Parisian Electro-Pop Artist Claude Violante Returns With Dizzying 'Road Race' EP: Exclusive Premiere

Roberto Cabrera
Claude Violante

"We can all drive cars, even if they are very fast."

Parisian electro-pop artist Claude Violante -- née Camille Petitjean -- first arrived stateside via 2015's striking Your Heart Is Weak EP, released in partnership with Atlas Chair, JD Samson (of Le Tigre)'s imprint, and featuring the standout night-terror fantasy "I Kill By Night." The shimmering set introduced Violante as the next in a rising crop of French artists to hit the global arena, following the likes of Yelle, Justice, and Christine and the Queens

Today, Claude continues her international ascent, with the release of her third EP Road Race, premiering exclusively via Billboard. The set, written about the pressure to be "the fastest," allowed the artist to be the most direct she had ever been in her career thus far, confronting social and political issues from gender inequality to same-sex marriage. "Being a pilot is not easy; it can get lonely and scary at times, but you have to learn to give yourself courage and power," Claude tells Billboard. "Racing is mostly represented by masculine figures, but we can all drive cars, even if they are very fast."

Recording the bulk of the set at her own home studio, Claude relied on her personal collection of synths -- from Elektron machines ("Octatrack, Analog Rytm and Analog Keys") to her Korg Ms20 and "old school samplers." When she had a mostly-finished mix, she brought the tunes to her pal Bastien D, a member of ultra-cool Parisian outfit TOYS, to help edit and finalize them. "I didn't have much time and energy, since I had just released a mixtape ('Radio Violante')" she recalls. "I had to look for spontaneous ways of creating sounds. The result is very interesting, a little bit different than what I used to do, which I like a lot, and it made us proud!"

Below, Claude offers up a track-by-track guide on the meaning and inspiration behind the new set.

01. Do That Thing

"This track made me think the most about racing cars because it's about running after someone you desire; the kind of desire that hurts and wants to be fulfilled badly. I see images of two people in different cars, one is trying to catch up to the other and the other is still not sure but ready to be convinced. It's kind of about begging someone, in fact."

02. U're The Man

"This one is about being a female pilot in a man's world. It’s about asking if all the common things we do or the things we let happen without thinking about them in our everyday life are not to our disadvantage as women. It’s about wondering if it is normal for women to earn less money and be listened to less than men. Why are we led to believe that we are worthless? For things to change we don't only need women; I think men have a great role to play. They can't just stand there like nothing's wrong. That's the statement of the song."

03. Like That

"This song is about the difficulty of being a couple. It’s about loving someone and sharing things but also wanting to be free but not really. It’s about going through difficult moments, doubting and relying on the other, asking if the other one is going to share the weight of the problems ahead. I see troubled waters and stormy weather."

04. Control

"This is the most melancholic song on the EP. It’s about how people deal with other people's differences. In France we had a very divisive social war when a proposition from the President was made to authorize same sex marriage. It really uncovered some atrocious ideas that a lot of people had kept to themselves prior to the debate. Many people came out as homophobic, retrograde and absurd. I was very shocked and surprised to see such a large amount of people willing to reduce all the efforts and progress made during the last few decades to nothing. I took it personally and many people I know also felt it was a huge betrayal from our own country. The song was written as an homage to the "gay pioneers" that didn't give a f--k about other people's opinions and made the life we have today easier by fighting or simply living their lives. I imagine it is what some people in America must have felt when they realized how many of their fellow Americans had voted for President Trump."

For more Claude Violante, head here, and grab her new Road Race EP, out March 17 via Panenka Music.