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What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
I was struck by a song called message in a bottle (The Police) at the age of 8 and knew that music would be a part of my life. Also my dad was a friend of Charles Aznavour’s percussionist (Duncan Kinnel) and very young I had the chance to sit in front of a full drum kit. At the age of 11 I started playing for hours on the album “reggatta de blanc” and never stopped playing music since.
I never wanted to associate music and money so I never thought of make a living with my music. I wanted to be an artisan cabinet maker, noticing when I was quite young that I was good with my hands.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
I have been a gamer since forever. I come from a generation that started gaming by encoding basic code on the first PC’s (Sinclair ZX81) and now I play on PlayStation… Much easier. I often take a break to game when I come across a difficulty or a need to reset my brain. I also have a 14 year old daughter… and I enjoy sharing as much time as I can with her. Less and less by the way…
How long have you been active as an artist?
I worked, from 2000 to 2010, for an advertising company (that I started with two musician friends) and then realised that I could make enough money to live on my own music as well as productions that I do for other French artists (Vanupié, Jason Mist, Mawyd, Paiaka, Melo, etc…).
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
I live in Saint Denis (Parisien suburb) and have been living around Paris for the last 40 years but have always managed to travel as much as I can to find inspiration and a point of view of the world based on my personal experiences. I have also always chosen mixed cultural neighbourhoods to feel connected to the world.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
Well, I think that the most memorable show would be my only gig in the UK ! Dover Festival in 2017. I had a hard time on the first four songs not understanding why the audience wasn’t really digging the music. On the fifth song something happened and everyone started to dance. I learned after the gig that there was a technical issue and that the audience couldn’t hear the bass on the first four songs !! Reggae without bass is like a chocolate cake without chocolate.
What is your favourite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
I don’t really have a favourite venue. I love playing everywhere. Pubs, festivals, venues, private gigs… I do have a list of countries where I would love to play my music. India, Brazil, New Zealand…
If you could play any show with any line-up, who would be on the ticket?
40 years ago Bob Marley, Cat Stevens, Pink Floyd.
Today, Alt-J, Billie Eilish, Bjork.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band?
Never underestimate the importance of having fun. Because when you’re having fun you can’t get it wrong. Never think of what others could think of what you are doing. Open all the doors you can because it all comes up to the people you meet and the connections you make. And do not hesitate to get rid of unfaithful creatures, there are quite a few of them in this business.
If you could go back in time and give yourself advice, what would it be?
To my younger self, I would say, belief in yourself.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
There are two answers to this question.
The first song would be “the words” (my most popular song) because I was so surprised that such a song could be a hit. I also think that the video clip had a huge impact on the understanding of the song.
The second song would be “crystal clear” just because it is the song that I am the most proud of.
Which songs are your favourite to play and which get requested the most?
My most favourite songs to play would be “cut it”, “right here”, “higher man”, and all of the most recent songs. The ones that get requested the most are “the words”, “find some joy”, “higher man”, “kick it out”, “right here”.
What is your creative process, and what inspires you to write your music?
I can fantasize a song listening to my car winker or the ending melody on my washing machine. I often gig with Kate, the voice of my GPS waze application ! And of course all the songs I hear inspire me, even the ones I hate that I hear when I shop.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
Gonna sound like miss universe but I do believe in love. These are first words of my song “like us all” that stipulates that we are all responsible for what the world looks like today and that we all have a role to play. I think that there is a big lack of love in our way of interacting with each other and that our species will need another few centuries before we all understand the real beauty of life.
Do you ever have a creative block, and if so how do you get past it?
I’m afraid that I don’t. I only create when inspired. I only make music when I want to. I know that I’m fortunate to be able to work this way but I also know that if you’re not in the mood you can’t make miracles. As I said earlier on - art, from my point of view, must always be associated with pleasure.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
I will soon be touring with a 2MX2M LED square, so I’m quite excited to see how that goes. We have been talking about a duo album with an artist called Vanupié. For my next album I will either push the electro side of reggae a bit more or go completely opposite with an acoustic reggae album. I might even stop making albums? I really don’t know. I just follow the flow.