Since 2004, the Nouvelle Vague project, created by French duo Marc Collins and Olivier Libaux, has seen the release of four albums featuring sensual and chic cover versions of Eighties’ post-punk and new wave tunes sung by gorgeous women with amazing voices. The format has, unsurprisingly, won them a lot of fans and this month the group will be making many people in Barcelona happy with a performance of their new show (pictured), created with fashion designer Jean-Charles de Castelbajac.
METROPOLITAN: In Barcelona, you’ll be performing Dawn of Innocence: tell us about this show, what is the inspiration behind it and what can the audience expect to see? Marc Collins: It’s a real show of a kind that we’ve never done before, strangely, with costumes, dancers, video and more musicians, and a mix of songs from the four albums, some that we’ve never performed before and even some new covers! I think it’s our best show ever, glamorous and dark!
MET: The flamboyant designs of Jean-Charles de Castelbajac are quite different from the French chic look we’re used to seeing on Nouvelle Vague—what led you to work with the designer? MC: We met through Mareva Galanter, our new singer who is performing Dawn of Innocence, and last year we had the idea to create a show, Nouvelle Vague/Castelbajac. We were so happy with the result that we decided to continue this collaboration. Jean-Charles is not working with us as a fashion designer but as a contemporary artist who has a close relationship with music and post-punk.
MET: What made you decide to return to your French roots with new album Couleurs Sur Paris? Do you think there are any noticeable differences between your French- and English-speaking fans? MC: It’s just that I wanted to introduce some French new wave songs to our audience, French or not! I did a compilation in 2002 called So Young But So Cold with DJ Ivan Smagghe, presenting the originals of this era. I think that punk had a special ‘echo’ in France and we have some really good bands born out of punk, different from British or American post-punk. Bands like Elli and Jacno or Taxi Girl are good examples of this.
MET: You’ve worked with a lot of sexy French female singers over the years—do you have any plans to work with more sexy French male singers like Julien Doré? MC: I produced the first album of Nicolas Comment last year—I think he’s really sexy!
MET: What songs or bands are on your wish list to cover? Are you inspired by any 21st-century bands to cover their music or is it still too early for that? MC: I’m a bit tired of doing covers to be honest...I think I’ve said a lot on this subject (four albums!); it’s time to change and to write our own music, I think.
MET: You’ve obviously been busy in recent months but do you have any future projects lined up? MC: I’m always producing new music...too much maybe! I’m actually finishing the album of a great Lebanese singer called Yasmine Hamdane (ex Yas)—it’s beautiful and I’m very happy with it. I also wrote the music for a concept album performed by two young French artists, a bit like Melody Nelson [a 1971 album by Serge Gainsbourg], and I’ve written a whole album of music, kind of sensual, dark and cold music, called The Cold Wave Station.
MET: You play pretty regularly in Barcelona—what keeps bringing you back here? MC: We are playing everywhere a lot actually because we love to tour all around the world. Last time [we played here] was in this amazing Palau de la Música and next time will be a bit special because it’s our new show that we’ve only done three times before.
Dawn of Innocence, Sala Apolo, December 15th