On Stage (Extra): Caravan Palace manages to combine EDM with Swing

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By Denny Dyroff, Staff Writer, The Times

Caravan Palace

In recent years, there have been blends of things that seem unlikely in concept but work out well in reality. One example is the coming together of Philadelphia food and oriental cuisine – the highly-popular cheesesteak egg roll.

In the world of popular music, the combination of modern electronic music and traditional swing music seems like a very unlikely pairing – but Caravan Palace has made it work.

On July 8, Caravan Palace will bring its stateside tour to the area for a show at the Theatre of the Living Arts (334 South Street, Philadelphia, 215-222-1011,http://www.lnphilly.com).

The Paris-based seven-piece electronic big band is touring the U.S. this summer in support of its critically-acclaimed third full-length album,” <|°_°|>,” which was recently released on out now on Le Plan Recordings.

Since its release, “<|°_°|>” saw chart success, reaching #3 on Billboard’s Electronic/Dance Album chart and #5 on Billboard’s Heatseekers chart. It has remained on Billboard’s Electronic/Dance chart for an outrageously long period of time.

Fronted by vocalist Zoé Colotis and founding members Hugues Payen (violin), Charles Delaporte (upright bass) and Arnaud Vial (guitar) alongside Antoine Toustou (trombone, machines), Caravan Palace cites influences as diverse as Cab Calloway and Daft Punk.

“I was at the university in Lille with Arnaud,” said Payne, during a phone interview last week from a tour stop in Montreal, Quebec.

“In Paris, he introduced me to his old friend Chas. We started making music together — an electronic project. That was around 15 years ago.

“We began composing music a long time ago but we’ve been a live playing band for about 10 years. The music has changed a lot – especially playing our mix of different kinds of music.

“The electronic part is changing every day. In 10 years, a lot of things have happened. We have a young audience so we have to pay attention to that.”

It didn’t start that way.

“At the beginning, Charles and Arnaud and myself, we were playing weddings as well as bars and cafes in Paris,” said Payne.

“The only old stuff we knew was Django (Reinhardt). Then, we started listening to a lot of swing. We spent hundreds of hours listening to swing music like Lionel Hampton.

“In 2005, we made a soundtrack for a TV channel — but it was never released. Then, we started to really make the project in 2006 and released our first album in 2008.

“Our song ‘Suzy’ was our first single that was a success. It was used in a lot of documentaries and television shows. People know our music. They know that song – but they don’t know we made it.”

Caravan Palace’s hybrid music began finding an audience.

“We could see that it was not hard for young people to like what we were doing,” said Payne. “We didn’t produce dance music at that moment. We just made music we liked to hear.

“There were a lot of influences. Myself, it was classical music and a lot of John Cage and Karlheinz Stockhausen. For the other ones, they are more into punk music and jazz. There are also influences of Daft Punk, techno and trance

“We were never sure that combining electronics and swing could work. At that time, nobody was doing that kind of thing. We had to find our own references. Even today, it’s a struggle to keep it modern and current

“It was very different to do gypsy music and dance music. We had to find something deeper that would work. We worked hard to find our unique sound. We always have to keep doing things that are imaginative.

“It’s always a challenge to make new songs — hard to find the right tempo. It’s a big problem. Lately, tempos have gotten slower in hip hop so we had to make the change. Dance and trap — we hear it every day. It’s the music we love to hear.”

Video link for Caravan Palace — https://youtu.be/D_JxMb8RLEY.

The show at TLA, which has Ursula 1000 as the opening act, will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $26.

The TLA will also present Better Than Ezra, Foxtrot and the Get Down on July 9.

In the Presence of Wolves

In the Presence of Wolves just released its new Ep “Of Two Minds, Stages 1-2: The Ape and The Cage” on June 30, is having a “CD Release Show” on July 8 at Connie’s Ric Rac

(1132 South Ninth Street, Philadelphia, 267-908-4311, http://conniesricrac.com)

In the Presence of Wolves — Vini Stamato – Bass/Vocals, Chris Capitanio – Lead Guitar/Vocals, Mason Ingling – Drums/Vocals, Jim Ellis – Rhythm Guitar – is a progressive rock/metal band from Philadelphia.

“Progressive is an over-arching term,” said Capitanio, during a phone interview last week from his home in Glassboro, New Jersey.

“With us, rock side or metal side depends on the song. An early description of the band is a mix between Rush and Tool. Now, there is a lot going in there – and a lot of hard-core

ITPOW is an idea that had been brewing in the minds of Stamato and Capitanio since 2009.

“Vini and I have been doing music together since we were in high school at Paul VI in Haddonfield (NJ),” said Capitanio.

“After that, we were in different bands. Then, we came back together and hit the ground running. We formed this band in 2102 and had our first album in 2014.

“We try our best to do things collaboratively. Everybody’s part reflects this. Generally, Vini and I come up with the skeleton. The lyrics are mainly Vini.

“Unlike many prog bands, we don’t do a lot of improvisation. Our music is more composed with a lot of time signature changes and key changes.”

“Of Two Minds, Stages 1-2: The Ape and The Cage” is a two-in-one part EP in an eventual multi-release story that explores ITPOW’s personal confrontations with mental illness, emotional struggle and the five stages of grief.

The EP tells the story of twin brothers — one with paranoid schizophrenia and one without. The sane brother deals with the first two stages of grief as he investigates the reasons behind his twin taking his own life.

“We came in knowing that we were going to do a concept record,” said Capitanio. “It helps Vini knowing that he has a story.

“We were running out of time so we stuck with an EP – 33 minutes, five songs. The game plan is to do a follow-up full-length.

“In terms of subject matter, we haven’t seen much negative feedback. Fortunately, there are a people who enjoy the band’s music.

“We’re playing the EP front-to-back at the release show along with some older stuff. We’re hoping to do more extensive touring. Right now, we’re focusing on the album.”

Video link for In the Presence of Wolves — https://youtu.be/5etJZrkwXAo.

The show at Connie’s Ric Rac, which has Pralaya, Robbie Casablanca and Deeply Woven as opening acts, will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10.

Other upcoming shows at Connie’s Ric Rac are Altocamet, The Morelings, Mahogany and Stellarscope on July 9, and Boy Lawyer, Earthboy, RENTBOY, Poncho Model and Marcin Jaroszewicz on July 11.

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