Since 2004 the French band Nouvelle Vague has gotten quite a bit of attention for recasting ’80s New Wave hits in bossa nova, jazz and other styles quite different from their original versions.
On 2009’s “3,” however, the interest turned into activity as Depeche Mode’s Martin Gore, Echo & the Bunnymen’s Ian McCulloch, Fun Boy Three’s Terry Hall, and Magazine’s Barry Adamson joined the group on its interpretations of their songs.
“We heard after the release of the first two albums that Martin Gore appreciated what we did, that the Cure was a fan of our cover (of ‘A Forest’), that Ian McCulloch was quite happy with our version of ‘The Killing Moon,’ ” explains Olivier Libaux, who founded Nouvelle Vague in 2003 with Marc Collin, using a variety of female singers over the years. “All these people we had covered were very happy with Nouvelle Vague. They were thinking we were a good and interesting project.
“So it was quite natural after awhile to try to contact them ... to at least send an e-mail and see what they were thinking. We didn’t know how any of them would sound with our covers; we brainstormed together and suggested some ideas for them, and it all worked out very nicely.”
Nouvelle Vague on the road is another matter, of course; it’s Libaux, 45, and Collin with a pair of other musicians and two of the singers from their recording corps. Libaux acknowledges that “it’s a bit different from the records” but that the group still manages to capture its unique approach to the songs in that context.
“The live thing is a bit more ... rocking sometimes,” he says. “People can sing and dance. It’s an entertaining show. It’s all natural and organic; it’s not machines, no programming or anything. It’s all played by real people.
“And we’re getting to play a lot more places in the U.S. this time, so the people who have heard Nouvelle Vague on record can see we’re not just about a recording studio but really do get out there and play music, you know?”
Nouvelle Vague, Clare & The Reasons and DJ Jim Stone perform Thursday (Jan. 28) at the Crofoot Ballroom, 1 S. Saginaw St., Pontiac. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15. Call (248) 858-9333 or visit www.thecrofoot.com.
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