STROMAE – Exclusive shoot for FAULT Issue 18

 

FAULT Magazine Issue 18 – the RAW Issue features Belgian solo artist Stromae.  Stromae first burst onto the scene in 2010, when his trackAlors On Danse’ caught the attention of everyone from Kanye and Will.iam to Anna Wintour and Nicolas Sarkozy.  

Photographer WOLAND and styling team A+C STUDIO photographed Stromae on location at DISCO Club, London.

The Belgian solo artist has a strong belief in the notion that there are two sides to every story. In Stromae’s case, the attention-grabbing visuals and catchy club beats of his music occasionally overshadow the other side to his personal story: that of a sharp, inquisitive and sensitive young writer and composer.

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All Clothing by Mosaert (Stomae’s own fashion label.)

 

FAULT: Your music has tackled homelessness (‘Formidable’), absent fathers (‘Papaoutai’) and STDs (‘Moules Frites’). What first compelled you to write about such harsh issues?


Stromae: 
That’s life. I think that to hide these issues is the worst solution. I was never concerned with music that was just about having fun. That’s great but it’s not my life; my life has always had problems, I just prefer to dance on them.

In light of the success of modern hip-hop artists like Drake and Frank Ocean, do you find it’s easier for male rappers to show a sensitive side and to tell a story beyond the swag and braggadocio?

Yeah I think it’s much easier than before. For me, it’s thanks to people like Kid Cudi – the people who crossed that line between hip-hop and dance music. They come from the same family but in Belgium that was a really different line to cross. If you were doing hip-hop you couldn’t be carrying a skateboard but people like Kid Cudi, Technotronic and Snap! just changed that.

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Interview by Will Ballantyne-Reid

There are many dualities in your music- the puppets in ‘Papaoutai’, the cross-dressing in ‘Tous Les Me?mes’. Was this a conscious decision?

I love telling two sides of a story, and really I find it difficult to have just one opinion! I like to hear what other people think and see both sides. Obviously my vision will always be a part of my songs but I like to keep a certain degree of openness- I don’t want it to be all about me. I don’t think that my life is that interesting!

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Get the full shoot and interview – only in FAULT Issue 18. Click here to order your copy for delivery worldwide!

What is your FAULT?

That’s a difficult question because I can always find a way to make something out of my faults [laughs]! One of my faults in the past has been not composing when I’m on tour.

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Eliza Doolittle: Exclusive shoot and interview for FAULT Online

Skirt and Top: NYMPHA Shoes: New Balance Earrings: Gogo Philip

Skirt and Top: NYMPHA
Shoes: New Balance
Earrings: Gogo Philip

Eliza Doolittle has had a vibrant career well-matched to her style and nature, with her first and eponymous album, released in 2010, debuting at number three on the UK Albums Chart and launching two UK top forty hits: “Skinny Genes” and “Pack Up”, both of which were released straight into the top five on the UK Singles Chart. Since then, she has toured and recorded with Disclosure, and worked on a World Cup song with Gary Barlow. Last year she released her second album In Your Hands, featuring tracks ‘Big When I Was Little’, ‘Walking on Water’ and ‘Let It Rain.’ We met her just as she was getting back to work on her next record!


What is the writing process like for you?

It changes all the time! Usually I write little one-liners or titles and think about the project as a whole. On my first album I  was just writing whatever I felt that day but this time I want to have more overall themes. Sometimes I’ll be working with someone who has a beat and so we’ll build it from there but I think it’s important to switch it up otherwise you get stuck.

 

What are themes for the next album?

You have to wait and see! I’ve only just started the writing process so I’m holding off because you always start with one thing, and it ends up being completely different!

Miles Holder

How do you feel you’ve developed as a writer since you released your debut?

Personally, I think the structure of the song has come on a lot. As a teenager, my writing was a lot more away with the fairies, and sometimes I need to just focus and bring it back to the chorus! I’ve worked with some incredible producers and writers and have learnt so much by just taking in other people’s process. Collaboration always keeps your mind open.

 

Are there any dream collaborators on your mind at the moment?

I love Andre 3000- he’s on the list! I would love to work with Raphael Sadiq- everything he touches is brilliant and I think we could do something really cool. It’s got to be a natural thing, you have to have a mutual respect for each other.

Dress: Antipodium Shoes: New Balance

Dress: Antipodium
Shoes: New Balance

 

You’re currently working on your new album. Is there a pressure to reinvent, either your sound or your image, with a new release?

