$olal presents – Moonshine Sessions

Es gibt eine nahe Verbindung zwischen dem legendären Gotan Project, das normalerweise für intelligente Elektro-Musik bekannt ist, und grundehrlicher Countrymusik.

Bei dem Berührungspunkt handelt es sich um das neue Projekt des Gotan Project Kopfes Philippe Cohen-Solal, der für seine neue Platte unzählige Country-Spezialisten in ein gemütliches Ambiente bei Nashville einlud, mit ihnen einige seiner Songs spielte und das Ergebnis als die Moonshine Sessions auf Platte presste.

Und dieses brachte mir bereits nach wenigen Durchgängen den Glauben an das Musikjahr 2007 wieder. Endlich ist er da, der erste Kandidat auf den Liebling des Jahres. Hier gibt es nämlich zärtlichen Pop in einem Country Ambiente mit Charme bis zum abwinken. Großes Gespür für eingängige Melodien und Glücksmomente treffen hier auf das „Oh Brother Where Are Thou“ Gefühl. Dabei spielt es keine Rolle, ob Solal auf sanfte Balladen wie „I Lost him“, auf Mid-Tempo Songs oder den Groove von „Psycho Girls & Psycow Boys“ setzt. Ergänzend gibt es den Abba Hit „Dancing Queen“ und „Pretty Vacant“ von den Sex Pistols im Bluegrass Ambiente.

Aufgrund der ständigen Backgroundgeräusche und Dialoge wirkt das Ergebnis der Moonshine Sessions tatsächlich wie aus einem Guss. Hier hat sich Philippe Cohen-Solal Mixkunst und sein Gespür für den richtigen Ton doch noch ausgezahlt. Von diesem profitierten übrigens bisher ebenfalls bereits die beiden Regisseure Krzysztof Kieslowski und Lars von Trier, für die Solal in den 90ern als Komponist und Music Supervisor an der Musikbegleitung ihrer Werke („Europa“ und die „3 Farben“-Trilogie arbeitete). Die Moonshine Sessions sind jedenfalls perfekt für lange Autofahrten. Oder noch besser lange Spaziergänge. Im Grunde genommen auch egal. Hauptsache lang.

Da einige Fragen zum Projekt offen blieben, haben wir Philippe Cohen-Solal ein um Interview gebeten.

Sonic-Reducer: When did you write all these songs? Did you collect them through the years or was there something like a special songwriting process for the ‚Moonshine Sessions‘?

Solal: I ‚ve started to write these songs early 2003 when i was touring with gotan project in my hotel rooms. After the very first song i wrote („the private song“), I knew that it will be a countrified album with a lot pedal steel guitar, banjo, fiddle & harmonica.
The last song i wrote in summer 2006 is „Always alone“ all the songs for this album were created and mostly recorded with my old acoustic guitar (Epiphone).

Sonic-Reducer: How precise was your idea of the way the record should sound like, when you started recording the songs and did it change a lot?

Solal: At the beginning, i thought it will be a mix of acoustic & electronic like Gotan Project. I tried and it was pretty ok, but not the thing i really wanted to listen myself at home. At these times, i was not too much in electronic music anymore, but listening more Hank Williams, Bill Monroe, Johnny Cash, Bonnie Prince Billy or Lambchop. i love to surprise people and i don’t like to repeat myself, so i wanted to avoid a possible recipe like „after electronic & tango, here’s electronic & country! Shitty idea;-))

Sonic-Reducer: How important was it for you to record the songs near Nashville?

Solal: One of the best way to do a great album is to work with genuine, virtuoso and open minded musicians. You can’t lose your time or money with them. Nashville is THE music city in America. Like every waiter is an actor in Hollywood, everybody in Nashville is a better musician or singer than you, the painter, the electrician or the catering girl 😉 But i strongly wanted to record all the Moonshine Sessions in the beautiful Tennessee’s countryside outside Nashville. I took country in his litteral sense of the word.

Sonic-Reducer: What´s the story behind the funny dialogue about Myspace, which comes after „Fade Away“?

Solal: It’s something that i recorded in the studio when everybody around was joking about making a fake band and put it on myspace as our N°1 friend. It was a kind of delirious laughing conversation. Nobody knew that i was recording with my small portable. And it’s a sort of funny break between part 1 & part 2 of the album, like people talking between the 2 sides of a vinyl album they’re listening together.

Sonic-Reducer: I like those two cover songs. Why did you decide for „Dancing Queen“ and „Pretty Vacant“?

Solal: I had the idea to cover Pretty Vacant by watching The Simple Life on MTV few years ago…Paris Hilton & Nicole Ritchie where really pretty vacant ;-)) I turn to Punk in 77 by listening Never Mind the Bollocks. For me the SeX PiStoLs are THE punk band and they were also great songwriters. ABBA are genius songwriters and i wanted to learn how their song were made. I bought (discretely;-)) an ABBA songbook and started to play it naturally
on my guitar on a bluegrassy way, and it worked so well…

Sonic-Reducer: Do you also intend to play some shows in Germany?

Sure, Germany has a better understanding of country music than France. I plan to come first to do some DJ sets in clubs with a pedal steel guitarist this autumn and come back early next year with the whole band. 7 people on stage for the Moonshine Tour!

Sonic-Reducer: Which records do currently like to listen to?

Solal: I listen a lot the last White Stripes „Icky Thump“, just fantastic! The new Porter Wagoner is great too, a french folk band who sings in english called „Hey My My“ and strangely i’m listening a lot again Blur’s Parklife -back in the 90’s!

Sonic-Reducer: Do you have any plans to make more records in the style of the ‚Moonshine Sessions‘?

Solal: Hope so but don’t know yet, it will depend of my drinking addiction with moonshine…

Sonic-Reducer: Thanks a lot.

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