C’è una sala concerti a Parigi, La Flèche d’Or, in cui ho trascorso buona parte della mia residenza francese. Un’ora di metro per arrivarci, un’ora per tornare a casa. Poi però ci suonavano artisti come Olivier Marguerit e allora sticazzi le due ore di viaggio. O – questo il nome d’arte del musicista, quasi impossibile da googlare – ha un talento raro: è in grado di comporre canzoni pop meravigliose ed orecchiabili, pur distruggendo la struttura classica della canzone. L’ho intervistato in occasione dell’uscita del suo album di debutto, “Un torrent, la boue”. Entrambi parliamo un’inglese di merda e sicuro ci saranno un sacco di errori, ma in fondo sono dettagli trascurabili. Tipo le due ore in metro per andare e tornare dalla Flèche d’Or.
I’m honest: I adore your songs and I can’t properly put them in a specific frame or label (something that makes me love them even more). Maybe I should say that they’re a kind of synth-pop, in which the pop structure has been disjointed and rebuilt, according to your taste. What do you think about?
First of all thank you for your compliments. When I try to describe my music I say pop. It’s the easiest way to describe it because pop means melody and harmony for me. When the melody is here, you can arrange it as you want. For these songs, I recorded everything in my little studio and most of the instruments I have are synths so yes, I guess it can be described as synth pop but it’s not a real choice, finally. I wanted to work on specific structures, not classical stuff like verse/chorus and I wanted a strong narrative link between lyrics and music. For example, there’s a song about the birth of my daughter (“Mon Echo”, ndr) and the musical structure follows the story of this birth.
Keep on talking about this song: could you tell me more about the clip of ‘Mon Echo’ and its origin, in general?
I wanted to do a “musical delivery”(una sorta di “parto musicale”, ndr). The first two parts of the song ( we could call them the “A1 & B1 parts”) are talking about the way I fell in love with my wife and made this baby. Then there’s a central part (A2) which is for me the delivery. The last part of the song (B2) is the daughter part. It works like a mirror, harmonically B1 responds to A2 and A1 to B2. Is it clear?
That’s one of the things that I appreciated more in “Ohm pt.1”: you have been able to tell about the sexual universe in a poetic, cosy and direct way, never banal or rude. I guess that also the orgasm sound which closes ‘A Kiss’ – last song in your lives and in the new album as well – is a very reasonable choice. Was there anything special that pushed you to tell about this matter in this way?
I wanted to talk honestly of my life and sexuality is an important part of my life and our life in general. In part1 or “Un Torrent, La Boue” , a lot of the subjects are heavy like death, fear…and finishing by the sex is a way to be warmer at the end. I think that’s why this song is the end of the album and live.
After the first vinyl-Eps (Ohm pt. 1 e pt. 2), you have just relesed your first album on the 29th of January: “Un Torrent La Boue”. How did you change – in terms of music and lyrics – from the first Eps until your debut-album?
For me, this LP is the end of a cycle. Some of the songs are from the Eps, some are new or reworked. The Eps and the LP are in the same research about lyrics, “narrative” music…I just improved in term of production between the beginning of my recordings and now. Each time, I’m recording in my little home studio, playing all the instruments (except some drums by Jérôme Laperruque) and when I have a pre-mix of the songs, I go to the Yann Arnaud’s studio (mixer for Air/Syd Matters/Phoenix…) to mix it. For the last songs, I really tried to do better takes in my studio. I wanted my songs produced in a home studio way, but not sounding like that.
You keep on writing songs in French and English. Where was this double nature born? Was there anything or anybody that influenced you in that sense?
Not really I think. I’ve started writing songs in French more than 10 years ago and then I’ve played in bands that were using English as main language in their songs. For me, it’s quite natural to use English in the pop format because this language’s got something musical in itself but (as you can see in this interview) I’m not the best in English. I’ve learned a bit at school but not enough and nowadays it’s easier for me to use French for going directly to the point I want to touch. Most of the time.
Are you thinking about performing outside of France? Are you going to promote your next album just over there or abroad too?
I’d really love to. For the moment the Lp will be released in France and we’ll make a tour in France for playing the songs live with the band, but I would love to find a label in UK or maybe US to release the album and promote it. I have some ideas but nothing’s done
Last question: who is, for you, the best artist of the moment and why?
I really don’t know and I could change my mind every day, but I really like the songwriting of Connor O’Brien of the Villagers. Maybe him. He’s a more in a folk mood now but on his previous records he balanced the perfect, classical songwriting with modern ideas of production. I want to find this balance.