Belgium’s Melanie De Biasio’s aesthetic is at a very bizarre intersection that has her drawing comparisons to jazz vocal legends, trip hop pioneers, and even the hyper-moody dream pop of This Mortal Coil. The singer/flautist’s sophomore effort, No Deal, has already gone gold in Belgium and silver in France, but it officially hits US shelves tomorrow, May 27th. The album is wistful, minimalist, and whimsical to ineffable degrees. It is dark, but not quite bleak. In fact, it’s quite playful in a very postmodern, anti-playful kind of way. I recently got a chance to chat with Melanie De Biasio about the album, which she explains quite simply: “It’s a story with a beginning and an end. It’s once upon a time, with chapters. It’s a 34-minute story, like a movie.”
Like her critical characterizations, her process of creating also seems to be full of delightful contradictions. She explains to me that while her songs may, at their core, come from one place, she and her band allow their songs to grow themselves quite freely.
“Everything is from blues. The blues are very present in the songs, blue with a lot of whispers. I think it’s soulful, with a lot of collective improvisation. I think the simplicity is very complex, in fact. It’s suggesting music. It’s like the blackness in the cover. You can imagine so many different things in it.”
When discussing her favorite things about being a musician, it becomes obvious that De Biasio is most passionate about performing live, whether it be on a radio show, or in front of a live audience. The essence of her sound and her playing with her band would seem to be found within these performances, which she explains are ever morphing and evolving.
“We build the shows in the same way as we approached the album, with a lot of improvisation. It’s a different experience every night. Building a set list thirty minutes before you go on is very intense. I need it to be very vivid. Having this fresh experience every night is very exciting and really intense for the audience, like everybody is involved in the same trip. It’s very joyful because we never feel we have to reproduce things.”
Melanie De Biasio currently has a handful of upcoming dates throughout Europe, but none stateside just yet. However, when I ask her what she’s hoping for in the second half of 2014, she tells me that it’s definitely something that’s on her mind, in addition to some bigger, collaborative projects.
“Going to America. That’s part of my plan. And creating movie music is something I’d really like to do, creating music on the surface of the image. I’m very flexible and would like to work with other artists, to be in the service of something larger.”