Didier Marouani of SPACE
By: Ryan Chimney
The following interview was conducted in Nov. 28, 2005
Q: What were your early musical influences before forming SPACE ?
I think classic music influence me a lot, I start to learn classical music when I was 5 years old, I remember very well, I was leaving in Monaco and I told my father : "I want to play the piano" and my father answered : "If you want to play the piano you will learn the classical music, so he gave me a professor who was a very good musician, very sensible, he was also violinist; I remember one day we went to see Yehudi Menuhin, he was playing in Cannes, this concert was a choc for me, so much sensibility and such a big musician...After 2 years of lessons, he told my father that he must take for me the Best teacher because I have a lot of capacities and that I will have to go to the Monaco Conservatoire; my other teacher bring me also so much sensibility and also learn my heart how to sing inside me. After of course the Beatles and later on Elton John gave me also the taste for melodies.
Q: What was the first synthesizer you every purchased or used ? How did you get interested in the instrument?
The first Synthesizer I bought was a ARP Axe, I remember I was so happy, I still have this synth. In 1970 a French sound Engineer built the ancestral of the Synths the "Melotron"; this instrument was Magic for me; after came Les Ondes Martennot. The work also of Pierre Henry gave me the certitude that the synthesizers will be the instrument of the end of the XXth century; I remember when I was telling this at that time the people were laughing; they thought that the synths was just "in fashion"; I had the feeling that the technology will bring a lot to this instrument.
Q: Was the entire concept for the band, including the name, space suits etc. all your idea from the beginning ? Where was your debut SPACE performance, what was the reaction / crowd attendance? Did you perform in your space suits or was this only used in the video for 'Magic Fly' ?
In 1976, I compose for a demo TV show about ASTROLOGY and SPACE, but the TV show has not been accepted by the TV; this Music was "MAGIC FLY" at that time I had a contract with a record company as a singer. All my friends at that time who heard "MAGIC FLY" told me that it will be a huge Hit because of the ambiance given by the Synthesizers and the melody; so we decide with my Producer to propose to my record company to release "MAGIC FLY" under my name, but my record company said that the song was not good at all and they didn't want to release it....so my producer found another record company, but I could not appear as I got a contract as a singer; so after a while I decide to create a Band.... the name came quite easily as the sounds and the ambiance was like coming from space (new sounds played by the synthesizers) ....and also the helmets and the cosmonaut suits like that nobody will recognize me.....and I had to choose a pseudonym (under name), so I choose ECAMA. The reaction of the Public has been amazing; the single has been release all over the world, which was a Premiere for a french band, and the single became n"1 in 17 different countries and "MAGIC FLY" made the cross over (n"1 on Radios, Sales, Clubs) and after the first album; We were performing always during 1 year with our space suits, I asked my record company to give me back my contract as singer and after that I announce to the medias that I create and compose the band.
Q: Were you listening to any other space-rock-disco style groups at this time, particularly to any from France ?
I was listening at that time to a lot of different music and one day I heard Kraftwerk and Tangerine dream and I have been fascinated by the news sounds of the synthesizers.
Q: I have seen a website where it shows that you played a live set at a launch pad in Cayenne, France. Was this a solo performance ?
Yes I perform for the 10th anniversary of Ariane the European rocket a huge concert at the demand of ARIANE ESPACE, ESA and the CNES, this concert has been performed in Cayenne on the central square, in the mean time I got the very special authorization to make photos very near the rocket with my synthesizers. Over 40.000 spectators attended to this concert.
Q: Your first #1 hit 'Magic Fly' was covered by a Canadian group Kebekelektrik, what do you think of this version ? Was the group friends of yours at the time ?
In fact Magic Fly has been show at the MIDEM in January 1977 and the single has been bought by all the records company in the world. Kebekelektrik got a copy of "MAGIC FLY" and record and release it in the USA before SPACE without any authorization, we had to stop their single with this version of "MAGIC FLY" and we sued them, but their version of "MAGIC FLY" became also a huge hit in the US Discos.
Q: On your Casablanca releases which vary from vocal to instrumental tracks, was the addition of female vocals a decision of yours or one of the labels ?
In the US, United Artists release the first single and the first album of SPACE; Casablanca records release the 2nd DELIVERANCE and 3rd Album JUST BLUE. On the first Album Madeline Bell was singing one song "CARRY ON TURN ME ON" which has been n"1 in the US clubs, on DELIVERANCE she was singing "DELIVERANCE & PRISON" and on JUST BLUE "SAVE YOUR LOVE FOR ME & MY LOVE IS MUSIC". The releases in the US were exactly the same than in Europe.
Q: There is a SPACE album DEEPER ZONE that you are not involved in. Was there a reason to break part to perform and record solo ?
I realize after the 2nd Album that the band must go on stage, so we prepared at that time a huge concert under the Eiffel tower, all the official authorizations has been given by the Mayor and the government. I started a huge promotion announcing the date of the concert; 1 month before my producer decided to cancel the concert as the main radio supporting this concert jump out of the promotion of the concert. This was very bad for my image and my credibility into the medias. So I decide to leave my producer who told me that he registered under his name the name SPACE has a trademark and that he will continue SPACE without me. This was a real shock for me because he was robbing me my music, my band; but I decide to continue alone and create the following of SPACE "PARIS FRANCE TRANSIT" and the album "PARIS France"; (20 years later, the justice gave me back the name of SPACE and also the copyrights of all the albums).
With the album "PARIS FRANCE" we've got the chance to do the first big concert tour in USSR in 1983, 21 concerts in Moscow, Leningrad and Kiev in huge stadiums (between 20.000 to 40.000 people). In 2 days the concert tour has been sold out; Hall where more than 600.000 spectators attended the performances. This concert tour has been for the Russian a musical and Social act and my popularity grows up and up in all the former USSR. Today we are giving concerts in front of 70.000 or 80.000 people, the people who came in 1983 and also their sons & daughters!!! That"s the best present an Artist can receive, to see that his music is getting a new generation. The Russians still remember that we accepted to came in their country in 1983 and that we bring a little peace of hope for their next future.
Q: You seemed to have spent many years touring and performing your music. During this time, did you ever perform in the U.S.A. ?
No unfortunately, I never perform in the US, I don"t know why...maybe I don"t met the right person there. There is project of concert in San Diego next year, they asked my manager to do a big concert and they are talking right now about Technical riders, expenses etc...
Q: Your solo work continues... can we expect anything new for 2006 and beyond ?
Maybe not in 2006, but for sure in 2007 the new SPACE CD will be release. I am now composing for the new album and I am composing for a huge American singer who asked me to write fews song for his new album. This Artist was dancing on one of my songs in Studio 54 in New York in the 80s!!! I hope the songs I composed for him will be what he is expecting for his new album.