Interview #28: Tropics
Tropics recently released his new album “Rapture” and he came to Paris last week. I had the opportunity to meet him to talk about his music, his new album, his live show… Read the interview to learn more about him and make sure to listen to his album!
Hello Chris! Is it the first time you come in Paris?
I’ve been here quite a lot over the last few years, for smaller shows at la Flèche d’Or and Point Ephèmere. Both are really great venues, I hope we’ll play there again, especially now that the sound of the band has come together. Last time, because of the radio strike, we had time to visit and see all the sights.
Can you remind us how the project Tropics started?
It’s hard to put a timeline on it, really. I only titled the project Tropics 4 or 5 years ago. I’ve always been making music, but as soon as I started to put it on the Internet, I decided to title it and take it a bit more seriously. More than just me experimenting.
When I was first making music, I was living quite far away from my friends, it’s different now that I’m in London. It was a bit of an effort to go see my friends so I was spending more time on music. Whenever I left the house, I made sure I had a preview of whatever I was working on to put in the CD player. I was listening to it while driving, it was very important to do the “car test”. If it feels good in a car, you’re good to go!
Can you tell us more about your new album and the creative process behind it?
I’ve worked on it about a year and a half. It was mainly me playing piano and singing. It’s not really where I come from, I was very laptop based. So it was a challenge to try to connect with people via vocals more than with the backing music. The lyrics are about some things that were going on with me at the time. I couldn’t really force anything in the vocals, like “today I will make a happy song”. Lyrics were like a kind of diary of what was going on.
Are you happy with the response to your album?
Yeah, for me it’s a piece of work I had to make and release. It’s nice if you manage to connect with people. It doesn’t have bangers on it, maybe it takes you deeper, the listener may feel a personal connection. It was a challenge to make it flow from start to finish.
You were in Tokyo last week, how was it?
Yes, it was really special, it’s amazing that we could do that with Tropics. We were only there for 4 days, but we did everything. The minute we got there, we just went out, we had some friends out there who took us to some nice places. I really liked it, I want to go back. The show was really nice, everyone was quiet, a lot of people were sat down. It created a special and intimate atmosphere.
How is your live setup? Is it different from the last tour?
It’s developing, I have a new jazz drummer who’s incredibly talented and my guitarist. I’d probably like to expand in the future, try something with string players. I did a video session the other night with violins, etc… We did a version of “Rapture” and it sounded amazing.
Where will you play after Paris?
I think the next one is Istanbul, for a festival. I’m always making music at home, I’m writing the new album already. It’s nice to be able to go back home to work.
Before, I’ve had big gaps between albums, but now I’m more inspired. Hopefully, it will come out just one year after “Rapture”. We’ll talk about that another time!
For this next album, will you keep on working with Innovative Leisure?
Yeah, they are a great label and lovely people. They really, really support Tropics. They put a lot of faith in me. They let me do lots of things for my videos and my artworks. They really trust me.
Talking about videos, what is your role in their production?
I really love movies, for me music videos are very good opportunities to do something cinematic. For “Home & Consonance” and “Rapture” videos, I collaborated with a friend of mine who is a director. We came up with ideas together.
For the “Blame” video, I wanted to be in the video for once. I wanted to do something with the “Blame” artwork and some liquid. We had meetings with the director, she had amazing ideas, and I really love the result.
What are your favorite artists at the moment?
I’m really enjoying Lapalux new album, he’s also from London. And I really like Jaakko Eino Kalevi.
I really like Denai Moore too… And I’ve been listening to a lot of Marvin Gaye. I think we’re gonna do a cover of him for a radio station.
Apart from music what are your hobbies?
Well… I spend so much time on my project. But I’m really interested in art direction and photography. And cinema. I’ve watched Woody Allen movies lately like “Annie Hall”, it’s really nice. I also like Roy Andersson movies.