Answers from the Watch Party / Part 1

Here are a few of the questions that I have answered during the Watch Party. If you have questions, about anything, really, don’t hesitate to let me know. I really value this communion that we have together!

What is the special microphone that you are using in the first song? Never seen anything like that!

It’s a handmade microphone called a copper phone. It has been designed and made by a longtime friend at Placid Audio. It’s the only piece of equipment that almost paralyzed the whole Montreal Airport a few years ago when the bomb squad thought it was an explosive device… Never seen airport personnel freak out like that before – while asking so many questions about the reasons I was then living in Tangier, if I had become Muslim and all, and all, and all… Well, it’s a great mic so it was worth all the hustle! And it’s now part of the international airport database under the section “object of interest”… Buyers beware!

Many of you asked me what was the text that Miss Isabel sings in the beginning…

It’s part of a poem I wrote in French called “Et puis viendra le printemps” (And So Spring Comes). It’s about the impermanence of our existences lived through the different seasons that mark it, defining what has been embraced as we grow and thus defining the nature of what we would have left behind…

The feminine voice on your album was in Japanese up until now. Why the switch to French?

Well, for me, everything revolves around the very same realm of reflections, which are only driven by what I believe will convey the emotions that inspired the lyrics or the sounds at a very specific moment. After I have shared the artistic vibe with the other members of the band, I don’t worry too much about finding the creative sparks that will channel those emotions, because I know it’s already there somewhere, waiting to be unfolded. So as long as I keep any conceptual ambition out of the way, I’ll find it, whatever it is. It’s only a matter of being disposed to receive… So, for me, it’s not about the language, nor the aesthetic of the song, but only about what serves the essence of the song.

You were so numerous to talk to me about the double drums after the live…! Here’s why we decided on that…

For me rhythm is really fundamental. And I have always liked having the option to explore the songs rhythmically. Ben understands my spiritual conception of rhythm. I am never looking for a musical performance… What I want is to dwell on a maelstrom of sounds, enabling ways to connect with something intangible, something that only music can guide you to… At least, that’s how I see it…

Will the song “Sorrows” be available anywhere? What about the other songs that you played live?

I don’t know… Maybe this was some once-in-a-lifetime song performance… I’m not into envisioning “tomorrow” just yet. This would require that I be emotionally disposed until “Windows in the Sky” still radiates in my heart and spirit… So for now, I don’t know…

You have said often that the song “Snowflakes in July” was the most personal to you… How is it to direct a band, other people, while the emotions that you live are so personal to you?

That’s a good question… I guess the fact that everybody involved knows and embraces the fact that regardless of how good or bad the rehearsals went, whatever we might have experienced during those moments or whatever directions we might have taken during our musical gatherings, none of those elements won’t have any effect or implication the next time we play the same songs… So it wasn’t any different for “Snowflakes in July” in that regard… I let go into the emotions of the songs without denaturing them with any ideas of personal grandeur. I don’t have much credit, as it’s the song that ultimately directs everyone… my role is to make sure I won’t ruin any of it…!

Usually, your live versions of the songs are much longer than the album versions… However, for Snowflakes, despite it being longer, a huge part has been removed. Why is that?

I will tell you a shameful secret… since I never listen to my songs once they are released, it’s only while working on the “single” version of the song that I realized that I actually left out a part of the song for its live version… I was in the studio, looked at Ben (The Long Shadows’ multi-instrumentalist) who was working with me and said, “I don’t remember that part of the song…”. Ben was not greatly surprised…! I had to go back to original lyrics to revisit the part, which is indeed a very beautiful parallel I have made between the emotional transformation and the physic theory behind why all the stars do not reflect light waves in the sky… so real, so real, so real… I remember now…!

What do you mean by “the mirror’s bleak, nobody sees”?

I believe we are all the mirror of somebody else’s existence. Some are hiding, some are denying, some don’t want others to see, while others don’t want to look at anyone else’s reality. Some don’t want to look at their own reflection, others can’t keep their eyes from only looking at themselves… It’s human nature in so many ways, trying to balance the acceptance of what we don’t want to see and the necessity to embrace the reality even when it’s been distorted for too long to remember what freedom means…

Someone asked me just a few days ago, how I found the strength to “conquer darkness and make it shine”, as I say in the song “The Love That Moves”…

For me, it’s been through the sole acknowledgment of the existence of darkness in my life, to accept its presence, to recognize its influence in my life, its nature acting as a tidal effect on me. I kept trying to understand its origins, to comprehend its meaning, to circumscribe its impact on me. I tried to deny how intrinsically bleakness was a part of who I am… It doesn’t mean I have stopped fighting its effects, that I have cynically surrendered to its grip… I believe that some darkness cannot be understood, nor comprehended, and it’s once I open the shutters to its acknowledged reality that light takes place and overpowers its influence within me… This is the real battle; being honest… As much as we don’t like to admit it, darkness serves us well and faithfully, but embracing the emancipative nature of light remains a daily decision that comes with assuming who we truly are… which I’m not always certain to know nor always inclined to believe…

Read Part 2

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