Rex Club. Paris. The late 1990s.
A kid sneaks into a Respect is Burning party.
Inside he experiences a sound unlike anything he’s ever heard.
And it sticks with him forever.
The kid was Donnie Sloan.
The sound was the French Touch.
Cut to many years later. Mr. Sloan, now grown.
A multiplatinum songwriter and producer. He had everything he needed.
Except the voice for his upcoming project.
At the time it must have seemed like just another jam session.
Another late one in the hills.
But the singer he heard that night was unforgettable.
And Donnie knew instantly. That was the voice to take 50’s doo wop harmony into the future.
Ricky Ducati got to LA with fifty bucks, his leather jacket and a pack of reds.
But when you sing like Ricky, nothing else is required.
It was over the next months that they cut the record on the same vintage Neve console …
… as The Beach Boys, The Mamas and the Papas and countless legends before them.
Ducati on vocals. Sloan at the controls.
Their sound is a lifetime of influence.
Their name is Midnight to Monaco.
From FUTURE CLASSIC .
TEEZ ‘ INTERVIEW / MIDNIGHT TO MONACO
Hello to both of you. We can read on your Facebook page that you define your music as Nu-Wop. Can you please explain what you mean by that ?
Nu-wop is a tag we came up with to describe our sound in an off the cuff moment during a meeting with a record label. We like to think we’re somewhat reviving the Doo-wop genre so “Nu-wop” seemed to work perfect.
If we look at your music world, first the name ‘Midnight To Monaco’ sounds like a film title from which you are the main characters. A buddy movie. A cross between Cry Baby and Miami Vice. Your project seems very connected to cinema. It was a desire from the start or it came naturally ?
We’ve always been attached to creating a visual element to go along with our sound because for us it’s important to create a full experience that encompasses more than just the music. In the beginning we shared an attraction to the Monaco Grand Prix poster art back when we we’re just called “Monaco”. Due to legal reasons we had to modify the name, and the option “Midnight to Monaco” stuck out as something a bit mysterious and romantic and we believe it has panned out well for us.
You said that your influences are based in 90’s French Touch and music bands from the 50’s/60’s. Is it a nostalgic feeling ? Which bands in particular are you referring to ?
We are huge fans of French music! Particularly Daft Punk, (obviously) both Roule and Crydamoure labels, Stardust, Justice, SebastiAn, Breakbot, Mr Oizo, Phoenix, and even more modern guys like DJ Snake etc. I think the 90s French Touch had a lot of warmth to it and had a heavy sense of nostalgia due to the disco/funk samples. Much like the music of the 50s/60s, the recordings captured an atmosphere/vibe that evokes a feeling that appeals to us. Music with a strong feeling, whatever the emotion, is really important to us.
The new Møme single Alive is now everywhere. This feature uses the main part of Suicide vocals. How did this project happen ?
Future Classic, the label that released Suicide, made the a cappella widely available online. Mome discovered that and started building a new track around it. He then reached out to us with the completed version with a release plan and we thought why not? We actually only met a couple of months ago! While it wasn’t created in the traditional sense of being in a room together, it was still very organic.
Suicide became Alive…which is a bit paradoxal. The original title was too dark for Møme you think ?
Perhaps it was too dark, which we have heard a few times! But, the new title « Alive » carries the same message that we intended for the track so I think all parties are happy with the new name.
Since you worked with Møme, how can you describe the main differences between working with American musicians and French Ones ?
You just released the video of One Way Ticket. What is the story of that song and the video?
It’s about a long distance relationship, or the idea of one. In a twist though, perhaps Annie never comes on over. The video is essentially about the creation of the song and is a continuation of the story from the “One in a Million” video, where Ricky breaks free from life on the street and begins his music career. We begin in a house jamming out and writing the song, then travel to the studio where we record it, complete with a drummer and three doo wop singers. The studio scenes were filmed at East West in LA, which is where The Beach Boys recorded Pet Sounds, along with many other classics from Sinatra to Blondie to Michael Jackson. Fortunately, the live rooms have remained untouched since the 50s which was perfect for our aesthetic. We also wanted to cut in a narrative with Annie and also bring to the life the girls from our artwork which was created by Robert McGinnis.
A recent study conducted by Spotify has shown that most people’s listening habits and music tastes become firmly entrenched by the age of 33 years old. What’s your opinion on that ?
This statistic is probably true for some, but doesn’t exist in our circles. It is fairly interesting! I guess we’re surrounded by music people and more particularly pop writers and producers. The pop genre is always changing which means the people making it are always open to new sounds.
When can we expect the first EP and/or debut album of Midnight to Monaco to come out ?
At the moment there are no plans to release an album for the near future, but we are in the writing process and getting ready for the live show. The modern structure for releasing music is in constant flux so you could see us putting out a stream of releases rather than a bulk release.
Last but not least, when could we see you on stage in France ?
ASAP! It’s one of our favorite countries. We cannot wait to tour there.
Thanks to > Midnignt to Monaco Merci à Philippe L. / Barclay Photo: Prishtina Gjonaj & Bethany Reed Interview Clément F. Grelot, TEEZ' fm