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Melanie Pain: Pain Is Her Pleasure

The Nouvelle Vague singer says she doesn't mind people mispronouncing her name, and reveals that her love of Britpop will be in evidence on a forthcoming single.

Melanie Pain is at the Jazz Café on 30 November

Life before Nouvelle Vague...

It’s a complete mystery, I was no-one before Nouvelle Vague! No, I was not supposed to be a singer, it came all by accident. Nouvelle Vague just heard a demo that I did for a friend who needed a female voice – I was just doing it to help him – and then the demo arrived at Nouvelle Vague’s desk and they said “Who is this singer?” I said “I’m not really a singer but I can try.” Before this I had a very boring life working in an office. Well, that’s not exactly true… but three albums of Nouvelle Vague and a solo album have completely changed my whole life.
 
One happy family...
 
I’ve been touring with Nouvelle Vague for five years now, so it’s kind of a gang. We all have our own stuff at home, so going on tour with Nouvelle Vague is kind of like going on holiday.
 
My name...
 
I think my name is pretty good, I’m ok with it. Even with Nouvelle Vague we’re often touring internationally so people pronounce it as pain (Ed: as in 'ouch!'). So it’s good for me, I’m both Pain (Ed: more like 'pan' in French) and pain and I like it. I think that’s why I’ve called my album ‘My Name’ as well, because I’ve always found it funny and an easy way to communicate with people – it always makes them react. Calling the album ‘My Name’ also means that I’m not only a voice in Nouvelle Vague.
 
Collaborators...
 
I had a very precise idea of who I need to work with on the album, and I wanted to have some “featuring” vocals and writers I really like, like Thomas Dybdahl. Jacques Duvall (Ed: cult Belgian singer and lyricist) wrote ‘Ignore- Moi’ which is just a very simple pop song - it’s very hard to write pop songs in French, and I'm still working with Julien Doré. I began with Nouvelle Vague as a gang and I think I needed to continue with this.
 
Covering Harry Nilsson's 'Little Cowboy'...
 
I’m a big, big fan, and a fan of ‘Midnight Cowboy’ as well, and 'Celle De Mes 20 Ans' on the album is also a homage to that sort of 60s, folky stuff. 
 
‘Girls and Boys’...
 
The covers of Nouvelle Vague are not really my generation, but Blur reminds me more of when I was a teenager. So for me it was a tip of the hat to my covering of songs with Nouvelle Vague, but I thought it would be fun to do a famous Britpop band.
 
Interview by David McKenna
 
www.myspace.com/melaniepain