No Longer Lost: Exclusive Interview With Nouvelle Vague’s Olivier Libaux

French musician and producer, Olivier Libaux (Nouvelle Vague) presents ‘The Lost EP’. It is the second volume of songs under Libaux’s project, Uncovered Queens of The Stone Age. Liam Anthony interviewed Olivier about the inspiration behind his music.

LA: Congratulations on the EP! How did you select the songs you wanted to cover?

OL: : After the release of my Uncovered QOTSA album in 2013, I kept on working on Queens Of The Stone Age covers. I recorded seven or eight new tracks with Charlotte Savary, and then I did let them cool down. Listening back to this material last year, I thought that ‘Sick Sick Sick’ and the three other songs could make a very good EP. The vinyl EP’s back cover says, “These songs are a reflection of a possible Volume 2”.

LA: The songs on ‘The Lost EP’ sound original and not like covers. Could you tell me about the creative process behind the composition of the covers?

OL : I do believe that a cover must appear like a proper original track (it’s the same statement with Nouvelle Vague). This way, the new version can surprise the listener, bring unexpected emotions. The process is always the same: remove all the original arrangements, reach the heart of the song, imagine another landscape for the song, another atmosphere, then record the new version, and see how it goes.

LA: Many listeners, including myself, would agree that your music is incredibly visual. What were your visual influences behind this EP? How did this affect the production?

OL : Cinema is an important influence on me. Soundtracks but also movies. David Lynch, Joel and Ethan Coen, Stanley Kubrick, even Sergio Leone…I like to “see” landscapes when I record music, like scenes in a movie. I wish that the listener can enjoy the pictures, the ambiance.

LA: I think it is special to hear a female voice behind the original songs, which have this image of a masculine rock band. Did you always have Charlotte in mind to sing the songs?

OL : Charlotte was part of the live Uncovered QOTSA in 2013 and after. She is an amazing singer and she lives in Paris. Instead of working with various female singers (like I did on the first album), I thought it would be interesting to form a band with her, a duet. And see how we could handle various tracks and bring ideas in the new versions. Charlotte was an excellent partner.

LA: As part of Nouvelle Vague, you covered many of my favourite groups such as Depeche Mode and New Order. Are there any groups or singers you would like to cover?

OL : Oh yes. I mean, we have explored a lot of Punk and New Wave music with Nouvelle Vague, we have covered a wide repertory. But there are always new songs or bands to cover. It’s infinite.

LA: To finish, what artists or groups are inspiring you today?

OL : I am strangely going back to listening to New Wave music at the moment, Cocteau Twins for example. I am also a great fan of Slowdive, Still Corners, The National, Sufjan Stevens. And I must buy the new Desert Sessions albums ASAP (I was on tour, I just came back home).

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