Vintage Life caught up with retro group, Caravan Palace.

Why did you choose to cover Black Betty? Does this have some significance to the band?
We chose this song because it’s an old traditional ‘blues’ track, and nobody really knows where it comes from. Everybody thinks it’s a Ram Jam track (cult version) so it was funny to offer our own version whilst reminding people that it’s a very old track.

Is it important for bands to write original music, rather than rely solely on songwriters?
Yes indeed. Excluding Black Betty, a member of the band has composed all of our tracks. However, it can sometimes be interesting to collaborate with other songwriters in the creative process. It adds some fresh air to the band’s history.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?
That’s pretty difficult to say; maybe our beginning in France, where everything moved so fast. Our first concert was in a 500+ venue and the capacity has not decreased since. The second highlight was when the USA started to show some interest in us. It’s always a huge joy, to see that you can be successful in the country of jazz.

Which bands/artists influence your music?
Mostly, jazz musicians from the late 30s and early 40s.
The Caravan Palace adventure started with our unconditional love for the great guitar player, Django Reinhardt. That’s why our first album has a gypsy flavour to it. We then fell in love with Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, Count Basie… all of those great composers, arrangers and big band leaders. Of course, we’re also influenced by contemporary electronic music, which is a very active genre. As a result, our electronic influence has merged into our music very quickly, changing a lot from one album to the next.

Which song do you like to perform live the most?
I think Brotherswing, a song from our first album, which has a special live extended version. It’s always a fun song to play. It has a fast instrumental, jazzy vocals, and a strong electronic break in the middle of the track. In other words, it’s Caravan Palace in a nutshell.

What are your plans for the rest of 2017?
We’re going to tour Canada and the USA from late June to July. Then we’ll be back in Paris to work on our fourth album. 
We are touring in the summer, and then we return to the studio in autumn/winter. A perfect schedule for musicians, isn’t it?

Lisa Harrison
Written by Lisa Harrison
Lisa is the Deputy Editor of Vintage Life Magazine and Publisher at Dragoon Publishing. She is avid bookworm, collector of vintage homeware, loves travel, lazy weekends away and eats way too much cake!