French Italian electric pop artist Raphael Futura releases his stunning new album Riviera today. Ranging from smooth funk, to R&B to hip-hop, his mix of French and English vocals working over energetic electronic beats makes it the perfect soundtrack for late summer, whether you’ve managed to wrangle yourself a holiday or not. Previously part of the group Young Futura with Beau Young Prince, working with artists such as Trey Songz and Lloyd Banks, this body of work stands as Futura’s solo coming out party. We caught up with him over email to chat about his new release, how being bi-linguial affects his songwriting process and what it was like collaborating with NoMBe and Asher Roth.
Hi Raphael, how are you? How have you been coping under lockdown, what have you been up to?
Hi! Probably similar to anyone else, trying my best to stay positive and busy. I’m mostly working on the album release and launching a new band project!
What’s the vibe in LA been like during quarantine?
I guess it depends who you are. For me the vibe has been isolation and self reflection lol.
What was your journey into music like?
I started playing piano when I was 7 years old, mainly classical and jazz until I got into programming and sampling in my teenage years. For the past few years I’ve been making my own music and collaborating with artists I like.
From the countries you’ve made music in or performed in, what’s been your favourite scene?
I stayed in Costa Rica for a while and making music there was magical. I think I’ve had the most fun performing in NYC, but there are so many places I want to explore!
Your debut album Riviera is set to drop at the end of this month. What track are you most excited for people to hear?
‘La Plage’ is the track that I’m anticipating the most because I’m curious about people’s reactions. I did it in one take with minimal elements in it. I wanted to keep something raw about it, something reminiscent of “La Madrague” from Brigitte Bardot, it reminds me of my childhood in the French Riviera. I wonder if that is going to be interesting for others…
The album features collaborations with NoMBe and Asher Roth. What were they like to work with and what other artists would you want to make music with?
Both of them are wholesome and lovely people. Each collaboration felt very natural and honest. I couldn’t ask for a better vibe in the studio! I’d love to collaborate with people like Tom Misch, Steve Lacy, KOTA the Friend and Marcos Valle.
Who were your biggest early influences?
Anywhere from Laurent Voulzy to Aretha Franklin to Eric Satie to Mob Deep lol.
So, you’ve created songs in both French and English. What language feels more natural to be creative in?
Great question, I honestly feel more comfortable writing in French because it is my native language. I’m slowly getting better writing in English but I often feel distracted or wonder if things are lost in translation.
What songs are making up your summer soundtrack?
Bop Daddy by Mrs Banks, Lait de coco by Maya…the best would be for you to check out my Spotify playlist 🙂
A lot of your songs feel club focused. With clubs closed, what setting do you think fans will listen to your music?
Actually the rest of the album is much more mellow, I really believe that it will resonate anywhere.
What is your biggest takeaway from working with electronic music label Kitsuné?
I’ve always enjoyed working with Kitsuné. For a Parisian label, I feel like they have a true international vision. Their curation has always been on point throughout the years and I want to support French made companies.
Your album has a great sound for summer. What are your own plans for the rest of summer and going forwards this year?
I’m planning on releasing a new band project as well as working on my second album 🙂