M83's Anthony Gonzalez Talks Killers, John Hughes

In last week's print product, we spoke with M83 frontman, founder and brainchild Anthony Gonzalez about the major influences on his latest release, 2008's stellar synth-heavy Saturdays=Youth.

But what ran in the print issue was only a piece of the conversation--we also spoke with the Frenchman about his current role opening for the Killers (the tour stops through Grand Prairie tonight at the Nokia Theatre) and whether he was nervous with the fact that his latest album features him singing more than any previous efforts of his have. Below is the whole kit-and-kaboodle--OK, well, as much as we could get before Gonzalez's phone dropped out of service in a remove area of New England...

First off, where are you right now? On the road?
I have no idea, actually. I know that wherever I am, it has a weird name, but I can't tell you exactly where it is. I'm on the road. I think I'm close to the Canadian border, but that's all I can tell.

Well, you're touring with The Killers--and it seems like a pretty good fit, actually, given some of the obvious influences on both your overall sound and on their new record.

Yeah, it's a great experience for us. We're playing in big venues with big crowds and the band themselves, The Killers have been quite nice and kind with us. So it's perfect. I like it a lot. It's a great opportunity for us, to play with the Killers--especially in America. It's a great way to introduce people to our music. Their last album is more into the '80s stuff, like my album, you know? Our music matches very well with the music of the Killers.

Your most recent album, Saturdays=Youth, was pretty well-received, at least critically. And, as the title somewhat suggests, its subject matter very much focuses on teenage problems and kind of the waterfall of emotions of being young. What makes those years so ripe for songwriting?
I'm always fascinated by youth, and especially my own teenage years. I had so many great years when I was a teenager and I really have a lot of good memories about it. That's the reason why I really wanted to do a tribute to this time of my life. And I think the best way for me to do it was to stop doing love songs at one point. That's why this album is so different from the previous ones. And, also, I'm singing more on this album, and it's more like pop songs. It's more direct, I'd say.

Were you nervous at all about singing more on this album?
It's always difficult when you create something different. You're always scared of the reactions of people. But I'm really proud of this album and it's reception by the fans. People really seem to be enjoying this album, and I like that a lot. It's really enjoyable. With each record I make, I really try to do something different each time. I like it better that way.

Most every critical take on your new material has called it out as perfect material for a soundtrack to a John Hughes film--which is pretty spot on by my account, too. How do you feel about that comparison?
I like it. The John Hughes movies have been a great influence on this album, like The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles and Pretty in Pink. I feel very close to those movies, and I just think that the way he talks about teenagers in his movies is very beautiful and very touching, and I love that a lot.

So that was a specific goal, then? That's exactly what you were going for?
Yeah, exactly. I just wanted to see if I could make that sound, but also to keep it my own and make it like my own songs mixed with those '80s songs.

Got a particular favorite in the John Hughes catalog?
I love Pretty in Pink a lot--but I like all of them.

Why do you think those movies still have such a powerful impact on you and your music all these years later?
I just think that, when I was a teenager, I went through those same kinds of things, those same kinds of experiences. That's just a part of myself. My music is very melancholic, y'know? And also very romantic. When I'm doing my music, it's always very lifelike, sometimes very sad and very melancholic. That's just the way I do my music--I can't do it any other way, you know? I'm not very talkative and I'm kind of shy. Music is how I express myself and how I express my feelings.

Was it difficult at all to try and get back into a younger mindset so you could write this type of material?
Not really. I'm still behaving like I'm a teenager [laughs]. I'm 28 now, but I don't feel like it. I feel like a I'm still a teenager, always and always. I'm still doing the same things.

M83 and The Killers perform tonight at the Nokia Theatre in Grand Prairie

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