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Clément of GRAND DÉTOUR plays with light and dark on his new ambient solo record BARA BANDAI

5 mins read

There’s rarely time these days for me to sit down and really listen to a record from beginning to end, but the new solo offering from Clément of French post rockish post hardcore act GRAND DÉTOUR caught me off guard and made me dive into its dazzling depths of experimental, mysterious ambient sounds. While finding emotion in instrumental music can be tough, “Une nuit sans sommeil” EP by BARA BANDAI is bursting with unstated meaning and a portraiture of Clément’s life experience. We sat down with him to learn more about his story and the new project. Read the full interview below.

BARA BANDAI is the expression for the “upper meadow” in Urdu, the language of Pakistan, where the musician lived and grew up for more than 8 years.

Catch BARA BANDAI at 2 special shows in August and September:

25.08.18 – Toulon, Théatre de Verdure – opening for Hifiklub, Charles berling, Pauline Cheviller, Nicolas Comment at “Mont Faron”
01.09.18 – Toulon, Irréprochable Festival – Ambiant / short film festival

What inspired you to start this new project?

It was a old dream that I never had the time or/and the guts to realize. Last year two of my 3 bands broke up. Add to that some hard life moments and yeah, it was a perfect overcome.

Did you record all the sounds or were there some additional musicians helping you out with the production process?

Yeah i’ve recorded everything, there’s no additional musicians on that first EP. I also choosed to record everything I could perform live. So, in my opinion the first EP can sound at some moments a bit “simple” or a bit “calm” but I choosed to be honest. Hopefully people will understand my choices. All the production (recording/mixing process) was made by my good pal Olivier Cancellieri. Olivier also did a big work on the color and relief of the global sound. It was mastered by François Fanelli another great engineer from here.

Tell us a bit about this mysterious and gloomy atmosphere you’ve created with this debut release. Why so dark?

I wanted to create something sad, that reflects nostalgia, souvenirs … Also my main influence for this first EP was to create music in memory of a friend who past away last year: Maxime Dauga. What better memory than music? Music is timeless, travels through generations … Hopefully this EP will talk to people who didn’t know him, but also our friends, his family, will bring back memories. The EP is a 15 minute long single song, it’s built from 4 different mouvements. They have different colors, meanings. The 3rd one is a sort of introduction to the end. And the 4th one and last one is full of nostalgia, memories, and hope for the future.

How does the experience differ from writing and performingg with the band?

It’s totally different, you’re the only man on board. It’s great because you can do whatever you want. But you miss also having advices and some choices made by your friends. Both are great. But when you’re alone, it’s more intimate. It’s like if you gave a unknown part of yourself. Talking about performance: it’s the worst experience and also the greatest. In 20 minutes of music, you have 2 different, opposite and contradictory feelings. On the few shows i’ve played, I kept telling myself that this was the stupidest decision/idea I had: being alone, and play with your guitar in front of an unknown crowd! My heart is speeding, my fingers are shaking… But at the end you are proud of yourself, it’s like jumping into the void from a cliff. Same feeling!

Can you share some more details on your backgrunds, the time spent in Pakistan? When’s the last time you traveled back there?

My dad, brought my sister, my mom and me in Islamabad, Pakistan when I was 5 years old. We left our little village in Normandy: Ormes near Évreux in 1993. 24 hours after we left France, I was in Pakistan, and didn’t understand anything about what was happening to me. Why people where dressed differently, why people didn’t spoke french, what was this food etc… Four years after that my parents got divorced, my dad continued to travel for his work. My mom had two choices: back to France or stay. I remember her asking me. I choosed to stay. So we stayed 4 more years. In 2001, I was 14 years old. Back in my tiny village in France. I was a bit lost, didn’t saw the same movies, music from the other youth, didn’t have the same taste for food … Just didn’t grew up in the same country/cultures. It was weird. I was a french kid, but inside of me I was not French, not Pakistani, something mixed up! But the good thing about being young, is that you don’t need a lot of time to meet up with friends, and change your habits. My sister started to bring me to punk shows, gave me punk/hardcore Cd’s and I started Skating. An all new world was offered to me!

How has it influenced your work and you as a person?

On my work, I sincerely don’t know. I’m sure in some way it changed me but I don’t know. I keep just having some memories in my head once a week minimum: those landscapes, the people i’ve met there, the flavors etc… As a human, it didn’t changed me, it just made the person I am now! I had the chance to grow with so many different cultures, religions, citizenships, food, landscapes… When I went back to France, I immediately understood that all those experience gave to me an open-minded states of mind.

In terms of this new creative angle you’re taking with this project, which artists and instrumental, ambient post rock records most inspire you? Whose work would you recommend with regard to this kind of music?

Godspeed You! Black Emperor is playing tonight here at a free festival called “Le pointu”, so I think I would totally go for this band. especially that song called “sleep”, I have goosebumps whenever I listen to it. I also love “Mathieu Vandekerckhove” as well as his numerous projects, but I think his project “syndrome” is by far the best thing he worked on. Scott Kelly, Max richter, The eye of time, Thisquietarmy, Have a nice life …

Is there a plan to go back to heavier tunes and continue your work in the emotive post hardcore niche?

I realy don’t know … I allready have a second record ready. I “just” need to practice, set up the riffs, and record it… Witch is a bit of a work actually! I’m thinking of adding a bit of drums, and why not some spoken words. Maybe more, I don’t know? We’ll see how that goes.

Alright Clément, so what are your next steps with BARA BANDAI? Will you playing some live shows in order to take it to another level, break further out of your comfort zone and test yoourself with this new project in live environment?

What I love with that project is that a lot of doors opened to me. So I have the chance to play in a lot of different places. I just did four shows with this project, and those four where completely different: the first one was for a cultural center inaugural night, the second was in a autonomous DIY space, the third was outdoor, and the fourth was in a museum… So yeah I would like to continue to play in different places, meet different people etc… I would love to tour, maybe in the end of this year, or beginning of next year. I would like to have “une nuit sans sommeil” released in a way, so dont hesitate in mailing me if you can help out with this. And of course: record some new music would be the perfect plan!

Great, thanks so much for your time buddy. Feel free to drop your final words and take care!

Thanks again Karol, as always for your support! And yeah hit me up if you have questions, or if you can help me out in a way. Take care!

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