Alt pop singer Mickael Karkousse shares nostalgic skate park music video
Image credit: Charlie De Keersmaecker
Belgium based alt-pop singer-songwriter / musician, Mickael Karkousse, has released single ‘Where Do We Begin’ out through Virgin Music, lifted from his forthcoming debut EP due later this year. This is Mickael’s first outing as a solo artist; after being the driving creative force behind renowned indie-electronic band GOOSE he is now ready to take over the music scene on his own.
Intoxicating and enchanting, ‘Where Do We Begin’ opens with an inky, midnight feel. Its lyrical themes are pulled towards adolescence – echoing the teen movies of John Hughes, say, or Sofia Coppola’s The Virgin Suicides.“I’m very inspired by teenage drama,” he says. “It’s just so pure. The first time you fall in love, the interactions and insecurities. You have so many questions, but so much confidence, as well.” A hazy gauze of digital sound, ‘Where Do We Begin’ is incredibly subtle, with Mickael leaving the listener to pencil in their own details. “I try to sketch a scene, in a way, or a moment. It’s never a complete story. It’s a snapshot.”
About the video: “I’ve always been fascinated by skate culture. The fuck off mentality, the only thing that counts is friendship and skating. As an ode to skate culture, I wanted to give it a soundtrack and portray it in a romantic way. The fact that everything was filmed in Ostend came as a nice coincidence. I grew up partly in Ostend and I have always had that city in my heart. There is such a good atmosphere there, of maladjustment, rock’n roll, and an incredible artistic heritage, you can feel it in everything you see. The buildings, the people, the sea, everything breathes freedom. ‘Where Do We Begin’ is about drama: the art of turning something very dark into something very romantic.”
Belgian four-piece GOOSE are the perfect group construction – careful and considered, they’ve amassed a phenomenal catalogue of rock-edged electronica, one that ranks with any of their European peers. Yet singer Mickael Karkousse has ambitions of his own – he remains respectful and loyal to his colleagues, but those long hours in the studio have been sparking solo ideas, and individual endeavours. With the support of his band mates – “they just told me to go for it!” – Mickael began booking sessions at Safari Studios, the studio complex the group built in their Kortrijk hometown.
Now he’s ready to move forwards. Mickael Karkousse is about to share a new EP – his first solo document, it leans on his formative influences to build a fresh chapter. As a kid, he would spend endless days devouring his parents’ Beatles cassettes, and binging on classic biopics – think Elvis Presley, Ritchie Valens, and Jerry Lee Lewis. Looking back to this innocent freedom, he casts this feeling in an electronic haze. What runs through each song, however, is a sense of freedom, and a yearning for connection. Working together with French producer Victor Le Masne, the two emphasised feeling over form, attempting to pin down fleeting moments of inspiration within a divine electronic template. “I’m always looking to find that certain romance,” Mickael comments. “I’m inspired by how cinema can move you. So when I write music, and I hear sounds that inspire me, I feel as though it’s a scene in a movie. And it’s always very romantic.”
Unshackled from the limitations of a group format, Mickael Karkousse was able to pursue something truly independent. “Go with the flow! Everything is possible. And just do what you feel, what you always dreamed of. What you wanted to do. And it will translate into the art. I’m letting myself go. I’m going for all the things that I like.” Utilising all his experiences with GOOSE, Mickael feels ready to ask himself questions the group could never answer. Yet the two will work hand in hand, he insists; “All of my solo experiences, I will take them back to GOOSE. It’s just like going away for the weekend, and coming back with stories and inspiration. Or new friends.”
Right now, though, he’s fulfilling individual ambitions. It’s incredibly enriching, he says, but it’s also intimidating. Says Mickael: “It’s challenging. It’s not nerve-racking. It’s challenging”.