The electro maestro on the romance of machines, iconic car chases and working in a garage with Mr. Oizo
Kavinsky believes in the mystery of music and the romance of the open road. It's best exemplified by 'Nightcall', his rough vocoder-led track that featured in Drive (2011). With guest vocalist Lovefoxxx's sweetly libidinous come-ons, it became became indissociable from the top-down/glossed-up style of the film, and is probably one of the best audio/visual pairings in recent cinema.
It gave a worldwide platform for Kavinsky (aka Vincent Belorgey), the Paris-born producer who initially found his footing in French electro-house scene of the mid-2000s. As then with his debut single 'Testarossa Autodrive', the aesthetic of Kavinsky's new album Outrun marked by its totem-like symbols: a throbbing red Ferrari Testrarossa, blackened shades and a Marlboro Red hanging from pursed lips. He explains more as we sit down to talk in his apartment in Le Marais, Paris, which is cluttered with vintage video games and car-related memorabilia.
"I wanted to create a directing thread. It's like a synopsis, as if you're making a movie. In many ways, it's a romance of machines.
I used to hate all of my father's cars. He had a Citroën BX, and I felt so bad in it that I puked in it one day. I'm sure it was on purpose. I remember telling my father that I really hated that car, and that I loved the Audi 80 - which was a really bad car, actually! The day after, my Dad surprised me - he'd gone and bought me the Audi. He wasn't really rich, so he put himself in shit to buy this car and make me and my brother happy. I used to love the rounded back of that Audi 80, with the back lights, but now when I seeing one in the street I'm like 'wow, it's like a gypsy's car'.
I've never told anyone this before, but I used to work in a mechanics' garage with Mr. Oizo. His Dad owned a garage in the suburbs, and to earn a little bit of money we tidied the garage for two weeks and changed the oil - which is the only (technical) thing I can do.
Aesthetically, my dream car to drive and own is an Aston Martin DB9. If I had to die, my last pleasure would be to drive one the day before. For me it's the most amazing car because of the shapes, the handmade stuff and the wheels.
I used to love Bullitt, of course. I think the car that Steve McQueen is driving is a Mustang GT 390. It's a muscle car so it's not so beautiful, but it's just a monster. You know the car chase in San Francisco? It's like 20 minutes long and he's chasing two guys from the highest San Francisco streets. It's crazy just to see, and I think Steve McQueen is actually driving the car for real. I'm a big fan of Steve McQueen, he's gorgeous, a good actor, and I'm really sad he's gone.
I love the car chase in Blues Brothers too. There are like 100 cars that crash into each other during 40 minutes, with a part in the Chicago subway - it's really insane. It's a bit like the car chase in The French Connection, when Gene Hackman's chasing the train in his car. Also I love the hearse they use to chase the ghost in Ghostbusters (points to a model of the Ectomobile from Ghostbusters on the shelf behind him) - and The DeLorean from Back to the Future. But I don't actually like the car in Drive so much! But I like the way that they made a shitty Chevrolet Impala so big, with 400 horsepower. That's the point, it's smart.
The hardest thing is to choose a name for your entire album because it's the start of everything. The game Outrun was one of the first steps of the story: there's the guy, the sea, the car, and a test. On my arm I have a tattoo: "Dead Cruiser". That's the name of Kavinsky, he's the dead cruiser. It was my first tattoo, and at the time I didn't have enough cash to pay for it in the tattoo parlour, so DJ Medhi lent me the money. It was my first.
But I don't want people to think that my music is just all about cars. Of course there is a background story of the Dead Cruiser character, but that's just an excuse to make music about it. I like way that Damon Albarn did Gorillaz. I don't want people to buy the music of Vincent Belorgey. I want people to buy a world with a story, with imagery, with music."