And now something completely different puisque j'ai été interviewé pour le blog brésilien Scream & Yell à propos de Life is a Minestrone.
L'interview est disponible ici (en portugais):
Et je mets ici la version anglaise qui a servi de base à la traduction.
Franck, how did you come up with the idea of producing the compilations "Life is a Minestronee" and distributes them for free?
To make a long story short, my craving for unearthed musicians and bands began with MySpace in 2005 (I wrote something at the time for a french webzine called Popnews where I listed Fleet Foxes for example a few years before they went big – Robin Pecknold demos as The Pineapples – he was 19 at the time - were some of the most beautiful things I've heard in recent years but unfortunately they are kind of lost these days) and then I created my blog Life is a Minestrone a few years later to list my discoveries. But after MySpace became useless the blog almost came to a halt.
The idea of reviving it through the use of Bandcamp came from the compilations made by the french label/site La Souterraine. They also release free compilations containing mostly obscure french artists and it has become quite a big deal among critics in France (with a few mentions internationally too).
So I thought it could be interesting to do the same but without any kind of frontiers in mind.
Let's just search very thoroughly on Bandcamp and find the best pop music possible that's out there (I mean pop in the broadest sense of the term – folk, indie, lofi, psychedelic, etc...)
You have already released eight editions. How do you select the artists for each edition? And how is the public responding to it?
To find music, I browse through more than 50 bands a day so I have to make a very quick and often merciless judgement but that's the only way you can really choose among so many bands and songs.
This leads me to 20 or 30 songs that really caught my attention during the month and after that comes the selection.
It's an important part of the process as I don't want the compilations to be seen as simple mixtapes but as real albums where the choice of tracks and the tracklisting is important.
So I contact the bands to get their authorization (it's almost always the case – they are usually very happy that someone took the time to find their quite hidden music) and I have to say it's the part that I love the most in all this.
I longed for the kind of relationship I could have with bands on MySpace so it's a real pleasure to be able to connect with bands again through these compilations.
That's how the first one came to exist and even if it was still a small affair in terms of audience at the time people responded quite well to it.
The second volume was given a little push as it was noticed by Les Inrockuptibles, a very influential music magazine in France and new volumes were released monthly after that leading to the 8th volume now.
In the end I guess these compilations reflect quite faithfully my musical tastes that goes from The Beach Boys to Stevie Wonder, Joni Mitchell to Television, Kate Bush to The Go-Betweens, Flying Nun bands to Divine Comedy. You can see that I don't have much to say about the new millenium so I guess what I'm trying to do with these is to find my own source of musical pleasure hoping that it will please other people too.
You have begun to organize concerts this summer under the banner of Life is a Minestrone. Can you tell me more about that ?
Well, it's really something I didn't plan. Most of the musicians who are on my compilations are so far away from Europe (they mostly come from the United States, Australia and Canada) that I didn't think I'd have the chance to meet any of them so quickly.
It happened that Eric McEntee (alias Hand whose song « I'm Not Bothered by the Rain » is on the third volume) came in Paris for 3 months so I had the time to organize a few shows for him in France.
It has been a wonderful experience to meet him and to help him get a little exposure here and I think everyone who saw his shows is convinced that such a great songwriter should be so much more well known.
I also have the chance that Harley Young, a very talented young australian (« Margate GF » on the third volume too) is in France until the end of the year so a few shows have already been organized and there will be a few more while he's still here.
In his case, I also helped him reissue his great first album called « Flinders Parade » on a french label called Microcultures that I'm collaborating with.
The lastest event I've organized was an apartment concert with an incredible singer from New Zealand, Mimsy Cable and it gave us this first Life is a Minestrone concert video.
There are a few other projects of that nature in the vaults in the next few months and I'm really pleased that what was entirely virtual at the beginning (the compilations) is becoming more and more concrete (meeting musicians, helping them with touring and releasing their album in France whenever it is possible).