Following a sold out headline show at Heaven and a stunning performance at this year’s Lovebox Festival, multi-platinum pop-star Mika has returned with the first single from forthcoming album. “This single is what happens when you combine a 22 year old you find online, Fryars, with an extra-planetary Nick Littlemore and Pharrell Williams!” says Mika of ‘Celebrate’. “Written by me, Pharrell and Fryars and produced by Nick, this kind of collaboration is only possible when everyone throws themselves into it wanting to have fun and without any ego. This collective and open attitude was at the heart of ‘The Origin Of Love’. It’s an album about crazy love songs and tolerance. It was recorded in Miami and London but mostly in Fryars’ north London bedroom studio!”
Multi-platinum pop-star MIKA returns with his brand new album ‘The Origin of Love’ released on Island Records on September 16th 2012. Following up his multi-million selling worldwide smash ‘The Boy Who Knew Too Much’ (which debuted in every single i-Tunes top ten around the world), ‘The Origin of Love’ is Mika’s third album and will be preceded by an anthemic brand new single ‘Celebrate’, an epic slice of cool modern pop destined to be a global summer soundtrack, written by Mika and Pharrell Williams, produced by Nick Littlemore from Empire of the Sun and also featuring Pharrell on vocals. KALTBLUT had a very privat chat with MIKA:
It’s 12h30, my phone is ringing, and here i am for 20 minutes interview with MIKA. The singer is coming back stronger than ever with his third studio album ” The Origine of Love”. You can already listen two songs of this album : the pop-bombastic “Celebrate” and the electro-rhythmik “Make you Happy”. I get the chance to talk with him about his upcoming album, his wardrobe and some other things. Mika and I, this way :
KALTBLUT: A couple of years ago you said that your first album was a dreamlike version of your childhood and that the second one was a celebration of your teenage years. Does it mean that “The Origin of Love” is your coming of age album?
MIKA: [laughs] No it’s not. I think I’ve kind of done the whole childish or age thing. This one is an album about love, about joy. It’s very, very joyful. I made a record that is just trying to explore the different versions of love songs. Each one of the love songs is a non traditional love song.
KALTBLUT: A few weeks ago we had the pleasure of discovering “Make you happy” along with a video clip directed by Louri Philippe Paillé. You weren’t in it at all. And you later insisted on the fact that “Make you happy” wasn’t a single. Could you explain your choice?
MIKA: What happened with “Make you happy” is that it isn’t a single but I thought it was a really beautiful kind of piece of music that I wanted to share. And because I am bored of just only making music videos as singles I went ahead and asked this director in Montreal and we made this video that’s more like a short film, a visualization. It’s art. And I thought it might be a nice way of sharing a new piece of music. But I think that’s important, especially nowadays when there’s so many different ways to share music with people, apart from just like straight to radio. It’s crazy to put out a track without any visualization.
Make You Happy
So we’re doing a few [music videos] and they’re all by interesting directors from all over the world and they all work on a limited budget within a set time frame so by the end of it I hope they’ll be able to use four of them maybe more, along with other music videos that I will be in.
It’s an important album.
KALTBLUT: Listening to “Make you Happy” and “Celebrate” it seems that your musical style is taking a distinctly more electronic turn. Is it something that we can expect about your upcoming album?
MIKA: Well, not necessarily. There’s more usage like in those two songs, yes of course, of an electronic sound, but the palette of my record is so much like a varied one, and this album is no exception to that. I wanted to figure out how to put heart into electronic sound. So what I did with Celebrate for example was that I actually got a whole band to play the song, so everything you’re hearing, almost all of it I would say, it’s all real instruments.
I thought that was really important because that was a way of making things sound electronic, but actually it’s like my version of electronic music. It made me happy, we’ve got like French horns playing with quite a hardcore electronic base sound. I like the clash of the two.
KALTBLUT: You collaborated with Pharrell Williams on “Celebrate”, your next single. How did this happen?
MIKA: He called me, I wanted to work with him for a while and it never really happened, and out of the blue I got a text and I called him back. He said that he really thought that it was right for us to work together, and he was quite insistent and I was quite excited by it. He said I really like what you’re doing and really would love having fun in the studio with you. That was probably the biggest compliment. I was really happy that he wanted to work and he had that attitude.
