French composer Guillaume Cazenave is a main-man behind the project The Odd Gallant. He recently released an album titled “AM,” and in the interview below Guillame talks about it.
Alright, first things first. Before we dive into all the music stuff, how’s life?
Hi, life is good for me, thank you for asking, even if the devastating news of the past few weeks have been very disturbing. I feel like I’m observing the world, the big History, the past and the probable futures from a bubble, from a parallel world whose boundaries are made of screens. We are watching everybody else and, even worst, ourselves. It’s disturbing to see how complex life is and how human nature is unpredictable. Nevertheless, I enjoy living surrounded by the people I love, even more because I am busy doing the things I love. I feel very lucky.
Speaking of new music, you recently released an album with your project The Odd Gallant. Are you satisfied with the reception you received for “AM” so far?
So far, the reception has been very good and it’s reassuring. To be honest, I was very curious to hear the first reviews because it seemed to me that this project had a much easier access than the previous ones but, at the same time, it has been more demanding to do. I knew as well that after a long time spent on this project my judgement wasn’t objective anymore. So far I noticed some consistency in the reviews I had. Both the press and the listeners have been responsive, I think, to the originality of the project, to its form and its substance. Some of the reviews have been really enthousiastic about it. I thought it would take a few listenings before getting into the album but it seems that people got into it quite quickly. As I was saying earlier, I find it reassuring and I am very happy about it. All those reviews enable me, somehow, to burst the bubble I was talking about earlier. Anyway, all of the reviews are really motivating my need to produce “NZ” the second half of the project.
AM follows a concept that I think is really interesting to discover with the music.
I’m not trying to tease anybody by not saying much, but I really believe that it’s interesting to discover the album without having any expectations. The concept has been quite constraining in the writing. The biggest difficulty was that this concept didn’t take more space then music as it was, and it was very important for me to offer a powerful and emotional music. I really wanted the concept to help me in the writing process and to help me find consistency in my work. Other than that, I think that the title “the odd gallant” sums up the album quite well! I like to present this project with the definition of the two words Odd and Gallant. So:
Odd: (adj) unusual or peculiar in appearance, character, etc.
Gallant: (n) a brave, high-spirited, or adventurous man.’
I would say that it is experimental progressive rock, very tensed, that should be appreciated by people that like the mix of styles.
Are there any touring plans?
Nope, no plan of touring for now. Firstly because I don’t have enough time and secondly because it’s not what I want to do at the moment. Of course I could rearrange the music so I could perform on stage but I think I’m not brave and confident enough. Moreover, performing those songs live would request a huge commitment from the band. For me to tour, I would need to compose an album for the purpose of touring. And so far, I think that most of the songs I wrote wouldn’t fit the stage and would be quite annoying to discover live. I remember seeing Fantomas live a few years ago at the Bataclan and the performance was quite disturbing. Impressive for sure, but I remember thinking that this music was more adapted to a living room than a live stage. I saw Devin Townsend performing live a few times as well, and even if he is wonderful and amazing, it feels like sometimes, his music is too rich to be fully appreciated live. “The Odd Gallant” is not as extreme as Fantomas and isn’t similar to Devin’s music but I still feel it’s too atypical to be performed live. However, I would love to celebrate my 40th birthday with a unique live production of AM and NZ. I still have some time to prepare it but I think it might just stay a fantasy. Unless, if I rethink it completely.
While we’re on the subject of touring, what countries would you love to tour?
To be honest, I never thought about it! When I see the tour dates of the artists I love, I wonder how they can discover the people and the culture of the place they’re at. So I wouldn’t know where to go for the purpose of touring but I might be wrong because of my lack of experience. Ideally I would love to go around the world as a personal trip and from time to time stop in a specific city and perform, as a signature of my short time there. I think I would love to visit Australia this way ☺. Just take a 3 months break and perform only 5 or 6 times. But this kind of project is clearly undoable. Otherwise, I would love to perform in cities where Louise Brooks lived. It would be a kind of “The Louise Brooks World Tour”… Finally, I guess that a little venue in London or New York would be quite impressive for me but so enjoyable!
Who and what inspires you the most?
My daily life is what inspire me the most. The books I read, the chats I have, the people I meet, the films I watch, the music I listen to, the websites I visit. Everything around me inspires me, if I manage to work with regularity and if I’m ready to get into a creative process.
I don’t think anybody specifically inspire me. Some people fascinate me but they don’t inspire me… I often speak of Devin Townsend or Louise Brooks, who are great example for me. Devin kind of always evoked a big brother to me: I discovered his work when I was 14 and he was 19 I think, and I liked him straight away. His personality and his career path confirmed my interest in him. Regarding Louise Brooks, it’s quite different, she’s more like a myth, a myth that suffered of being one, and that’s really touching. So I guess that’s inspiring.
What other genres of music do you listen to?
The genre doesn’t matter much if I find an evident technical musicality and some true and adventurous emotions in it. I am sensible to sound innovation and this can apply to any kind of music. I am not against any style, but I have my habits of course and you can’t always be looking for new things. I listen to artists linked to prog rock, I listen to jazz, electro, funk, ambient, or post rock. I like to use Shazame and Spotify, so as soon as I hear something I might like, I shazame it, and put it in a Spotify playlist. And then when I discover an artist I like I listen to a radio dedicated to him, and it makes me discover great things sometimes. At the end, my playlists are very wide ranging, maybe too much. I noticed that most of the time, I tend to choose quiet music that is easy to listen to. The main reason is that I don’t have much time to listen conscientiously to albums I am interested in. So I play music that don’t require too much concentration from me.
Have any of the other genres you listen to had any impact on your playing?
Of course, and it’s because my tastes in music are so varied that my music isn’t easy to categorise. And just as I said earlier, daily life is very inspiring. So whatever is the style of the music I listen to, I can find an element that would give me an idea that I could adapt to my projects
I really appreciate you giving us your time today. Is there anything else you’d like to tell us and the fans before we wrap things up?
Thank you very much, and thank you for your relevant questions! They were very interesting and I hope you will appreciate this album. I would like to add something else though, completely out of the subject: I’m thinking about buying a PS4. I have been interested in video games since Mario Bros and Zelda but I never really played. I know I’d better focus on producing NZ but I really want to try “The Last of Us”. Do you have any argument to convince me not to? Or what other video game would you recommend? Something original, creative, and intense? BioShock maybe?