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Shoes feat. Nicholas Krgovich

by Benjamin Schoos

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The critically-acclaimed Belgian chansonnier Benjamin Schoos is putting his best feet forward with his latest single. ‘SHOES’ is the first English language song by the French-speaking artist, and his renowned lyrical dexterity certainly hasn’t been lost in translation. What’s more, he’s joined on this delicious new track by the lauded Vancouver-based singer songwriter Nicholas Krgovich.

‘SHOES’ is a warm bath of a tune, full of evocative imagery and underpinned by an obvious devotion to sweet 70’s soul records shared by two singers living nearly 5,000 miles apart. As winter approaches, this single promises subtle seduction with a sliver of subversion, and one impudent raised eyebrow in the style of Roger Moore. “Now things are wilder than you think,” the two men sing with a knowing wink, and the evening walk with the dog becomes the unlikely setting for the rekindling of fires of passion.

Schoos comes from the industrial town of Liege where he runs the alternative Freaksville empire with a roster of wild and eccentric musical innovators (Freaksville also now has offices in Brussels and Paris). Over the years Benjamin has duetted with the Pretenders’ Chrissie Hynde, Mark Gardener from Ride, Parisian pop icon Marie France, French pop singer Alain Chamfort and Lætitia Sadier of Stereolab, who he recorded the BBC 6 Music-approved ‘Je ne vois que vous’ with.

His label has put out records by April March, Aquaserge, Jacques Duvall, Lio, The Loved Drones and many more, as well as music under his former alias Miam Monster Miam. In 2012 he reverted to his own name and was awarded Album of the Year by the Académie Charles Cros (the equivalent of the Mercury Prize) for China Man vs Chinagirl (NME called it a “dazzling debut”). His CV is also an eclectic mix of maverick pursuits, including Eurovision, radio and ventriloquism.

‘SHOES’ is taken from Schoos’ forthcoming fourth album under his own moniker, the follow up to 2016’s Night Music, Love Songs, which Uncut awarded 8/10 and said contained “the grand gestures of Gainsbourg and Vannier... these nocturnal romances still confirm French as the language of the impossibly glamorous."

Nicholas Krgovich’s third album Ouch from last year, was praised by Pitchfork for its gritty, and sometimes funny portrayal of heartbreak and for its searing emotional honesty: “Ouch is utterly, unapologetically about Krgovich’s [breakup], an album of unvarnished particulars and graphic details. That doesn’t make Ouch less relatable. It has the opposite effect. Its specificity is what makes it ring true.”


Avec son nouveau single Shoes, l’incomparable et plusieurs fois acclamé Benjamin Schoos prouve que ses bottes sont toujours faites pour danser. Plus concrètement, le titre est une fois n’est pas coutume english spoken, et le moins qu’on puisse dire, c’est que sa capacité à écrire des textes piquants n’a pas perdu au change. C’est certainement ce qui a convaincu le Canadien Nicholas Krgovich de le rejoindre pour un featuring au micro sur ce titre hommage aux albums soul des seventies.
Ecrit par les deux à plus de 8000 kilomètres de distance, Shoes est un titre rempli d’images et de chaleur (c’est bon pour l’hiver) et il rappelle à sa manière la célèbre phrase (en anglais dans le texte) de Roger Moore : « Now things are wilder than you think ». Et ce n’est qu’un début, puisque Shoes est un teaser du prochain album de l’empereur liégeois qui, avec beaucoup de DIY et de sueur, a réussi à bâtir l’« empire » Freaksville où sont passés depuis 15 ans des artistes comme April March, Aquaserge, Jacques Duvall ou encore Lio.
Producteur pour les autres, musicien pour lui-même, il annonce aujourd’hui le successeur de « Night Music, love songs » (2016) qui lui avait valu ces belles lignes dans le très culte magazine Uncut : « [un album] qui rappelle Gainsbourg et Vannier [….] ces ballades nocturnes confirment que le français est bien la langue du glamour, impossible à copier ». Après s’être entouré d’artistes comme Chrissie Hynde des Pretenders, Mark Gardener (Ride) ou encore Lætitia Sadier (Stereolab), Benjamin Schoos choisit cette fois de s’embarquer overseas pour de nombreux featurings avec, comme on dit, la crème de la crème anglo-saxonne à ses côtés. Salué par Pitchfork pour ses capacités de crooner capable de faire fondre des glaciers, Nicholas Krgovich n’est que la première vignette d’un album plus grand, à découvrir en 2020. De quoi permettre de conclure, pour citer Bowie : « Let’s dance, put on your red Schoos and dance the blues ! »


Shoes ( feat. Nicholas Krgovich )
(Nicholas Krgovich/Benjamin Schoos)
Leaning against the kitchen wall,
The phone cord tangled round the chair,
It's hard to care,
But you do,
And you move to slip on your shoes.
It's after dinner,
And the rain just stopped,
And the dog wants to go out for a walk,
The streets are slick,
And they smell wet,
And there's two coyotes in the park.
Now things are wilder than you think,
Clouds move, there's the moon,
A local dance at the skating rink,
They took out the ice.
While some dance in lines,
And some shuck and jive,
You scoop up the dog and sway from side to side.
And nights like this will come again,
And again and again,
And life's a gas you knew it then and you know it now.
But what's it gonna take,
An electric sparkle on the lake?
For you to get in there and shimmy shake.


released January 30, 2020
Vocals : Nicolas Krgovich
Drums & Percussion, Piano, Bongo, Bass, Guitars, Keys: Benjamin
Moog: Phil MFU
Recorded in Belgium at Eastview Studio by Sabino Orsini
Mixed and Mastered in France at Farside by Gilles Martin
Freaksville Publishin/Freaksville records 2019


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Benjamin Schoos Belgium

When he's not running the brilliant Freaksville label, Benjamin Schoos is concentrating his efforts into producing lush, string-laden, melancholic and very French pop. The dandy crooner has produced, composed and arranged a whole host of songs for a variety of cult figures including Lio, Marie France, Chrissie Hynde, Alain Chamfort, Laetitia Sadier, Miqui Puig. ... more

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