Digitalz unveil their debut album ‘Imaginary Love’: Album Review + Interview
‘Imaginary Love‘, the long-awaited debut album from French electro-pop duo Digitalz, is out now, just in time to keep you company this vacation season. Soulful and tasteful, this long play extends over 10 tracks that perfectly display the sound and skills of this duo of producers. ‘Imaginary Love’ includes other talents such as Annika Wells, Naomi Wild, and Michey Shilon, to name a few, and promises to be a landmark in Digitalz’s career. Among the tracks on this LP are the singles ‘Ritual‘, ‘Invisible‘, ‘Beg For It‘, ‘Miss Me‘, and ‘Falling In‘, which had been released in drops since the album was announced, to feed the fans’ appetite.
Thibault and Adrien got together as Digitalz a little over four years ago to give shape to their passion for music. Self-taught artists, the two producers drew inspiration from the energy of Parisian clubs during their adolescence, and from the diverse musical genres that coexist in a city as multicultural as the French capital. It is not surprising, then, that one of the hallmarks of Digitalz is a genre-spanning sound. The duo does not condition their musicality by genre or categorize it, giving freedom to creativity where music is free, without labels.
In 2018, the name Digitalz was heard around the circuit when they released an interesting version of Queen‘s classic ‘Bohemian Rhapsody‘. Axwell played this rendition at Tomorrowland, leaving the crowd completely ecstatic. It was the duo’s entry into the EDM sphere, where they wanted to rock the waters with their bold and distinctive sound. Now, the time has finally come for them to assert themselves loud and clear, armed with their first studio album ‘Imaginary Love’. It’s a journey into the world of Digitalz that you won’t want to miss.
Image credit: press
‘Welcome‘ is the opening track and welcomes you to this evocative album. With a dramatic and cinematic entrance, this first single offers a rumbling bass that pulsates throughout the entire narrative. It is a track rich in instrumentation and feeling, serving perfectly as a soundtrack to a tense scene in a movie, or your car ride home at full volume.
‘Ritual‘ comes next, grabbing your attention with a passionate, full-bodied vocal. Lyrical and atmospheric, the track is soaked with feelings that are very present in the voice and in the dynamics of the melody, which thickens simultaneously with the singing. A vocal-driven anthem for sure.
‘Beg For It‘ arrives with a more marked rhythm, abandoning some of the melodic atmospheric mood of the previous tracks. The highlight goes unequivocally to the vocals of America-based singer and multi-platinum songwriter Mickey Shiloh, who makes the track additive and close to the listener. Hip-hop talent Deem makes an appearance on the song, displaying energy and pace that dictates the song’s dynamics. The percussion and synths are powerful and uplifting, ensuring an effortless bright ambience.
In ballad form and inspired by Radiohead‘s ‘Creep‘, comes ‘Invisible‘. Annika Wells’ angelic vocals give voice to a refugee and the feelings that are intentionally blindfolded. The uncompromising bass blends perfectly with the shimmering keys and synths.
Prepare to enter a magical world while contemplating ‘Falling In‘. Jovial and worshipful, this track offers a hard-hitting bass drop and a sharp beat. By way of contrast, the percussion is embellished by sparkling elements and the rich and textured voice of TheNameless. Another vocal-led gem from the duo.
Image credit: press
The sound of a heartbeat dictates the beginning of ‘Shelter’, moving the beat to a hefty and soulful percussion. Using a gentle pace, the track is extremely emotional and deep, developing into a complex and rich narrative. The vibrant voice of renowned singer Naomi Wild gives the song an ethereal and poised soul.
‘Miss Me‘ changes the tone, arriving infused in darkness. In partnership with Drymer, Digitalz have created a more industrial, hard-hitting and contemporary specimen. Ready to rock the dance floor, it imputes a truly addictive and catchy beat. ‘Miss Me’ truly stands out from the rest of the tracks, showing a pristine production and a harder side of the duo that leaves you curious for more.
Coming straight from heaven is ‘Corner of My Eye‘, an angelic-sounding production. Giving up vocals, synths take the lead that guides listeners through a journey back in time, where rock’n’roll is channelled by the astonishing guitar riff. The beat is incredibly classic and cool at the same time, representing well the musical signature of Digitalz.
Each track takes the listener to a different scenario. ‘I’m Going’ is a melancholic, heartfelt song with a suffering tone. The piano notes seem to weep as the vocals spread a tender farewell. The drama is accentuated by the pacing variations and the beat, which is organic and rawer. It is sombre and comforting at the same time.
Forget the love stories that are usually immortalized in music, ‘Bad Blood (What Do You Want)‘ is an optimistic and energetic track that describes the chemistry between two strained lovers. Genre-bending, it offers the perfect dichotomy between melodic vocals and a vivid, arousing beat. It is an ideal way to end a full-length work, as it leaves you wanting to hear more.
Image credit: press
We Rave You caught up with Thibault and Adrien to learn more about Digitalz’ path to this debut album and what the duo’s plans are for the rest of the year.
First of all, congratulations on the release of your debut album ‘Imaginary Love’. This moment was highly anticipated and crucial in your career. How does it feel to finally share it?
Thibault: Thank you so much! It feels like a huge accomplishment. It was a huge struggle to complete this LP. Tears and blood have been shed to give birth to this baby so there’s also some relief.
