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Interview VO  (Paris)  vendredi 24 janvier 2014

Nous avions déjà fait une session de Joan As Police Woman lors de la sortie de son précédent album The Deep Field. Et nous en étions repartis le sourire aux lèvres tant Joan Wasser est une personne gentille et disponible. Surtout nous en étions repartis avec une version sublime de "Woman" de John Lenon.

Pas de reprise cette fois-ci pour cette nouvelle session venue illustrée son album The Classic mais toujours ce même sentiment d'être accueillis par une personne hors du commun. Voici deux titres issus de ce nouvel album et une belle interview.

You began to play the violin when you were eight and you played with the Boston University Symphony Orchestra. What do you think is the influence of your classic music education in the music you currently write ?

Joan Wasser : Not sure, it’s hard to know because we used to hear a lot of complicated harmonies, the sounds are probably in my songs, more dense harmonies in the songs. And then also arrangements like… because I played a lot of chamber music. Just the idea of people playing different parts, and then people laying out and the impact they can have when they come back, just the interaction. I think probably that has something to do with it.

You describe yourself as "punk rock R&B" and "American soul music". I think it is quite opposite.

Joan Wasser : That was also eight years ago. That’s ok, that’s fine.

Ok, because listening to your songs, I feel the "soul" aspect is more striking.

Joan Wasser : Yeah, definitively.

Then I wanted to ask you how you manage to combine both. I heard that you had a problem with authority, and thought that maybe that explained "punk rock".

Joan Wasser : Yeah, I mean, I feel more or less, far to that in my life these days. I mean, I have had to learn everything myself, I think that is what I was referring to. If someone tells I shouldn’t do something, then I’ll do it. I had to experience it myself, but then I really learned it. A lot of times there is more pain involved but then the pain definitively teaches me.

When it comes to song writing do you have any literary influence ? Do you read ?

Joan Wasser : I do read. I love good reading. I really love Hemingway.

Have you read the one he wrote about Paris, "A Moveable Feast" ?

Joan Wasser : Oh yeah, he wrote so much about Paris. And also, what’s his name… I just read not so long ago, this trilogy, it’s also about Paris… Henry Miller! I just read Hemingway’s last novel, I mean, it was released posthumously. It’s The Garden of Eden.

I haven’t heard of it.

Joan Wasser : I neither and it’s so beautiful. It’s maybe my favorite one… Check it out, check it out! I love the way he uses words sparsely, he really cuts out words. IA: Simple sentences but always the right word.

Simple sentences but always the right word.

Joan Wasser : That’s what I am going for.

It can sometimes take a long time to find the right word. Is it that way when you write songs ?

Joan Wasser : Yeah, sometimes you have to wait weeks or months for that word to show up. But then it does. It’s incredible. It’s that crazy feeling "why didn’t I think of that two weeks ago". That’s the way sometimes.

What is the process when you write songs? Do you write first lyrics or melody ?

Joan Wasser : I rarely write lyrics first. It’s usually… I sit down at the piano or the guitar and start playing some sort of chord progression that feels good and it reflects how I’m feeling inside. So then words come out better after the music, because that sounds like how I’m feeling. A lot of times, there would be a few words already, like key words that I make sure they let me continue. Even if I’m using sounds for the other part, for some reason there are words that happen at certain places. I can just make phonetic sounds for a while, then words will come like that. I’m not sure how but… I do a lot of, a lot of time I write words that are place holders, that are necessary, that I don’t like. They are words that will not remain but they serve a purpose, so that I can continue or develop the melody. And then I add and re-add, and re-add, and re-add and re-add the words. First I write them and then I get them typed and then I cross them all out, and then I re-type them, and then I have a big pile of papers. Until it feels right.

Then it’s a hard work process.

Joan Wasser : It’s work. It’s a lot of revising, it’s a lot of "well it’s getting closer, now it’s getting closer"… You know ! Shipping away the stuff that didn’t work.

As you said you begin with the melody, do you feel you express yourself better with music than with words or is it just the whole ?

Joan Wasser : I feel it’s like one thing but music comes first for me. Music is just the thing that was there first. I feel sort of moving in that direction: the music, then the melody. The words are also so particular because I have to want to say them in the next years every night. I never leave anything open. If something doesn’t feel right and it’s just “ah well”, no, because I wouldn’t ever want to sing that line, so I make it so that… I just revise until everything feels enough to say it a lot.

