Last month, Innovative Leisure's Claude Fontaine released her self-titled debut album. Fontaine's voice is poignant and strong, different yet familiar. The sound she achieves on this album captures a sense of nostalgia through a lo-fi quality mixed with Latin and Reggae roots. We were able to get a quick interview with Fontaine and here's what she has to say about her album and career:
What was your goal with the direction of your debut album?
First and foremost my intention was to make a record inspired by the kinds of music that I love, and to pay a certain homage to those genres through my own lens.
Does the album being self titled reflect you as a person? In what ways?
I made the record self-titled because the themes I write about are quite personal and reflect intimate stories from my life. Also, it's ultimately an introduction to my music to anyone who hears it, so it just felt right.
It seems like you have a lot going on with reggae and Latin influences in your music, I hear a little “Girl From Ipanema” vibes, where does this inspiration come from?
I fell In love with Brazilian and Reggae music pretty simultaneously. The Brazilian influences you hear must stem from my adoration of artists such as Astrud Gilberto, Gal Costa, Nara Leo, Elis Regina and many other beautiful voices that emerged from Brazil during the mid century.
Was your experience in creating this album collaborative or isolating?
A bit of both, really. My producer Lester Mendez and I worked very closely creating the sound and structure of the music, and we have a wonderfully natural collaboration process. But when I was writing, it was days and evenings alone at my breakfast table, quiet and solitary, with just a cup of tea and my little pup at my feet. I live tucked away in a small canyon in Los Angeles and certainly buried myself in paper and smudged ink for the stretch of months I wrote the majority of the record.
This idea of “lost records” is something you mention; what are some lost records that you appreciate?
It depends how lost you want to get with me. In so many ways I feel that even many of the quintessential records from the past eras have been cast aside and have gone under appreciated en masse in the present day. But then there are those special souls who keep their eyes wide open, the crate-diggers, making these relics apart of their lives, sharing them and emphasizing their importance. Those people truly inspire me to forever stay curious. Vincius de Moraes and Baden Powell's ‘Os Afro-Sambas’, The Cimarons, Quarteto Em Cy, Arthur Verocai, Ken Boothe, so many to name. To some people they're not lost at all, but to others perhaps so. I think the best lesson I learned from an early age is that the radio doesn't always serve the best of music, and it's up to you to seek out the real gems of the world.
Lastly, what can we anticipate in the future from you? Potential music videos? Upcoming tour dates? Touring with anyone?
I'm getting ready to make a new music video for my second single "Pretending He Was You" which I'm really looking forward to. Videos are my favorite as they combine so many art-forms I love in one: film, music, design, and imagination. I'd make one for every song if I could. I'm playing a show at The Natural History Museum on June 7th and will be leaving the next day for a couple west coast shows with The Babe Rainbow, a band I'm a fan of based in Australia. More tour dates to come.
Check out the debut album on all streaming platforms and keep an eye out for any future Claude Fontaine updates!