We did 3 or 4 sessions, and we approached it as a bunch of people trying to have fun, trying to make something really good and fun. All these different collaborations were possible because there was no ego or hierarchy.
Elle Me Dit
KALTBLUT: Many different artists collaborated on “The Origin of Love”: William Orbit, Martin Solveig, Fanny Hardant… what motivated you to work with them?
MIKA: William Orbit and Martin Solveig are not on the album.
KALTBLUT: Oh, my God sorry, my mistake!
MIKA: That’s OK. It’s only like 5 of us, sometimes 6, that’s it. The reason why I decided to open myself up in this way and made this decision to collaborate was because I wanted to have people to have fun with in the studio. I didn’t want to be alone. Even if I write a song on my own, I’ll produce and record it with a group of people. That happened very much on the first record and on this one, the third one. The second one, I isolated myself for about a year and a bit. And I really didn’t want to do that again. I wanted to feel less alone. It took some time for me to really find people who wanted to make the same kind of joyful pop music as me. In pop music when you’re writing songs, so often you’re writing songs but you’re not making music for yourself. So a lot of these people who make great pop music, they’re not really making records that they would buy themselves. And with this album I made it very clear that we’re gonna go in the studio and I’m making this music and you are too, we’re making the kind of music that we would go into a shop and buy. It sounds like pop music but it has this honest quality about it. It’s very sincere and incredible. It’s the kind of pop music that I want to hear, it’s the kind of pop music that my collaborators would also want to listen to themselves. In the 80’s and the 90’s we had a lot of pop music, whether it’s the Bee Gees or Fleetwood Mac… you always believed “this is pop music” but I can’t imagine Fleetwood Mac listening to their own records. Does that make sense?
KALTBLUT: Yeah, totally totally it does!
MIKA: OK, cool!
” Relax, Take It Easy” @ LoveBox Festival at Victoria Park in London
KALTBLUT: I know that you attached a lot of importance to the writing process on this album. Was there more at stake?
MIKA: It’s an important album. Forget the commercial aspect. Forget all that. You can’t predict that. I did this French song that my record company in the UK and my manager begged me not to put out, and I said my intentions for putting it out were very simple, it is the right thing for me to do as an artist. I did it and it worked. And no one would have predicted that it would have worked. And generally with this whole album it was a lot of pressure artistically for me. I’m so lucky to be able to be making music the way that I make it. I don’t make music to a kind of manufactured format. So I felt like I had to make something that I felt was really beautiful and really would represent the past three years of my life.
KALTBLUT: Up until now you have always worked with your sisters on your albums’ art and your wardrobe. Is it still the case with album #3?
MIKA: Yes, my sister works with me on a lot of things. And although we are working with an other illustrator and designer on this new campaign, she’s very much a part of the process of helping me put it together. She’s a great guardian, always reminding me of where we’ve come from and what’s important, She’s very good at reminding me of how things should feel or why we’re doing what we’re doing. So yeah, it’s important. And I like it. It’s good to keep it in the family, because when you’re working with your family, it’s not because of money or a career, it’s because we’re in it together, from the beginning.
KALTBLUT: Speaking of fashion, what’s hanging in your closet? Are you more haute couture or second-hand clothing?
MIKA: It’s about mixing it up… more than ever! Actually three years ago, I walked in a suit tailoring place in London called Thom Sweeney and I ordered ten suits. I think it’s really nice, the juxtaposition of pop music, color and fun and this kind of very slim tailored look. It’s something that I think is really nice. I really like that. Also because I’m a very messy person, so putting me in quite a tailored suit really helps! [laughs]. Men’s tailoring is really good right now. I don’t know I would say that for me, men’s clothing is more interesting right now than women’s.
We Are Golden
KALTBLUT: Are you planning a tour to promote “The Origin of Love”, and if so can we expect to see you in Berlin?
MIKA: You ARE gonna see me in the autumn. I am doing four shows in Germany.
INTERVIEW by Nicolas Simoneau And Stéphane Peyré
TEXT CORRECTION by Bénédicte Lelong