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St Michel, Musician

Discover the first portrait from our serie
My Work, My Jacket.

Hi St Michel, tell us a bit more about your name...

I really like Brittany, the Archangel is very present there, in the rest of the territory as well, but particularly there. At the beginning of the project, I was looking for a name that sounded very “Frenchy” because although I sang in English, I was a little embarrassed by the weight of the Anglo-Saxon culture on French musical creation.

I've always been surprised by the fact that since the 70’s, it has been really hard in France to assume and be proud of our own culture. Everything coming from the USA or elsewhere seems so much "cooler" to us and I really thought it would be too bad to keep on doing so. It was time for me to embark on the path of my culture, of my own history…

How does your new opus fit into your already very successful career?

In this same story, the story of my language, my territory, my roots. I also have a little Brazilian blood through my maternal grandmother, and you will thus find a Bossa-Nova title on the disc.

« I'm a lover of the sound of the 60s / 70s, it's the Golden Age of musical engineering, magnificent studios with beautiful analog consoles. »

We were very attracted by the sound of your new album, explain to us your passion for sound? Why does this album have this sound color?

Well, first of all, thank you !

I have studied and have been trained as a sound engineer, I didn't learn music and still can't read notes today ! It's a shame for a musician I know, but since I make pop music, it’s not a big problem I think. Beyond the sounds of synths and other diabolical machines, I like sound recording and acoustics. I work, the rest of the year, on recordings of orchestral music, choirs or baroque music... Versailles obliges !

This album was recorded and mixed entirely in my bedroom, right next to my bed. It doesn't sound like a studio record but that gives it a certain charm I guess.

How do you write a song? melody first or text first ? An image, a message, a feeling, a « groove » that you like?

I always start with the music, the chords and the melody, then comes the text.

But I think that feeling guides me from the start, I just try to make it appear clearly, like an image that we see underwater and which gradually rises to the surface.

« Léonard Cohen said that we have only one song in our life that we replay every time, I like this idea. »

A song is a message that you send, but to whom and why?

I don't have a lot of imagination, it's love relationships that occupy all my space and mind, always. The sound, language and color change but the theme remains the same: Love. We build ourselves with it, we sometimes also destroy ourselves, we try to understand how these relationships shape us and that fascinates me. Léonard Cohen said that we have only one song in our life that we replay every time, I like this idea.

motivates your creations ?

It's a magical act for me, I see creation like a builder of the Middle Ages, my cathedral is a song.

There is a sweet, pop nostalgia that comes out of your compositions, why?

I have a nasty tendency to live a little too much in the past, it's bad it seems but I am working on fixing myself so one day I'll write about the present moment, I promise !

What is your relationship to the musical heritage of French pop music of the 60s and 70s?

I'm a lover of the sound of the 60s / 70s, it's the Golden Age of musical engineering, magnificent studios with beautiful analog consoles, tape recorders, musicians who still play together in a room, a real energy emanates from it.

Things have changed a lot since then and not always for the better.

Finally, it also coincides with a unique cultural movement. It has only been repeated since, even if the global marketing tries to re-sell it to us like new every time.



His best picks

The Chinese Portrait

What is the art of seduction for you?

It should be the art of being oneself, without trying to seduce, it makes us attractive I think.

If you had to choose a century to live in, which one would it be?

It is way too difficult for me to answer that (don't forget that I am a big nostalgic :)) too many centuries attract me. “I have more memories than if I were a thousand years old” C. Baudelaire

The title you would have dreamed of writing?

Moonlight by Claude Debussy

An artist with whom you dream of spending a moment?

Thomas Yorke (Radiohead)

A strong image that moves you?

It's very cliché I know but the lighthouse of the mare in the storm

In your eyes, the ultimate Rock song ?

A hit of Led Zeppelin

The most beautiful of slows?

« La complainte de la butte »

Rock may be dead, but how about French pop music then?

Never ! From Françoise Hardy via Gainsbourg the story continues

Is there a common point, a unifying element in French pop over the decades?

I’m sure of it but you'll have to ask this question to an Englishman.


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