The sound check: Boulevard des Airs
10th May 2019
France - France Team
As part of ibis Music, we’re hosting over 40 intimate gigs around the world featuring the hottest new up-&-coming talent, including 18 special shows across six countries featuring major headline artists curated by our friends at Sony Music. Throughout the year we’ll be sitting down with these headline acts to learn what influences their songwriting, the tracks that made them fall in love with music, and the new artists that are getting them excited right now. Our first Sound Check comes from Boulevard des Airs, who played six incredible shows for us in March and April around their native France, with support each night coming from two exciting local up & coming acts sourced by our partner Spotify.
Hailing from Tarbes, Boulevard des Airs have a distinctly modern style that blends classic French pop with contemporary electronic influences. Their 2016 breakthrough album ‘Brussels’ sold over 200,000 copies but it’s with their most recent record ‘Je me dis que toi aussi’ that they’ve really broken through to the mainstream, with over 20m Spotify plays and a nationwide tour playing in huge arenas all over the country, from the Zenith in Paris, to the Arkea in Bordeaux.
Tracks such as ‘Bruxelles’ and ‘Allez Reste’ have become instant pop classics, with the band also gaining critical acclaim from the music industry. They recently won ‘Best Original Song’ at this year’s highly prestigious Victoires de la Musique Awards for their brilliantly crafted hit ‘Je me dis que toi aussi’, taken from the album of the same name. The track has now had nearly 10m views on YouTube alone.
Having travelled the world for the last 10 years, Boulevard Des Airs have become known for their mesmerising high energy live performances, capturing the attention of audiences across the globe and becoming firm festival favourites. To get inside their creative process of crafting such eclectic and unmistakable work, we met them to discuss their inspirations and the artists they believe stand out from the crowd.
Is there an artist that has been your key inspiration?
It’s too difficult to just name one. Like all music fans we’re always open to different music, from electronica to world music - we appreciate anything good! We don’t want to limit our listening to any genre and the more music we listen to from around the world, the more it informs our sound. A list of influences would be too long for just one article.
Is there a song that takes you back to being young?
Without a doubt it’s Manu Chao’s ‘Me Gustas tu’. It reminds me of hanging out with friends and soaking up the sunshine with all the time in the world. It’s a song you can dream to, and there’s such a special energy in his sound.
Which artist have your recently heard for the first time & loved?
It’s not the first time we heard him, and he’s certainly not a new artist but we recently fell in love again with the composer Hans Zimmer. His film soundtracks are completely otherworldly and he adapts and changes his compositions with each work yet keeps that highly distinctive ‘Hans Zimmer sound’. I think his use of synthesisers in a classical music context really shows the epic potential of electronic instruments.
Who are you listening to on-repeat currently?
Xavier Rudd. We love what he’s doing at the moment. He’s such a talented songwriter and his recent album ‘Storm Boy’ is packed full of hits that everyone should be listening to.
If you could collaborate with one artist who would it be?
It’s not really about someone special, but more a feeling you have at a certain time and who can help you capture something different. That’s what happened with (French singer) Vianney for our track ‘Allez Reste’. Sometimes when you collaborate with someone, things just flow. We could feel energy in the room and I think it’s reflected in the track - it just all felt right.
How do you use Spotify to help find new music?
We use Spotify on a daily basis. The playlist system is fantastic for discovering new music or hearing established artists’ new work. We were featured on Spotify’s ‘Grand Hit’ playlist, which has all the biggest hits coming out of France, and that was amazing to be grouped with so many talented artists in that way. ‘Discover Weekly’ is also really cool for finding new tracks and seems to unearth plenty of music I fall in love with. It’s a mixtape of handpicked music from around the world, a treasure trove of new discoveries.
If you want to learn more about Boulevard des Airs’ listening habits, check our exclusive playlist curated by the band (below) or visit the ibis Music Spotify page. It features over 30 mixed cuts from the band’s record collection, from Imagine Dragons to alt-J and it’s a perfect summer listen.