I think you just have to be honest with what you’re feeling and what you wanted to make at the time. I like to move in new directions and explore- it’s important to grow. When I was writing my first album I hadn’t really experienced the world, or even lived much of my own life. There wasn’t a single love song because I hadn’t really gone there but now I feel totally different. Love is the most important thing in the world, and whether you’re experiencing it in a great way or in a sad way I think it’s so great if you can find the honesty in it and express that in a song.

 

You mentioned that you’re quite shy- is the live experience something you enjoy?

It’s my favourite part, I can’t even describe it. Being on stage is just the best thing. In fact, I can understand why that whole idea of sex, drugs and rocknroll exists because you have that amazing buzz on stage that nothing else can give you and you come off to nothing, really. And that’s when you could potentially indulge, I totally get it. I’ve always tried to be aware of that and separate one from the other.

SONY DSC

Dress: NYMPHA Shoes: New Balance Earrings: Gogo Philip

Your music and outlook seems very quintessentially English- -is your British identity really important to you? 

I wouldn’t say I’m the most patriotic person but I was raised in London and it’s so mixed I think it just makes you love lots of different cultures. But I’m proud of where I’ve come from and I absolutely wouldn’t want to stand for anyone else.

 

You seemed to have a lot of fun on the shoot- is the relationship between fashion and music something that’s really important to you?

I think you have to just enjoy it. Most of my favourite musicians have a lot of fun with their clothes as well, whether it’s David Bowie or Andre 3000 or even someone like Kurt Cobain. I think it’s got to just express your personality.

 

What is your FAULT?


I don’t have any (laughs). No, I’m definitely a bit of a control freak, especially when it comes to my music or anything creative. But I’m trying to let go a little bit- it’s important to let people in who can elevate you and make you the best that you can be. I need to be less of a control bitch basically (laughs.)

 

Back issues of our first shoot with Eliza back in 2010 are available through the ISSUES page. Click HERE for a direct link to buy your copy of FAULT Issue 6: No Man is an Island, which also features Alesha Dixon, 2 Many DJs, The Vaccines, the Black Angels, Nick Cave’s Grinderman project, John Cooper Clarke, Benn Northover and the Correspondents.

FAULT Magazine Issue 6 - £20.00

FAULT Magazine Issue 6 – £20.00

 

Photography: Miles Holder

Words: Will Ballantyne-Reid

Stylist: a+c studio

Make-up: Emma Miles using Mac Cosmetics

Hair Stylist: Natalie Viner

Ameriie – exclusive interview and photoshoot for FAULT Online

 

American-Korean artist Amerie Mi Marie Rogers first hit the airwaves back in 2002 with ‘All I Have’ – although it was 2005’s ‘1 Thing’ that really pushed her to international prominence, reaching number 8 in the Billboard Hot 100 and number 4 in the UK.  Fast forward to 2014: the name is now Ameriie (spot the extra ‘i’), and she’s back with a bang.

After a few years experimenting with different musical styles, Ameriie has been keeping a beady eye on the pop industry in recent times. New single ‘What I Want’ is a punchy, 80’s inspired song that feels right at home in today’s music climate. With a plethora of different projects on the way, both within music and outside of it, she found time to chat to FAULT about her new single and plans going forward.  ‘What I Want’ is available as a lyric video on YouTube now, while Cymatika Vol. 1 and Because I Love It 2 are the next projects to look forward to. FAULT Online got an insight into Ameriie’s creative process in this exclusive London interview:

 

Dress : Julien MacDonald Earrings: Maria Black

Dress : Julien MacDonald
Earrings: Maria Black

 

FAULT: What have you been up to in the last 5 years?

Ameriie: The last 5 years I’ve been constantly creating new music, it’s something I always do. I was recording for Cymatika, which is Part 1 of a Trilogy, that I’ll be releasing in the future and also simultaneously recording songs for BILI [Because I Love It] 2.

I’ve been recording songs, writing and co-producing as well – and then depending on the sound of the song, that dictates which project the song will be landing on because Cymatika has a very distinctive sound, sonically it’s very tight. BILI 2 has a certain sound as well, but the sound is not as extremely specific as Cymatika is.

I’ve been doing that, and I’ve also been writing – because when I was younger, I used to write little short stories and I would staple them together and make little books and newsletters and see if neighbours would buy them, which some of them did because they were very nice!

 

How does it feel to be releasing music, and what made you decide that now was the right time?

