Philippe B did not try to reinvent himself after the arrival of his daughter
BET À DAY
At the age of 44, Philippe B became a father for the first time. While on a writing break, the songwriter decided to devote himself entirely to his new role, before tackling the creation of a new album. Then came the pandemic. After a long break in his family bubble, the musician is finally ready to present new material. And his admirers will notice that he has [almost] not changed one iota.
Your latest album, La grande video night, was released in 2017. Why did it take so long to release new material?
“It's because I took a paternity break and it followed immediately after with the pandemic break. Since I didn't have a deadline, I was writing songs and I wasn't in such a rush. When my daughter celebrated her first birthday, it was the start of the pandemic. The family bubble has extended, but we had already been in there for a long time. My daughter started daycare when she was two and a half.
Did this new family life for you taint the writing of the songs?
“There are certain songs whose genesis was before [his daughter] was born. Others whose ideas were before the pandemic. All this happened over a long period of time.
“But I would say the biggest thing was really being at home with the little one, with what that requires in terms of mental space, but also downright physical space. We were all in the same house, the three in our bubble. To find the time and the mental space to just write songs, with a crying baby next to it…
“I didn't try to reinvent myself as a singer-songwriter. In fact, I wondered more if the singer-songwriter still existed in this new life. It was not to say that I could make better songs than before. It was more like: am I still able to write songs with a baby in my arms? […] The work took longer, but the songs found their way. »
The song Pauline on the farm< /em> is it referring to your own daughter, Pauline?
“Yes, and she finds it very funny to have a song with her name in it [laughs]. I don't show my daughter on social media, but I allowed myself to expose her in this song. It came about a bit by chance. After he was born, I didn't do any more shows. But I was invited to go to a concert at dawn in Baie-Saint-Paul [at the Festif!, in 2019]. Pauline on the farm was the name of the show. Because we were going to the Hotel La Ferme and we knew there would be animals.
“I left this trip to do a writing exercise, a reflection on the idea of where you choose to make your life. By choosing where we live, I am defining her identity. For example, she will be a country or city girl. I found it dizzying to be making fundamental choices. »
Have you moved recently?
« After many procrastination, we moved to a new apartment at the start of the pandemic. Then, because we had too much time to think, we bought a house and moved to Mont-Saint-Hilaire two years ago. And there, we sold the house and we live on the corner of Jarry and Saint-André [in Montreal]! As in the song Pauline at the farm, we walk everywhere. We don't know where we want to go.”
Which Marianne are you referring to in the song Marianne is bored ?
“For a real official answer, it’s [Leonard] Cohen’s Marianne, bluntly. It's a bit like making fan fiction, like an extrapolation from fictional characters that come from a work. It's a bit like my Madame Bovary that I take and I invent a daily newspaper for her. It's a bit in reaction to the love letters between Cohen and Marianne that were sold at auction. […]
“ It is a reflection on the open couple, on this wavering. The two are not always in the same place. I imagined Marianne's moments, alone in Greece, while he was on amphetamines in a hotel room in New York.
Why did you decide to call your album New Administration ?
“This is the eighth song on the album. The chorus talks about this idea of when we try to change and move on to another stage in our life. Sometimes, we do it in a somewhat artificial way, by moving house, getting a haircut or changing jobs. It's a symbolic thing that always brings hope.
“For me, it meant a lot. It was this idea that my life would be very different from having a first child after 40 years. How I could continue to be a musician who writes songs and performs. And indeed, that changes everything. But not that much at the same time. We are the same person. We are not the same, but we are the same. Basically, I'm the same guy. ”
Philippe B's new album, New Administration, is for sale. For all the info: philippeb.ca