We invite you to read the interview with Kentin Jivek, french singer-songwriter from Bordeaux. We were asking about his life inspirations, musical plans and the way he perceive the world. And we got some very interesting answers…
It is hard to believe but we have spring already! Do changes of seasons affect you? Does it have any influence on the process of creation ? Do you have big plans for this season?
The change of seasons is an opportunity for me to book new shows in various places. I’m working days and nights because i love it. For me holidays do not really exist in my mind. Doing a show and keeping the constant interaction with people that’s the main point. I always keep in mind the political and economic situations in countries where i’m doing a show.
Regarding this season, i’m preparing the upcoming album and i’d add that for the first time the artwork consists on two paintings made by me and dealing with the concept of the Black Moon.The process began following a show in Berlin. So ‘spring time’ allows me to have a ‘deeper listen work’ process with this spring climat. These songs were composed in winter, a very difficult period for me on many points. I’ll intend to do two shows a month now, plus we’ve already played some new material from the new album with Yoan in Geneva.
Seasons have no real impact on me, or rather subjectively in my body and soul not with my eyes.
Your discography has seven albums, which have been released over three years. I think that this a lot. How did it happen ? Was this music inside you for a long time and grew till it found a crevice and then simply you let out all accumulated feelings and ideas? Am I close?
Nobody ever wanted to produce albums for me, i guess i had not found the necessary support at this time. Since the very beginning, i’ve worked on the production and arrangments.
When i arrived in Paris, i had the desire to formalize the equivalent of a ‘10 years gigs tunes’, and so making the album with the best ones. The pace of life was different here and i really needed to make them existed. It was obvious to me that if i couldn’t make it, nobody would do it. Then things became clearer, every show brought something new, an essence for the new releases, so real new songs were written. The logic is to produce and evoluate following concerts, and this all the time. Taking the risk to spread the albums towards various medias and keep in mind all critics. In fact, the aim was to really understand my limits and know me first, then it was easier to work with musicians and make them understand. Currently, there are new versions of old songs, see the new ep “Ava BM”.
I think that your new album “Ode to Marmaele” is most coherent in form and construction. Does it show the direction of your future albums? Are you ready to say -this is my style which I will follow?
Yes, this album is easy to listen, and I realized that the melody was more important than complicated arrangements. If an album can not be played at 70% live, don’t do it ! It’s always possible to perform things differently, and do not leave out the songs you‘ve worked on for months. It is getting clearer now, feedbacks are really into the French songs material.
So if I didn’t have produced all these albums previously, i would not have been able to sing with my mother tongue. Today, I ‘ve my own style in French. “Ode to Marmaele” is optimized, such as “Eight New Prophecies” during concerts at 90%. We play the songs again and again with a particular ‘will to live’, intensity.
“Now I’m black moon” will be more ‘ambient folk’ and I was not inspired by existing artists. It’s an album that is more personal note, it was written and composed with help from absinth.
Always experiment things in life in order to bring back something special. When you do a studio session, collapse, stagger in tears, then you know you’ve reached the paroxysm of sensibility on edge. Which is good and necesary.
Will I surprise you if I say that you have something similar to Lou Reed’s way of singing?I mean this emotionality, a drop of humour and nostalgia at the same time.
You’re absolutely right, i think the album ‘Berlin’ from Lou Reed is close to the feelings i’ve experienced there. Today, i’m not into the lyrical expression concerning the voice, but more into the lyrics and feelings. Being crazy ( Fortune Teller video in Geneva is the live performance to watch)
Have you ever been to Poland? Do you know any Polish bands? Is it interesting for you to play concerts in our country?
I’m in contact with couple of persons in Poland, their support was always important. The goal is to play in your country for sure.
My favourite songs are the compositions sung in French – your native language – your emotions can be seen totally “naked” there. It convinces me more than when you sing in English, although I don’t know French… How does it look from your perspective?
English is more lyrical, and here in France references of singers are always the same. Artists who are doing spoken words poetry. That’s a shame. I didn’t want to do that, so it was necessary to work on english and spanish lyrics first in order to improve my voice. Today i want to write french songs for bands or singer, one of my objectives. “Quelle Importance” and ” Et Vogue la Verve” are very important songs to me. It took a lot of work. I remember during a show in Hamburg, people told me how much they appreciated the french songs because it broke the barrier between them and me. Also in Porto. But I’m not prepared yet to write an album entirely in French. I’m French, and i’ll continue to write english lyrics with French grammar reflexes.
How and when your adventure with music started? Does it have strong influence on your life today? And who are you in an everyday life?
