Rising Stars: Keep Dancing Inc’s electro-pop conjures light in darker times
If there’s one band we all need to shake us out of 2020’s doom and gloom, it’s Parisian electro-indie starlets Keep Dancing Inc.
As their name suggests, the emerging, youthful three-piece impress with their unashamedly cool slick synth-pop over relatable lyricism branching on themes of brotherhood, relationships and love.
Their excellent debut album Embrace, out now, is a document of a band ready to take the next step up. It’s impossible not to feel a euphoric charge through the veins listening to jams like Start Up Nation and the anthemic Could U Stop, reaffirming Keep Dancing Inc is more than just a name – it’s a mission statement.
Its creation saw members Louis, Joseph and Gaby divide their time between their home city of Paris and Margate, where they teamed up with super producer Tom Carmichael, who’s worked with the likes of Kendrick Lamar and Fat White Family.
They’re also a major draw live, too. They’ve built up a reputation on the circuit with extensive tours across Europe and Blossoms support slots already under their belts.
Keep Dancing Inc are here to ensure we boogie through darker times in style.
Daily Star Online’s Rory McKeown caught up with the trio to talk about Embrace’s creation, their influences, what they’ve learned on tour, working with Tom Carmichael, France's music scene, and what we can expect next.
Hi guys, who are Keep Dancing Inc? When and how did you form?
“Hi! The band is composed of Louis (lead vocals/guitar/synths), Joseph (bass/synths/backing vocals) and Gaby (drums/backing vocals). It started somewhere in 2014 with Charles (former singer) and Louis.
“Joseph joined the band in 2015 and Gabrielle in 2018. Charles then left late 2019 and now it's just the three of us.”
How have the past few months been for you? What’s it been like navigating lockdown as an emerging band?
“The past few months have been pretty rough, just like it must have been for every emerging band releasing music. There were a lot of ups and downs, we had to push back the release date of the album several times and had to cancel every show we had planned.
“But we're trying to make the best out of any situation and we are using the extra time to work on a lot of new things so it's not that bad in the end.”
You’re called Keep Dancing Inc. Does this also act as your motto and mission statement?
“Yes exactly! It's basically saying that you should try to make the best out of any situation that life throws at you. It's a pretty positive statement and it's exactly what we're going through right now with Covid-19. We'll keep on dancing no matter what.”
You release your debut full-length album Embrace on October 23. What was its writing and recording process like?
“We've been through a lot of different steps and places to make that album. We started in early 2019 by spending a whole month in Louis' country house (which is very isolated in the south of France) to record some demos. It was a very inspiring place to write.
“We then took some time to process those demos and we settled on a handful of them with the help of our manager and record label.
“Then we did two weeks in a studio in Paris with Tom Carmichael to re-record everything with his help. The last bits were recorded in Margate (UK) at Tom's studio around October last year and he then proceeded to mix the whole album.
“In a way, the making of that record was a pretty fast process, we just spread every stage across the year because we didn't want to rush. It's kind of an advantage that comes with releasing your first album, no one is expecting you so you can take your time to polish everything.”
Sonically the album is varied, from huge synth-pop jams like Start Up Nation and Could U Stop to the absorbing Corsica Love and indie pop stylings of Long Enough. Do you enjoy shaking up your output?
Gaby: “I don't think we do it on purpose. It feels pretty natural for us to blend genres because we listen to a lot of different music and we don't want to stick to a particular sound. Sometimes we start working on something very electronic or very rock and from there we try to bring it to the most opposite genre we can. We like to mix things up and create hybrid tracks.”
Joseph: “I also think it's nice to have an album where each track is very unique and doesn't really sound like one of its peers. It makes every track stand out and makes you want to listen to the whole record.
“The trick is to stay coherent but the fact that we recorded mostly everything in the same studio within a short period of time made that easier.”
It was recorded with producer Tom Carmichael in Margate and Paris. What did he bring to the table?
“Working with Tom was really nice. He made the recording process so much easier and better than what we could have done because he's very talented, organised and patient. He's also the sweetest guy ever.”
“He helped a lot in keeping this sonic coherence that we mentioned before, both in recording and mixing.”
You’re from Paris, France. What’s the music scene like there and how has it moulded you as a band? Are there any other French acts we should know about?
“We don't really feel like there's a proper music scene in Paris (like there would be in the UK right now with rock music for example) because there's a lot of different bands evolving in a lot of different genres. It doesn't mean that there's no connections between those bands, we're friends with a lot of Parisians artists like Bad Pelicans, Hoorsees, Marek Zerba, etc… but all those artists have very different sounds so we wouldn't call it a scene.
“There's a French band we absolutely love. It's called Paradis. They released an album called Recto Verso in 2016 and it's probably one of the most perfect albums of the decade. Unfortunately they haven't released any new music ever since and we don't know if they are ever going to.”
You’ve toured the UK and support Blossoms around Europe. What did you learn from these shows and what makes a typical Keep Dancing Inc gig?
“Touring with Blossoms was a huge opportunity and it was so nice to be with the guys all around Europe. The biggest thing we've learnt is probably how much mentally and physically in shape you have to be to endure a tour.
“At the beginning we got very excited and got pretty drunk after the shows but after three days of boozing and very little amount of sleep and a very long drive we didn't feel that fresh anymore. So we cut the crap and tried to stay as healthy as possible for our own and other's sake.
“For our gigs, we try to have the most intimate and powerful live shows at the same time. Something like hugging the crowd but punching them in the face at the same time if that makes any sense.”
Definitely. Who are you influenced and inspired by – either musically, culturally or personally?
Louis: “I don't really know. It's very difficult to answer because I don't really think I have a role model, or more likely I have too many and find it hard to know who or what actually influences me at the time.
“Also, I can aim to do the opposite of what I've been trying to achieve out of boredom and out of concern for always doing the same thing. So my role models can become my 'anti role models' after I feel I've exhausted what they've brought me.
“For instance Morrissey really helped me to write my first vocal lines but now I'm a bit fed up with that (even if I still love his songs!).
“Right now, I'd say my main influence on this side of creation is Martin Newell from The Cleaners From Venus. He writes amazing songs with very beautiful chord changes and vocal lines.”
You’ve received support from a host of publications and from Radio 1. What’s it like to have that backing as an emerging act?
“We feel really lucky and thankful. We know how much of a recognition and opportunity it is. It's crazy to think that our music would ever be played on national radio, it's something that you dream of when you start making music and now it's happening for real, it's mad.”
What can we expect next from Keep Dancing Inc?
“A lot of gigs around Europe. We want to tour so bad, bring our album live on stage for all the world to hear it. And while it's not possible in 2021, we will be working on new music. Maybe a second album sooner than you think?.”
Embrace by Keep Dancing Inc. is out now via un plan simple
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