Caravan Palace

Caravan Palace group photo

Caravan Palace is a revolutionary électro-swing group from Paris, France, comprised of Charles Delaporte (bass, programming), Arnaud Vial (guitar, programming), Hugues Payen (violin, programming), Colotis Zoé (vocals), Toustou (electronics, trombone), and Chapi (clarinette). The group is chiefly influenced by Django Reinhardt but also cites Vitalic, Cab Calloway, Justice, Lionel Hampton, Gorillaz and Daft Punk among its influences. Caravan Palace's self-titled full-length album debut in 2008 was very well received, reaching the Top 20 of the French albums chart and garnering acclaim for its traditional jazz inclinations and hit single Jolie Coquine. Caravan Palace returned in 2012 with their sophomore album, Panic, and has been touring the world ever since!

The group's strength lies in their common passion for electronic music. Charles, Arnaud and Hughes, the initial trio, dig swing, especially gypsy jazz, and try their hands at the genre’s traditional instruments: guitar, double bass and violin. That’s where this peculiar mixture of classical Django and the latest trends in electro comes from. And it’s far better than those retro futuristic sounds… because it swings. A few social media posts later and they have almost doubled in size, enrolling Chapi and the boisterous Colotis in the band.

They started touring long before they even thought about releasing an album, but everything clicked in 2007, during the Django Reinhardt Festival in Samois. Terrified to be just another part of the gypsy jazz pantheon, the group gathered speed and steam and created a posse that follows them everywhere. The word got out, their breakout song, Jolie Coquine, began to be played everywhere. The record was released a year later, and became an immediate hit. They toured France and Europe. The show peaked at the Olympia. The room was packed, people went crazy… listening to swing. This has never happened before.

But during the autumn of 2010, the group stopped and took a month off to start thinking about the new album. How do they come up with new songs? Every member of the band works in his own musical lab before exchanging files at night. The same process starts over the next day. And when the others react instinctively, it’s generally a good sign. The basic rhythm of the first album has mutated into sophisticated beats, less gimmicky, more varied and enriched with sounds flirting with the frontiers of trip-hop. They still love Massive Attack, they still dig the creative minds of Ninja Tune, Isolée’s minimal electro vibe or Gorillaz’s grand hip-hop rock bazaar. Only the best of the best. But they also rediscover thirties and forties swing jazz, artists like Fletcher Henderson, or the less mainstream musicians like Charlie Chavers and Mildred Bailey.

Six months later, forty-something titles pile up. It’s time to regroup in the studio… where fifteen vintage keyboards are waiting. Tirelessly, the band tries new things, merges styles and makes creative decisions. Fourteen titles are emerged. The petulant voice of Colotis is booming again and the old friend Cyrille-Aimée is back on two songs.

The Caravan is back on the road!