AB show March 7th

March 26, 2015: a bolt from the blue strikes the Belgian music scene. Noémie Wolfs announces she’s parting ways with Hooverphonic, the band which she fronted as lead singer for the previous five years. “The end of an amazing chapter of my life”, she says at the time, but she wants to find her own musical footing. It doesn’t take too long for her to get the chance. The dust around the announcement hadn’t even settled when Universal offers her a record deal. The label was impressed with and charmed by her unique voice and by the rough demos of her first songs.

One of those demos is Hunt You, the very first song she wrote on her own - in a small room in Paris. The song even makes it to the track listing of her debut album which comes out a year later. She’s so happy with the studio version of the track it becomes the album title.

February 2020 will bring us Noémie’s long awaited second solo album, the melancholic Lonely Boy’s Paradise. Noémie took her time writing and recording this album, but the result is a collection of songs she relates to even closer than to the ones on her debut album. The album’s title perfectly reflects the atmosphere of the album, as do the song titles themselves. Case in point are the catchy On The Run or the lazy-vibed Notorious - songs about lonely souls and unrequited love. Tracks that aren’t autobiographical per se, but that are full of elements out of the lives of people around Noémie, or refer to beautiful paintings or movies that stick with you. Some of the songs even have a contradictory nature, like the moving Wake Me Up. “The southern, upbeat rhythm provides a stark and beautiful contrast to the sombre text, and I like that”, dixit Noémie.
Producer at the helm was Yello Staelens (AKA Yong Yello), while mixing was done by Neil Comber, who earned his mark working with Placebo, Kaiser Chiefs and Alanis Morissette (to name just a few). While all tracks on Hunt You were written by Noémie and her boyfriend Simon Casier (bassist of Balthazar), this time around Yello was closely involved with writing and composing. “The atmosphere during production was really adventurous and free; we’ve tested and experimented a lot. We played around with LP-samples Yello provided, and with audio fragments Thomas Medard of The Feather sent us, just to give some examples. And I’m not exaggerating when I say we used literally every instrument Simon owns. We often started bouncing off a central idea, after which the whole thing grew organically”. The result is an album that sounds eclectic in the best of ways. That eclecticism is echoed in the artwork for the album (made by Danish visual artist Boris Peianov) and the pictures in it, shot by Victor Pattyn.

To those who know Noémie’s musical heroes, the wide-ranging scope of the album comes as no surprise. “I’m a big fan of Damon Albarn: with Blur, with Gorillaz and solo. His music is so multi-dimensional, there’s so much in it, it’s phenomenal. The same goes for Lana Del Rey, both visually and lyrically. I love the overall concept, the role she plays, the story in a movie that keeps on going. We’re not taking the easy road in recapturing the full sound of the album live, and I realise that. But by having our violinist work with loops, at times it sounds like there’s an entire orchestra on stage.”

“While making my first album everything was new and it sometimes overwhelmed me. This time around, there’s less uncertainty. I’ve learned to dare to take risks, to not fear dumb ideas. Now it’s really my project, I’m pulling the strings. But now that it’s really my baby, I feel more stressed about it than last time around as well”, she sighs.

Don’t worry, Noémie. We’ve heard the album, and that stress is unwarranted.

LISTEN TO 'LONELY BOY'S PARADISE' HERE

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