Parisian electro duo Royaume break down their EP 'Again'
The rising French electro-pop act discusses their influences, the upcoming debut album, their EP and fasination for the Japanese bondage art form of 'Shibari.'.
Parisian electronic-pop crossover duo Royaume recently dropped their brand new EP 'Again.'
Formed by French-Japanese singer Yumi and producer Moon boy the 5-track effort offers the duo’s signature sound, spearheaded by Yumi's soulful vocals and underlined by Moon Boy's eclectic influences from the world of electronic, pop and hip-hop. The songs deal with a host of interesting themes. From Japanese lore to love in the age of social anxiety, to gender identity to 'The Handmaid's Tale' - it's all in there!
The EP includes Royaume's previous singles 'If We' and 'Again,' the latter of which is also accompanied by a thought-provoking music video that juxtaposes the Japanese traditional bondage practice of 'Shibari' with Royaume's views on gender identity.
Royaume --which translates to 'realm' or 'kingdom' in French -- first caught the attention of Les Inrocks Lab in 2016 with their debut single 'Blue Asphalt.' The track sparked activity in the blogosphere, quickly gaining the duo over a half a million streams. The band then signed to [PIAS], who then released their powerful single 'Miho Beach.'
As Moon Boy and Yumi hit the studio to tinker away on their debut LP, they took some time to discuss their EP, their unique sound, the art form of 'Shibari' and their debut album among other things in an email interview with Meaww. Read the full interview below:
Congratulations on your debut EP 'Again.' Compared to your early singles, how would you say the EP is different?
Thank you! The EP is more complete in terms of different types of emotions brought by the music and the lyrics. Music can make the listener feel all types of emotions, like melancholia, happiness, nostalgia, the joy of love or of friendship. It's important to us to transmit not only one type of emotions, but the whole set of it, and that's something we can only achieve with an EP or an album.
You deviate from the tradition of French electronic music by recording live vocals courtesy of Yumi, as opposed to sampled vocals. How did you come about this unique sound?
It actually came very naturally, as the music we create is totally due to our meeting, the mix of our musical influences, and how we inspire each other.
Could we have a quick track-by-track breakdown of the other 4 tracks on the EP?
Do You Know: The lyrics were inspired to Yumi by the TV series 'The Handmaid's Tale.' The production was made to sound deep and melancholic, but also punchy on the choruses. The kind of sound you would enjoy listening to while driving your car through a big and beautiful landscape.
Miho Beach: Yumi wrote it thinking of an old legend about this beach in Japan, and about her family. Deep and melancholic production had to go along.
Empty Hearts: It's about a love story that goes wrong, and it's also a metaphor for today's youth issues and anxieties about society.
If We: It's a "girl power" song; Moon Boy composed and produced it thinking of it as an anthem for women to sing along, and more generally for optimistic people who "never let it down."
The music video for the lead single explores the Japanese traditional bondage practice of Shibari. What’s the story there?
Glad you asked the question! There are actually different stories in one: in this video, the Shibari ties are a metaphor for the bonds of love. As the song's chorus says "If you find love, run away," the main character in the video gets untied from those ties by our "Jedi magic" moves. Also, usually Shibari is practiced on women, and so many music videos have half naked women in them, so we wanted our main character to be a man in order to bring some balance to that and show gender equity.
Is the EP self-produced? What was it like during the recording process?
Moon Boy: I produced it. We do a lot of what we call "ping-pong" during the recording process: I start the production of the song, ask for Yumi's thoughts, and then make changes according to her tastes, and this goes throughout the whole process until the production is done and the track is ready to be mixed. Also, I often have numerous production ideas, and she helps me to make choices. Everything was recorded in my home studio, except for Yumi's voice on 'Empty Hearts,' which was done in a recording studio because my microphone preamplifier was broken!
A quick google search told me Royaume means ‘kingdom’ or ‘realm’ in French. What’s the story behind the name?
We wanted a French name and thought this word sounded really good! Also, it can be an image for many things, depending on how people want to interpret it, which is something we quite enjoy!
You’ve stated the likes of Banks, The XX, Laurie Anderson, and Ben Khan as influences. From each of you, could we have one influence that would take us by surprise?
Moon Boy: Prince! I'm amazed by his creativity, his unique sounding productions in the 80s, and I think he's the best guitarist in the history of planet Earth!
Yumi: Rihanna, my love forever!
You’re currently working on your debut album in the studio. When can we expect the album to drop?
We're planning on releasing it during the first semester of 2019.
How’s the writing/recording process coming along for the album so far?
It's coming along very fine. We wrote and keep writing and producing many songs; so far we chose to keep 12 of them. Whether all of them will be on the album with the new ones we're making, or whether we have to make a choice between them... right now we don't know. But one thing is for sure. It's gonna be a beautiful record that brings a whole lot of emotions.