M83′s Anthony Gonzalez Tells Us a Story

Dec 14, 2011 6:00pm

One and a half years in the making, M83‘s double album, “Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming,” represents a culmination of frontman Anthony Gonzalez’s career. Thoughtful and soft-spoken by nature, the French-born electronic artist takes an introspective approach to songwriting.

“It depends on my mood,” Gonzalez says. “I just take my time to write the songs. I just sit down and play with my synthesizers. I spend a lot of time experimenting.”

He speaks dreamily about driving around his new home in Los Angeles with his keyboards and laptop, and making music on the road. While he insists he never purposefully sets out to pen radio-friendly hits, the new album’s first single, “Midnight City,” and its infectious hook can be found playing on both college and alternative stations across the country. The song was even recently featured in a national spot for Victoria’s Secret.

 

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M83 performs at Webster Hall in New York on Nov. 22, 2011. (Adela Loconte)

As with his songwriting, Gonzalez is connected to the visual presentation of his music. He collaborated with a New York photographer and friend, Anouck Bertin, who also shot the cover of M83′s previous release, “Saturdays=Youth.” Gonzalez describes the artwork for “Hurry Up” as “very colorful, dark at the same time, and mysterious, strange, and moving and touching.”

Gonzalez often co-writes with his older brother, Yann, whom he credits with introducing him to different bands at an early age. One of the tracks that the Gonzalez brothers wrote together is the playful “Raconte-Moi Une Histoire,” which literally means, “Tell Me a Story.” Set to a bouncy, hopping beat, the voice of a young girl sweetly narrates a fantastical story about “a very tiny frog.”

 

“Yeah, this is one of my favorite tracks on the album,” Gonzalez says. “Zelly, the little girl talking on the track, she’s actually Justin Meldal-Johnsen’s daughter. Justin is my producer on the album. And yeah, Zelly is amazing. The first time I met with her she was only 5. She started to talk to me for 30 minutes. She wasn’t shy at all. It was pretty amazing to see this little child talking like an adult almost, you know? She’s a born actress.”

The leap from idea to idea in the song’s storytelling mimics a child’s wandering stream of consciousness. Of course, like everything Gonzalez does, the final product, in actuality, is much more precise.

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