I have listened to some of your songs in the studio cover and in a live session, one you did for Froggy’s Delight three years ago. When you play the song acoustically you turn it into something softer and more intimate. Do you feel that too ?

Joan Wasser : Yeah, because it’s just me and an instrument, I don’t have chorus, back-up singers, rhythm section. It’s like the way I originally wrote it: just my voice and an instrument either guitar or piano. So, it’s much more intimate. Also I don’t have to worry about anybody else, communicating with anybody else musically. I can do exactly what I want, slow down...

Then what do you prefer: playing with other musician or by yourself ?

Joan Wasser : Both are good. I’m really looking forward to playing with my band right now. But playing acoustically is also really nice. It reminds me where it comes from.

So, your new album The Classic will be available on March 10th. I was wondering what the meaning of the title is, why "classic". Could you please explain it ?

Joan Wasser : No ! (laughs). There is a number of things. There is the song called "The Classic" on the record and it’s about an ultimate lover, you’re the archetype, you are the classic, it’s like… very grandiose. When I was looking for a title for the record, that was the one that felt the best. I love classic music, my song writing has always been about trying to make my own kind of classic songs. So, that is there. And also it’s fun. So put all that together !

Listening to the album, the lyrics are quite positive. You sing "feels like I made it, made out for all I was hoping for" ("The Classic") and "I’m not here to be the sufferer" ("Shame"). Is that how you feel in this moment of your life ?

Joan Wasser : Yeah, yeah. The love songs weren’t written about anyone in particular. They are written about someone that I imagined meeting in my life. Then the "Shame" song, I wanted to write a song about shame but I didn’t want it to be a bummer, that would be very bad, if it was like (mimics crying). I wrote like almost James Brown because I wanted to put fun at that thing that everybody has holds secretly in a little place inside, but doesn’t tell anyone about it. I started to think of it like poking back to it, like "fuck you, get out of me", and sort of making fun of it, rather than let it have control or power for real.

You said you wrote the song almost like James Brown and I feel that in this new LP you have brought out your R&B influences. "Shame" reminds me of Nina Simone’s "Sinnerman".

Joan Wasser : Wow ! Thank you, that’s great. You couldn’t have complimented me more.

Comparing to songs like "Flash" or "Start of my heart".

Joan Wasser : Yeah, definitively. That music is something that’s extremely important to me and that I love. That music is my favorite music. I let myself do exactly what I wanted in this record.

Do you have any new project in mind, any collaboration for example ?

Joan Wasser : I actually do. I have a band with a collaborator named Benjamin Lazar Davis, and we have a band called 2001, don’t ask me to explain the name because I won’t (laughs)! It is… I’ll try to explain that. It is based on, we based the songs on… There’s this instrument that Pygmies use, like a flute, that they blow but they also sing and it sounds like (imitates the sound). Give me a second! So, those patterns and rhythms are so incredible. We’ve taken parts of those patterns played them on another instrument, guitar, piano, keyboards or something, and looped them and then written songs over them. It sounds very like esoteric or like weird or experimental, and it’s actually not. It’s like the most poppiest music I’ve made and he’s made. We’ve written almost all the record, so we’re gonna record it when I’m home from tour. So that’s my recent collaboration, record coming soon.

The Pygmy thing reminds of an interview where you talked about the Africa Express Program. You assisted to "cyclical reading and clapping". Are both things related ?

Joan Wasser : I mean, in a certain way, yes, certainly. Because the patterns the Pygmy music uses it’s just slightly different than what a regular pop song would use. If I made a song, it wouldn’t have that structure. It’s slightly different and inspires this different feeling. So it’s similar to that, absolutely.

I would like to end with a little detail. I’ve noticed the "sigh" on your guitar and I was curious to know if it has any particular meaning.

Joan Wasser : Oh, the "Sigh", it’s just… (sighs) "sigh", that’s all. I don’t know why it’s on there. I think it’s just an outer portion of emotions. "Sigh"… You know, “sigh” means (sighs), in English at least. That’s all, that’s it, that’s the meaning.

