21 February

Peter Peter, the Quebecois busy redefining the rules of Francophone pop

 

Quebecois Peter Peter has just released his third francophone pop album tinged with French chanson and electro influences. We met up with this new star of the French music scene.

By Marion Ottaviani, Portrait : Jules Faure

  • Portrait : Jules Faure for Numero.com
  • Far from the singing stereotypes generally found in Quebec, a new army of winning faces and crystalline voices appears to be reclaiming the spotlight. A few months ago we discovered Aliocha, who’d just released an enchanting album with pop and folk accents fresh out of Audiogram. It’s the same independent label who today is launching a third album by Peter Peter, a discreet and studious figure who’s been living in Paris for the last three years. Listening to the incandescent “Noir Eden” and “No Man's Land” it’s hard not to compare him to the immense French artist Christophe: texts truffled with literary references in an unclassifiable genre between pop, electro and French chanson… It’s a tempting assimilation game that the young artist prefers to avoid. “I’ve already been compared to Christophe in terms of the darker nature and narrative aspects of my music. I was actually his support act for some shows in February. That said my solitary character inhibits me from identifying with any particular scene, I never felt the need to belong to a gang or be validated by a group.”

     

    His second opus “Une version améliorée de la tristesse” laid the firm foundations for his music, with his incomparable melodies and pretty collection of singles (led by ‘Carrousel’). But when it came to “Noir Eden” there was clearly a desire to start cutting away to push the experiment further. “The album was written in almost total isolation, I would only listen to music when I went running in the mornings and then I would write from 11am to 9pm following a pretty unusual rhythm for me, a proper routine.” It couldn’t be further than the old adage of sex, drugs and rock’n’roll that we love to associate with that kind of limitless creative energy. “I realised this rigour wasn’t in fact the enemy of inventiveness, quite the opposite. With a pretty chaotic personality, forcing myself to structure ideas makes me even more productive.” It’s a radical reversal in direct connection with his move to the French capital. “The labyrinthine side to Paris echoed my thoughts which were also rather sinuous at the time. I felt like it was the right place, it seemed so familiar all while representing a real fantasy.”

     

His girlfriend was the main contact between his apartment in Montrouge and the outside world. She and a few authors capture a particular resonance in the author’s imagination. “I’ve read a lot of Philip K. Dick, the science fiction writer. I was very inspired by his portrayal of an illusory world, where everyone seems to be drugged out to avoid facing the truth.” The graphic novel, ‘Black Hole’ by American writer Charles Burns has also captured his imagination. “The main character of the book is semi-comatose, caught between dreams and reality. It’s similar to “Bien Reel”, one of my tracks which is quite nebulous with its electro sonorities. It is also a metaphor for my state of mind at the time of writing the album. Something was going on with those authors; the link between us was almost palpable while I was completely submerged in that creative process.” At the end of this long drawn-out process, the Quebecois says he’d gone so far into this state of isolation he was scared “of not ever coming back”.

 

Composition, writing, interpretation, production… “Noir Eden” bears his mark on every level. Was it an irrepressible desire for control? “Yeah I’m a control freak for sure. But this album completely changed my perception of the role I had to play – I decided it was my boat and I had to bring it into port. I liked this idea of having an almost ‘artisanal’ production to then take it into the big studio for the final recording.” And beyond the technical aspect, it’s the discourse itself that he wants to preserve. “The narrative thread was very important to me and I didn’t want to betray this vision, this continuity, to make a collection of songs that were overly polished. With such force, I was worried that an exterior production would betray my original intention.” It’s certainly paid off because “Noir Eden” is a sublime oeuvre from outer space, between light and darkness, and a much needed boost for francophone pop.

Don’t miss him playing life at the Café de la Danse on February 27th.

 

Numéro would like to thank the Le Pigalle Hotel, 9 rue Frochot, Paris, 9th.

 

 

MORE: Peter Peter’s “Loving Game” music video inspired by the 80s TV show ‘The Dating Game’

 

WE RECOMMEND: “Anymore”: Goldfrapp’s majestic come-back track

 

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