Not Just Nostalgia: Jupiter's Forward-Thinking Disco Revival
“We are paying homage to music of the past.... We’re trying to melt everything into one genre."
Picture the scene: one of your favorite tracks — the cartoon funk blast of Junior’s “Mama Used to Say” — comes on in a club and utterly clears the dance floor, except for you and one other person. You lock eyes with them and acknowledge a shared passion for gloriously cheesy '80s funk. What then? Do you fall in love with them? No, way too obvious. Instead, you form an upfront disco-funk band together.
And so, French-English duo Jupiter was born, who began releasing some very catchy slices of glittery, revival-fuelled disco fodder, culminating in Juicy Lucy, their full-length debut album.
A very favorable comment in the music section of The Guardian’s UK website, courtesy of Paul Lester, also boosted their profile: “We can only dream that the mooted Daft Punk/Nile Rodgers team-up produces anything as prettily vacant as this.”
Praise indeed, and pretty spot on according to Quarles, who cites fellow French electro-pop demons Daft Punk, and funk act Chic (Nile Rodgers’ band) as two of his biggest influences “Right now, in my apartment, I’ve got a poster of Chic and a poster of Daft Punk, side-by-side.”
Perfect. But what about the “vacant” part of the quote? Is Jupiter’s music — though certainly pretty enough for you to spy its glittered reflection in the mirrorball and rush to buy it a drink — really vacant? “It’s a fair comment, actually, because sometimes we describe the album as strictly feelgood music”, says Quarles Baseden, one half of the duo, along with singer Amélie de Bosredon. “It’s not poetic and it doesn’t aspire to be. Our lyrics are all about partying and getting down, taking away your worries – pretty much like classic disco music used to do. That’s why we insisted that the album come out before the summer, because we felt it was holiday music.”
A wise move, considering their brand of gloriously sunny electro-disco. The robotic funk bassline and bliss-pop vocals of “Elliot Uppercut,” for example, is a proudly glistening summer soundtracker, and the same could be said about the boogied-up “Saké,” which conquered various electro charts during 2011.
But, says Quarles, the band also wanted the record to be more than just a disco revival album. “We wanted it to have a bit of everything, a tribute to popular culture in general.” And certainly, there are definite touches of electro-funk-driven contemporary pop songwriting, which add another colourful layer to the beautifully reflective building blocks of Juicy Lucy, suggesting an approach that looks forward, as well as back.
“We are paying homage to music of the past,” says Quarles, “but it’s a way in which we try to compile all those different influences with the present electro scene. We’re trying to melt everything into one genre, so in that way we’re maybe trying to look into the future, or at least the present!”
Juicy Lucy is released on 2 July on Grand Blanc
Image by Matthieu Dortomb