Jean Waterlot - vocals, keys
Manu Simonis - guitar, strings
Gabriel Reding – bass
Pierre Waterlot - drums
Arnaud de Koninck
‘Behind every good song there’s a beautiful girl’, so says singer Jean Waterlot. Safe to say there are lots of beautiful girls on Personal Space, the new album from Montevideo. It’s not only the album that inked them a deal with EMI, but also the one that brought them together as the tight knit group they are and made them realize Montevideo is a pop group at heart: ‘Finally. I’m 30 years old now, maturity must be kicking in’.
The album was recorded at a break neck speed of 15 days for 11 tunes in Paris, at the illustrious Tigersushi studio’s with renowned producer Joakim Bouaziz at the helm. ‘We’ve always been big fans of Antibodies, an electro-pop crossover track from the band Poni Hoax he produced. Joakim is exceptionally skilled at mixing up clubby sounds with classic melodies – and his studio has an amazing gear list. The collection of rare synths and drums is truly amazing!’.
So deep ran the river of trust between producer and band, they re-recorded some existing tracks: Horses, which was first unleashed in the New York studios of James Murphy, and all three songs on the Tribal Dance ep, overseen by Sebastiaan Vandevoorde AKA Moonlight Matters and released in 2011 on Headman’s Relish Recordings. ‘Both were awesome experiences, but sound-wise the songs didn’t fit on the album’, according to Jean. ‘Under the experienced guidance of Joakim we gave them a little make-over.’
Long considered the best kept secret on the Brussels indie scene, Montevideo - named after the capital of Uruguay – went through different incarnations before settling on their present line-up. ‘but Montevideo is a 100% group effort, we truly thrive on unity’, assures Jean.
The genetic chemistry between him and brother Pierre Waterlot on drums makes up a big part part of Montevideo’s ambitious drive. Together with new recruit Gabriel Reding on bass and guitar player slash string arranger Manu Simonis they make up a band hard to pigeon hole.
Influences range from David Bowie (‘the epitome of grandness’) and Queen, to Sonic Youth, French 70s soundtracks, Marvin Gaye (‘a man with a massive aura’), The Rapture and Brian Eno. During opener Cave Of Kisses there’s a nod or two to Morrissey/The Smiths, and the aptly named Madchester pays tribute to an era in music that’s close to Montevideo’s heart – ‘we’re a happy band, like the Happy Mondays and The Stone Roses!’. Both Tribal Dance and Horses give testimony to Jean’s stint as an exchange student in San Francisco, where he discovered the mixtapes of house legends such as Sneak and Mark Farina.
‘It’s still a patchwork of all sorts of different styles and influences’, admits Jeans. ‘But the album definitely works as a whole, it’s not just a collection of singles and filler.’
'I guess elegance is at the core of everything we try to do. Be it playing records in a club, dressing up for a late night dinner or writing songs. I try to capture the feeling I had the first time I saw a picture of Chet Baker- the ultimate dandy, but with a twist. Outside the box dandy-ism, that's what we're aiming for'
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