Belgian duo Soldout, formed by Charlotte and David, are releasing this Friday their fifth studio album: “Forever”. It has been more than a decade that the duo have putting us to dance with electro beats, punk attitude and pop vocals.
To celebrate the release of the album, we interview them at Motel One to have a chat about the past, the present and the future of Charlotte and David.
Highclouds: “Forever” is your fourth studio album (fifth with the original soundtrack of “Puppylove”). It seems that you release a new studio album every four years. Is this something calculated?
Charlotte: We want to evolve and be better with each album, therefore, we don’t want to rush to produce new music. We are constantly learning and evolving and we don’t want to do the same thing compared to previous albums. Also, the fact that we do most things by ourselves and we don’t have a big label behind us allied with the touring, makes the process to produce new music slower and more time-consuming.
Going back to your first album “Stop Talking” in 2004, it sounds more punk than the most recent records. Was it because your sound naturally evolved to that or was it because you wanted to challenge yourself to do something different?
C: It was both, actually. The first album had the youth energy of a new band. I was 19 and we had just started working together. It was very basic and very raw. It was during the euroclash vibe, therefore the punk. After, we started to evolve as persons, so, the album we wrote in 2004 we couldn’t write today and “Forever” we could never have produced it 12 years ago.
David: For the live shows, we rework some of the songs because people are used to come and dance at our shows. We are still Soldout, we still show our personality but we also push ourselves to do things that we haven’t done. We started to slow down the tempo on “More” a bit but we were not scared to try it fully now. And if we feel like going back to punk in the next album, we will certainly do it.
“We understood that working with other musicians who can bring an editing eye to the process is benefic for our work” – Soldout
“More” is the fourth studio album and straight after you recorded the original soundtrack for “Puppylove”. How was that experience for you?
C: It was great. First of all, it was so interesting for us to see the whole process of creating a movie. It is definitely a lot of work and a lot of people involved. We started by reading the script without anything being done because the director, Delphine Lehericey, wanted us to make the music before so that the artists had the music in their heads before the shooting.
Once the editing started, we noticed that two seconds of a movie scene can make it funny or edit it and make it serious. It was great for us because electronic music passes a lot by editing too – we could find a similarity there. Now, I can’t watch a movie the same way because I have been on the other side.
And you even won an award for that!
D: Yes! It was amazing. We had a great guidance from the director who told us specifically what she wanted and in which direction she wanted the soundtrack to go.
C: It is actually easier to work for somebody else and have a direction to follow than to work for yourself and question the work all the time.
D: This experience also made us realize who we could collaborate with people in our own projects – it all started there. We understood that working with other musicians that can bring an editing eye to the process is benefic for our work.
Indeed, in “Forever”, you collaborated with Goose, Maya Postepski, Darko, Marta Salogni and Victor Le Masne. How did this change the production of the album?
C: At first, we wanted to work with a different person for each track but then we met Maya, who heard all the songs from “Forever” and she wanted to work with us on several tracks. She really helped us to make some decisions. She was really the element that helped us finishing this record and made us feel confident in the work that we have done. Also, we are two people with very different personalities, therefore, it was nice to have a third element to help.
We also worked with Darko, who is an amazing DJ, who can mix for six hours with passion. He knows a lot of about music so he helped us to create a storyline. It is a long song, so it is not easy to do.
D: With Goose, because they are in Flanders and we are from Wallonia, we don’t play on the same scenes but we like each other, so we called them and they were really happy to make a song with us. We went to their studio and just started to play around with the instruments.
And what did you bring together? What is your background and how does Soldout work?
C: I don’t have a full classical training, however, I did solfege as well as 10 years of piano and 3 years of classical guitar. I was singing in jazz cover bands and, then, I went to San Francisco to learn English. There I started to write songs accompanied by the guitar.
D: I learned all of the producing by myself thanks to Atari and Commodore – but you are too young to know them – where you would need a page of code to have a melody. It is a little bit easier now.
C: I am more in the pop structure. I am more traditional while David is very open and psychedelic. We are good together because he does things that I would never do – specially in electronic music. He is really the one that makes our duo sound like Soldout. I am the one doing the lyrics, the melodies…
D: and the voice, too, obviously.
You have toured in China, recently! How was that?
