I was fidgeting with excitement when I was told Sophie had been given the green light to interview the massive talent that is 22 year old half-Congolese, half-Angolan solo artist Yannick Ilunga, aka Petite Noir.
One we’ve kept our ears on since the first EP he released last year “Till We Ghosts” and now signed to Domino Records, we can’t even start to think how good of a trajectory his career as been taking in the past few months.
Like all his music, it is a unique concoction of influences, seamlessly fusing intricate contemporary electronics with his stirring, soulful vocal and African shuffles that echo his homeland.
As I previously mentioned in an introducing post early on, I was gobsmacked and only had praise for this young artist and the movement he created and dubbed ‘Noir Wave”. As he progresses, earning critical acclaim for every track he releases, we can only recommend you read Sophie little ITW below with the main man, and start hitting play on those orange buttons. He just recently released “MDR” from his upcoming album and we are already dancing frantically as we’re posting this piece…[infobox maintitle=”La Vie Est Belle / Life Is Beautiful” subtitle=”Debut album out via Domino on Sept 11th.” bg=”black” color=”white” opacity=”off” space=”70″ link=”https://itunes.apple.com/fr/album/la-vie-est-belle-life-is-beautiful/”]
“I’d love to work with Amadou & Mariam, Santigold or Mark Ronson.” – Petite Noir
Artists usually don’t like being associated with a specific genre but you kinda double-crossed the media by creating your own genre or concept, Noir Wave. Can you describe it ?
‘Noir Wave’ is a new movement with an African aesthetic. It’s not only about music, it’s about photography, videos. It’s a new lifestyle.
You’re part of a four-member collective called The Capital of Cool and I know that one of them, Rharha Nembhard, is often associated with your videos. Do you think that all forms of art should be intertwined ?
Yeah, definitely ! It just comes naturally, it’s part of becoming an artist. First you’re a musician and then you become the artist, not a lot of people get to the artist stage.
Your last EP was entitled The King Of Anxiety, which was actually a positive title despite what we may think and your first album is La Vie Est Belle / Life Is Beautiful so are you an optimist at heart ?
Yes, of course, especially with the arts. You have to be positive in all time. If it’s real, it’s good and I’m as honest and real as I can be.[separator type=”space”]
You always look on the bright side of life !
That’s what the album is about. La vie est belle !
Your stage name and the title of your album are in French. Do you think you could sing in French one day ?
Well, one day, if I sit down and really try but actually there’s a song with a French chorus in the album !
You were born in Brussels and you lived in Cape Town so you’ve got a double culture. Do you feel close to artists who also share this duality such as Kindness or Blood Orange ?
You don’t choose where you come from, if you make good music, you make good music. What you do with your origins is up to you. I’ve never really thought about it.
Are there any artists you’d like to work with ?
Since we’re on a festival (Les eurockéennes in Belfort, France)… are there any bands you intend to see ?
I really wanna see ILoveMakonnen, Rae Sremmurd and Ibeyi.
What is your best memory as a festival-goer ? Have you been to a lot of festivals ?
I’ve been to one or two in South Africa and it wasn’t a nice experience (laughing).
You once told Pitchfork that your worst concert was in France so I do hope you that you won’t stick to this idea that French people are horrible !
(laughing) No, I’ll play in France in September.