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Dombrance: “Music has always been political”

For the past four years, producer and musician Dombrance has been composing solo, and brilliantly portraying the current political landscape through electronic music. From Poutou to Trump, everyone goes there. Meeting with the artist during the Pete the Monkey festival, which took place in mid-July on the Côte d’Albâtre (76).

You started with classical music before moving on to rock and then to electronic music. What was your course ?

I started with the cello when I was six years old, I was at the Bordeaux conservatory until I was 14 years old. My first emotions were therefore clearly on the side of classical music, Bach, Mozart… Around 14 years jlearned the guitar and had my first rock bands. I oscillated between the discovery of the 1960s – with Pink Floyd, the Beatles – and the arrival of grunge with Nirvana etc.. Then as and when 19 years90 ddiscovered electronic music which arrived when I was a teenager.

For me, it all started with a musical.

I left Bordeaux in 1998 to come to a sound school in Paris, I didn’t really know where I was going at the time, I didn’t think I was going to make my life as a musician but as’engineer his. Very quickly jI had the chance to meet Charlélie Couture, by chance in life. It all started like that, with a musical. Then about the same era jsigned on a house of disk for a debut album. And after that Ihad 15,000 lives.

The project Dombrance is born because you have heard “François Fillon” in a c-piece‘is that ?

Exactly. I had a mix session with Léonie Pernetshe was a bit late so I plugged in the synths, started the track and suddenly I heard “François Fillon c‘is Francois Fillon“. So that made me laugh, I recorded it to have a trace of that. I was on cortisone, I had just quit smoking, I was really in a mood very special ! (laughs). I made a little video for my friends, posted it on Facebook and people started reacting. I even had foreign friends who commented without knowing who Fillon was.

Evening even i haven’t slept all night, I had an intuition around this project. I realized that I could do a whole lot on my own. During three weeks i did not stop, I did a dozen. my friend and book Anthony listened, he left with a USB key, he had Jean-Louis Brossard listen to it at 3h morning in a hotel room, and I was taken to hall 9 of the Transmusicales. I had no choice, it was great. Now this I’ve had fun with this for four years.

What has changed about being solo?

It’s something that scared me a little before, then finally I really got a taste for being alone on stage, even traveling alone. It often happens to me to be abroad all alone with my suitcases and my synths, and do ilove it! When you are in a group you can quickly be locked up with your friends, whereas when you are only you you have no choice but to open yourself up to the world.

When you’re solo, you have no choice but to open up to the world.

After the first confinement I participated in “I will go play with you”, I did about fifteen between 2020 and 2021, and the same is impossible to do when you are a group. I left with my little luggage and I played with people I didn’t know, I played in their gardens, I partied with them. often when you are dj you are over-solicited, we will come to see you to ask you for Celine Dion, there as it is a live electronic it there is no such aspect. And then it really upset me in my notion of “why I want to make music”, because when you make a concert you cheeks, at maximum you drink a shot or two and there you go, people came to pick me up at the station, I slept at their house, I spent the evening with them, the next day, humanly cis radically different.

How do you choose political personalities for your songs?

At beginning jI really did feel, I could be in the shower and sing”Cope Cope», everything can start from the name, from a his. At start ct was a playground, then it became a field of expression. I have this frustration a little personal because in my eyes, music always tells much more than a speech. I love beautiful texts but I find that even an interview or a speech will always tell less than the music. Today we is almost buried by views and opinions. In the music it there is something very pure, even if it is hyper connoted and puzzling to chant the names of politicians!

If we listen Taubirathere is a feeling, but I also invite people to tell their own stories. It was interesting to really break away from the personality. When I do De Gaulle or Pompidou I speaks of an era, of an atmosphere. It’s also fantasy somewhere, I fantasize the 1950s and 1960s. I wanted to talk about electronic France, dancing France. Seeing the evolution of each era, the arrival of clubs, raves, it’s exciting! At beginning i groping then now while working with the INA on the videos, it has become a soundtrack.

Are there personalities that you forbid yourself to do?

Yes, there are some that I don’t like at all, after Cis subjective. But for me Le Pen or Zemmour cis prohibitive. It didn’t stop me from doing trump but there was a distance, and that tells a whole story with Obama. These are two pieces but it’s like a single track that lasts 15 minutes. I tried to question myself on this passage from the United States. I still don’t have the answer! It was not like in France where people were fed up and wanted to change things, Obama was almost at 60% of satisfaction.

For the title “Macron”, I made a piece in his image, quite fast, nervous.

For the title Macron this was not easy to evoke a personality still in power, but I told the five years that we have lived who are still completely crazy. I made a piece in his image, quite fast, almost too fast, nervous. And then it spins, and there is an almost end of the world side. Not necessarily related to Macron but war, climate change… Today we are all affected psychologically.

You have yourself developed a character on stage.

Yes all in fact, I’m on stage with a politician’s costume. And it was a personal release. When I was in bands rock it there was always a side a little «setterwhich frustrated me. There Irealized that I could really have fun. And then I also have a bit of a problem with putting people on a pedestal, whether it’s an artist or a politician. most important c‘do you created with people. And this character lets me say right off the bat “everything That’s not important, what matters now and here it isis the appearance liberating”. I play on this discrepancy. people are screaming “Dombrance President” and it’s funny because it’s painless.

More generally, do music and politics go hand in hand?

I am often told no, but I do not agree. Music has always been political. When I say politics i I’m not talking about going to vote, I’m talking about using art to express yourself. Music has always been an incredible megaphone for minorities. Just look at the punk! That’s the magic of music. Jamaica has not radiated throughout the world thanks to its president but thanks to Bob Marley! After I am not one of those who think that all politicians are rotten, I think that democracy is imperfect, but by dint of saying that everything is no one you you end up with totalitarian movements. This is where you have to take a step back, accept defeat. This is also democracy.

If the art wasn’t there, we’d all be fucking ourselves.

And then in the music there is a lot of beauty, purity and messages. If you are passionate about music you can not miss the miscegenation for example. Music destroys barriers. There’s a lot to learn and experience with music, it’s not just entertainment. I amis something that saved me and nourishes me. And I say that because I’m privileged and I’m lucky to live in this country and to live from it. With the covid on saw clearly that things were not set in stone, that what we had was not acquired. If art was not there we would all be fucking each other in the face. Or all completely depressed.

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