Belgium based alt-pop singer-songwriter / musician, Mickael Karkousse, returns with a slow burining alt-pop jam ‘Never Give Up’ out this September 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.A hypnotic slice of left-field pop, ‘Never Give Up’ follows on from acclaimed singles ‘One Look’ and ‘Where Do we Begin’, blends his flair for warm, minimalistic production and real life lyricism. He says: “It’s the first track that I worked on with producer Victor Le Masne. He just finished producing Gaspar Augé’s album so the timing was perfect to embark on on new adventure together. We both love the sounds that we grew up with watching French television shows and Japanese animations. The warm and synth based sounds would form the soundtrack of our collaboration. Each video of the EP is approached from a storytelling point of view, like a short film. Each song of the EP can be interpreted as a movie scene. For the video of ‘Never Give Up’ I asked my Friend and filmmaker Marnix Ruben to dig into his film archive and make a collage translating the mood and story of ‘Never Give Up’.”
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”.
‘Never Give Up’ is released on 10th September across all digital platforms.