Sunday, May 26, 2013

Candidate-Side by Side LP (France, 1987)

I have long been in love with this little French cold wave gem.  Here for your listening pleasure.  Also, I have translated this German interview that was published in Mindbreed for your reading pleasure:

French underground wave band Candidate were active in the 80s. Robin Pleil of Artridge has resurrected the band from old recordings and brought them back to life. Cécile, the singer was very friendly and patient to give us an interview about the CD "Vote Do not Vote".

Eniz: Hello and thank you for this interview. First, I would like to ask you, from your point of view, to describe what "Candidate" represents?

Cecile: We were active from 1983-1991. And in this time we played with sequencers and drum machines, but without a computer. No one at that time spoke of techno or electro. We ourselves call it "techno-electric." Now we would rather call ourselves"electronic-rock" or, which some people compare us too, EBM. Somewhere between electro and rock, I'd say. Underground with pop elements.

Eniz: In the second half of the CD especially you can hear lots of guitar elements ...

Cécile: Yes, Bidou is the guitarist and I'm the singer and instead of a third band member we had the sequencer and drum machine. Of course, the guitar has a strong presence. The first part of the CD is the latest material, that is, you hear less guitar. The more you go into the CD, the more you go back in time and the guitar is prominent. The beginning is between 1989 and 1990 and by the end it's 1987-88. Besides the last piece "Shade Of Red", but the rest is all from 1990 and moves slowly to 1987. This is the reason why it goes "back to guitar".

Eniz: The CD was made of old tapes. Was there was a lot to do to get the recording ready?

Cécile: Bidou and I already had everything on DAT (Digital audio tape) from playing in 1990, but we had not done anything with it. Sometimes I played Candidate for friends and then ultimately played it for Robin Pleil of Artridge and he loved it. So he remastered the tapes. It was very detailed work and at the end he had nine different versions of the CD. A sound like on vinyl, that we said no to, because we wanted to retain the old sound to capture the atmosphere of the time. We therefore added some bass and selected a different version. We had to make an 8 track from a 24 track piece.

Eniz: When I heard the retro sound, I was also very impressed .

Cécile: Thank you. Oh, and thank you for your review. I translated it into French, and now it is on the French website, dedicated to the French New Wave of the 80s. 
Eniz: Thank you for that. When did you stop making music with Candidate? 
Cécile: 19913

Eniz: And Since then have you composed soundtracks for musicals?

Cécile: Between 1987 and 1991, Candidate played soundtracks for film, radio and theater. Then I moved to Berlin and stayed.   Bidou Nancy had his own projects, "Rythmic Republic" and "Touch" which were inspired by Detroit techno. I myself had an experimental project called "November" that was dance music with only my singing and the avant-garde drumming of Peter Hollinger. Without a computer.  In the early 90s I sang in a hip hop band called "Reality Brothers ".

Then I had my own project "Miss Cee and Sir George," before I stopped making music in 2001. I was always busy with art, which became more and more important, especially painting and exhibitions. And for two years I toured with a French theater, where I created a virtual set using two overhead projectors. I could not go on simultaneously with both the music and the arts and so I had to decide. It was a cruel decision, but I could survive better with art than with music.

Eniz: So you no longer make music? 
Cécile: I'm still with musicians.  I'll stay a music lover, but now more as a consumer.

Eniz: So you are working more in the background?

Cécile: Exactly. I am no longer in the limelight of music.

Eniz: If you look at the musical development of the past until today what kind of differences are evident? You were very active in the 80s and grew up with bands like Nitzer Ebb and Front 242 ...

Cécile: The sound is very different, the technology has made huge progress. Nowadays, everyone can have a home studio, which was then impossible. Beginning a new experiment was also very expensive. And so you had to use tricks such as tape dubbing and inserting.  The technology makes access to music easier, and so more people compose.  So I would go so far as to say that there are almost more music producers, as a listener. It is a kind of saturation because the quality does not always follow. Previously, you released a record because of the cost only every 2 years, you've worked too long according to the plate.Ok, today there are many people from the 80s who still like the old music because of the retro sound. After the 80s, I think if you wanted to make money, music was good. Today the young make the sounds of the 80s.  That's funny. I am surprised that the young generation of musicians are fascinated by the sounds of the 80's and how they interpret them. For me, the 80s, except the underground scene (Post Punk / New Wave / Dark Wave / EBM) were terrible. Think of Modern Talking ...But due to this revival, I remember some great bands like Suicide, Tuxedomoon, Nitzer Ebb who saved my life!

Eniz: What did you mean in your lyrics?

Cécile: After remastering the old tapes, I can say that the lyrics are still current. All the topics about relationships and social behavior. And people may find themselves in the texts. Most of the lyrics are about feelings in a relationship or in society and, of course, about compromise, with which we must deal. 
Eniz: Why didn't you write your lyrics in French?

Cécile: I grew up with English music. I never understood the lyrics as a child and it was more like an instrument. Later, when I understood the language, I noticed the flexibility that you do not have in French. English helped me maintain the distance to the words and focus on the expression of the voice, as if it were a musical instrument.With the French songs it was only about the lyrics and the music often fell by the wayside. With Candidate we composed the music. I improvised so long until I found the best line, and only then we wrote the lyrics.A new French singer named Camille is very excellent and as they turned the French words. This is the first time I've seen something like that. The lyrics do not stop the music. When I heard it I thought, "Wow, she's really good," that is not easy to do.  On the other side, texts in French rock music sound crazy to me Some people can do it, I do not...

Eniz: French listen more to Edith Piaf ...

Cecile: Well, not all. Young people listen to rock and newer music. But most are still stuck to the old French folk accordion and stuff. France is definitely not the land of rock music!

Eniz: The press release says that Candidate is the best guarded secret underground band. What makes Candidate so underground?

Cécile: (laughs) Why? Maybe because we did a lot of things that only a few people heard. The funny thing is that we, as a band we were on tour as support, in some locations were known as the main act. In some cities we had a large following in others nobody knew us. I didn't write that, it was our PR. I can imagine that he wrote it because it took so long before we released "Vote Do not Vote." On the website of which I spoke earlier, people were able to remember it. It's been 10 years since we have stopped making music and still they remember us. That was a nice feeling when people contacted me.

Eniz: That's it then. Thank you for the interview. How long are you staying in Berlin? 
Cécile: In a few days I leave again. I've just come from the theater tour and I will go back again.

Ok, hope you enjoyed that.   

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