AN INTERVIEW WITH LUCAS GROLLEAU.

by Matt Mowatt
LISTEN TO Show your love By Lucky Joy
LISTEN TO ahahaaahaaaha by Blind Horse

Matt Mowatt: What projects are you working on currently?

Lucas Grolleau: I have several projects. One of my projects is my company (Sounds Good Music) which is involved with music, sound design and various multimedia applications and websites. I played bass in a band called Rex Machine. I used to have a band called Lucky Joy, which was active in Switzerland in 2008-9 and now it’s a bit…not over, but…

MM: On a hiatus?

LG: Yeah, exactly. It’s [Lucky Joy] more like an electronic funk band, which is sort of on stand-by because my partner has a second kid now and artistically it can be difficult to organize.

MM: You’re now working on a new project, right?

LG: Yeah, it’s called Blind Horse.

MM: What is the difference between Lucky Joy and Blind Horse?

LG: This project [Blind Horse] started when I was in the United States last November and December. I bought this really great guitar – an old Gibson LG – and it’s sort of an inspiring piece of wood, quite unique. I spend most of my days writing music on the computer, dealing with all kinds of plug-ins and sound, etc. So having this is like taking a step back.

MM: More stripped down.

LG: Yeah, it’s nice to make music with at the end of the day. So this is how it [Blind Horse] started – this mixed with a little bit of electronic.

MM: Who do you admire not only in terms of music itself but also the production?

LG: I read a lot of magazines, and there’s one called Tape Op which has all these interviews with some producers, legendary and old school, who pass the knowledge they have of various techniques like microphone placement and amps, etc. They speak about things like recording Elvis in the 50’s to the Black Keys or Wilco today.

MM: Do you think it’s easier for artists to record their music with the technology today?

LG: Definitely.

MM: What do you think of the way music is produced?

LG: I think it’s great, but I also think it’s difficult for more musicians to make a living. At home I listen to a lot of blues and old funk, and when you think about these times, these guys were playing on the street corner and had to make a living, playing from one bar to another.

MM: Do you see blues music as sort of a form that will never die because musicians can connect with this struggle not only to survive but also the struggle to reflect their culture?

LG: Yeah, definitely. If I had to take one type of music to a desert island, I’d probably take blues with me. For me it’s very inspiring in its simplicity. It carries that deep human tradition of making music as it brings together many different kinds of influences. I like it when music is full of contrast, when there are several different elements within a track. My latest influence has been this producer called Danger Mouse. He’s involved himself with Beck, the Shins, Sparklehorse, Gnarles Barkley, The Black Keys.

MM: When I listen to Blind Horse it seems more reflective and existential, while Lucky Joy is more of a eclectic mix of sound. Any reason why?

LG: When I went with my wife to the United States, we went to these indian reservations. When I lived in the U.S. for a year I also had this fascination with reservations. I grew up with this fascination of the West, with the mythology of something that doesn’t actually exist – just made up by movies. I think here in France we all have this fascination with cowboys and indians, the roads and the West, etc. We totally fantasize about this. So going there (California, Nevada, New Mexico) was very impressive, but there was also a sense of desolation with the reservations and how they lived.
Lucky Joy was created with a friend of mine (Juan Pablo) who brings all these different types of music from heavy metal to salsa, and I have all my mixes.

MM: You’re still in the demo phase with Blind Horse, so it’s bound to change and adapt.

LG: Yeah, definitely. I don’t know if I want to play with a drummer or not because it will change the rhythm and structure. I don’t know whether I want it to be in your face or not.

MM: As you’ve worked in many different projects, do you feel more freedom working alone or do you feel that working with others allows you to be more creative?

LG: I feel more free working by myself because it’s quick, you can do whatever you want, but it also has a downside – that feeling of not being satisfied with what you do. When you start involving other people to make music, you have the feedback, the tension, etc. So you have this circle of ideas. This Blind Horse project has been more of an introspective process. I think it can also take people on a trip. I like this experience of taking people somewhere.

MM: If you could work with any producer or musician?

LG: I’m not sure, but I would like to go to an old studio and record in sort of an old-fashioned way. When I was in New York, I was in another band called The Limit, and we recorded everything straight to 2 ½ inch tape. So I’d like to do something like that.

MM: More of a raw, earthy sound?

LG: Yeah, exactly. I’m in the process of developing an instrument you connect to the neck of your guitar. Basically it’s going to be a program that links the guitar with a computer, and what it does is that you can assign parameters of different ways of moving your guitar. So for example, if you move your guitar up and down, quickly or slowly, the parameters could, for example control the volume.

MM: There’s has been a history of how the body adapts to the musical instrument, and I think this will be an interesting way to see how the body works with such a program.

LG: Yeah, and it forces you to experiment with the way your body moves.

MM: What kind of sound would this program produce?

LG: Whatever you want. You can program it to make sound, or to start a drum machine. Anything, really. So the idea is to have instruments, movement, that trigger sound.

MM: Where do you see yourself going from here?

LG: Honestly, I don’t know. I feel like I can go in so many different directions. Also, what I like is to be involved in different projects at the same time. Although it’s difficult to put the energy into different projects, it’s fulfilling.

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