Grand Blanc: “Writing and producing this song was like making an amulet”

Four years after “Image au mur”, their second studio album, the quartet from Metz is back gently with “Pilule Bleue”, a stripped down track dominated by a minimalist harp, a prelude to new discographic adventures. A change of course, which the group tells us about in an interview to read here.

We haven’t heard from Grand Blanc since 2018 and the release of Picture on the wall, a second album which took a first step aside in the discographic journey of the quartet made in Metz. No more news ? Not really, since at the start of 2021, in the midst of health restrictions, they invited us to follow them to the heart of the Moselle prefecture where, at the initiative of Arte Concert, the four had joined forces with the Orchester national de Put the time of a filmed concert (and without audience).

An event that will have been an opportunity to discuss music and the process of creating new songs, marked by a form of stripping, the use of field recording and a certain idea of ​​obliteration in favor of something more essential. The first traces of these remote sessions appear today, thanks to the release of the clip of blue pill, which testifies to the upheavals in progress. Grand Blanc tells us a few words about it.

blue pill is it one of those pieces recorded during the first confinement and performed last year with the National Orchestra of Metz? What remains of the sessions dating from this period?

In fact, in 2019, after the end of our last tour, we decided to set up a studio in a house at the edge of a forest, where we already used to leave to compose for the previous records. We got everything set up and started working on songs. We stayed there until the summer of 2021; therefore, we also worked on it during the confinements. What’s left of those sessions are new songs. We still have a bit of work before releasing them but it shouldn’t take long.

This song, by its stripping and minimalism, contrasts with the rest of Grand Blanc’s discography. What was the trigger and what were the recording conditions of blue pillof which we imagine that the use of field recording was valuable?

We like to change things from one record to another. When we started reworking in 2019, we wanted to play more acoustic instruments, guitars, harp, pedal-steel, and inevitably, that had an influence on our way of conceiving music, record and arrange it, because these instruments need space to exist.

For this piece, we looked for how to hold together very naturalistic harp takes recorded in our attic with the background noises, the birds that we hear singing through the Velux and massive and very artificial synth sounds that evoked us the best party we ever had together, the summer before.

Writing and producing this song was like making an amulet, an object that allows you to go from the present to the memory, to never forget that it existed and to be able to return to it whenever you want. It’s one of the first pieces that found its color. He helped us find our way and keep going.

During our last meeting, you told us about walks in the forest while listening to Oneohtrix Point Never and the “bionic” guitars of AG Cook. What were the sources of inspiration when recording this song?

What AG Cook and Onehotrix have in common is that they are very talented and have been looking for new colors. We listen to them and we respect them for their work and their inventiveness. What also linked us to their music when we were working in the studio is that both of them used acoustic instruments in their last album. They each did it in their own way, but they both made us hear guitars, pianos or percussion, harpsichord, in a new and surprising way. It’s probably infused in our brains for several years, in the midst of Debussy, themes from Zelda and hundreds of other things. Let’s say that these are artists who have their own view of sound, and who make you want to find your own.

What should we expect next?

During this period in the house, we decided to set up a label in parallel with our group work. It’s called Parages, like the nickname we gave to the surroundings of our house-studio. We put it together to be able to release our songs freely, as a group, or perhaps alone, but as a family. So of course, after blue pill, expect more songs. And who knows, maybe an album and concerts.

Interview by François Moreau.


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