All my albums on Bandcamp and writing on birdwatching

November 14, 2016 § Leave a comment

I’m delighted to announce that you can now purchase my first three albums and the Boîtes à Musique EP released on The Leaf Label on my Bandcamp: digital of course, but also CDs of all four records (including a specially-priced bundle), and black vinyl and a few *white* vinyl copies of my first album Everyone Alive Wants Answers in the Leaf reissue of this year. And talking of vinyl, if all goes to plan, I should have more great news for next year!

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On a seemingly unrelated note (but there *is* a relation: what nurtures my life nurtures my music ;-), Plateau on plateau, a new online platform that invites  artists to talk about their favorite things, asked me to write about something I really care about, and I felt it would be the ideal place to write about my passion for birdwatching. I’ve written tiny bits here and there about some of the birdwatching I’ve done while on tour, but I had never had the chance to try and articulate what it is about watching birds that feels so deeply special to me, so here goes! It even includes tips for beginning birdwatchers at the end, so now you can all ask for a pair of binoculars and a good bird guide for Christmas! ;-))) I’m leaving you with a picture of one of my absolute favorite birds, taken by the company I used in Lisbon on a great half-day of birdwatching I had while I was there for my last show in 2015, Birds.pt… this photo has actually been my desktop photo ever since then, I’m that much in love with them… please meet the incredible bee-eaters :-)))

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Big Ears festival in March 2017!

October 5, 2016 § Leave a comment

I’m so so thrilled and excited to let you know that I’ll be playing at Big Ears festival in Knoxville, Tennessee, next March! In fact I don’t think I’ve ever been this excited about playing at a festival: look at the line up and you’ll see why, it’s definitely one of the best festival line-ups I’ve ever seen!

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When I heard about the festival about a year and a half ago and saw the previous editions’ line-ups, I immediately thought “Wouldn’t it be amazing if they invited me?”, so when it actually happened this summer I just couldn’t believe it! It’ll be a hell of a long trip (I’m calculating something like 24 hours: coach to airport + internal European flight + transatlantic flight + immigration and customs + internal US flight + transfer to Knoxville), but I felt I just couldn’t turn it down due to the amazing quality of the festival, and indeed I feel  so honoured to play along musicians who are among the best of their respective generation and who for some have even made history with their recordings! I’m not only looking forward to playing but also catching as many of the other performances as possible and of course I’ll throw in a bit of Tennessee birdwatching! ;-))))

I’m leaving you with a short video edit of my performance last weekend in Montpellier at the Internationales de la Guitare festival in a beautiful space called La Nef (thank you Vassilis Spyrou for this video!). I was really ill with rhinopharyngitis and a couple of hours before the performance was still wondering if I was going to be able to make it, as I was barely able to sing, and I can say that without a doubt I had never performed while feeling so ill, but somehow I made it and even managed to have a good time thanks to the lovely audience – merci gens de Montpellier et d’ailleurs! ;-)))

25 YEARS OF MUSIC-MAKING AND 10 YEARS OF BEING A PROFESSIONAL MUSICIAN!

September 26, 2016 § Leave a comment

 

This year seems to be full of birthdays and anniversaries for me:  I turned 40 in May, and this September marks not only 25 years of music-making for me, but also 10 years of only dedicating myself to music on a professional level!

25 years ago, at the age of 15, just as I was beginning high school,  I managed to convince my parents to buy me a classical guitar – THIS guitar which you see below, and can hear on my second, third and fourth albums. I had been in love with the Beatles for about 2 years and that summer of 1991, I saw two guys in Copenhagen doing cover versions of the Beatles on an acoustic guitar. I’d never seen anyone play live and I was fascinated, I literally could have stayed there forever, and on that day I KNEW that I needed to do this too.

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I don’t think it occurred to me that I could make my own music, and yet that’s what happened right from the start. I took classical guitar lessons, but my teacher also gave electric guitar lessons and the day I heard another pupil playing electric guitar, I knew that I wanted to have a go at it too!

With those two guitars began a long musical journey,  and I’m amazed and grateful that I’ve managed to keep making music for so long, and hope that this journey will continue for many more years to come!

