Vincent Belorgey, known by his alias, Kavinsky, is a French house artist with a style reminiscent of ‘80s film soundtracks and an authentic electro-pop sound. Influenced by thousands of movies and TV shows he watched throughout his youth, the sounds and sensations from his past have manifested into nostalgic and synth-infused dance tracks.
Kavinsky began as an actor, acting in short films directed by good friend and DJ as well, Mr. Oizo. After gaining inspiration from his surroundings, Kavinsky transitioned from acting into music. He produced his first track: Testarossa Autodrive in 2006. The track is named after and inspired by the ‘80s model Testarossa Ferrari, which Kavinsky drove at the time. The track was brought to a record label, and in 2006 Kavinsky was signed to Record Makers Label.
Kavinsky is more than just an alias, he is a comic book-like character with a back story that is evocative of tragic old horror movies. After crashing the Testarossa in 1986 (when Vincent would have been about 11), Kavinsky the character miraculously transforms from a letterman jacket-wearing, Ferrari-driving-teenager into a zombie that creates electronic music. The burning passion to create music comes from the absolute heart-break the electro-zombie endures after coming to his girlfriend’s house as the walking dead. Frightened by his new state of being, she brutally turns him away and moves on with her life. From that moment on, the hole in Kavinsky’s heart can only be filled by the sounds and dance moves extracted from 80′s electro-funk era.
Kavinsky’s latest studio album: OutRun, named after the Sega arcade game, includes five singles. The album features Kavinsky’s best known hit “Nightcall,” which was featured in the opening scene of the 2011 movie Drive, with Ryan Gosling. Kavinsky was featured in the The Lincoln Lawyer soundtrack, put out remixes with Sebastion and Mr. Oizo, acted in short films and recently dropped a iPhone video game called: KAVINSKY.
We met up with Kavinsky to discuss his inspiration, his motivation, and what’s to be expected on his first ever live tour for his latest album: Outrun. Check it out.
Tell me how you got into making music in the first place?
I first learned music when I was about eight years old, my mom first made me play piano because I watched too much TV. I wasn’t into sports or anything; I would stare at the TV at home and wait for my favorite programs. My mom wanted me to get into something, so she started me with piano. But, the classes were at the same time as my favorite program so after about six months, I quit. Sometimes I regret quitting – but I think it is better to not really know how to play piano because there are so many rules. I make music with no rules, as I want to.
How would you describe your sound to someone who has never heard your music?
My music sounds like Robocop – I think it is fifty percent movies, fifty percent what you want. Music will put you in a mood to do something and drive you somewhere, towards good energy.
A lot of your music and sound inspiration comes from the ‘80s, what inspires your visuals, music videos and album artwork?
It’s all comes from the same stuff, the TV shows I used to watch, Starsky and Hutch, Knight Rider, Street Hawk – all the programs I watched as a kid. The aesthetic comes from the same mood as my music, it is all connected and comes from the same place.
What is your favorite 80s movie?
Well, it’s not from the 80s, but my favorite movie ever is Jaws (stated while wearing a cut-off denim vest with a Jaws patch on the right pocket). I have about 100+ stuff from Jaws.
What is the craziest or weirdest thing you have sampled?
I usually compose everything myself, but I have sampled Dragon Ball Z in a few of my tracks. The weirdest thing I have sampled would definitely be an old Japanese animated version of Star Wars from the ‘70s.
Kavinsky is a character you made up, what inspired that character? Why perform under an alias instead of your own name?
It seemed too simple or too boring for me to go under my own name and pose as myself for albums and stuff, I needed to create music about something. Even my real name doesn’t inspire me, I don’t even know how to play piano, I needed to create my own world and something different as a musician – it’s not even clear for myself.
So why the name Kavinsky? Where did that come from?
Well, I just tried to decompose my name – Vincent, Vico, Ka – Kavinsky, something like that. It turned into Kavinsky and I liked that, so it stuck.
If you could pick any three super powers, what would they be?
Flying, being invisible, and getting all the girls!
What is your favorite part of performing live?
I’m a very bad DJ, I like playing records and stuff but I don’t see myself at all as a DJ, it’s hard for me to consider myself like that, it took a long time for me to create this life. It feels really cool to perform my album with the lights and smoke. It’s my real atmosphere – before it used to just be parties, but the bigger atmosphere is better, I enjoy it.
Are you still driving the Testarossa?
No! Because I live in Paris now, I can’t – the gas is too expensive, it’s so uncomfortable, you have to lie down while driving it, and it’s too difficult.
You’ve mentioned that you’re friends with Mr. Oizo, Sebastian, and Daft Punk – what is like collaborating with people you are friends with versus a strictly professional collaboration?
For the listeners, they just hear the collaboration and see the names – to me, I’m just doing music with my friends. In the studio, they’re not “Daft Punk”, they’re just my friends. If it’s a friendly collaboration, it’s the best track. We’re not trying to make an “it” song, we’re just in the studio having fun – that’s the best way to make music.
Tell me about your iPhone video game?
Well, these nice young guys from Hong Kong asked me if I would be interested in collaborating on a video game and I said ‘of course!’ It was really fun to do and the visuals turned out so great. This is just the first part, there will be many more updates.
What is your favorite iPhone app right now?
Tweetbot! I don’t play games on my iPhone, but I do love Tweetbot.
One of your songs was featured in Grand Theft Auto IV – do you play that game?
Yes! I am a big gamer, I love GTA, hearing my name in the game while driving: “Now you are hearing Kavinksy” – it is the coolest thing ever.
What is your favorite video game?
I got my PS4 and my favorite game for it is a Japanese game, kind of like an early GTA, called Shenmue.