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Didier et les Ombres


CIFA 104.1 FM SongPlanet Songstuff

CIFA 104.1 FM

Radio What follows is the transcription of the live interview on July 3, 2003 on CIFA 104.1 FM (Nova Scotia, Canada) in the show Nouvelle Vague from Jean-Étienne Sheehy. (This is a translation, the original interview was held in French).

JE (Jean-Etienne) started to introduce what was Didier et les Ombres, using elements based on the official biography. At last comes the time (it's 11 P.M. in Lyon, 6 P.M. in Nova Scotia) of the first question.

JE: Can you tell us who are les Ombres?
Didier: After the dismissal of the Garage Band, initially, I had forecasted to create a band with a bass player and a drum machine. Since the bass player disappeared a few days before the gig, I had to find a solution. I discovered it was possible to plug a Bass synthesizer on the drum machine, and I could then did my act all alone.

Since, I have continued this way. Les Ombres are thus virtual musicians. In a way, they are the equivalent of the backing bands of the 60s, which were obliged to play behind a curtain.

JE: What is their role in your songs?
Didier: In fact, les Ombres are extensions of myself. I am a guitar player, pianist, bass player, "nearly" drummer. My songs are not studio creations, they are all conceived to be played live. Thus, what I cannot do myself physically at a given time (I have only two arms!), I give it to les Ombres. But I am clearly playing all the instruments.

JE: How would you define your music style?
Didier: Clearly rock. Or, as was written by a journalist: "Definitely rock". Not blues, hard, funk, rockabillly, pop or reggae. No, only rock. Punk? Sometimes. Nowadays, rock has taken many different meanings. But there's a kind of unity since rock exists: a certain "urgency", a certain rebellion. For me, there is no fundamental difference between Eddie Cochran, Lou Reed or the Sex Pistols.

Beyond the pure music style, lyrics are something very important for me. They must be of course songs lyrics, but they have also to have their own justification as literary work.

JE: Your influences?
Didier: To be honest, I have to mention Jean-Sebastian Bach. Otherwise, the music I listened to when I started to write: Eddie Cochran, the New York Dolls, the Stooges, the Velvet Underground, T-Rex (Marc Bolan).

Later there were the Damned, the Sex Pistols, the Clash, DEVO, the Pogues. Bijou and Asphalt Jungle (Translation note: French rock bands of the late 70s). There is a tradition of French rock, and I believe I'm part of it. But it wasn't really influences, just music I appreciated.

JE: Yes, I think that's the case for most of the bands. I know you live in Lyon. Can you talk a little about your region?
Didier: Lyon is the second town in France. It is a very old town (more than 2000 years), and it is registered as legacy of human beings by the UNESCO.
JE: It's indeed interesting.
Didier: It is both an historical city, but also the city of the great inventions: one of the first bibles in France, printed in Lyon, the cinema, invented in Lyon. This mix of modernism and past is, I believe, the main charactetistic of Lyon.

I was born in a region that is a few kilometers from Lyon, which is called "la Dombes", and which is covered by ponds. Lyon was the capital of the Gaul, and that's this spirit, Gaulish and "Dombist", which created a "celtic" song such as La révolte.

To conclude, Lyon is also very close to the mountains (I am only at two hours from the Mont Blanc), and that's also something important, to be able to be close to a really original nature.

JE: I know you made a concert recently. Can you give us a short description of how it went?
Didier: I had not been on a stage since quite some time, thus it was a real pleasure, even if the heat was really incredible. Also, the stage was a little tiny. Some bands prefer clubs and intimate ambiances. I had the luck to play on big stages and, given my kind of presence on a stage, it's much more easier for me. Even being alone, I usually fill the stage more than a band of 5 persons. The fact that I am alone is also something very intense, both for me and for the public.

For me, being on a stage is not only to play an instrument (or to sing) in front of a public. It is a kind of theatrical show, and the movements have a lot of importance.

JE: Can you give us information on your Web sites ?
Didier: I have two Web sites. The first, didier.elo.free.fr/index_e.html, is the official site, from which you can find all the information about Didier et les Ombres. Biography, pictures, how to contact me, to subscribe to the newsletter, etc.

The second site, mp3.com/Didier_et_les_Ombres (it can be accessed anyway from the first), allows me to distribute my songs on the Internet. You can listen to them and download them for free. It is the opportunity to create numerous contacts with fans and musicians, especially in North America. It was a real surprise for me to discover that, in spite of the language barrier, English speaking people could be interested by my songs.

JE: I think I know you have also a promotion CD?
Didier: The promotion CD allows to distribute my music to professionals, but also to have a CD to offer to the fans. It contains 7 tracks (one being unreleased, which is not on the Internet) and is entirely recorded in my personal studio. To order it, you just have to contact me though my Web site. Just for the anecdote, I recently sold one in Los Angeles.

JE: The usual question: what are your plans for the future?
Didier: It's difficult to have real plans. Continue to write, of course. Some collaborations with artists met on the Internet, as a musician and/or as a lyricist.

Continue to record, to have the basis of a dozen of songs to release an album. Either autoproduced, or co-produced with a small label.

I will try also to gig regularly.

JE: It is now time to leave, can you introduce the following song, which is called "Détaché (Detached)"?
Didier: As an American fan of Didier et les Ombres was saying, Détaché should be the anthem of all the bands that play in small venues without being paid, just for a pack of beer.

In fact, it's a song speaking of the indifference of the public toward the person that is on stage. Beyond, it's a song about parting with despair. A way of saying to oneself: whatever happens, I am now: Detached... (And we begin to hear the first notes of Détaché).


SongPlanet playlist
On March 19, 2004, SongPlanet has broadcasted Mutants in a world premiere exclusive.
During the show, Didier was interviewed on the phone by Lucky Fokker.

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In January 2005, Didier was interviewed by Steve Perrett for the Internet site Songstuff.com.
Read the interview on Songstuff.

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