What did make it onto this compilation album, Michel?
There’s a cover of [Joy Division’s] “Love Will Tear Us Apart” by Kiyoaki Iwamoto—I really like his take on it: It’s like Ian Curtis [lead singer of Joy Division] backed by Yoko Ono. The first track is by movie composer David Holmes and Raven Violet, “Necessary Genius,” which I heard last September and really liked. It has a sample from Ennio Morricone, and the words are so amazing—it says, “I believe in Sinead O’Connor, I believe in Angela Davis, I believe in Tony Wilson…Nina Simone, Northern Soul, Jane and Serge….” It was very much, ‘What is this?! What did I just hear?!’ I also like the reference to Jane and Serge, this Englishness and Frenchness. There’s a friendship between England and France—or some kind of twisted fascination between us. I was looking for music that wasn’t too obvious.
Then there’s AFRODEUTSCHE’s “A New Love.” She’s great. She’s going to DJ for us at the after party. To me, the song is very nice because it is—I hate this word—contemporary, the sound of today, as well as having this very Manchester, New Order feeling to it, without being referential. She’s originally from Ghana, lived in Germany, then London, and has now been in Manchester for twenty years and loves it. She wouldn’t live anywhere else. So many people we’re featuring are very devoted to the city and its music scene. I came scouting here two times before this trip and I went out both times and it was absolutely crazy!
In what way?
I went to a place called The Warehouse Project, which I wouldn’t recommend unless you really want to be there with 3,000 other people [laughs]. It is like a mini Coachella happening every other night, with special DJs and electronic music artists. There’s another place my partner went to called the White Hotel. That’s where everything is happening: the White Hotel. That’s where you should go. It’s in Salford. It used to be a garage and then it was turned into a club. It’s very derelict: it’s not a glamorous place, but it has so much energy to it, and they have lots of cool people coming to play there. It’s quite impressive.
Why do you think Manchester has been so successful at producing such great music over the years?
Maybe it is because people are more creative when they have less things to do. When you go to London or New York, there’s so much happening that you can get distracted. And people feel closer because they all know each other. They come together. They share things. And all the bands know each other. There was so much happening in Manchester in the Eighties, maybe because it was the years of Margaret Thatcher, which were bleak. And when times are bleak and difficult, people get more creative. They want to have some kind of release, and fun.
Well, I do think it’s interesting that glam rock, Bowie, and dance music have all been huge in the north of England, nowhere more so than in Manchester….
When I was growing up David Bowie was a hero to me. It’s because of him I wanted to learn English because I wanted to understand what he was singing about. And then also, I liked the fact he had a character that was very different for each album. And whenever he came out with something, the look and the music were so in sync, you couldn’t take them apart from each other. Also Marc Bolan from T-Rex, I mean, he was an icon of style that we don’t talk about anymore. Same thing when you saw Marc Bolan in his satin suits, singing “Metal Guru,” it was just like, “Wow, crazy.” In France we didn’t have that. I went to London in the ‘70s and saw Biba, and went down the King’s Road, and all these fashion stores played music. Those days in Paris [laughs] the stores were all silent. England was so different.
Chanel 2023/24 Metiers d’Art Collection
Music curated by Michel Gaubert
“Necessary Genius,” David Holmes and Raven Violet
“Getting Away With It,” Electronic
“A New Love,” AFRODEUTSCHE
“Bizarre Love Triangle,” New Order (Shep Pettibone 12” remix)
“Love Will Tear Us Apart,” Kiyoaki Iwamoto (Chisako and Junta rework)
“New Big Prinz,” The Fall
“Bottles,” Samizdat + Michael J. Blood
“Numb,” Andy Stott