Here we go, let’s take the Caravan for another tour. Same Palace, with a brand new customized flavor. On the shelves and on the road. The surprise breakout band of the last decade, the apostles of Electro Swing and precursors of a laidback yet terribly upbeat trend, is coming up with an evocative second album: Panic! This time, Caravan Palace takes us even farther than their first album (that sold more than 150 000 copies) and continues an amazing adventure almost started by accident.
Their strength lies in their common passion for electronic music. Charles, Arnaud and Hughes, the initial trio, dig swing, especially gypsy jazz, and try their hands at the genre’s traditional instruments: guitar, double bass and violin. That’s where this peculiar mixture of classical Django and new trendy electro comes from. And it’s far better than those retro futuristic sounds… because it swings. A few myspace posts later and they have doubled in size, enrolling Chapi, the boisterous Colotis, and Toustou, from now a member of the band in full-time.
They start touring long before they even think about releasing an album. And everything clicks in 2007, during the Django Reinhardt Festival in Samois. Terrified to be part of the gypsy jazz pantheon, they gather speed and steam and create a real posse (not unlike hip-hop) that follows them everywhere. The word is out, their breakout song, Jolie Coquine, is playing everywhere. The record is released a year later, and it’s an immediate hit. They soon tour France and Europe. The show peaks at the Olympia. The room is packed, people go crazy… listening to swing. This has never happened before.
But during the autumn of 2010, they stop and take a month off to start thinking about the new album. How do they come up with new songs? Every member of the band works in his own musical lab before exchanging files at night. The same process starts over the next day. And when the others react instinctively, it’s generally a good sign. The basic rhythm of the first album has mutated into sophisticated beats, less gimmicky, more varied and enriched with sounds flirting with the frontiers of trip-hop. They still love Massive Attack, they still dig the creative minds of Ninja Tune, Isolée’s minimal electro vibe or Gorillaz’s grand hip-hop rock bazaar. Only the best of the best. But they also rediscover thirties and forties swing jazz, artists like Fletcher Henderson, or the less mainstream musicians like Charlie Shavers and Mildred Bailey.
Six months later, forty-something titles pile up. It’s time to regroup in the studio… where fifteen vintage keyboards are waiting. Tirelessly, the band tries new things, merges styles and makes creative decisions. Fourteen titles are soon emerging. The petulant voice of Colotis is booming again and the old friend Cyrille-Aimée is back on two songs.