In Ireland where I’ve bought an old guitar, a neighbor taught me old Irishfolk melodies. After that, I have not stopped playing or composing. It’s my priority in life, because it leads my choices, and wishes and allows me to exist. I started piano 4 years ago, percussions since 10 years. In everyday life, I am unfortunately someone intriguing! I do not spend much time in my country, simply because I prefer to go elsewhere and spend time in places with a rich historic background that speaks to me. Paris is an office where I’m working, then i’ll see friends in pubs and all sorts of places by night. Inspiration comes from many things I feel. My sensitivity has increased considerably so i preserve myself from normal citizens. Much more attracted by freaks and drop-outs.
I must ask about your inspirations- these literary ones interest me the most. I must ask about my favourite French writer – Jean Genet – surely you know him. Tell me, what do you feel about his literature and what do French people think about him today?
I’m an ascetic so Jean Genet helps me to understand perversion, evil and eroticism through the celebration of ambivalent characters in the underworld. I love to see people that are trying to show a image of saints tough that they are real obsessed psychos. ”The Black Moon” put in lights this, our worst impulsivities while we try to keep in front of the other, an image of someone quite normal.
You seem to be interested in our ( Polish) spirituality. Does this sphere of life have any basic meaning ?
108 Blessed Polish Martyrs is something that touch me a lot. You have a survival instinct based on rough things from the past. For me Poland is the best country in Europe, because you’ve managed to get out from multiple traumas with a courage that no other country can match. Culture has always been an important part, and I am very respectful of that. You still know what love means. Elsewhere no.
“When you are art gone forth wholly from the creature [human], and have become nothing to all that is nature and creature, then you are in that eternal one, which is God himself, and then you will perceive and feel the highest virtue of love. (…) If you find it, you come into that ground from whence all things proceed, and wherein they subsist, and you are in it a king over all the works of God.” [The Way to Christ, 1623] Jakob Böhme
Do you consider that this is the essence of the creation? How do you relate to this quotation and why do you create the music in general?
That’s why a form of asceticism is necessary to reach the highest level of creation.If you’re surrounded by love and you can not find the good way to understand between what you give and what you receive, then impossible to give your audience the best of yourself.You’ve to be the best representation of what surrounding the world at the time. A personal sacrifice, and to give body and soul to the underlying forces, rather than in front of the physical real world. The illumination is part of this process, the fantasy and the paroxysm of harmony with yourself to produce something unique. Human fellings have become too complex, and i have sailed in a particular sphere for the new album. Very difficult but necessary.
“What’s your road, man? — holyboy road, madman road, rainbow road, guppy road, any road. It’s an anywhere road for anybody anyhow?” (On the road, Jack Kerouac). So what’s your road Kentin? Where does it lead you to?
I love this book and so “Born to Be Wild” film with the tragic end. My road ? proving that the simplest things are still important, make people react. Proving that one should not judge only on appearances.
“All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson )
Do you agree with this? Do you like to experiment? With the life, art or people?
I’ve lost love, so i experiment with my mind with art. I’m advocating a complete transparency through this one and include the things that match with this process again. In the past, i was hiding behind myths and references, now i’m mixing everything. And I think the next album is going to derange a lot, really…
And the raw source of inspiration is about love, i‘ve reached a so high level of feelings with ‘Now I’m Black Moon’ that my whole body almost disappeared, hahaha. Experiment with people no… it is rather them who experiment with me, and i’d say that sometimes i feel very weak in a close relationship. But I cross the fingers.
“Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away” ( P.K.Dick)
Do you agree ?
No, don’t agree, we have the freedom to live a different reality in Europe, we are very fortunate to be able to decide overnight to change our life. In other countries, Africa or Orient, even in deep Asia, they don’t have the choice. In capitalism countries only material details are forcing us to persist in a lifestyle that finally is not ours. Everything is a matter of will.
Tell me a bit more about concept of the Black Moon (referring to the answer to the first question)
The “Black Moon” reflects the instincts the most impulsive that the soul can create. It intersects with the reflex of human to be a wolf in a every day life. I’m convinced that frustrations also reflect the modern life that lead to sadness if you do not use the ‘appropriate tools’ to remain human in order to assume weaknesses and hopes. But, The Black moon can be very positive, because it shows how far we can go to achieve your goal, against any barriers that can prevent us to do what we believe the most in.
You seem to be born to play live. Do you need the audience to make your work more complete?
Only the woman i love; the audience is still afraid to speak about what i do. People who write reviews or interviews are still the most appropriate to judge or give me advices.
You are also a painter and you are interested in Cobra movement – which is quite outstanding . Why this artistic movement fascinates you the most?
After much research, i needed to know if i was belonging to a particular movement. And you see, like many things in my life, i’ve found this article published in an old newspaper.
The same techniques were described, color schemes, these primary forms. I’ve bought a Dvd on these artists, how they were working, and it is very important to me. Read or watch documents, or even biographies to understand how they live their art. In my life, many things appeared like this and so made me understand why and how. Today, i feel the connections with people, thought transmission and that’s quite incredible.
What would you like to say to people who don’t know your music yet?
Get it, take it anywhere you go, and close your eyes.
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