Whenever I’m about to release a new album, I usually feel like a new artist, maybe because I’m constantly creating and so I’m always used to hearing it and I usually keep a lot of the music to myself. I don’t really give it out or play it for a lot of people, it’s just something I create and put away and so it’s kind of the first time people are really hearing it because it’s not like I play it for a lot of my friends, everything feels very fresh.

It feels like the right the right time because both projects are close to being complete.

 

The single What I Want is a your lead single – what made it the choice for your first single, and is that indicative of the sound we can expect to hear from you on future music?

It came about because my husband who produced the record, he really knows what I love and gravitate towards. I love percussions and break beats, so he had the idea and I loved it and so he ended up creating the track and I was like ‘wow this is really great!’

It’s a bit of a departure for me because for the most part I’ve been recording these new songs, creating the track around the melody, coming up with the melody, lyrics and everything, so in this instance, it was amazing!

The song took a long time – sometimes I can create a song in literally 5 minutes and it just comes but you never know if that will be the case. In this instance it took 8 months because I didn’t want to force it. I never sat down and said ‘it’s time to write the song and let’s just do this’, it had to be organic, it had to come to me, I didn’t want to think about it, and I wanted it to be driven very much by feeling and nothing cerebral. One day the pieces really started falling together and it just came.



Black Leotard: Reckless Wolf Coat: Daniel Pillott

Black Leotard: Reckless Wolf
Coat: Daniel Pillott

 

What kind of music have you particularly been listening to and do you feel that’s changed since you first started out?

No I pretty much listen to the same music, the thing about it is I don’t actually listen to a lot of music – and when I do listen to music, I tend to get into a zone and I listen to the same few songs over and over.

I love Kanye’s music, I really enjoyed his ‘Yeezus’ album – I wouldn’t say it necessarily inspired this project but I think everything is an inspiration…whether it’s television, films, paintings, music, books…just ideas.

I’m inspired a lot by things that aren’t usually related to what I’m doing, to me this was more of an aura of energy and I was inspired a lot by human energy of the frantic sort. I did a lot of running, and a lot of exercising while I was listening to it –I’ve really been listening lately to Lorde, Lana Del Ray, Kanye and lots of instrumentals, Hans Zimmerman, a lot of scores.

 

Do you feel the music industry for you has changed since you began?

I think everything changes. I think that right now it’s a great time because there’s so many opportunities. I think the mixing of genres, as far as in the music we listen to is so much more open to different genres. Mixing genres isn’t strange, and you have people that listen to Taylor Swift and Lorde, who also listen to Kanye and they listen to everything.

I can appreciate that – I think that’s changed a bit – but I think that’s not just music, I think it’s just what happens with the world, it’s globalisation. People in NY are eating sushi and people in LA are eating Ethiopian food and we’re all enjoying everyone’s culture, and that includes music, food, film, clothing and style. There’s less division with people now, which I think is good, and an appreciation of different things.

 

Black Leotard: Reckless Wolf Coat: Daniel Pillott Shoes: Christian Louboutin

Black Leotard: Reckless Wolf
Coat: Daniel Pillott
Shoes: Christian Louboutin

 

Is there anyone you would want to collab with in the future?

Doing something with Kanye [West] would be really cool, I really have a lot of respect for him as an artist. I hear what he’s doing and I feel like, without speaking to him about it, I know where he’s coming from artistically and so I feel a certain kinship with him, sonically with the things he puts together so he’s someone I would like to work with.

 

What do you feel the future holds for Ameriie (both musically and also outside of that)?

I’m just riding the wave. I look forward to everything that life has in store for me and I’m in a really great place, and I’m open.

Leotard: Zeynup Kartal

Leotard: Zeynep Kartal

What is your FAULT?

I’ve got better at it but  one of the things I’ve always struggled with is that I’m a perfectionist and a lot of that has to do with my personality. I’m a little OCD, certain things will bother me if they’re not in the right place.

Recently I’ve realised that everything does not have to be perfect. You can be as precise as you want when you’re creating a song or you’re designing something, but you have to accept that everything will always be imperfect because we’re human beings.

Now I strive for things to be perfect in their imperfection. As an artist, you have to know when to stop. You can continue to do something over and over again, do a vocal over and over again, over think something, a video treatment, anything – and sometimes that can stagnant and stall you, and you have to know when to let it go.

Ameriie on the web: Twitter/ Facebook/ YouTube

Photography: Miles Holder – www.milesholder.com

Words: Kevin Lyster

Styling: A+C Studio

Grooming: Patricia Obaro Odje