INTERVIEW: Fantine

REAL WORLD MUSIC

FANTINE IS ONLY JUST RELEASING HER SECOND SINGLE AND EMBARK ON HER FIRST NATIONAL TOUR BUT HER QUIRKY ELECTRO POP MUSIC HAS ALREADY TAKEN HER TO CUBA, LONDON AND NEW ZEALAND. SHE SHARES SOME TRAVEL STORIES WITH CHRIS FAMILTON.

Fantine Pritoula may be a new name on the local music scene but in the last two years she has gained some healthy attention and been pegged by many as an emerging talent. At a fleeting glance one might think she is just another r&b flavoured pop act but listen to her singles closely and better yet, experience her live and you’ll understand the range and maturity she already possesses only two singles into her career.

Born to a Russian father and Dominican mother in Moscow she was raised in both those countries before settling in Perth, WA. That rich cultural diversity in her upbringing no doubt influenced the similarly eclectic approach Fantine takes to her songwriting. Her first single Rubberoom was an upbeat pop song while the new single Eleven is a much darker electro-soul track, still firmly rooted in pop melodies. Live she plays with a full band who comfortably play anything from funk to indie styles making it tricky to tie Fantine down to any one genre, a predicament she is more than happy to be in.

“I don’t think I’m part of any scene at the moment but I don’t feel isolated in any way. I still get to play and support different acts. Being diverse leaves me open to the possibility of working with a whole range of people whether it be pop, soul, electro and fitting in by somehow not quite fitting in. It makes it a lot more interesting and varied too.”

Her natural predilection for travel and new experiences led her to visit London this year to test the waters and to work on her new single Perfect Strangers with a highly regarded indie producer who has worked with Damon Albarn for the last twenty years.

“That was a little bit exciting as I’m a big Gorillaz fan and especially the earlier stuff that he was involved with – as well as being a fan of Blur so I had the double whammy of not just working with Jason Cox but also working in Damon Albarn’s studio which was a great experience. I’d written the song with different people during my previous trip to the UK and it had a different arrangement but Jason has gone and re-arranged it and it is sounding really good. Perfect Strangers splits the difference between the first two singles and lands somewhere in the middle between those two extremes,” enthuses Fantine.

Not content to work with the cream of UK producers she has also cast her net towards the shores of Cuba to try and create a new angle on her songs, songs that have been created in collaboration with a number of musicians including an Australian teen prodigy.

“I went to Cuba in July to have talks with a Cuban producer over there who worked with the original members of the Buena Vista Social Club to see if he could work on some latin mixes of my songs. I’m trying to see what things are out there and I’m keeping my options open to working with people of all different styles but at the same time I’m mindful that people don’t want too many different styles and I need to keep some kind of unified sound that reaches different areas. On the writing tour that I did last year I wrote with Ben Lee who is traditionally a pop writer but we wrote music that is completely different to stuff you would expect Ben Lee to write. It is good to be able to get out there and see what people are doing. It is good to not pigeonhole people and see what they come up with and most of the time you are pleasantly surprised.”

this interview was first published in The Drum Media

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