[Interview] Fred Palim: “My music doesn’t need images or dialogue, everything is already there”

On the occasion of the release of Fred Pallem & Le Sacre du Tympanum’s 10th album, we went to ask the conductor some questions to discuss Le Sacre’s 20th anniversary, Fables de La Fontaine remixes, and of course X.

© Sylvain Grapeaux

BENZINEMAG:X is the tenth album in the 20-year career of For You and Le Sacre du Tympan. How do you see all the work done since the beginnings of Le Sacre?

Fred Palim : I never look back nor listen to my old records again. While I can go through great nostalgia in the eyes of some, I don’t ask myself questions about the course of the ritual. A big orchestra is much tougher than a small orchestra, the journey is full of pitfalls, but I’m making progress no matter what (I think some musician friends call me “the bulldozer”). I finally found that the reappearance was very fast, as it often happens to others too, but that it was more difficult to keep it going. We had only toured three concerts before winning the Jazz de la Défense competition in June 2000, which was a real springboard for the orchestra, in the sense that people in the profession discovered us. I realize that in 1998 we were the only big band that didn’t have any musicians over thirty in our band. Other orchestras were more professional, more established, and already had a career behind them. In 2003 when Patrice Cartini He called me to join the Federation of Grands Formats, and I was very proud to play the young man in the service, and we evidently sparked a lot of careers afterwards. I find that very cool.

Was there an exact musical direction for this tenth album? With the band, did you bring new things that you hadn’t dealt with on previous albums?

I wanted an album of original tracks, that’s for sure. I had started writing a lot of things before confinement. This composition inspires me so much, all more united than ever, and their enthusiasm stimulated me, naturally, that I wanted to offer them other pieces. different atmospheres of‘Odyssey And it’s our darkest album: more joyful party beats and melodies Bitches in MarbellaAnd the disc lovebut also more calm and sensitive (The Fulgurated, Goodbye Lougarock).

At least 25 musicians intervened during the recording, how is the work organized (writing, arranging, recording…) with so many musicians?

On stage we are 13 with 4 strings, 4 brass, guitar, keyboards, bass, drums and percussion. Some addresses in reference can also be rejected into hexadecimal form. The Musicians 25 is specifically for recording sessions in which the string section has been augmented, rather than quadruple or treble, for a full sonic result. The work is always organized in the same way: I write on my own, let it rest, then, when I am satisfied with the forms, send the models, then the scores, and we prepare the first rehearsal together. The first instance of this guide is dated March 30, 2021.

X Orchestras is impressive in its richness, variety and depth. We get the impression that you got there kind of exuberance in terms of regulation… like the title disc love Which could be kind of the shortened version of what this album is for…

Galore…it is possible. This mix of strings, brass, and funky percussion sprinkled with harpsichord and glockenspiel is deeply motivating and inspiring. It’s a very wide soundboard that allows for a lot of extravagance in terms of harmony. In short, I’m having a blast!

the address Bitches in Marbella In his own way, he raises the release of confinement in 2020 and 2021. How did you get through these two years of the pandemic?

The first confinement was very brutal for me. A great tour with the Odyssée program was coming up, we were newly crowned with a second Victoire de la Musique, in short everything was going great then ‘clac’! We are closing! We were on our way to do a room soundcheck for the evening concert, on the way I got a “Canceled Go Home” phone call. I cut my leg. It is impossible to go back to work. I was at my wits end. Then, ten days later, I took out my guitar as I do every day, and sang the songs I shared on Instagram, to reconnect with my family and friends. The only thing great about this first confinement is that I had so much fun with my two year old granddaughter at the time. When the end of confinement sounded, I had only one desire: to see the sea, and to dive in! I couldn’t take it anymore, I was so excited, and with joy I laid Bitches in Marbella (The title my boss imagined Stephen Marriott Which made me notice that the first sentence of the thread sounded like Peaches in Regalia From zappa). Back to school is coming we’re releasing the album Where I Lay Jean de la Fontaine Fables to music the promo is starting well and booming, re-formed in November. This time, I decided not to be deceived by the melancholy, and decided to take advantage of the spare time to work more, and even organized, with a sound engineer friend, the recording for the models, in my studio, where I had enjoined myself to improvise a daily title. This gave addresses USP And the 62 satellites/get it into orbit. I grabbed all my notes and unfinished compositions and at the beginning of March I had 80% of the tracks for the next album.

