Earlier this year, we met up with French producer and DJ Klingande to discuss a bit about his then-upcoming album. Today, The Album has been released, via Ultra Music, and to celebrate, we invited him for another edition of our Director's Cut series. Below, he walks us through The Album, and the inspiration for each track on the album, giving us a look into his creative process.
How to listen: There are a couple of ways to proceed. First, you can listen to the whole album, which you will find below, and then read the notes. Or, read the notes as you listen to each track. This will completely change your perspective on the whole release itself and bring you closer to the artist and their work.
Words by Klingande
My debut album is about feelings, friendships, and human relationships. It wasn’t something I wanted specifically in the beginning, but it appears that’s what my music inspires when I’m in the studio with singers and songwriters. The album is divided into 2 parts. The first part is all of the new songs I’ve made over the last 18 months, and the second half is a compilation of my previous singles. I wanted to offer fans an opportunity to have my entire catalog over the years in one place.
“Amsterdam” is actually the last song I finished for the album. After the release of “Messiah” with Bright Sparks, they sent me this song and it was perfect. It took the spot of another song, but don’t worry, you’ll have it soon in 2020! “Amsterdam” is about someone who meets another person at a party in Amsterdam, doesn’t know much about him or her, but is intrigued and wants to find out more. I wanted to make something similar to “Messiah” in terms of musical direction.
BY THE RIVER
This song came from a demo written during the first writing camp of this album, which happened in London in April 2018. We got a rough demo with my team of writers, and I wasn’t sure of it at all. It wasn’t a priority for me. Then one day I thought about Jamie N Commons. I had wanted to work with Jamie ever since Kungs released his song “Don’t You Know” with him. As Kungs and I had the same manager at the time, I asked him to propose the song to Jamie. He answered immediately, he loved it! From that moment we have been in touch—he was in LA, I was in France, and we made it happen. We got to perform it live together at one of my shows in LA back in May, which was amazing. I started 2019 with this song because I felt it was one of the strongest on the album. I was so happy to collaborate with Jamie, but it was also the perfect connection between my past songs and the vibe I wanted to bring to the album.
“Sinner” was written in February 2019 in the last and third writing camp of this album in London again. I had spent one day in the studio with Stevie Appleton and we came out with the demo. Once again, I wasn’t sure about this song, that happens to me very often [laughs]. But after spending a few days on it, working on the production and arrangements, it turned out to be a perfect follow up to “By The River” with its pop-folk vibe. This song is about freedom, enjoying life, and accepting that we all make mistakes sometimes.
This one goes back to maybe 2 years ago. The first time I got the demo, I felt it was something for me. But it stayed in my drawer for months until I chatted with Goldfish in Miami about doing a collab. I thought this song would be a perfect fit to bring back saxophone grooves. We met up in a studio in San Francisco while I was on tour and put together the version almost as it is on the album. Just a few tweaks and it was done. I wanted to release it as a single last summer, but it didn’t happen on my end. I’m really excited to have collaborated with Goldfish, I love these guys and their energy. And I’m sure a lot of my fans will be happy to hear the saxophone is back!
This song was written with Loop, the singer, in London during the first writing camp of this album. It is about celebrity and love, how being famous can influence your mind and spirit. And that love is stronger than anything. It’s a mix of all of this. It reminds me of my previous songs like “Somewhere New” and “Pumped Up” that are featured on CD2 of the album.
“Messiah” may be my favorite song on the album. I got this track during the summer of 2018 just before my production camp in Ibiza in September at Sonic Vista Studio. The first time I heard this song, I knew right away that I wanted to do something different, slower, more melancholic to what people are used to from me. The studio in Ibiza has a direct view of the sea, so I think the ambiance and location really inspired me. When we came up with the melody with my guitar player Maurizio Pozzi and this tech house base in the background, I was super excited. This song is about passionate love and we shot a beautiful music video for it in Sicily. It’s a story of a love triangle, and I think the music and the video perfectly reflect the message of the lyrics.
READY FOR LOVE
“Ready For Love” is a very important song for me. I was honored to work with Joe Killington on this one, and very happy to invite the great French harmonicist Greg Zlap to play on it. I got it the song from my label who connected me with Joe, and as I work following my heart, once again I got a crush on it. I sent it almost immediately to Greg, who recorded maybe 3 or 4 demo takes of harmonica, full improvisations. In the end it was a perfect match. I kept these rough takes of harmonica and didn’t go to a studio to properly record; I loved the sound of it. The song was finished in a few weeks. I also want to mention the amazing music video we did for this one with the French surfer Victoria Vergara. This one is all about love, no need to say more!
I made this song earlier in 2019 and had the chance to go in the studio with Ady Suleiman, an artist I’ve been following for years now. We wrote it together and the original name of the project was “Die For A Living”. It’s about taking care of ourselves in a world where we have to work hard every day, find the right balance in life, and be alive. I think it connects a lot with the life of an artist—always on tour, jetlagged, far away from friends and family. It’s a happy but tough life.
The final song on the album is a long story as well! I got it from friends in LA that I work with. I loved it from the first listen, but after that I tried a lot of different versions that I wasn’t happy with. I think we have 18 or 20 different versions, with different drops and musical compositions around it. At some point this song became a nightmare for me. One day my guitar player Maurizio came up with this crazy guitar riff on the drop and I said, “That’s it!” This song is about love again, lovers, in the passion of a last breath.