Fakear may not be a name you are familiar with yet, though that is about to change. Lesser known as Théo Le Vigoreux, the 24-year-old French phenom has already developed a fine-tuned affinity for creating beautifully intricate, multi-layered compositions. He has quietly emerged with a handful of EPs in his catalog, seemingly limitless creativity embedded in his process, and an appropriately tongue-in-cheek moniker. With a well-rounded blend of symphonic classics and sophisticated world music shaping his style, the Normandy-bred newcomer’s journey has now culminated with his debut full-length record, Animal.
Ahead of the release, Dancing Astronaut caught up with Fakear to learn a little more about Animal and the beatmaker behind the beast.
The album introduces Fakear in a highly intimate, thoughtfully observed, and genuinely emotional way. Animal sounds like Fakear’s own personal tea party in the jungle, though a common theme of romance runs subtly through the entire collection. From moments of timid courtship to energetic, animalistic desires, each track lends a little credence to the record’s name. From the album’s opening selection, ‘Sheer-Khan,’ Animal is, in a sense, jungle love. And while spliced, intricate patchworks like “La Lune Rousse” come together as beautiful compositions, the method behind these mosaics is actually less complex than one might imagine.
“I don’t have one method. I start from a sample, or chords on a keyboard, it depends. If I find a great sample I can start from it, but when I need to make music, I can begin by simple piano chords. Then, I need my song to be finished [in] 3 or 4 hours. I don’t like to spend more time on it, because you can keep an inspiration many days, to me.”
Though, even with such an ephemeral element to his inspirations, the Counter Records recruit’s music is very much rooted in his personal complexion. From his own musical taste shaped by London’s post-dubstep sub-genres, to traveling, love, and ultimately, his ever-changing environment, Animal comes together with distinct personality and a certain eclectic synthesis. Le Vigoreux explains,
“[It’s] about what I find beautiful. I love world music, so I listen to it a lot. When I discover a beautiful song, I cut it [into] many pieces I can use in my songs. For ‘Animal,’ I was mostly influenced by my emotional life, and my love story with my girlfriend. I talk about love in it! But I need to express it in my own way, so I use pieces of world music.”
The album is packed with intriguing samples that are ingrained into these imaginatively designed soundscapes. Fakear’s worldly influences are bold and evident over Animal’s 12-track span. Le Vigoreux’s debut rounds out with three collaborations, though the album maintains a simple scope and a personal vantage point.
“I do field recordings for many percussions sounds or ambiance, and on two songs on the album we can hear my girlfriend, who sang for me sometimes. But most of them are taken from Youtube or world music albums.”
Fakear isn’t quite like the other sounds emanating from France right now. Meshing sonics inspired by Odesza, Rustie, and Bonobo, Fakear flirts with dance-primed funk on selections like “La Belle Ame” and eccentric chimes on “De La Cruz.” One of Animal‘s strongest selections comes as a collaboration alongside Andreya Triana on “Light Bullet.” Silky vocals glide through dreamy, downtempo disco chords to make for one of the album’s most noteworthy highlights.
“I did a remix for her, and she loved it. So we decided to collaborate, and we made ‘Light Bullet’ in maybe 3 hours!”
Though, in the world of electronic dance music, the full-length record toes a narrow, sometimes tenuous line. The project must be cohesive without being redundant, a middle ground that Fakear’s debut owns perfectly. The leap from an EP to a 12 track studio project is a testament to the artist’s growth, but ultimately alludes to bigger ideas that perhaps shorter collections cannot capture. Fakear elaborates,
“At the end of my EP “Sauvage” I thought I was mature enough to make a full album. I think you need to think about what message you want to tell, and for that you need to be mature enough. It’s not that easy. And when I met my girlfriend I knew that time was happened. I wrote 12 songs in 3 months”
Animal comes from a place somewhere between tranquility and primality. Romance is rooted in each of the album’s selections, from groovy disco-inspired selections to experimental, atmospheric takes on world music. Fakear’s debut, landing via Counter Records today, June 20, is a lively collection that can soundtrack a range of contexts. Théo Le Vigoreux’s quiet emergence has ended, Fakear has matured into his next phase, and Animal represents that evolution beautifully well.