News Caan: ‘I Want To Be Mainstream Pop, But Do It Differently’

Martyn Young catches up with former Ou Est Le Swimming Pool member Caan.

Caan Capan was previously a member of electro pop trio Ou Est Le Swimming Pool. Following the end of the band in 2010, Caan has embarked on a solo career. Ahead of the release of his third solo single ‘Into The Night’, Martyn Young catches up with him to find out a bit more about life as a solo artist, the state of mainstream pop and his love of UK garage.

How have you found the transition from being a part of Ou Est Le Swimming Pool to starting out as a solo artist?
It was a little overwhelming at first. It felt like I was carrying the flame, that Ou Est was continuing through me. Now I‘m just me, I’ve found my feet and I’m ready to show the world who I am; Caan, not the kid from Ou Est.

Is your solo sound a continuation of the influences and sounds that made up Ou Est Le Swimming Pool or is it a complete creative fresh start?
It’s a mad mash up of lots of sounds. My time in Ou Est has influenced my sound, it was a massive part of my life. But this time I’m drawing upon the wildly eclectic mix of sounds I grew up listening to, which wouldn’t have fitted the Ou Est vibe.

How would you explain your writing process?
I love song writing. I transmit a lot of energy and emotion through the lyrics. It’s a mysterious process. I live life accruing all these experiences, then put them to paper hoping that people can find themselves in my songs. At the end of the day I’m the same as you, and I’m sure that we share the same experiences in a wider sense.

Your third single ‘Into The Night’ feels like the culmination of the gradual build of your first two singles into a bigger, sleeker and richer sound. What can you tell us about that track and was it always earmarked as a single?
I knew that this was the third single. It takes me back to the Old Skool Garage days and is reminiscent of my time growing up in Camden when nothing really mattered and we didn’t have a care in the world. Then the innocents dabbled with the darkness. The previous two singles had very minimal production but this one steps it up a touch. I’m just getting started.

The tracks we have heard so far from you have an understated touch of melancholy running through them. Is it important to you for your music to connect on an emotional level as well as simply on the dance floor?
I want my music to connect with people. This record has come from a dark and sad place. I couldn’t sit here and write about my world being great when at that time it wasn’t. Life is great now and there and some seriously upbeat songs on the record. But I have to connect emotionally and baring my soul on the record is my only justification for the pain. Music for me is about real life, not the life portrayed on MTV.

There is a real mix of both classic and contemporary electronic sounds in ‘Into The Night’ what sort of electronic sounds have influenced you and what new sounds are exciting you at the moment?
A lot of the 80s electronic sound of course from Japan to Depeche Mode. I love old synths, there is a massive collection in our studio, from the Oberheim OB8 to the Roland Jupiter 8. I really like the new wave of leftfield R&B coming through like The Weeknd and Young And Sick.

How is the album coming along and what can we expect to hear from the debut Caan album?
The album is finished, we’re just mixing and making minor changes here and there. I don’t know what to say really. If you like what you’ve heard then I think you’ll love the album. It’s overly dark and very immersive. I’m already thinking about how to better it with album number two.

All your singles so far strike me as pop records with a pleasing depth and progressive feel to them. What is your opinion on mainstream pop at the moment and do you see yourself as a pop star and part of that mainstream scene?
Mainstream pop is saturated with poor music. Pop is great if done well but for me it’s not in a good state at the moment. Partly because the labels are signing internet sensations over credible musicians. There aren’t many credible mainstream male artists out there and I’d like to fill that void. Mainstream success isn’t always the best thing and you can have a successful career without it, but I want to show the world how it should be done, so yes, I want to be mainstream pop, but do it differently.

You have recently collaborated with Benny Banks for a new version of ‘Every Little Thing’. How did that collaboration come about and are there any other artists or producers that you would like to work with in the future?
His manager is a good friend and we are always talking music together. He told me a while ago he had a new artist he was working with. I watched him progress and grow as a rapper and thought the single/remix package needed a touch of Benny on it. There is talk of working with some big artists but I can’t say anything just yet.

Finally, how does your new material translate to live performance and are you looking forward to taking the album out on the road?
I live for the studio and the stage. You have to transcend the emotion of the record to the live performance. The live show has a lot of energy and it gets really rowdy towards the end of a show. I can’t wait to play the record live, to meet my fans, and to play bigger and better gigs.

Caan’s new single ‘Into The Night’ is out now.

Tags: Caan, Neu

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