But this September also marks another anniversary: 10 years of becoming a full-time musician. From 2002 to 2006, I taught English in a high-school, and in early 2006 I asked for a one-year sabbatical in order to dedicate myself to music fully, at least for that short amount of time.  It was initially refused, then granted at the last minute in late August 2006, and I remember literally jumping all over the place when I got the news. Had it not been granted,  I’ll never know if I would have had the guts to resign there and then, but something tells me that I may have, as my situation made no sense (I was getting so many live offers and had to turn down almost all of them, and I ended up doing surreal things like going to play in LA on a weekend and coming back to Paris to teach on a Tuesday morning…).

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In June 2007 the Ministry refused to renew the sabbatical (theoretically you’re allowed up to 3 years in a row), so I officially resigned, since I was left with no other alternative than this drastic choice. Ironically enough, it was shortly after all this that I started to feel overwhelmed by some aspects of being a professional musician (some of you may remember my epic posts about this, back when I was still deep in my music-making hiatus). Truth be told, some things haven’t changed and I still feel the need to slow down regularly, but I’m also happy to say that some things have changed for the better: having a very supportive label like Thrill Jockey has really helped, and also gaining a sense of perspective thanks to the passing of time and the many talks I’ve had with other musicians and other creative artists, and seeing that basically we all struggle more or less with the same issues.

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In any case, I’d like to end this post by saying that it really bugs me that we live in a society where the possibility of making a living out of your passion is not emphasized more often: now I’m not saying that it’s an easy path and that anybody can be successful at it, but I truly think that few things beat being able to spend your life working on something you feel really passionate about, and it’s *always* worth a try. For me it’s been music, but with the other passions I have in my non-music-making life (it was cooking and ceramics at one point, and now it’s birdwatching, sewing and yoga), I do see that many other individuals are “making a living” from their own passion. In July I went on a cetacean-watching boat trip, and to think that there are people who spend their life on a boat looking for and studying dolphins and whales, about 2 hours from where I live … now that just blows my mind! So YES to dreams and making them real! :-)))

As always, thanks to YOU for being there to listen to my music and reading my words! :-))) And thank you Isabel Dublang for the beautiful pictures!

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Stream or download my Madrid show on RTV!

August 24, 2016 § Leave a comment

I had a truly amazing time in Madrid at La Casa Encendida for their Terraza Magnética series last Sunday 14th August, and you can listen to the full concert on Spanish national radio RTVE here (the concert starts at 1h00 and ends around 1h55, and you can either stream or download the programme). I hadn’t played in Madrid for 10 years, and last time was also in La Casa Encendida, so I’m really grateful for their repeated invitation! Muchisimas gracias a ellos y a Andrés Nuarbe de Rotordiscos en particular, y a vosotros el publico!

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Red Bull Music Academy interview + Madrid show tomorrow 14th August!

August 13, 2016 § Leave a comment

I had the pleasure of being interviewed for Red Bull Music Academy Radio’s Fireside Chat series back in April, you can listen to the interview here!

And tomorrow 14th August I’ll be playing in Madrid at La Casa Encendida for their Terraza Magnetica series and El País wrote this preview.

Hoping your summer is sweet! :-)))

FACT mini-doc on my live approach

July 19, 2016 § 1 Comment

A very short post to let you know that FACT made a mini-documentary on my live approach while I was at Mutek in Montreal on 3 June, you can see the interview and live footage below and read the article here :-)

DJ session in Donosti and shows in Madrid and California

July 16, 2016 § Leave a comment

A very short post to let you know about a couple of shows that have been added and a DJ session :-)

Tomorrow Sunday 17th July I’m doing a DJ session at Dabadaba in my adopted hometown of San Sebastián, Spain, from 7 to 9 pm.

On August 14th I’m playing La Casa Encendida in Madrid, and next year (yes, these things get decided far ahead in advance) I’ll be playing The Loft at UCSD for Artpower in San Diego, California, on 18th May 2017.

I apologize for the lack of “spirit” in this email, but indeed these news feel so futile in light of the worsening events in my home country and worlwide. I do hope your own personal experience of the summer is beautiful in spite of all this. Peace and love.

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