Here is a Q&A whose questions have been asked by different fans on Facebook a while ago. The interview has been featured on Prophecy Magazine and it's now available here. Enjoy!
Chris Fattori: There was talk about a new project of yours called SainPaul which is supposed to be influenced by electronic music and Trip Hop; will this be reflected on the new Les Discrets album as well?
A couple years ago, I wanted to stop Les Discrets as I was not interested in making this kind of music anymore. Therefore, I thought SainPaul would be my next project. The point is that I decided to continue with Les Discrets, and simply do the music I wanted, so the SainPaul album is actually the third album by Les Discrets. I am not a fan of Electro or Trip Hop as such but do like certain bands and certain songs from these genres. I also like Nas and so on; there are so many ideas in this music that you can use for other styles. For example, look at Ludivico Einaudi, a pianist with a Jazz background. His recent albums include E-Bow, samples and electric guitar, but it is still in the same spirit as before, only with ideas and instruments from other styles. This kind of blending is very interesting as it enriches the music.
Tucker Kilpatrick: Despite Les Discrets not being a political band, do real world events such as the awful shootings that have happened in Paris recently have an effect on your songwriting? As a French band, would you say that, given Les Discrets' emotional sound, your emotions and moods are put into your music as a reactionary response to things you see or hear in the media, although perhaps not intentionally?
Yes, and I am actually surprised it does. A few years ago, I remember saying that Les Discrets would never be political and in fact, I would not be surprised if I composed political songs due to the way I grew up. The Charlie Hebdo story moved me so much and didn’t help to make me feeling better about humankind. However, humans killing humans is somehow a fair war, albeit horrible in any case. What I have been concerned with for two years now is humans slaughtering animals. This is what weighs most gravely for me; it puts me on edge emotionally. What pisses me off in particular is the violence and lack of respect towards other living beings. Eventually, this inspired me to write this third Les Discrets album.
Nandu S. Prieto: Tell me about the guitars, pedals, amp heads and cabs that you used for your new album. For example, are you using modern sounds like Mesa Boogie an Diezel or are you a fan of vintage equipment such as the Fender Bassman or old EHX pedals?
My guitars: Fender Stratocaster USA from 1980, Custom77 Lust For Life and Locket Love from France, Normann Folk acoustic guitar and Yamaha bass. As for amps: a Stevens bass amp from 1963 that I use for guitar, a very rare model hat I love. I don’t have special cabinets but borrow some here and there for recordings. Then the list of my pedals: Strymon El Capistan, Big Sky and Deco, TC Electronics Hall Of Fame, Boss DD3, Noel Cornet Fuzz, Marshall Shred Master and Jackhammer Overdrive, Custom77 Pushmepullme and King For A Day, ElectroHarmonix Small Clone, Voice Box and Pulsar, Morley Pro Series II … too much, really. I guess I have 30 to 35 pedals, but for live performances, I use a Boss RC30 sampler, I think that’s the name. It is very complex but useful. As you can see, I am much more interested in vintage sounds. I have also just bought an API Lunchbox with two API pre-amps, two API compressors and two API equalizers – so very modern and quite expensive, not to forget a full rack of V672 Telefunken pre-amps, vintage and less expensive.. I use them most often because I just prefer the sound of vintage gear. It has some imperfections that I actually love.
David Sikora: You have one of the best and most creative drummers in the scene, so why are you choosing not to use him on the new album? The fact that the new album will not have drums is troubling to many of your fans, including myself.
I already played with him on two albums plus the Amesoeurs album, and you know, as a musician, you need to move on: evolve, try other instruments, musicians and formulas to feel excited about playing music. Being stuck in one style with a fixed band and the same instruments year after year is not interesting to me. This is why we decided to stop playing together, but I do agree that he is incredibly talented. When you listen to the new album, you will understand my reasons. Winterhalter is not the right drummer for that album and wouldn’t have enjoyed playing on it, I assume. I understand that this is makes some fans uneasy, but I don’t make music to please the fans because if you feel bored with your music, fans will get bored too. I mostly create music to feel good myself.
Andrew Sytov: A couple of years back you said you were about to make an acoustic Les Discrets album, because acoustic music is very important for you. Do you still want to create it – maybe as a side-project – or are you not interested in this type of music anymore?
I love acoustic songs and would like to compose some. There is almost no acoustic guitar on the third Les Discrets album because I keep the songs for a future full acoustic record. So yes, I am still very, very interested in doing that.
Wanderson Oliveira: How do you think your music affects people, both fans and others, when they listen to it or afterwards? I mean this with respect to their lives or worldview because I believe that your music has a power unlike others.
I really don’t know, it’s very difficult. The way a musician lives his music is always very different from how the fans live it. I remember meeting people at shows who told me moving stories about their lives that included my music, and from that day on I understood that the music you do develops its own life when other people listen to it. A musician can neither control nor imagine the power of his music, and that is very good because otherwise, he would do shitty music. Anathema were a very important band to me when I was younger. I later met Vincent and Danny, we are close friends now, but they have no idea how much their music means to me. I feel honoured because people are moved by my music. This is the goal and all that matters to me.
Daniel Armstrong: If you had only one song to leave in this universe as legacy of Les Discrets while all the others were erased from history and memory, which one would it be, and why that specific song over all the others?
Ha, I think that would be ‘Après L’Ombre’. I knew as soon I composed it, that it would be the definite Les Discrets song.
Eytyhios Felixtz Tzouvaras: what kind of music or bands inspire you to write for Les Discrets?
Many things, many bands, many different styles of music. Back in the day, I was inspired by bands similar to the music I played: I played Post Rock and listened to Post Rock. Five or six years ago, I’ve discovered many bands and styles I wouldn’t have listened to in the past – Hip Hop, for example, or Electro music and even Björk. Those new sounds opened up a new spectrum to my music. I can’t say one song is directly inspired by one band, but largely, the will to use synthetizers for bass comes from artists like Björk, Blonde Redhead or Massive Attack. What introduced me to digital drums played on drums pads is Hip Hop, and you can really hear that on the third Les Discrets album: new horizons, new arrangement ideas and new instruments.
Rafael Porto: Have you ever used drugs for inspiration?
Not at all. I’m not into drugs despite I would love to try, but my body strictly forbids me to do so. Just smoking some weed, though I love it, makes me feel like dying and become paranoid. The only drunkenness or intoxication my body accepts is alcohol: wine, beer, brandy and whiskey, but hey, that is already a lot to deal with. So basically, I would not be inspired at all but anxious and terrified under the influence. Alas, Les Discrets is and will remain sober music from sober people.
Paweł Tur: How much do your interests in both music and graphic design correlate? Does your music rather influence the artwork, or is it the other way round?
The music always comes first. Then I start painting based on the music. Visuals in general are a huge inspiration for my music, though. When I explain to studio engineers what types of sound and atmosphere I am searching, I speak in pictures such as ‘I want a very large frozen ocean’ or something like that.