Interview – Le Grand Salon

I recently reviewed Le Grand Salon’s EP Dévoré Jusqu’à La Ruine and I really enjoyed it, so I decided to have a chat to find out a little more about the French musician and producer – read on below to find out more!

By Jane Howkins

You recently released an EP titled Dévoré Jusqu’à La Ruine. What can you tell our readers about the EP?

The EP is in 3 parts that are meant to be listened to as a whole. I tried to represent the music as some kind of abstract landscape where your mind can wander. I tried to keep the structure simple so the listener can focus on the sounds themselves and keep the subtle details hidden in the music and the mix.

What made you decide to produce an EP made up of a 3-part triptych? Was it hard to compose and perform the 3 pieces on the EP?

I didn’t decide to compose a triptych, it just happened really. After the first part, which was supposed to be a single piece, I felt like I had to expand to a second part. And after the second, I felt I had to add a third. After the third part, I had said everything I had to say. This is how the triptych came to be.

Would you ever consider doing a concept album/EP like this again?

Yes, definitely. I find it easier to compose multiple pieces when they are linked together by a common concept. I like to keep said concept vague and often abstract so it can inform, without dictating, the creative process. I am currently working on a 4-part piece about the city.

Do you have any plans to release a full-length album in the near future?

Yes, I would like to release a full-length album in the future. I just don’t know how soon that might be.

What/who influences your music the most? What artists have influenced your music since you started writing and performing?

This question is a real can of worms but I will try to keep it short and concise. If I had to name only one main influence for the music of Le Grand Salon it would be Austrian composer Anton Webern. Even though the materials and techniques I use to compose for this project have almost nothing in common with the Second Viennese School, I always keep in mind the concept of klangfarbenmelodie and try to incorporate it into my music. Aside from Webern and also more contemporary, the music and masterfulness of Tim Hecker is a source of inspiration and a constant reminder of how much work I still have ahead of me. Of course I have many more influences, most of them have nothing to do with electronic or classical music but are still a defining part of me. I’m sure they unconsciously color the way I compose and approach music. So without any specific order here are a few that come to mind : Talk Talk (especially the album Laughing Stock), Bill Evans, David Sylvian (especially the album Died In The Wool), Converge, and Pet Shop Boys.

Do you plan to release any singles at any point?

I’m not ruling it out but I’m not working on any singles at the moment. Like I said earlier I am working on a 4-part piece and would like to release it as a whole. Either as an EP or part of a full-length album.

Do you plan to perform your music live at any point in the near future?

No, I do not. The music I make with this project is only me and a computer. What you hear in the end is a fixed work that would not translate well in a concert setting. I decided to create Le Grand Salon in part to avoid the troubles and logistics associated with playing live music and to be in full control of the creation.

We hear that you are originally from Quebec but are now based in Pittsburgh in the USA. What prompted the move, and what is the music scene like there?

I immigrated to the USA from Québec in 2019 to be with my wife who is an American. We chose Pittsburgh for its quality of life and affordability. The music scene here is pretty vibrant – well it was before the pandemic but things are slowly getting back to normal. The metal scene is especially active. We also have a respectable orchestra and many venues for any kind of music. It’s a good place to be an artist.

What sort of music have you been listening to recently and what can you recommend to our readers?

Recently I’ve been digging deep into black/death metal and 80s Japanese city pop. Here are few suggestions that I highly recommend :

Ulcerate – Stare Into Death and Be Still
Yellow Magic Orchestra – Naughty Boys
Wormlust – The Feral Wisdom
Junko Ohashi – Magical
Carpe Noctem – Vitrun
Toshiki Kadomatsu – After 5 Clash

I will stop here since I could go on forever but I really think these 6 albums are great and worth your time.

Any last words for the fans?

I just want to say thank you to anyone who takes the time to listen to the music I make. I’m very grateful whenever someone takes a moment of their day to listen to the sounds I put together. Merci beaucoup.