Albin de la Simone, the Frenchman who loves Quebecers
Albin de la Simone is deeply attached to Quebec. For twenty years, the French songwriter has maintained close ties with artists such as Pierre Lapointe and Ariane Moffatt. So it was only fitting that his new album, The Next 100 Years, would include collaborators from here. The Journal spoke to him.
You have been attached to Quebec for several years. How did this relationship start?
“I went there for the first time when I was 15, for an exchange, and it was a very warm first contact. Afterwards, I started coming as a musician, accompanying singers. And then afterwards, I started to come and sing. I met Laurent Saulnier, who was the programmer of the FrancoFolies. Laurent and Monique Giroux have been very important in building something around my work in Quebec. It's very professional. And then, there were friendships with my singer friends Ariane Moffatt, Pierre Lapointe, Jérôme Minière, Salomé Leclerc. This whole generation of singers that I became very close to.”
The new album, The Next 100 Years< strong>, also has ties to Quebec. What are they?
“Ghyslain-Luc Lavigne is the mixer for the album. I've been working with him since Pierre Lapointe's album, Pour déjouer l'ennui, in 2019. Since then, all the records I make or produce, he is the one who mixes. There was Apple, Carla Bruni and my records. Ghyslain-Luc, it was really a very important meeting. We understand each other without speaking.”
“Last year, I also got to meet someone much better than I already knew: Robbie Kuster. He is Swiss but he has lived in Quebec for a very long time. In May 2022, I went to Quebec to work on the Beyries album. We were Joseph Marchand, Robbie and me to build the bases of this album. I absolutely loved working with Robbie. He came to Paris for two days to work on my record.”
In 2021, you released an instrumental album, Happy end , because you had no more inspiration to write lyrics. How did she come back for this new record?
“COVID had really dried up my inspiration. So I made this instrumental record very simply. But this disc in turn recalled lyrics, that is to say that there are pieces of the instrumental disc that asked me for lyrics. I realized that these were songs without text. So I wrote texts and then from there came back a little the desire to write songs.
Did what we experienced with the pandemic you inspired lyrics?
“The song that sounds most influenced by the pandemic is called Future. I say we don't touch, we don't hug, how will it be later? What's crazy is that I wrote it two weeks before the pandemic! I'm not a medium at all. It really is a complete coincidence, so much so that I was shocked. I found my song horrible because I thought it was really opportunistic to write that in the middle of a pandemic. But it dates from before. So it took me a very long time to accept it again.”
With this new album, is a tour planned in the coming months?
“Yes, I'm going on tour at the end of March. I hope to go through the FrancoFolies de Montréal. I'm waiting for the confirmation. I went to this festival every time I released a record.”
We talked about your link with Quebec artists. But what relationship do you have with the public here?
“I don’t want to be stubborn, but Quebecers are a great public. You are a society that is very interested and sensitive to music. It's cultural, it's very deep in you, the song. And so, as I take it upon myself to make the richest possible songs, when I come to Quebec, I have the impression that we understand everything there. The Quebec public is a bit of an ideal public. It is an audience that is demanding, but that is very curious and that gets to the bottom of the songs, to the bottom of the music. I have the impression that in Europe, we are perhaps a little more superficial in our appreciation of music.”
Albin de la Simone's album, The Next 100 Years, is available.