Versatile singer, keyboard player and producer, has written a stream of soundtracks for documentaries, series and films. You have probably heard his music on Netflix’s hit Lupin.
He released his first album The Human Octopus in 2011. Ten years on it is timely to ask him for a self-appraisal. “Oh la la, it’s been incredible,” he immediately answers. And adds: “It’s been an amazing journey. It feels like I have signed to Liverpool FC after spending years kicking the ball against the garage door! Even if, many times, it’s been a trauma to be separated from my children while I was on tour. I didn’t know how to readjust to normal life when I finally removed the mask and helmet I wear on stage.”
He has restructured his whole universe with a new and motivated team. “It’s a rebirth. It gave me one more reason to call the album Revenant. It’s the comeback of the living dead! This presence of the ghostly, of the revenant has always been a central feature in my songs. After all, as early as 2014, the second album was called Ghost Surfer… This obsession for ghosts goes back to my youth, to dark and personal things.”
To be able to develop such personal matters, Cascadeur has broken one of his strictest rules. He now sometimes sings in French, following a 2014 duet with now deceased French chanteur Christophe. This shift of language allows him to no longer hide behind words. He has stripped down and does not hesitate to expose his vulnerability, his nudity. “Before Cascadeur, I sung in French. The sub story of the revenant theme, it’s also this: the return of my mother tongue. It took me ten years to be at peace with it. Singing in English was for me a way to hide things from my family, particularly about my youth.”
On the new album, one central and ambitious song is called Young. In all its gorgeous nostalgia, it deals with youth and asks the question ‘What have we become?’ This quest is fundamental in the works and the soul of the Frenchman, who admits being constantly in touch with the little boy he once was. “I started music at a very young age. Since the beginning, it has been my escape. Wearing a mask finally allowed me to dare, to talk about the unspeakable, to give a voice to the people who have gone… And at the same time, right from the start, I wanted to have fun. Even though my music seems melancholic.”
Melancholic, laconic, nostalgic… These hazy descriptions could reduce Cascadeur’s music to some clichés. His music is, fortunately, much more complex and free than this. It can shift without suffering from the bends from minimalism to maximalism. It also reveals, and it is the beauty and privilege of a life dedicated to songwriting, an amazing musicality, without any artifice?. “Musicality, it’s all about appearing and disappearing. I see myself as a sculptor. My clay is absence, my clay is presence.”
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