I’ve always tried to offer a good balance of my releases in my live shows.
Anoraak talks about his tours and his upcoming projects. Vehlinggo also pressed him for his favorite song from his own catalogue.
Frédéric “Anoraak” Rivière, one of the co-founders of the Valerie Collective, will take the stage solo at Verboten in Brooklyn tonight, armed with a couple of keyboards and an MPC — probably the most important hardware sequencer and drum machine in use today.
The French, Italo-infused retrosynther finds himself stateside at least twice a year, and has been known to bring a band. But at Verboten, Anoraak is changing things up a bit. Sure, you’ll hear songs off his releases Nightdrive With You, Wherever The Sun Sets, and Chronotropic — even some remixes — but they’ll be tweaked.
Instead of the three-piece live band, Rivière wanted to try something different this time around, hence the straight-up electronic armament.
“I’ve always tried to offer a good balance of my releases in my live shows,” he told Vehlinggo. “… And every track is played as ‘reworks’ — more club-friendly and more exciting to perform alone.”
I didn’t bother to ask him which particular songs he plans to play, though. It’ll be good to be surprised. Plus, the windup is part of the experience. Why would I want to take away the fun of hoping he performs essentially everything on this Soundcloud playlist and more? (Surely, Italo Disco singer Sally Shapiro can’t be in Brooklyn in person to perform their 2010 collaboration, “Don’t Be Afraid,” but her vocals can be.)
In that spirit of fun, I’ve been speculating that Rivière will perform “Endless Summer,” an exquisite cut from his 2008 Nightdrive With You EP, which was a great year for Valerie releases. To be clear, he never explicitly said he would, but when I asked him to name his favorite Anoraak song, that was it. “Summer” is certainly one of mine.
“It’s definitely not the most known, but I have a thing for this song,” he said.
Rivière was last in this part of the world in October, and since then has been sequestered in the studio. He said he’s been working on a couple new Anoraak tracks, one of which will be released “very soon” on Eskimo Recordings, a great Belgian label. He’s also slated to release three remixes in upcoming weeks.
And, of course, there’s something secret brewing.
“I’ve started new projects, but they’re not progressed enough to tell you more,” Rivière said.
Rivière first played in the U.S. in 2009 at Webster Hall in New York and since then has been crossing the Atlantic with some regularity, taking in a variety of America’s offerings.
“There are so many places I like in this country,” he said. “It’s really hard to name some.”
His favorite New York spot to grab a bite is Fette Sau, the much-lauded barbecue joint in Williamsburg. Across the river, he likes to grab a cocktail at Wise Men on the Bowery and E 4th Street, saying it’s “great and not too pricey.”
Rivière has the opportunity to visit any place of note quite often, because touring is a big part of the hustle of being a professional musician. The other components usually include finding out what works and riding the waves. That last part is important: Rivière said the biggest challenge about doing what he does is to keep being able to do what he does.
“It’s extremely hard because trends are changing really fast,” he said. “It’s complicated to establish something durable. But making a living out of any form of art has always been a challenge — only the reasons for the challenge change depending on the time.”
Joining Anoraak at Verboten will be Plastic Plates and Joakim. Tickets are $20-$25 and the show starts at some point around 10 p.m. You can buy his and all sorts of Valerie goods over at Grand Blanc’s Big Cartel store.