("Aloud" Album to be released 26th July 2004)
On July 19th Parisian bon viveurs Aloud return with their second single taken from their forthcoming eponymous debut album. As ever the cervine Cyril Bodin sets his gravel-lined larynx to work on Greg Louis’ production and with nods to the likes of Don Henley and Huey Lewis & the News, ‘Sex & Sun’ is a Caddy-funk roof-down-rawk homage to the shiny genius of the eighties.
“It's all about the energy, the power and the kitsch of our favourite decade,” smiles Greg fondly. “To quote the great George Michael - it's natural, it's good, not everybody does it, but everybody should.”
“We've just got back from Miami,” growls Cyril. “Now that place is the definition of sex and sun. I’ve never seen so many big things - big cars, big arms, big tits. We were quite disappointed when we had to come back to France. “
And the Parisian duo definitely caused a storm in Sunshine State with their live Radio 1 broadcast and vocalist Cyril’s impromptu displays of nakedness in the DJ booth at Ministry of Sound’s Mynt Lounge party.
With four additional remixes of ‘Sex & Sun’ on offer there’s definitely something for even the most demanding of palettes.
Eric Prydz transforms the original into an electro-house boogaloo with filtered vocals and New Order style synth lines, while the Thin White Duke wanders off the trail into bongo country with a mix that comes on like The Beloved meets Eddie Vedder. Next Peter Katafalk returns with his first mix since the electro stormer ‘Down & Up’, offering an eighties-style rock-pop shot of electric-blue adrenaline (did someone say Duran Duran?) Finally Romain Tranchart steps up with his Fender-funked ‘Sex ‘n’ Sun ‘n’ Rock ‘n’ Roll Dub.’
‘Sex & Sun’ is the second single to be taken from the forthcoming ‘Aloud’ long player. “The concept for the album was based roughly around the life of a fictional character,” explains Cyril. “It follows his life from birth to death and takes in everything from from teenage rebellion, madness sex, love, paranoia and self-discovery.”
“But we didn’t have this whole story to start with,” insists Greg. “We made all the songs individually and when we were finished the concept just seemed to appear. As if by magic!”
the trouble with Romain
If you live in the 17th District of Paris, the chances are you’ll know a musical pioneer or two. The area is the epicentre for the French house family tree. Acts like Daft Punk, Modjo and Buffalo Bunch are always popping round to each other’s studios for a nice cup of tea; whilst labels like Roule and Aloud’s own We Rock imprint are a mere onion’s throw away.
“Everybody knows everybody else in this city,” yawns the hirsute half of Aloud, Cyril Bodin. “I think I met [fellow Aloud cohort] Greg in about 1996. I was a friend of Romain from Modjo. He then introduced me to another Romain, Romain Seo from the Buffalo Bunch, who it turned out was Greg’s best friend. Romain, the second one, and Greg were working on a project that they need a vocalist for, so the first Romain, the one from Modjo, recommended me. It’s quite complicated.”
“Yes. And soo boring, Cyril!” chastises the band’s composer/ producer Gregory Louis, before adding helpfully, “But I used to be in a rock band with Romain called Freefall.”
After meeting, hitting it off and realizing they shared not only the same friends but also a vision, the pair formed their own label We Rock in 2000. Within months, the remix offers came flooding in: they’d soon overhauled micro-club classics like Modjo ‘What I Mean’, IIO’s ‘Rapture’ and WFB feat Mani Hoffman ‘The Thing’.
Born and bred in the city, both boys were raised in musical families. Gregory has been studying the piano since the tender age of five. “My Grandfather loved music,” he smiles fondly. “We’ve even used one of his old synths on the album in his memory.”
“Ah, but my mother was a model and my stepfather was an artist,” declares Cyril. “They took me to my first concert when I was three and I saw Bob Dylan! There was always music on when I was growing up – anything from the Rolling Stones to Pattie Smith. And I must have started singing along to Thriller when I was about 10 years old. By the time I was 17 I was DJing in over 50 clubs throughout Paris playing hip hop. I loved going out in Paris: I love the concrete.”
“There’s also this family atmosphere between all the producers in this city,” says Greg. “Yeah, we argue, but it’s because we’re all very honest. If we think something sounds shit, we’ll say so, but equally we always share ideas, new sounds, techniques – that sort of thing. We’re always hanging out with each other.”
“I went skiing with Romain Seo the other week,” Greg recalls. “You remember Romain from Cyril’s boring story? Anyway, I have to tell you this one – we laughed so much. I was helping Romain with his record boxes when we got to this club, but when I closed the boot I dislocated my shoulder. I had to lie down in front of the club entrance with a massive crowd and wait for the ambulance, whilst all these people kept bringing me out whisky and chatting to me - as if it was perfectly normal for a man to be lying on the pavement.”
sex, sun, and madness
“The concept for the album was based roughly around the life of a fictional character, Bob O’Lean, ” explains Cyril. “It starts with ‘Wild Open’ - a blank canvas, a new birth open to all influences. Then ‘Never Mind’ is the stage of teenage rebellion and riot - that’s why there are no lyrics in the verse - just me scatting.”
“‘Sex and Sun’ represents the carefree early twenties,” he continues, pausing only to take a swig of beer. “Then we go straight into ‘Sex and Sun Part II’, which has loads of eerie whispers in the background to symbolise paranoia and the beginning of madness. Everybody wants sex and sun, but then sooner or later you burn your wings. Like I said ‘Bob O’Lean’’ is our central character, but this guy’s losing his mind because when you think you’ve got everything, you become more reflective, and it’s only then that you realise that something crucial is missing.
“‘Rocky’ is the track on the album that symbolises the character fighting with himself and his paranoia, trying to find solutions in violence. By the time we get to ‘Undersea’ he is literally going under, succumbing to the madness.”
“In Lost Angeles he’s trying to discover his roots, travelling from town to town before finally finding himself and his reason to live. Which is of course ‘Musique’ - he finds himself in music. The last track is called ‘Show Off’ and it builds and builds throughout until all of a sudden it just cuts off like a tape reel running out – it’s a sign that life is to be continued.”
“But Cyril, you’ve got to make it clear that we didn’t have this whole story to start with and then write tracks for each part of it,” insists Gregory, sitting patiently smoking, unable to get a word in edgeways. “We didn’t set out to make a story of a guy’s life, not at all – that would have seemed really false. We made all the songs individually and when we were finished the concept just seemed to appear. As if by magic!”
big record collections
“Our sound is all about mixtures,” suggests Cyril. “And the name Aloud just seemed to sum it up. I bring the rock elements with my vocals and Greg’s all about the more groovey electronic side of things.”
“He’s really into acts like Soundgarden, Pearl Jam and Faith No More,” pipes up Greg. “Yeah, but I’m also really influenced by people like David Bowie, Prince and the Eurythmics,” Cyril adds.
“For me it’s got to be Stevie Wonder,” Greg concludes after much pondering. “Apparently when my mum was pregnant with me she played Songs in the Key of Life non-stop so I’m hooked. We always make proper songs with a verse and chorus and never sample anything – you just don’t need to. Everything you hear is composed by us.”
“Oh, I forgot to say that – even though it’s predictable – we’ve got to mention the Beatles,” interrupts Cyril. “I love their music and they were a massive influence on me.” “Yeah me too,” Greg agrees. “But the problem is we’ve got such massive record collections, if you asked us to pick our favourites they’d probably change week in week out,” he reasons.
“Steve Tyler from Aerosmith,” smiles Cyril. “That’s my last one I promise!”
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