French production outfit Aeroplane talk to Time Out
French production outfit Aeroplane have been making large and repeated splashes with their remixes for the likes of Grace Jones and Robbie Williams, with mainman Vito de Luca recently launching his debut artist album, We Can’t Fly. Rumour has it they’ll be headed to Dubai some time in the new year, so we met De Luca to brush up on our Aeroplane knowledge. Here’s what we discovered…
Aeroplane’s bittersweet, melancholic psychedelic sound was a genuine labour of love. ‘The Aeroplane album is about my passion for late ’70s and early ’80s pop. It was really how to achieve the same sound without just sampling an ’80s record. I wanted to sound like them, the way they did it. So I had to force myself to work certain ways, with the same limits. If you explain that to some people, they’re just like: “Why are you doing that to yourself?” In the past few years, music has been evolving with technology, so if you wanna sound like you’re from that era, you have to set yourself the same limits that they had back then.’
De Luca believes that limitations drive creativity.
‘That’s the problem with technology. If you wanna put a reverb on something, you have 36 different reverbs which come with a thousand presets each. Then you’re just like: Okay, what do I do now? And you spend your time listening to presets and not working. When you’re in the studio and you only have one reverb, well, just deal with it. Make it sound good.’
The album’s freewheeling direction was the direct result of his split with former Aeroplane partner Stephen Fasano.
‘Basically what Stephen was doing was taking me back to a kind of club recipe that you have to play if you want people to react to your song. Every genre of music that’s made for clubs has a way to be done -– you have the break for 32 bars, then you have a drop, then the bass comes in, it’s really codified. So that’s something I was able to give up on when I was doing my album, because nobody was meant to dance to it, you know? If I wanna put five bars, even if that’s gonna piss everybody off, I don’t care, I can do it.’
He’s enjoying his freedom. ‘You can be more relaxed about what you’re doing and you can concentrate on something else. Most of the great pop bands, like Pink Floyd or Fleetwood Mac, all those big bands, their structures were quite crazy, but everybody knows these songs so well, they don’t realise how freaky it is.’
Although he’s more than happy with the album, he sees it as a stepping stone to cinematic glory. ‘To be honest, I’m obsessed with movie scores. Some of the tracks are really made in that way, they really are movie scores. So I’m hoping I can put one foot in that world and do some work on that, because that’s something I’m really looking forward to.’
He certainly has good taste in influences… ‘[Giorgio] Moroder is an easy number one. [Harold] Faltermeyer in his period did a lot of cool stuff; Bill Conti, who did the Rocky soundtrack, did mindblowing stuff. John Carpenter did a lot of electronic soundtracks that were amazing. I also started collecting library music soundtracks, all these guys who were stuck in studios all day just doing music for movies, and they came up with some of the most crazily produced and original pieces of music of that era. They were putting these guys in a studio and saying, “Okay, be as crazy as you can” – and trust me, they were pretty crazy.’
…although he’s yet to make inroads into soundtrackology. ‘I’m not welcome there at the moment. I’m nobody. It takes a lot of time to be considered. I’ve been talking with Tom from Junkie XL, as we have the same management. Now he’s doing a lot of soundtracks but he was explaining to me how he is considered a really young movie composer, and he’s over 40. I’m 28, so I still have a long way to go.’ We Can’t Fly is available on iTunes now.