beat, shimmering synth arpeggios, a sinuous bass line and a rousing hook, the song manages to be heavily indebted to late 80s and early 90s house and Club MTV-era MTV — i.e., Black Box, C+C Music Factory, the aforementioned Deeee-Lite and others. But instead of ascribing to soulless mimicry, the song reveals an act with a careful and deliberate attention to craft.
Directed by the Aussie dance pop act’s longtime visual collaborators Schall and Schanbel, the recently released visual is s striking fever dream that’s reminds me quite a bit of the work of Dario Argento — but with an extensive dance sequence in between the gore, ecstatic occult rituals and laser shooting boobies and cute animals.
Simon Henner is a Marseille, France-based electro pop producer and artist, best known for his solo recording project French 79. With the release of his debut EP Angel and his full-length debut Olympic, Henner quickly and boldly emerged into the French and international electro pop scenes.
Building upon a rapidly rising profile, Henner’s soon-to-be released album Joshua, which is slated for a November 8, 2019 release through Alter K Records, reportedly finds the French electro pop producer and artist drawing from his past — in particular Tangerine Dream, Kraftwerk, Soft Machine, the soundtracks of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Blade Runner and Jacques Cousteau. Each of Joshua’s songs are meant to evoke a lived-in moment, relationship or experience during Henner’s childhood.
Interestingly, the album’s latest single, “By Your Side,” is centered around thumping beats, shimmering synth arpeggios and Ocean Springs, MS-born, Paris-based vocalist Sarah Rebecca’s plaintive vocals to create a nostalgia-inducing track that sounds indebted to From Here To Eternity . . . and Back-era Giorgio Moroder, and the Stranger Things soundtrack. And while being remarkably dance floor friendly, the track is a sweet declaration of loyalty that feels delightfully old-school.
Directed by Le Couple, the recently released video for “By Your Side” follows the previous video for “Hold On,” as it nods to Simon Henner’s childhood love of skateboarding, while being imbued with the nostalgia of places you once knew with someone else. “The video sticks to the story of the album, the notion of a trajectory in a life: where we c one from and where we go despite hardships,” Henner explains in press notes
I’ve written quite a bit about the New York-based electro funk/neo-disco production and artist and longtime JOVM mainstays Holy Ghost! over the years, and as you may recall, l, with the release of the their first three full-length albums — 2011’s self-titled debut, 2013’s Dynamics and 2014’s remix album Work For Hire — the duo, which is comprised of Alex Frankel and Nicholas Millhiser received attention nationally and internationally. Building upon a growing profile, the duo have remixed the work of Katy Perry, LCD Soundsystem, Moby and a lengthy list of others; made national TV appearances on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and The Late Show with David Letterman; toured with the legendary New Order; and played sets at some of this country’s and the world’s biggest festivals including Coachella, Outside Lands, Primavera Sound and Bonnaroo.
Work, the duo’s first batch of new, original material in over five years reportedly finds Frankel and Millhiser attempting to revisit the freedom of expectations that was suffered through their earliest recorded output — and interestingly, the proverbial return to form partially stemmed from circumstances: the duo dismantled their basement Brooklyn studio and relocated to a small room that a few musician friends of theirs were renting about a doctor’s office (coincidentally, the same address where they mixed their full-length debut). Because of the room’s limited space, they pared their extensive gear collection down to two synths — a Yamaha CS-80 and a Mini Moog. “Not necessarily the bare necessities, but what would make for the most interesting limited palette,” says Millhiser. “David Bowiedidn’t have every fucking synthesizer on earth to make Low. He had two. And that’s one of my favorite synth records of all time.”
Slated for a Friday release through West End Records, the forthcoming album’s material will continue the duo’s long-held reputation for crafting each sound from scratch with an unapologetic, exacting precision — and it’s their analog approach to electronic music that heavily informs the songwriting, production and sound of the album. Interestingly, album single “Escape From Los Angeles” was centered by shimmering and arpeggiated synths, a motorik groove, ethereal crooning, thumping beats and a sinuous yet infectious hook — while seemingly indebted to From Here to Eternity . . . And Back-era Giorgio Moroder and Kraftwerk. Interestingly, Work‘s latest single “Do This” is another straightforward club banger that meshes early hip-hop, house music and disco in a way that recalls Sugarhill Gang, Nile Rodgers and Pet Shop Boys— thanks in part to arpeggiated synths, a sinuous bass line, a two-step inducing hook and plaintive vocals.
Directed by the duo, the recently released video for “Do This” was shot on 16mm film by Jesse Cain and follows the entire process of recording and making a vinyl album, from the recording sessions at James Murphy’s Plantain Studios, to mastering at Heba Kadry’s Brooklyn-based mastering suite, to cutting the master disk with Bob Weston in Chicago, to pressing and packaging at RTI Pressing and finally to Amoeba Records in Los Angeles. It’s a behind the scenes look at the entire process revealing the professionalism and dedication of dozens of hard-working people that’s actually inspired by the famous Sesame Street “Making Crayons” segment. Originally aired in the early 80s, the clip made a deep impression on the members of Holy Ghost! “We wanted to document the ancient and very special process of making vinyl, from recording and mixing all the way to packaging and store delivery,” Frankel explains.