M83, What's Going On?

Peter Geoghegan talks to one-man electro band M83 about touring, the 80s and falling in love with the wrong girl

French electro wizard Anthony Gonzalez has been recording under the moniker M83 since 2001. In that time he's revealed an obsession for everything from My Bloody Valentine and shoegazing (2003's Dead Seas, Red Cities and Lost Ghosts) to the sun-kissed pop of the 80s (this year's Saturdays = Youth). Currently on tour, M83 comes to Belfast for the first time on October 25 to play at Queen's Speakeasy. 

So M83, where’s your head at? 
I’m in Denmark at the start of our European tour – we’ve got three months here and then it's America until the end of the year. I’m pretty much focused on the tour right now.

Are you sitting comfortably?
I live in Antibes in the south of France so I’m away from home right now, but yeah we’re in good condition, been playing lots of good venues and so far it’s been great.

Are you ready for the country?
Definitely – I’m really excited to be coming to Belfast. I’ve never been before, and it should be a good experience to play.

Do you like rock music?
Yes. Some. What I like most is heavy metal. I like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. I saw Priest when I was 11 or 12 in a metal festival in France. That was one of my first live shows and I loved it. I’ve always been a metal fan – though never had long hair, it is way too curly and would just look silly.

Are friends electric?
I’ve never thought of myself as an electronic artist. I think my music is a mix of all my experiences. I listen to lots of different types of music and that’s reflected in the music I make – if you compare Dead Cities, Red Souls and Lost Ghosts and Saturday = Youth they are really different records.

Why was it acceptable in the 80s?
I love the 80s – Saturdays = Youth is proof of that. I like the clothes so much. Even if they’re ridiculous, the 80s clothes are great. And I love the music. Tears for Fears, Depeche Mode, Cocteau Twins, Brian Eno. All great. What I like about 80s' music is the production. It sounds so perfect to me. And it all seems very modern.

The movies were special too. The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles – those John Hughes movies are just wonderful to watch, especially because they explore things that I’m really interested in – like love and teenagers. 

Ever fallen in love with someone (you shouldn’t have fallen in love with)?
Oh, I always fall in love with the girl that doesn’t love me! Which I guess is mostly the problem for everyone. But I don’t worry too much about it.

What have you done for me lately?
Well I’ve been busy. Since Saturdays = Youth came out I’ve been touring a lot, playing festivals, playing everywhere. Which has been great. Aside from that I’ve been doing some remixing (M83 has remixed, amongst others, Depeche Mode, Bloc Party, Placebo and Goldfrapp). 

I don’t really have what you would call a big passion for remixing but it is something I like to do. When I’m remixing a track I always try to do something different. Often I just try to keep the vocals from the original mix and do something pretty radical with the instrumentation. For me it’s all about experimentation and remixing is a great way to experiment.

When will I see you again?
Soon. We are playing Belfast and you can all see us then. In terms of records, you’ll have to wait a bit longer. Saturdays = Youth is just six months old, but I’ve got plenty of ideas for the next one. I’ve not started writing yet, though. I’ll wait until the new year when the tour is finished and I’ve time to focus again. But I can tell you for definite that it won’t be 80s again. Every record has to be something different, and I’ve done that so now it’s on to something new. But that isn’t always so easy! 

M83 play Queen's Speakeasy on October 25th. Tickets are priced £12 and available from QUBSU, Zavvi Belfast, Ticketmaster outlets and online at www.qubsu-ents.com and www.wegottickets.com.