Papooz aren’t playing around.
Since releasing their debut album in 2016 Papooz have been touring France and the world but now they’re ready to release their follow up, Night Sketches, and take a quick moment to sit and chat about it. Here in the US Night Sketches still eludes us on Spotify but the record was widely released to the rest of the world last Friday, in turn, us Americans got the Pacific Telephone EP — a 5-track preview of the album to come. Ulysse and Armand, the men behind the moniker, shared with me what they’ve been up to for the past few years, their favorite songs from Night Sketches, their love of late 70’s soul (& Weyes Blood), and a lot more:
Your debut came out in 2016, what were the years in between releases like? Did you spend a lot of time recording or was it more recent?
They were great! We spent two years touring mostly in France and around the world. I think we started demoing our second album in January 2018 in Ulysse’s studio in Paris. We spent roughly a year recording it, between the demos, the studio sessions in La Frette studio and the final mix in Italy.
We worked hand in hand with producer & friend Adrien Durand (Bon Voyage Organisation). We rehearsed the songs for a week with his musicians before going to La Frette studio, an old “manoir” close to Paris. We spent 7 days there and cut down 14 live tracks. Then we did another month of additional recordings at Studio Delta.
Do you feel like you or your music have changed a lot over the last few years?
We might sound different than our early demos we released in 2015 but I think we kept the same approach: we always try to write songs from the bottom of our hearts. Soul is the only rule for us. If it’s not soulful enough, we drop it.
Production wise, we really started at the bottom with our first EP: recording straight to garage band with minimum gear just for kicks. Then we moved up in the world a bit and recorded a first LP at Ulysse’s parents beach house. Still not a studio.
So I guess Night Sketches is our first « studio album ». We spent more time trying to conceptualise what we were trying to do. We wanted to talk about night life, so we also chased a particular sound, something that will sound like a perfect night to us.
How did Paris influence the record? Do you think you’d be making the same type of music if you had been recording elsewhere?
Tough question! Paris is a really cool city to live in. It’s not that big, and you got all these different vibes everywhere. Musically, it’s the city of Jazz & Edith Piaf, Serge Gainsbourg etc… There’s also something bitter sweet & eternally romantic about this city that goes well with our music. It’s a bit like New York or Rome, the architecture is so good looking, it always reminds you to get going with your own craft.
Do you each have a favorite track on the album? Is it the same or different?
I think Ulysse’s favorite track might be “Pacific Telephone”. He loves the detective movie B movie like ambiance created with the first minor major 7 chord we use on the verses.
My favorite track of his is “Danger To Myself”. I think we achieve perfection with the arrangements of this track.
I also really like “About Felix” for more personal reasons…
Who (or what) were your influences for the new album?
Musically, we listen to a lot of soul & soft rock acts from the late 70’s:
Steely Dan, Michael Franks, The Sparks, Supertramp, Fleetwood Mac, Shuggie Otis… & anything with a great groove!
I was also reading a lot of Bukowski & John Fante at the time. Pacific Telephone & Night Sketches are both influenced by their writing.
Any new artists you’ve found recently that you think are super underrated?
I really love an American singer called Weyes Blood. Also Hubert Lenoir, a new French Canadian act I saw live in Paris.
But the best underrated band we know are really a band of brothers… check out Oracle Sisters music.
What your plans for the rest of 2019? Touring at all?
We hope to tour as much as we can, in as many countries we can!