Claude Violante is one half of the musical duo Haussmann. This talented writer and producer is more than capable of standing on her own though as can be evidenced by the release of her first EP, For You, which hit international markets on April 23rd.
Violante was kind enough to take a break from her schedule and answer a few questions for me about her music and recording process.
Do you find it challenging writing songs in English? Is your process different than when you are trying to write in French? Is it harder to express yourself?
It is very challenging for me to write in English! I never tried to write in French so I couldn’t really tell you anything about the process, but I believe it is easier in English. Writing in French would feel like being naked, but the words in English don’t come as naturally as in French. The challenge would and will definitely be singing in French, but I plan on doing it sometime.
You have just released your solo EP but have already established yourself on the musical scene as part of Haussmann. How would you say the experience of solo is different than working as a team? Any particular troubles or benefits you had not expected?
Writing alone is both easier and harder. I can only rely on myself, that’s great and that’s also very frightening. The best part of it is that it can go a lot faster but in my case it’s not even accurate since I torture myself about stupid details that I should, or not, change or delete. But it is also a way of proving something to yourself, a challenge that may or may not be successful… That’s exciting.
Your song, “For You,” is about a relationship gone bad. It juxtaposes nicely against the catchy and danceable beat and supporting music. How much of your music is autobiographical and how much is just fiction?
That’s funny, to me the song is about a difficult love situation, but I believe it will end well because the girl is very optimistic and believes truly in the relationship. What is the most important to me is the intention. In this song the lyrics are the way I say it, but the intention is the true part, the autobiographic part. It depends on the songs, sometimes the lyrics are the message and sometimes the tone or the melody is the message.
Who do you currently find yourself influenced by?
Hard to tell, I don’t like being directly influenced, but all the music I listen to are definitely a part of what I do. Not precisely, not voluntarily. I listen to many various kinds of music, from classical to reggae, it’s even hard to pick ten bands that really influenced me.
Related, what is the last album that you found you couldn’t stop listening to?
I recently discovered Planningtorock’s last album, and I thought it was great. I am also completely crazy about The Dream’s “Love King” in a totally different way. I am also very found of Joanna Newsom, all of her albums are amazing, these are the three things I listen to the most right now.
What are the biggest differences that you see between the music that is coming out of the clubs in France versus the music that is coming from the club scenes in the States right now?
I don’t know very much about the club scenes in either of these countries, but from what I hear in the hip hop scene for instance, the US are far more exciting! For the electronic scene, I couldn’t really tell you anything interesting except that what I like in general comes from the UK or the US, that’s where most of the good music comes from.
Having recorded and released your EP, is there anything that in hindsight that you wish you could have done differently? Any lessons learned to carry forward?
Yes, plenty of things I would have done differently, but I like to think of my EP as not being perfect, simply being my first. That’s already a great thing for me, to have my EP out there! I learned a lot by working with Alf (the guy who mixed the EP), and I am happy that I am just at the beginning of things so I can keep on learning and getting better at what I do. Hopefully!
If there is one thing in your life that you could change right now, what would it be?
I only wish I had my driver’s license, that would be great!
Where do you see yourself going from here? What’s your next step now that the EP is out?
I am planning on doing my best to put out an album one of these days, that is as far as I can go!