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Photo credit: Harold Edgerton

INTERVIEW: Orouni

Hi guys, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Hi, we’re glad to be featured on VENTS! Thanks for your support.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Former Lorry Driver”?

This song tells the true story of a man who thought he’d die, but survived. He spent all his money because he believed he wouldn’t need it any more, before a doctor told him he actually didn’t have cancer.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

In 2009, I came across several articles which mentioned the case of Philip Collins. I find it interesting that one’s survival can be considered sad when one has planned to die. I’m intrigued by contradictions.

Any plans to release a video for the single?

We can’t release videos for every song, so this is an “audio-only” single. But there will be videos for other tracks of this album, at least one for “The Lives Of Elevators”.

How was the recording and writing process?

I wanted the concept of dissociation to show throughout this new album, Partitions. So, in “Former Lorry Driver”, there is a shift (in lyrics) between the future that the hero thought he’d have (he thought he’d die very soon so he spent all his money) and his actual future (he survived but is ruined). Musically, there are also different separations, in singers, feelings and keys. When the man learns he’s not going to die, these musical elements are shaken up: the verse becomes the chorus and conversely.

In a first demo, I had a previous chorus melody but I didn’t really like it, so one day, when watching a film in a theatre, I found another one in my head, actually inspired by a Congolese song.

As to recording, on the second half of the second verse (1’33’’), there is a kind of “four-hand keyboard” performance that we played with Guillaume Jaoul (sound engineer/producer): I played the chords while he was turning knobs on the Juno. Hence this crazy and unexpected arpeggiated melody, which also sounds a little like 8-bit music.

What was it like to work with Sofia Bolt and what did she bring to the table?

We had collaborated before (on the Orouni/Water Babies split single La dernière ivresse/The Peanut Specialist), so it was really easy. You could almost keep Sofia Bolt’s first take, she has a very pure voice. She also brought her musical ear to the table, singing harmonies on her parts. And as she is bilingual, she helped me improve the lyrics.

Do you tend to take a different approach when you are collaborating with someone else rather than as a band alone?

Not really, because the process is almost always the same: I compose and write, but then I let musicians find their parts if they want to. I also let them improvise if they feel inspired, and then I take the editing decisions, because I want to be happy with every note heard in the song.

What role does Paris play in your music?

Paris is full of musicians and concerts, there’s a kind of emulation. However, I’m not from Paris and I don’t want to give this city too much importance in my songs. So I try to play with it: for instance, I created a song video with over 40 Parisian places whose architectural or decorative style seems to be non French. That’s why I enjoy Paris: a large part of the world is contained in the city, at least that’s what I like to think.

Does the new single mean we can expect new material – how’s that coming along?

Any tentative release date or title in mind?

Our new LP, Partitions, is going to be released on April 19th (on brand new French label December Square).

Will you keep diving into true crime and historical events?

If they appeal to me, yes. I stopped singing about my own life some time ago, that’s why I’m looking for inspiration elsewhere, and I like it (anyway, it also reveals aspects of my personality). On the new album, you’ll be able to hear the true story of someone stuck in an elevator for 41 hours, a song about the Milgram experiment (which is pretty gruesome), and another song about a man who had totally made up his past life in order to impress friends and relatives.

Any plans to hit the road?

Our next gigs:

– Ground Zero (Paris) / April 17

– Parcours musical (Malakoff) / May 18

What else is happening next in Orouni’s world?

We’re working with a French booking agent so we hope we’ll play more shows in France (and elsewhere). I also have several video projects for songs that are on Partitions. And maybe try to write lyrics in French, but with another name.

Listen to “Former Lorry Driver” on Spotify

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About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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