Adrien: And a lot of excitement! There’s a new chapter of our lives that’s beginning and we’re really looking forward to seeing where this adventure will bring us and the public’s reaction.
Were these tracks created especially for this album or did you already have some saved waiting for the right moment?
Adrien: We started to make music together about four years ago, not really knowing where we’d like to go. While we were looking for our sound, four demos that we really liked were in the same vibe and that was at that moment we decided to go for an album. So everything has been hinged around this idea for a while now.
Thibault and Adrien tell us a bit about the process of creating an album as a duo. How did the creative process of both of you flow in this work?
Thibault: There wasn’t a structured process, sometimes Adrien would start a demo and others would be me. Either way, we would take any ideas and produce them together, the idea functioning as a fire starter if you will. Sometimes the track would really deviate from the original idea. But we really try not to limit ourselves to a genre. Our objective is for our sound to have no boundaries, and to always try to bring something new to the table.
Adrien: We never came in the studio saying things like ‘I’d like a 128 BPM song today’. I think our love for all genres of electronic music: hip-hop, rock, orchestral music etc… Our love for some kind of emotions and the blend of everything we both like really is the keystone of our identity.
What is the concept behind ‘Imaginary Love’? What is the message behind it?
Adrien: While we were working on the lyrics of the first singles, we realized that every song was focused on love, everything was written for a girl in particular. So we came up with this concept of having the album represented by a girl that we’ll bring into a surrealistic universe on every single artwork. And the beauty of collaboration comes in, we also worked with songwriters for some songs that changed the initial meaning of the lyrics we wrote, put hidden messages etc… The name ‘Imaginary Love’ is here to show that she never existed, it is a phantasmagoric relation between a guy and this woman that we imagined with the songwriters we worked with.
The album has 10 tracks, but you have been releasing some of them up until the big release. Why did you choose to reveal five tracks instead of keeping the suspense even tighter?
Thibault: Because of the way people consume music now. People don’t listen to artists, they listen to playlists, so if you want them to remember you you have to be really present. Having a single every month before the album release was a way to get into people’s heads.
Your path in music started a few years ago. How has your path been until this debut album?
Adrien: I opened Fruity Loops for the first time at the age of 15, and started to do some beats because I had a lot of friends that were rappers around me. Going to the studio with them was what made me want to make music. Then I started to perform as a hip-hop Dj in Parisian clubs… It’s at that time I ran into Thibault.
Thibault: I started DJing in clubs when I was 15 years old, but quickly realized that if you don’t want to have the party promoter come to ask you if you could play a genre you don’t want to play, you have to win some credits by releasing music. That is why I started producing in the first place, but I didn’t like to do the same style every day. At the time it was the trend if you wanted to start a career but one day I wanted to do dubstep, and other cinematic music so I started to produce for other artists. When I met Adrien and he told me to put a hip-hop rhythm on my trance synth, everything clicked and I realized I was the one giving myself boundaries. That is why this Digitalz project where we blend all of our different influences together while having our own identity was exactly the project I needed.
Did the outbreak of the pandemic in any way disrupt the plans you had for ‘Imaginary Love’?
Adrien: The project was supposed to be released a year earlier, at the time we just stopped everything not knowing where we were heading. Then we decided that we won’t wait indefinitely for the end of COVID and planned every release.
Thibault: But It also had some positive sides, even if it limited us for the promo, we had a bit more time to get prepared.
Your sound is an expansive multi-genre universe. How do rock, hip-hop and other genres influence your music?
Thibault: That’s a different type of creativity than in electronic music, there’s a lot more creativity in the arrangements than in electronic music, as it doesn’t need to seek efficiency. Also, some kinds of electronic music styles do not age very well compared to the rock and hip-hop classics that are timeless. We are not going to pretend that we are making classics, but we try not to have songs that could age quickly due to a trend we’d like to follow.
Adrien: And of course the fact that we love to put some elements of a lot of styles in our productions. It appears since the very first song, for example, ‘Ritual’ was a piano and a drum beat at first, before we decided to add dubstep drums in the drop and trance synths… Then thinking it as a rock stadium anthem as artists like Muse could do.
Nirvana and Radiohead have inspired you in the past. Who are the influences of Digitalz today?
Thibault: I love the creativity of guys like Skrillex and Kanye West, constantly re-inventing themselves. I’m also really looking forward to hearing the Swedish House Mafia’s album. Not gonna lie, I will probably be a fan in the front row.
Adrien: I’m in love with Post Malone’s work, which also blends genres helped with his incredible voice. I can’t get enough of it, his productions really influence my way of composing music right now.
Your remix of Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ was your golden ticket into the EDM world. What other classics or contemporary hits would you like to re-create?
Thibault: We love to put an acapella that we love on a project and work around it, find completely different chords than the original song etc. So we’ve already done some remixes that are in our hardware disks. So we’d like to keep you surprised but hopefully, we can play those live shows pretty soon.
The excitement of the album release is still fresh, but what other projects do you already have up your sleeve?
Adrien: We are currently working on a live show, trying to create a new experience that we hope to be ready for in September. And we of course have other songs that will come, ‘Imaginary Love’ is just the beginning.
‘Imaginary Love’ is now available to listen to across all streaming platforms. Play below and enter this complex journey of sounds and emotions.
Main image credit: Digitalz (Press)