An encounter with Fakear, animal electro revelation
Young French electro-music revelation Fakear is about to release Animal, a first album filled with sunshine whose sensual beats and subtle melodies take the listener on a trippy, poetic journey.
Called to stardom in 2014 thanks to his track La Lune rousse (which was viewed nearly four-million times), Théo Le Vigoureux (his real name) gave a triumphant concert in October 2015 at Paris’s Olympia, which was packed to the rafters for the occasion. Powerfully evocative, his tracks recall the humanist, ecologist mangas of Japanese filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke) and the mysterious jungle of Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Uncle Boonmee, Tropical Malady). Numéro met up with the young musician who is taking electro back to nature.
Numéro: The title of your album, Animal, sounds like a manifesto. What’s behind this idea of plunging electro music into nature?
Fakear: I want to remind everyone that man belongs to the animal kingdom, and that we are creatures who are profoundly linked to nature. I come from Normandy, and now I live in Switzerland, in a little village of 500 people. The city has never been easy for me, quite the contrary. Cities cause us to lose our individuality by making us anonymous. In one sense, they drive us mad. That typically urban depression and cynicism becomes the only refuge. My main ambition is to re-establish the essential link that unites us with our original environment. In the middle of the forest, at night, on drugs − that’s probably the best way to enjoy the album!
Your use of “primitive” sounds, of noises from tropical forests, but also your treatment of voices like animal cries create a disturbing feeling of exoticism.
My music seems exotic because it offers a return to nature, something which most people no longer have any connection with. You might go on holiday in the middle of nature, but none of us really lives in it anymore. Besides, I never deliberately seek exoticism. When I choose an “ethnic”-sounding instrument or a natural sound, it’s always because of its musical qualities.
You’ve been working on the album for over a year. How has your sound evolved?
At the beginning, I imagined a very subtle sound, in the same spirit as the label Ninja Tune. I was looking to move away from the pop format. And then I fell in love. I recorded seven or eight tracks in the space of a month, and the album took on a more luminous dimension, and gained in purity. My music is always a snapshot of a very personal moment, in this case my meeting the person in question, and my departure for Switzerland that followed. A solar storm. More recently, I added two new tracks which demonstrate the recent evolution of my music: more hovering, more synthetic and more spatial. Less ethnic. The sound has gained in breadth and is closer to American productions than to the light English dubstep which people have often associated me with.
Your very eclectic influences go from the “French touch” of Daft Punk’s Discovery period to trip-hop of the 2000s (Zero 7, Morcheeba) via world music of the Deep Forest kind…
This open-mindedness probably comes from my parents, who are both musicians. My father founded a school of music based in alternative teaching methods. Music must be a passion before becoming a theoretical apprenticeship. The moment it felt like a constraint, I stopped everything. The idea of being obliged to do something has always been unbearable to me.
Animal, by Fakear (nowadays records/mercury), out on June 3rd.
Interview by Thibaut Wychowanok