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M83: Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming

Frontman Anthony Gonzalez talks about the French band's new album and his love for bad American TV

Why write one album when you can write two? That was the attitude of Anthony Gonzales, the Frenchman behind wonder act M83 as he approached the recording of new double album 'Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming'. Hidden in a hoody and delightfully personable, Anthony has come to an anonymous hotel bar in London to talk about the follow-up to critically acclaimed LP Saturday = Youth. Big electronic soundscapes positively crackling with energy flood your ears, exploring the further intergalactic reaches of Gonzalez’s mind.  

Dazed Digital: Why did you decide to make a double album?
Anthony Gonzalez:
Nowadays the music industry is more about singles and iTunes, it’s less about the object. It’s kind of art, I think, to make a double album. It’s a statement, a way for me to say that I like the way we used to listen to music.

DD: Could you tell us a little bit about the inspiration behind this album? I got the sense of some kind of intergalactic travel…
Anthony Gonzalez: I like that. This album is a journey. I wanna invite people on my spaceship and we can go on a ride together. It’s a soundtrack of my life and an imaginary world.

DD: Was there a particular narrative in your mind?
Anthony Gonzalez: The way we structured the album was very movie-like, there’s an intro and an outro, it’s like a rollercoaster with deserts and mountains.

You know when you listen to a double album, sometimes the first disc is very pop and the other one is darker? With this one we wanted to have two different albums. It’s conceptual. The cover has a little boy and girl, like a brother and sister, and one disc is for the brother, and one for the sister. It’s like how they communicate, with a different mind, but with the same spirit. I grew up with my brother, being very close to him, and this is a tribute to my childhood with him as well.

DD: Your brother’s in the film industry, isn’t he? So you both have that creative mindset, but working in different fields…
Anthony Gonzalez: Exactly. We think the same way, we have the same tastes in music and movies. We have a lot of differences, but we’re always sharing the same weird thing overall.

DD: Regarding the sound of this album, it’s as if you’ve taken the formula of Saturday = Youth and cracked it wide open, it’s saturated with brightness.
Anthony Gonzalez: Well, to me the sound of this album is more a mix of my albums. There’s definitely the brightness of Saturday = Youth. This album is influenced by production from the 80s, where the music was super-bright. What we wanted for this was for it to be almost painful to hear because it’s so bright. Like your face is burnt from the sun.

DD: You worked with Justin Meldal-Johnson on production. Why him?
Anthony Gonzalez: Justin came to me two years ago at a festival in Scotland. He came and said ‘I’m a huge fan, and I would love to work with you.’

I recognised Justin’s face. I was a fan of Beck, and Justin used to play with him. I remember his big afro on TV when I watched him as a teenager. So I said why not? We share the same vision of music, and we wanted to be part of a big project that we’d remember until the end of our lives, so it was great to work with him. 

DD: Are you still in touch with Nicolas Fromageau [former M83 bandmate], and what do you think of Team Ghost, his new venture?
Anthony Gonzalez:
I love Team Ghost, I’m still friends with them. Nicolas is playing with Christophe Guerin, who is one of my best friends. I’m super excited for them, I’ve been listening to the tracks of their new album, and it’s super good.

DD: Tell me something that no one knows about you.
Anthony Gonzalez:
I love cheesy American TV. I’m addicted to it since I moved to LA. There was a new TV show this summer called The Bachelor Pad, and it’s all the contestants of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette that didn’t find love all put in a house. They’re all fucking, there’s fights and love stories and sex. It’s really fun to watch.

'Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming' is out now

Text by Laura Foster