Gaspard Royant’s vinyl revival
First album, 10 Hit Wonder
Despite being reared on a diet of Roy Orbison records and Phil Spector productions, Gaspard Royant isn’t particularly nostalgic about the sixties. With his slicked-back hair, three-piece suits and seductive stance, the singer reveres rock-soul music, and has grouped a clutch of prime hits on his 10 Hit Wonder.
The song The Woods might have been written during a countryside walk near Liverpool. On this hit tailored for the radio, Royant’s voice is distantly reminiscent of the superb James Skelly from The Coral. Along with the sound of Albion, touches of Detroit and Memphis come through in this tribute to the music of Elvis and Lennon. The young crooner knows how to wield his voice, while making some respectful references to the best of Anglo Saxon pop culture.
Royant’s roots may be firmly French, but has convincingly absorbed some of the cream of UK pop-rock groups. His vinyl singles, released one by one and gathered together on 10 Hit Wonder, have already gleaned something of a following on the other side of the Channel. “The people I talked to were really excited about my idea of releasing several singles in a short space of time.” Back in 1992, David Gedge from the group Wedding Present applied a similar formula, bringing out one single a month for a year. Gaspard Royant’s repeat recipe has inspired British DJs to play a French record at the Northern Soul nights in Wigan (a reference in the genre) – quite a turn-up!
Royant chose London to record his collection at Liam Watson’s Toe Rag studio. Jack-of-all-trades Watson took care of the sound, injecting his dynamite energy into the task and skilfully weaving together vintage and contemporary sounds. “Liam and I had the same attitude. We both like to work fast, which is no easy task when you’re only using analogue equipment. Adjusting the tracks, managing the console, the sound cabin… Liam does absolutely everything himself.”
Gaspard Royant’s attitude to rock’n’roll is unabashed, global and tasteful, which is what makes it so good. “I’ve played in the UK several times, but it’s been fairly erratic. I’m now working with a tour manager and we’ve planned to go and play all over Europe… the general public is very curious and knowledgeable in places like Sweden and Germany.” Which makes Royant a Euro rock star in the vein of Edwyn Collins twenty years ago, or Richard Hawley more recently.
The "10-hit wonder” clearly appeals to the girls. It’s not just the album’s clever concentration of style, like something from Tamla Motown or Creation Records; it also contains all the ingredients to appeal to fans of pop (Marty McFly), rhythm'n'blues with its scintillating riffs (Europe), and psych folk (Monkeytown).
The next big event for Royant and his four musicians is ringed red on the calendar. For the first time, they will be topping the bill in Paris, performing alongside The Buns – an occasion to transform some noteworthy appearances into a true love story with the French. The evening will continue with a DJ playing rock’n’roll vinyl records, obviously.
Gaspard Royant, 10 Hit Wonder (Sardanapale) 2014
Performing live at Nouveau Casino de Paris on 25 March, and at the Printemps de Bourges Festival on 25 April.
Gaspard Royant's Facebook Page
Translation : Anne-Marie Harper