Marc Collin, musician, Nouvelle Vague

Another artist would have done something completely different – good or bad. Everything is dependent on the personality of the artist who is doing the cover.

We’ve all heard some shocking cover bands in our time – particularly at dingy pubs around town. Nouvelle Vague is nothing like any cover band you’ve heard. The long-running band has made a career out of reinterpreting popular new wave classics from the likes of Joy Division, Blondie, Depeche Mode, Echo & The Bunnymen and more in a smooth bossa nova style. Nouvelle Vague will soon be heading Down Under to perform at So Frenchy So Chic, Brisbane Powerhouse’s popular concert series celebrating French music and performance. Ahead of Nouvelle Vague’s appearance at So Frenchy So Chic, we chatted with founding member Marc Collin about what makes a song worthy of reinterpretation, the band’s latest album and what audiences can expect from their show.

What first inspired you to cover and reinterpret new wave music?
I had this kind of vision of a young Brazilian girl on a beach in Rio, singing ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ with a simple guitar. I thought, “I want to listen to that in real life!” So then I called Olivier to start the project.

Is there a special characteristic that you listen out for when picking songs for Nouvelle Vague albums?
Not really! I can be inspired by different things such as the story of the band, the lyrics or the music. 

Your newest album I Could Be Happy came out this year and features songs penned by the likes of Cocteau Twins, The Ramones and The Cure – what made these particular songs perfect for reinterpretation?
I’m not sure they are perfect for reinterpretation. Another artist would have done something completely different – good or bad. Everything is dependent on the personality of the artist who is doing the cover.

I Could Be Happy is also the first album Nouvelle Vague has released with original compositions. What can you tell us about these songs?
I wanted to have something new on this album and I thought, why not putting our own songs too? A lot of people don’t know we only do covers because they don’t know most of the original songs. We can think it’s because they like our sound and our voices.

Nouvelle Vague is quite unique in that it features a rotating line-up of female performers. Is there one female artist, dead or alive, that you would love to work with?
Dead – Julie London, she’s my perfect singer! Alive – I don’t know! Maybe Nora Jones or Hope Sandoval. 

We are really excited to catch Nouvelle Vague for So Frenchy So Chic at the Brisbane Powerhouse – what can audiences expect to hear on the set list?
It’s a brand new show with a lot of the new album – but we have included some our classics too!

Seeing as Nouvelle Vague prefers music from the new wave movement of the 70s and 80s, is there any song outside of that era that you’d love to record a cover of one day?
We listening to a lot of music outside of the 70 and 80s. I’ve also done an album called Bristol, which covers the trip-hop bands from the 90s. 

What are some words of wisdom that you live by?
I don’t know if I have any – I’m a dreamer!

Catch Nouvelle Vague at Brisbane Powerhouse for So Frenchy So Chic on Friday January 20. Be sure to get your tickets now before they disappear! 

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