1. Air | J'Ai Dormi Sous L'Eau
They are my biggest influence. Their Music puts you in a good place. That's exactly my goal in making Music. Plus they made me discover so many wonderful synthesizers by putting their list of gear on the sleeve notes of Moon Safari. It became like a Bible to me and inspired me to buy my first Analog synth, the Korg MS10.
2. The Beach Boys | Surf's Up
How can you write or imagine a song like this? I still don't know. Brian Wilson is way too far above us. He's an alien or something. Even listening to The Beatles, with all their incredible songs and studio experimentations, I just hear a band of guys playing, but in the best moments of Brian Wilson, I don't know, it's like animals, or angels, or something.
3. Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazlewood | Paris Summer
I remember clearly the first time I heard this song. It was the beginning of the Slow Internet that made all kinds of Music more accessible. And I also remember the thrill I felt at the chorus, Oh... Oh... Paris Summer. It’s so simple and graceful. I heard that and I thought : 3 chords, 2 words, I can do it. It makes me want to write songs. That's why Lee Hazlewood is still my main influence in terms of chord changes and lyrics. Plus, he and Serge Gainsbourg made made want to start recording women voices.
4. Ratatat | Crips
My favorite contemporary band, next to The Strokes. The equivalent of Lee Hazlewood for Production. I love all of the sounds they use: synths, bass lines, guitars, percussions. I would love to sit in the studio while they work, with my mouth shut and my eyes and ears wide open. They also have great visuals: covers, logos, press pics, everything in good taste. There is something ideal in their universe.
5. Ennio Morricone E La Sua Orchestra | Il Vizio Di Uccidere (Per Qualche Dollaro In Più Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Soundtracks and movies have always been very inspiring to me, and Maestro Morricone is my favorite. What I like in soundtracks is that they can involve these intricate orchestra pieces, but at the end of the day you just find people whistling the main themes in the shower like a typical Pop song. I like Morricone’s themes so much that it sometimes gets in the way of my own writing. I find myself playing the guitar and whistling, and just as I’m about to record, I think, No, wait, this is too Morricone, again. And he wrote so much material. I take my time going through it so I can keep discovering him for the rest of my life.
6. Serge Gainsbourg | L'Homme À Tête De Chou
Impossible not to be influenced by him when you make Music in France, and yet it's impossible to imitate him because he is so unique. He's an amazing songwriter and piano player. He's got style, he's refined, cultivated, and intellectual, and he made Love to the most beautiful women. That's too much, he's a beast. I like his lyrics because they are clever - sometimes it's like he winks at you with his voice. In this song, for instance, at the beginning he says mec, which is sort of like dude. He could say man or guy or something to match the elegance of the Music, but mec is popular, it speaks to everybody. Plus it's the way my grandfather addresses me.
7. Grandaddy | He's Simple, He's Dumb, He's The Pilot
I've probably listened to this song a thousand times. I remember that period when Grandaddy, The Flaming Lips, Mercury Rev and Sparklehorse released their masterpiece albums around 2000. It changed the way people looked at Pop bands. Suddenly they could be serious and deep and adventurous.
8. Wu-Tang Clan | Shame On A Nigga
Wu-Tang is what made me start listening to Hip-Hop and I've never stopped. The RZA production is crazy: the cuts, beats and bass-lines are sort of strange and quirky, but that's what gives them their special groove. And the Method Man verse is my all-time favorite. I memorized it completely. Then I realized I'll never be a rapper.
9. Nirvana | Drain You
Like all the kids my age, I got my first Rock 'N' Roll fix with Nirvana. They played three songs on French TV. At the end of Drain You you get Kurt Cobain throwing his guitar and screaming like an angry eagle swooping down on its prey. You're at the table eating your pasta and suddenly you're like: that’s what I’m going to do when I grow up and suddenly everything stops (you can find it on YouTube by typing Nirvana Nulle Nart Ailleurs). I also learned how to play drums by watching Dave Grohl.
10. Spiritualized | Broken Heart
Listening to Jason Pierce helped me find my own voice, especially this song. It's a murmur. It's sometimes a problem on stage, but I like the gap it creates on a record, thanks to Technology: a quiet voice very compressed at a huge volume. It brings so much Intimacy to the listener, especially when you are listening to it with headphones (which for me is the best way to listen to it).
+11. Pachanga Boys | Time
I've discovered clubs and Nightlife in the last few years. I'm not a crazy dancer, but I spent a lot of time listening to the Music at these places, trying to get how Electronic Music is built: cuts, beats, bass-lines, use of filters, etc. This song spoke to me in particular. It made me get the importance of Production, because it's ultra Electronic, but the chords suite could be played on the guitar or piano and make a sad and beautiful Folk song or something for a soundtrack.
+12. Arvo Pärt | Spiegel Im Spiegel (Performed by Vladimir Spivakov and Sergej Bezrodny)
I discovered this song in the movie Gerry by Gus Van Sant. I’ve been learning to play the piano and when I had to pick a song, I chose this one and spent a night analyzing it. It’s the perfect song to play on loop for a peaceful Sunday or a long, quiet drive.