Mélanie Pain | It’s Me, My Songs and the Audience

Interview with the fabulous Nouvelle Vague singer

The fabulous singer of Nouvelle Vague, Mélanie Pain on returns to the A38 Ship on the thirteenth of December to stun her audience – again. But she will also perform with one of the biggest Hungarian rock ‘n’ roll stars, Kiss Tibi, Quimby’s singer and Budapest Bár, a band specialised in modernising the Hungarian chansons of the 30s and 40s. Before this special meeting of cultures and generations, we asked Mélanie about his The Smiths-addiction, peforming in Budapest and about the differences of being in Nouvelle Vague and being a solo artist.

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You’ve already performed at Budapest many times, do you have any special memories about the concerts?

I performed many times in Budapest but will always remember the first time I played A38 with Nouvelle Vague probably in 2008. (2009.) Arriving on the boat venue in winter and meet the fantastic and warm Hungarian crowd was really special, I remenber feeling really excited after the show, the energy of the crowd in that place was unique. The next morning was a beautiful crisp cold day, I had a long walk to the castle, trying to get rid of the pálinka in my body – I think I even wrote a poem that morning, Budapest is definitely an inspiring city.

Why did you decide on studying political science? Did it have any effect on the way you make or think about music?

I chose political science because I succeded in the entry exam and that was one of the best program. I loved it, we had courses on so many different subjects. It really opened my mind I think and gave me a basic knowledge about how the world works (politics, economy, geopolitics, anthropology – that was my favourite course).
In our interview with her, French pop star Yelle said to us, that it is not easy to write in French, because French talking people are really picky with lyrics – would you agree with that?

Yes it is hard to write in French, especially pop music when you have to be simple and efficient with the melodies, the rythm of French is not easy, long words, lots of consonants, gramatical forms – make it hard. And yes French people are getting really picky, they can really be snob about how a song should be written.

For you, what is the main difference between being a member of Nouvelle Vague and being a solo artist?

It is very different, vcause I sing my personal stories when I’m solo, much more emotions. I also take time to talk on stage and explain the songs, create a dialogue with the audience cause it’s me, my songs and them. It’s a more intimate and personal experience.

What is the most exciting thing about covering well-known post-punk, new wave, synth pop classics with Nouvelle Vague?

The most amazing thing in this project is how I can still enjoy and have so much fun on stage after 10 years – because those songs are masterpieces ! I must have sung Love Will Tear Us Apart a thousand times, and I still get shivers…

Are there any songs you never covered yet but would love to?

There are so many…

Bye Bye Manchester seems to be your first proper solo album, at least in terms that you worked with less people on it. Would you agree with it?

Yes it is I guess, I wrote almost all the songs, and work with Albin on every notes and rythms. I am very proud of it.

How did turning into a mother shaped it?

Well, I felt the need to be personal, and not to play any role or follow any codes. I wanted to write my songs even if they were not the best songs ever written, they were mine and honest. Being a mother probably gave me that focus.

What does the title refers to?

I went to Manchester to write and find inspiration as a big fan of english pop and The Smiths in particular. But of course when I was there I realised I wanted to write about me and my life in Paris, so here it is – Bye Bye Manchester.

What was it like to work with Albin De La Simone?

Perfect, we got along so well. He helped me find my sound. I’m so grateful. I miss him now that I am working on the next album.

What are your five favourite Manchester-­related records?

Any albums of The Smiths!

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