Fred Palim’s Brilliant Odyssey and the Ritual of the Eardrum

In 2020 she collaborated on a side project Les fables de La Fontaine with Tom Poisson and Lucien Jean Baptiste. How did you approach creating such a project?

I didn’t feel like going straight to another instrumental album behind me the trip, you need a bracket. I have been looking for a long time to compose music on a spoken text, like in a movie. Inevitably the music is more backward at the expense of the text. But I’ve always found it interesting for a composer to set these kinds of constraints. I looked through my books, but couldn’t find them. I needed texts with rhymes, building, and inner music. As in rap. Stephen Marriott (him again) He proposed to me Fountain superstitions And I thought it was a great idea, even if it wasn’t new, but anyway, I’m not after novelty at any price. Many great composers had already done this exercise and I wanted to approach it in my own way, with jazz, pop, funk and rock influences but also repetitive and improvised music, classical music and so on. I first searched for storytellers. Singers, Comedians, and Radio. They chose the texts, I recorded them and I composed the music according to their tone and way of style. My friend Tom Fish He gave us a good hand for the theatrical version by doing the exterior and stage show. La Fontaine was a fringe, atypical, very modern, sometimes cruel figure, who still deserves to be discovered today.

We rarely find you on film credits as a soundtrack composer, which may seem very surprising given your background and music…

The music I compose eardrum ritual You don’t need pictures or dialogues, everything is already there. Such music will take up a lot of space in today’s cinema, which mainly uses music for subtext. Unless the movie itself is built around the music…

Henry Mancini He answered when asked: “What is the author of the film’s music?”he answered “A film composer is someone who wrote a complete score, which he ultimately rejected.” So I am a film music composer. I’m still writing my movie score: New guard dogs From Gilles Balbastre and Yannick Kergott, and “Dieumerci” composing Lucien Jean-Baptiste. He asks me regularly but he rarely succeeds. It’s a bit normal: we ask for multiple composer bids, and sometimes the director and producer find what they’re looking for, otherwise they launch a new call for bids. At this rate it can take a long time. The chances of the model working the first time are slim, it’s a stroke of luck, and that’s exactly what happened to me in the movie Thank God.

In fact, all composers are equal. Directors should work with a composer whose work they really love. And then they prepare the music for the movie together, side by side in the studio. There it works every time.

It’s important not to compare film music in the digital age to that of a time when everything was on tape. The method of filming, editing has changed, and so has the music. Prior to the first day of filming, the director could only focus on the script, dialogues and rehearsals with the actors if necessary, when sometimes the main themes were written by the composer, at best with the piano. He was forced to project himself onto the orchestras and trust the composer. Music sometimes arrived recorded and mixed prior to shooting. Today is the opposite, finally coming, and you have to make copies of the titles put in by the editor, so there’s a little room for creativity.

What interests me above all is the technical meeting with the director. You’ll build trust and respect both ways. I am in the service of film, but I must also be able to express myself. The composer is the third author.

Fred Pallem & The Rite of the Tympanum – X: 10 Reasons to Love Movie Music

Your music has always been influenced by the great composers of the 60’s and 70’s (Francis Lai, Michel Magny, François de Roubaix, Moriconi …). Have you ever thought of composing a pop or jazz record that would radically break away from film or television music?

I’m not going to start a career as a variety singer or old-fashioned jazz singer today. No, more than ever I want to continue digging the groove that I started over twenty years ago. Maybe I put my vote on it, who knows? But it will be treated as a musical instrument. Or take out my double bass…but I’ll double it with my baritone guitar!

This December you’ll be playing at Café la Danse, we imagine a tour with all the musicians will see the light of day then?

naturally ! Next season’s dates are dropping now, which is great. There will be some very good concerts. We are all impatient.

Interview by Benoit Richard – November 2022

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