Before Grellier committed full-time to his music he was working as an accountant in Paris, an experience he says gave him a firm foundation in the financial aspect of music business. "It's easier to understand what your value is and what to expect of the future. Some artists are really closed from that," he tells Spinner. "I also don't like to share my artistic vision. I've had a strong artistic vision since the beginning.
From his musical inception, Grellier's vision has been focused on primarily one thing and which he cites as the greatest decade of all -- the '80s. In a chat with us, Grellier revealed his love of '80s soap operas, his dreams of filmmaking and the darker side of social media.
It's been a year since "Drive" debuted and put "A Real Hero" on the top of music charts. How has the film influenced your band's reputation?
The film didn't really change things for me, but for Electric Youth. The film gave us an opportunity to show the universe our music. When the movie was released last year, we saw how much of an impact the soundtrack had. Each track in the movie became classic and a reference. Every TV report when they speak about new sport vehicles, they put "A Real Hero" on as the theme music.
What was your inspiration behind the EP?
It was composed in 2009. I got the idea for my EP to pay an homage to real heroes. I wanted to create an edge to that and contacted Electric Youth. We had built a relationship up before and for this track it was a lot easier to communicate. Austin went with this idea of a hero from the cold war, who saved a lot of people on the Seine river.
In Interview magazine, you said cried the first time you saw "Drive."
I'm a big fan of cinema. I try to watch one film a day. I was very happy with the "Drive" director [Nicolas Winding Refn]; he felt what we wanted to express. It's important for me. College is a balance between melodies, happiness and innocence of childhood. I want people to feel that.
Have you thought about venturing into the filmmaking world yourself?
Making a film is a dream for me, but I don't think I'm a good storyteller. I have a good vision in terms of music and visuals, but to write a story it's a job. It's like what I call the factory of dreams, it's the best job but maybe the hardest. I found the "Drive" director so brave, to do something like that in Hollywood today. I couldn't do that. It's rare today something so artsy, with little action.
Your music sounds very nostalgic. What did you particularly love about the 80s --- the fashion, the hair, Reaganomics?
I'm fascinated by your country. In France during my childhood, they tried to import your social life. We discovered U.S. social life through TV and big movies. During my childhood, I watched too many series from the U.S., a lot of soaps and "Starsky and Hutch." For me it's such a huge part of my artistic vision today. Of course I grew up during the '80s so my references comes from that decade, but I also reference the '70s. The most important aspects of my work are based from U.S culture.
Describe your version of the 1980s?
I think my best time in the '80s was watching TV soap operas. I feel like the characters were heroes. I like the innocence of the '80s; everything was possible. The vision of the future was very naive and I'm a very naive guy. Everything's possible you can fly in the future, you can do a lot of dreams. I love John Hughes' films, "Risky Business" and definitely "Ferris Bueller." One of the best bands was Tangerine Dream. The last good movie I saw was "Fast Times at Ridgemont High." It's so great; it's really a College film.
How did you come to form the Valerie Collective [a group of '80s-inlfluenced electro musicians] back in 2007?
In the beginning it was just a way for me to share my music with the maximum number of people along with MySpace and Blogpost. With these tools I was able to share my universe internationally. I started by posting pictures and music and I thought the relation was good. We have more impact when we are together, than we do alone. With the rise of MySpace we were able to do that, now I think it's terrible that MySpace shutdown. With artists like us, it's like how it was before MySpace. With tools like MySpace and Blogpost you could create your own universe.
How do you feel about today's social media landscape?
I think now it's boring, with Facebook and Twitter. In terms of artistic vision, there's nothing creative there. With MySpace you could change your page; it was exciting. Everyone was in the same space: Designers, artists and musicians. Now you have Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud. They do too much and it's difficult to emerge from that. That's why I continue with Valerie. It's sad because I don't discover new artists like before with MySpace you have top 10 favorites and wow I discovered so much and now it's very difficult. Us now, we have a name and we're lucky to have a name. Some artists take a picture of everything to show everyone and say, "I exist." You can't produce something everyday, you need to have time and not communicate for a week, maybe one month, maybe a year. It's very scary.
It can be self-indulgent, definitely, but it can be a good promotional tool and source for news.
The labels love Facebook and Twitter for promotion. I don't want to be a star all my life. I'm afraid to see on Facebook the echography of some girls. It's like science fiction. I read some article on spies in western Germany, they had built secret police to spy on people and now we don't need that. People tell us everyday what they're doing. You can know everything about your friend from Facebook and it changes your relationship with them. Sometimes I see a friend and I'll be like don't tell me about your holiday I saw it all on Facebook
What other projects are you currently working on?
I am finishing up an album for the end of this year, it's almost finished and I'm really happy. It's like a good story. I don't want to say too much. We're working on the visuals. It sounds like early College stuff with our new experiences. I'm superstitious, so I won't tell you the name.
Grellier's gift to you: His own "Drive" Soundtrack
1 - Yazoo - Only You
2 - Hyboid - Vogon Poetry
3 - John Williams - Star Wars Theme
4 - Electric Youth - Right Back To You
5 - Sting - Englishman In New York
6 - Egyptology - Orbis : Matter
7 - Dave Grusin - It Might Be You
8 - Jean Michel Jarre - Zoolook
9 - Vercetti Technicolor- L'incubo Senza Fine (Legowelt Remix)
10 - Alexandre Desplat - The Ghost Writer
11 - Brian Eno - An Ending
12 - College - The Golden Messenger
13 - Shuki Levy - Bomber X
14 - The Dream Academy - The Edge Of Forever