It’s a good sign when the only way to describe the sound that your band makes is by making up an entirely new word. That has to mean you’re innovative, right? Your music is outside the bounds of existing adjectives: therefore, you must be doing something new and cool.
That’s why London-based, Presets-supporting, two-piece Heartbreak (Ali Renault and Sebastian Muravchix, on keyboards and vocals respectively) have been described as ‘metallo’, which they explain is “a combination of Metal and Italo: a mongrel word coined by the excellent DJ Casionova.” That would probably have something to do with the mixed nationalities that make up the group’s members – British, French and Argentinian. The cultural influence comes through in the sound, the rhythms especially. “We both have fairly different roots in our musical upbringing with some common genres that meet in the middle, such as disco,” says Renault. “Disco is a uniting force!”
The influence of disco on the duo’s music is not a kind of subtle nod, either. It’s full-on, in-your-face kind of disco, disco that pushes you 10 years back in time and forces your arms up and down in outmoded dance moves. This is the kind of disco that sees itself reborn in the electro/indie scene as a fledgling retro-fantastic new genre, as Hercules and Love Affair have also realised. And why not? We all grew up with disco if we were alive in the 90s. “In my case it was around but I wasn’t necessarily into it,” says Renault. “My mum was into commercial disco and was constantly playing C’est Chic. I was more into metal really, Sebastian was a disco child.”
And disco children grow up in to disco superstars, it seems. In fact, the word disco comes up so many times in this interview it’s almost worth censoring. “Heartbreak started out as both of us experimenting with compositions that came to fruition in the form of an abrasive sort of ***** about three years ago,” Muravchix muses. “We met in Argentina when we were both working on a TV show and bonded over a love of heavy metal… and *****.”
That said, Heartbreak are not only interested in that certain sound which will not be named again. “Our Roland SH101 synth is like our electric guitar,” says Muravchix, but then clarifies, “Actually we may introduce some more live instruments for our live show soon like live drums and guitars. Sebastian’s guitar wizardry needs to be unlocked and released to the terrified public.”
On the topic of their debut album, ‘Lies’, Heartbreak are candid and honest. “Almost everything has been positive but when it’s not, it’s really negative which is great and makes sense, as our music is pretty immediate compared to a lot of stuff. Nothing mediocre which is good. We didn’t write the album with anyone else in mind. If people like it then that’s a bonus.”
The new album has given Heartbreak a chance to tour with Little Boots and The Presets, and even remix the Presets’ ‘If I Know You’, which will be released some time in January. “We just finished the [Little Boots] tour earlier this week and it was great,” says Muravchix. “Little Boots knows how to rock a party.”
Heartbreak have come a long way from humble beginnings it seems, as Muravchix explains, “We played our first gig in Milan, Italy at the weekend to around 1000 people in a university hall.” Despite that, however, the show was a precursor to some of Heartbreak’s more recent performances. “Some of our musical disco heroes like Roberto Turatti and Fred Ventura were there and Casco played an amazing three hour set of non-stop classic Italo tunes.”
Which brings us to the US tour with the Presets, which has really pushed Heartbreak in to the public consciousness. “The US tour was fantastic,” says Muravchix. “We played to some big audiences which was a great experience for us and we all got on really well.” And so to the future — in which we expect Heartbreak will bring their metallo sound to the masses, bringing life to the d-word whether we like it or not. “We’re expecting a busy year of more touring for now,” they confirm. “Russia, Italy and Australia are planned for assault. We’ll be collaborating with singer Fred Ventura, and definitely a new single in 2009, maybe a remix compilation too.”.