We met Parov Stelar at the VYV Festival

Parov Stelar at VYV Festival - © Morgane Joubioux

In the midst of a European tour, Parov Stelar set foot in Dijon for the VYV Festival. We don’t know if it’s the French who love Parov Stelar the most, or if it’s the opposite. One thing is sure: the concert is incredible, and Parov is here with a huge smile on his face. We had a chance to meet Marcus Füreder, accompanied by his singer, Andruze.

Parov Stelar at VYV Festival – © Morgane Joubioux

In your work, different forms of arts converge and you are not an artist who limits himself to music. Like a book, your EPs and albums feature illustrations, very often a painting. How significant is the combination of illustrations and music in your work?

Parov Stelar: I started paintings and later I came to music. When I’m writing and doing music, I always have pictures in my head. I think that the combination of sounds, of listening and watching is the perfect combination, it’s the most powerful for me. So, it’s like having two kids.  

In the artworks of the Voodoo Sonic’s trilogy, three people are represented: a man and two women. Are they inspired by real people?  

Parov Stelar: I don’t want to say that this is dedicated to somebody. Our work is implant by all the people we have around. But here it’s just fiction.

In the last opus of the trilogy, many titles have a colour in their name. What justifies this choice? Also, each EP artwork has one or more main colours. But I feel like we’re moving from bright colours to darker ones. Any reason for this?

Parov Stelar: I think it’s easy to remember colours. Example: if you write «red» on a sheet of paper, but you write it in blue, it helps a lot, it’s a game of colours.

Between an intense live experience and different art works, we feel that you want to create a complete and tangible musical experience, quite unique to your work. What is the project behind this relation between you, your art and how you transmit it with the public?

Parov Stelar: I think there is different parts when you write music and when you perform it. This is two different jobs, two different levels. 

Andruze: Obviously, I’m just coming from the live aspect. It’s really cool to know that behind me something really inspires everything. On stage, all comes together as one. Whatever they get out of here, is personal. 

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You’ve played at some of the most emblematic French festivals, some of which promote strong values, such as Solidays or the Fête de l’Humanité. You are at VYV today, which promotes relatively similar values such as solidarity. Is it important for you to be part of events that go beyond the regular music festival? To what extent do you relate to the values of these kind of festivals?

Parov Stelar: For me, yes, because you get a feeling that is not just about business. What we see in music is getting more and more business, all the time. If you have a look at it, sometimes you have around fifteen writers. One is specialized for the chorus, one for the drums… So I think this kind of festivals gives back, I don’t wanna say the vibe of the sixties, but it’s not just about the money, it’s something music brings people together.

Your relationship with the French audience, venues and festivals seems to be strong. France loves you, and you seem to love it too. What is your relationship with this particular audience? 

Andruze: You’re the best (laughs). 

Parov Stelar: I think every time we come here there’s a kind of feeling like nobody is watching you. For most people it’s just a saying, but in France you live it. I see the French people are very confident people, very self confident in a good way. They have no fear to share with you this moment. What we are doing on stage is bringing the inside out. This is what the crowd is doing, this is my impression.

Andruze: For everyone I know ask me all the time, what is your favourite place to play? And I always say France because I say (see?) the crowd, and I’m not just saying this to you. Crowds in France, when the lights go down, it starts up like this. Until the lights come up. There is no other crowds in all Europe that feels this way from the second. It makes our job so much easier, to just walk on that scene and see people getting crazy. 

Parov Stelar: It’s the interaction that we have here. I remember when we played first time «Hit Me Like A Drum». That happens first time in France, Andruze was screaming put on your lights on, everybody was with the lights, and we were like «wow, this is not part of the show». 

Andruze: It’s a thing we now do all the time, but in France it was first a random thing with the audience. It’s perfect for that song.

Andruze: I think Parov is a master at this. Let’s pretend he’s not here (laughs). In Paris, my parents came. They are still in the 70s, so not so into electronic music. Afterwards, they say that what this guy, Parov Stelar, did, you have to tell him, he’s a genius. And I think that’s sums it sup. It really does. He’s really awesome at giving the musician space, and just creative a live event. 

Parov Stelar: The secret of this live band is to give the musicians space. I was thinking about it before I created this band. If you give an artist freedom, he will bring up the best. It’s not necessary to teach everybody to tell anybody and what comes up until the end of the live experience sounds completely different that in the recording. This is something that I really really like. For me it’s very disappointing if for example I have eleven albums and you go to any concert and if it sounds exactly like what you have on the record. There is something missing, and this is the big thing between live and recording music. 

This year Josephine Baker, great icon of the French Roaring Twenties and music hall as you know, will be entering the Pantheon, a monument dedicated to the greatest figures in French history. She inspired two songs of yours, could you tell your motivations behind dedicating her two songs in your album the demon diaries? And We haven’t heard any French lyrics in your work yet. Would you consider using French samples in the future?

Parov Stelar: Of course ! I really want to do it since years. It’s a long way, it’s not so so easy to find the right collaboration. But I think it definitely will come in the future so if anybody think they has great French lyrics, send it over (laughs)! But I wouldn’t say that these things are dedications to somebody. It’s more to keep the fire and the vibe of this time. Sometimes when young people hear swing music they say it’s like grandmothers music. No. If you have a look at these times they were the first ravers. Music is not just for a sitting and listening, it’s like «let’s go crazy, let’s go nuts» and this is kind of what we want to bring into the next century.

Andruze: I really enjoy singing that song. That was actually my introduction coming in to the band. I was singing Josephine which was actually great because some years before. It was awesome to just come on stage and come and finally get to sing that live in front of so many people.

Music festival lover since my youngest age. Every year I'm trying to go to some more events, from France to Hungary passing by Spain or Belgium. I'm a French guy living in Spain, studying music industry, and trying to discover every day some new things. And most of the time listening to all kinds of music :)