Mr Oizo - Electro Oizard
Thursday, 4 October 2007
The French have consistently permeated music at just the right moment. It always seems to come at a time when the rampant frivolity of a preceding period has ended; a time when the je ne sais quoi makes way for a new, different, more focused and direct sound. The famed Frenchman Etienne de Crécy famously decreed years ago, “Artists had to evolve”. House, electro and their offspring, he determined, was a sound that was sexy and likewise easy to do. It may have gotten harder-edged, or softer, but their aim as the morally conscientious French was to try chilling it out. Another flexing Frenchman, David Guetta, referred to by some as the Godfather, was in turn influenced by eclectic and cosmopolitan sounds from the likes of Prince, Depeche Mode and Giorgio Moroder.
And then there are guys like Quentin Dupieux – or Mr Oizo as he is more commonly referred to. His incarnation came in a similar way, when he directed the video for Laurent Garnier’s Flashback single.
“It happened in a strange kind of way,” he chimes, ruffling around for his keys while entering his apartment block. “This whole thing was not planned at all. I was just doing music for short films; I was always writing short films and shooting them. I never saw it like work – it was more a sort of research for me. Then one day I had to do a soundtrack so I started playing with a keyboard and an old synthesizer and it all continued from there.”
“[Garnier] wanted to release my first single – back in the day it was about me being a young man,” he continues. “He was pushing me and young people in general and he is well respected for doing that. He is one of the pioneers of French electronic music. It was for people like him that I was able to develop my own way. I never really thought about it until now, but it is quite difficult to do your own thing and develop your own style without that sort of direction.
“Listening to his music too, you get the distinct impression that he is influenced by all manner of varying elements. You will hear facets of electro, house, techno and an experimental edge that makes it unique but also undeniably French. Think Citroën – quirky but cool in its own insular way.
Interestingly, Dupieux has recently completed Steak – an experimental mainstream feature film that has been co-produced by French celebrities Eric and Ramzy. Likewise, he has completed the soundtrack for the film.
“First we were doing music for the film and during the editing when I was choosing what I would include I felt I was inspired by the film in a kind of retro way. So I think the album reflects that. I called my friends SebastiAn and Sebastien Teller and we worked on this quirky sort of soundtracks and finished it in around one month.
“I am also working on some other projects so I really want to start on a new album and really want to finish that; I am doing some commercials and some more experimental music. I have always said that I didn’t want to have just one kind of style and these days we have too many purists. I want to bring everybody together. As for the tour that is coming up, I am very excited. It is the first time I have a chance to visit Australia so I am lucky to get around five dates.”
WHO: Mr. Oizo
WHAT: Plays OneLove at Tank
WHEN: Saturday 13 October