C: YES! It is actually a really funny story. During summer, we have received an email stating that someone wanted to release our CD in China and I thought it was a spam. However, I still asked who were the artists that they were working with. We received a list with a couple of artists and we eventually checked with one of them to confirm that it was a real company. We signed an agreement and next thing we knew, we were there and start touring.
Maya requested to come with us as she had never been to China and we had to take the opportunity to play with her live before starting touring as Austra. It was great because we were not playing for expats or touristic China. It was the interior China, where not many bands go. Surprisingly, the venues were great and the people were very aware of our type of sound – even if they didn’t know Soldout, per se.
D: The crowds had a great knowledge and passion about music. You could see that they knew what our type of music is. We had the feeling that Chinese people had no idea of the sound being made in Europe. It is not true, they knew perfectly our type of music and were really enthusiastic. We had an average of more than 200 people per show, it was really surprising.
When you were touring in China, “Forever” was already complete. So, I guess that the inspiration of this trip didn’t change the final result of the album.
D: Exactly! However, the original name of our song “Forever” was “China”. When we first wrote it, there were some Asian influences, some people can still hear them. I guess our next track should be named after a place we would like to go. Let’s say, for example, Portugal.
C: We also have a track that we didn’t release called “L.A.” Maybe it is going to be the next one.
Speaking of touring, are you planning to tour for the release of the album?
C: We are not used to do a full tour. We play different shows and then we come back home. We are playing some big festivals like Les Ardentes, Brussels Summer Festival and Ronquieres and then we are playing Paris, Lille, Brussels in October, Liège.
You have just released the second single “Forever” but the first single was “Do It Again” featuring Goose. Why that song as lead single?
D: With every album, we released a “zero single” first. We know it is never going to be a radio single but we want people to be aware that it exists. We did it with “Wasabi” and with “The Box”. Surprisingly, “Wasabi” became a big hit, but in the concept, it was not the point. With “Do It Again”, we know it is a bit dark and that the radios were not going to pick it up, but we love the song and we wanted to show people that we do things that they wouldn’t probably expect.
C: If we had released “Forever” first, it would be like: “yes, it is a pop song, it is Soldout, it’s cool.” But, by releasing first “Do It Again”, people can see two sides of the same album.
“The slow songs are still dancing ones” – Soldout
Do you think that “Forever” is more eclectic than your previous album?
C: I think we were always quite eclectic. Even in “Stop Talking”, we had slower songs like “Maybe Tomorrow”. With “Forever”, we go further in each type – maybe that is why it sounds more eclectic.
D: Totally agree! The thing is that previously we didn’t insist so much in the quieter songs, so, they were less noticed. We didn’t really promote the tracks, therefore, people don’t know them.
C: However, slow doesn’t mean quiet. The slow songs are still dancing ones – which is also a difference compared to our previous slower tracks.
Was there any special inspiration for “Forever”? Besides the fact of opening up your World to exterior people?
C: There is never really a pre-decision on what we are going to do. We start writing and composing and just follow what feels right to us. The only thing we wanted was for this album to be a bit less 80s.
D: From my side, I wanted that Charlotte’s voice had more space in the music. That there was more singing. But there was no concrete direction – it just happened like that and we liked it.
Lastly, what does the future reserve for Soldout? And for David and Charlotte as individuals?
C: We certainly want to make music with Maya again, as it was a great experience. Solo, I would love to write songs. Either for a movie, again, or to a young artist. Sometimes, you restrict yourself but when you write for somebody else, you don’t have boundaries – I would love to see how this would come out. David wants to produce for other artists, as well… David, you actually won the D6BELS award for best Musician!
D: I was quite surprised actually. As I work with computers, I don’t really call myself a musician. So it was actually quite a recognition to know that people finally understand that making electronic music behind a computer is also music – it was like a proof of modernity.
“Forever” is out tomorrow via Flatcat Records/COD&S Distribution. Souldout will be touring, and you can check the dates below. You can follow them over Facebook, Instagram, Soundcloud and visit their website.
30/03/17 – Reflektor / Liège – complet
06/07/17 – Ardentes / Liège
05/08/17 – Ronquières Festival
12/08/17 – BSF
13-17/09/17 – Fly Away Festival / Cargèse (Corse) http://www.weflyaway.be/
19/10/17 – Salle de La Madeleine / Bruxelles