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A Dead, Zombified Kavinsky Speaks from Beyond the Grave

A Dead, Zombified Kavinsky Speaks from Beyond the Grave
Photo: Vincent Desailly

The Paris Producer tells the 80s movie-inspired story behind his upcoming album.

By Halley Bondy
February 1, 2013

If you’ve seen Drive, you’re familiar with Kavinsky’s retro electro. His song “Nightcall” was the biggest hit on the noir film soundtrack, garnering over 28 million YouTube hits. The remix of his track “Testarossa Autodrive” hit the Grand Theft Auto IV soundtrack too.

But the Parisian producer  – real name Vincent Belorgey – isn’t just a studio jockey with 80s vehicular-philia. He’s a storyteller, too. His singles recount the tale of Kavinsky, a young man who gets into a car crash and resurrects as a red-eyed zombie. With the help of French producer SebastiAn, Kavinsky’s upcoming album Outrun (out Feb. 26 on Casablanca) dives into the poor kid’s backstory.

Here’s the tale from the man…behind the dead boy.

Are you totally done with the Drive soundtrack fame?

Oh, no, because for me, it was a great movie. And to be in the opening credits is cool. I’m a big fan of the director, he did the Pusher trilogy, and I loved that trilogy.

Which song is going to be on the next Grand Theft Auto? 

Well..that’s not confirmed. Even for me it’s kind of a secret. But I’ve done it before, for Grand Theft Auto IV’s electronic station. It was Sebastian’s remix of “Testarossa Autodrive.” It was so cool just to hear my name on the radio. I used to play that game, the first one, so it was truly amazing to be on it.

So you got to hear your song and kill people? 

Yes! [laughs]. I love to run people over.

So Kavinsky has come back as a zombie in Outrun, but now we are going to learn his backstory? 


What was he like when he was alive? 

He was a teenager or about 20-years-old and he had a very normal life. He lived in a very normal house with his mom, his dog, and his video games. On the weekends he was a valet in a hotel and he was parking cars for a little bit of money.

He’s wearing a Varsity jacket. What sport did he play? 

Football, US football. But he was more a water-carrier for the team, he didn’t really play the game. He was a little upset about this.

So he was a loser?

No, not a loser. He had the most beautiful girl in the school. Everyone was jealous of him. While he wasn’t the team leader and was just a normal guy, he was very impassioned.

So how did he die? 

Well, he used to play the game Outrun, the video game. In the game, there was a car that was red you could drive, and one day he was in he hotel, and someone came with the real version of that car, and they gave him the keys to park it. He couldn’t believe it!

And then he decided to go where his girl was working and take her out to dinner in the car. She said no, because it was a bad idea. Then he took to the road and died because of a big storm.

Watch Kavinsky’s video for “Protovision” from his upcoming album Outrun

That’s so sad! Was he heartbroken over his girl rejecting him. 

Yes, maybe that’s why he drove too fast.

What is the life lesson we can all learn from Outrun? 

Always drive safely.

You’re a fan of 80s movies. Which ones influenced the concept for Outrun? 

Oh man, thousands of them. There all the movies from Spielberg, from John Carpenter, the Italian movies from Dario Argento — all those kinds of movies for teenagers. I’m 37 now but I feel like I’m18 in my head. All my music and the story came from all those movies actually. I’m quite a sponge when I watch TV.

Will we ever see the graphic novel version of the Kavinsky story?

Well, I already did an animated music video for “Testarossa Autodrive” in 2005, but I decided to do things in real life because it was too much work and too much money to make a cartoon really good. So, I decided to wear the jacket and do it myself.

But you are doing the whole anonymous, can’t see your face thing?

Well, sort of. I don’t want to put my face anywhere if I can help it. I don’t need to be recognized on the street or anything. I like the idea of the legend you don’t really know.

If you’re the protagonist, then what is SebastiAn?

Uh, SebastiAn is just my friend. And actually my producer. He could have been one of the teenagers, but he doesn’t have to be part of the story. Kavinsky is the story.

Will there be a happy ending? 

This is an ongoing story, so he can die twice! Anything can happen.


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