The Drive Tour
Still can't get over Ryan Gosling in Drive? Do you loop Kavinsky's "Nightcall" on the iPod every time you hit the streets at night? You're in luck: Starting next month, College, Anoraak, and Electric Youth are hitting the road for what's being billed as The Drive Tour, where the three acts will perform a good number of tracks from the acclaimed film's genre-refining soundtrack. While Anoraak's music wasn't used in the film, it's not like they're out of place, either — especially with a track titled, "Nightdrive with You".
College, from his real name David Grellier, is a French electronic music composer born in 1979 in Nantes. At the end of the 90s, he purchased his first computer, with which he realized numerous demos influenced by artists such as Jeff Mills, Aphex Twin and labels such as Soma Records, Peacefrog or still Warp. In April 2007, he decided to create a blog to share their most recent productions: the Valerie project was born. Other artists such as Anoraak, The Outrunners or Maethelvin would soon join the blog. His first Ep Teenage Color was released that same year and allowed him to meet the German illustrators The Zonders.
A collaboration started then with the latter for all the flyers related to the Valerie Parties, as well as all the records and projects which are associated to them. An identity and a musical movement evoking a kind of nostalgia from the 80s arose and the international press started to notice the productions associated with Valerie. In 2009, while his first album entitled Secret Diary was being released, College toured with Anoraak all through the biggest capitals in Europe, the United States and Australia.
College also collaborated closely with the Canadian duet Electric Youth, who participated to the Ep A Real Hero, released on the Belgian label Flexx Records and selected in 2011 as the main theme for the movie DRIVE by Nicolas Winding Refn (Best Director Cannes Festival 2011)
When Frederic Riviere says something along the lines of "the sun and the sea are really important to me," it's easy to think, 'Oh great, another chillwave artist who enjoys long walks on the beach and sitting on the dock of the bay all day.
If only things were that simple. While he's certainly into laser-guided synth lines and sepia-toned nostalgia trips, Riviere's debut album as Anoraak (Wherever the Sun Sets) is more indebted to Italo disco, Motown-schooled funk and sepia-toned pop music—think: M83 on Ecstasy—than anything that's lo-or-glo-fi. Which makes sense. After all, it's not like the French producer/singer/multi-instrumentalist picked up his first battery-powered keyboard yesterday. Truth be told, Anoraak began as a bedroom-based project about eight years ago, as Riviere searched for sound engineer work and found nothing but bar gigs.
"Everyone is an engineer in Paris," he explains. "It's like coming to L.A. and trying to be an actor."
Riviere reached a breaking point soon enough, after his role in several indie rock bands started to feel like "just another job." Determined to find his calling in the West of France, Riviere joined his old friends in Nantes (a city Time once called the most livable spot in all of Europe) and helped launch the Valerie collective/blog. Before he knew it, Riviere was channeling his childhood on the Nightdrive With You EP, a buzz-stirring attempt at everything from moon-lit club music (the title track) to Boards of Canada-inspired IDM ("Endless Summer").
"They make really deep music," Riviere says, referring to the legendary Warp duo, "songs that make you feel good and bad at the same time."
Similar traces of melancholy slip into Wherever the Sun Sets (see: the richly-layered instrumental loops of "Midnight Sunset") as well. But let's be honest—it's a feel-good full-length for the most part., a seamless blend of live and programmed elements that's essentially an electronic take on the SoCal rock LPs (Weezer, That Dog) that Riviere loved as a kid growing up in the South of France (the Medieval city where Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves was filmed, if you must know). SoCal in spirit, at least, as standout tracks like "Try Me" and "Long Hot Summer Night" absolutely nail the essence of being on a beach without a care in the world. And then there's "Don't Be Afraid" and "Dolphins & Highways," a pair of from-dusk-'til-dawn ballads that feature an alt-disco diva (Sally Shapiro) and Scottish folk singer (Siobhan Wilson) respectively.
"It's a back-to-the-'80s vibe that has no boundaries," Riviere explains. "if something's cheesy, it's cheesy. I have no problem with that, so long as it moves you."
Electric Youth's Austin Garrick and Bronwyn Griffin, middle school sweethearts turned synth duo, churn out 80's inspired, electro-pop melodies and dreamy ballads that capture the moment the mallrat went supernova and became America's sweetheart. The Toronto natives penned the infectious track "A Real Hero," the central theme song for the Ryan Gosling landmark film Drive, which became the movies unofficial anthem and propelled the soundtrack to become one of the best of the year. The soundtrack has reached the top-5 albums on iTunes and "A Real Hero" is the best selling single download from the score, having charted the top 10 iTunes Dance Charts in the U.S. and other countries overseas. Now a 5-piece touring act, Electric Youth are completing their debut album along with a music video fo their next single, "The Best Thing." Edging from the realm of dark cult films closer to the brink of pop music notoriety. Electric Youth's dreamy bedroom sound is the dark, dreamy direction that today's popular music is headed. A Full-length of their energetic pop escapades will be available this year, reviving restless hearts everywhere.