Retrouvez Joan As Police Woman
en Froggy's Session
pour 2 titres en cliquant ici !


A lire aussi sur Froggy's Delight :

La chronique de l'album The Deep Field de Joan as Police Woman
La chronique de l'album The Classic de Joan As Police Woman
La chronique de l'album Let it be you de Joan As Police Woman & Benjamin Lazar Davis
Joan As Police Woman en concert au Festival Les Inrocks 2006
Joan As Police Woman en concert au Festival Le Printemps de Bourges 2007 (jeudi)
Joan As Police Woman en concert à L'Aéronef (mardi 12 juin 2012)
Joan As Police Woman en concert au Café de la Danse (vendredi 21 mars 2014)
L'interview en VO de Joan as Police Woman(15 avril 2008)
L'interview de Joan as Police Woman (15 avril 2008)
L'interview de Joan As Police Woman (vendredi 24 janvier 2014)

En savoir plus :
Le site officiel de Joan As Police Woman
Le Myspace de Joan As Police Woman
Le Facebook de Joan As Police Woman

Crédits photos : Laurent Hini (Toute la série sur Taste of Indie)

Irene Alvarez         
Nouveau Actualités Voir aussi Contact
• A lire aussi sur Froggy's Delight :

• A écouter aussi sur Froggy's Delight :

Joan As Police Woman (27 janvier 2014)
Joan as Police Woman (6 décembre 2010)

# 20 septembre 2020 : Orages ...ô des...espoirs !

Ce bel été indien se termine sur des orages, du tonnerre et des inondations terribles. Décidément 2020 ne nous épargne rien. Dans l'espoir de jours meilleurs et se faire plaisir au milieu de tout cela, voici notre sélection culturelle de la semaine.

Du côté de la musique :

"In and out of the light" de The Apartments
"Chrone EP" de Atrisma
"State of emergency" de Babylon Circus
"Nomadic spirit" de La Caravane Passe
"Règle d'or" de Marie Gold
"Berg, Webern, Schreker" de Orchestre National d'Auvergne & Roberto Forès Veses
et toujours :
"Transience of life" de Elysian Fields
"Cerna vez" de Thomas Bel
"Bandit bandit" de Bandit Bandit
"Twins" de Collectif La Boutique
"Run run run (hommage à Lou Reed" de Emily Loizeau
Emily Loizeau en concert au CentQuatre
"Papillon blanc" de Gabriel Tur
"Dix chansons naturelles et sauvages" de Hugo Chastanet
"Both sides" le spectacle de Jeanne Added au CentQuatre

Au théâtre :

les nouveautés :
"Aux éclats..." au Théâtre de la Bastille
"Onéguine" au Théâtre Gérard Philippe à Saint-Denis
"Surprise parti" au Théâtre de la Reine Blanche
"Mademoiselle Else" au Théâtre de Poche-Montparnasse
"Killing Robots" au Théâtre Paris-Villette
les reprises :
"Marie des Poules" au Théâtre du Petit Montparnasse
"Hector Obalk - Toute l'Histoire de la peinture en moins de deux heures" au Théâtre de l'Atelier
"Trinidad - Pour que tu t'aimes encore" au Studio Hébertot
"Carla Bianchi - Migrando" à la Nouvelle Seine
"Jos Jouben - L'Art du rire" à La Scala
"Mudith Monroevitz" à la Nouvelle Seine
et les spectacles déjà à l'affiche

Expositions :

la nouvelle saison muséale avec "Sarah Moon - PasséPrésent" au Musée d'Art Moderne de Paris
la dernière ligne droite pour "Helena Rubinstein - La collection de Madame" au Musée du Quai Branly
et toujours :
"Le Monde selon Roger Ballen" à La Halle Saint Pierre
"Otto Freundlich - La révélation de l’abstraction" au Musée de Montmartre
"Turner, peintures et aquarelles - Collection de la Tate" au Musée Jacquemart-André
"Harper's Bazaar, premier magazine de mode" au Musée des Arts Décoratifs
"Christan Louboutin - L'Exhibition[niste]" au Palais de la Porte Dorée
"Cézanne et les maîtres - Rêve d'Italie" au Musée Marmottan-Monet
"Monet, Renoir... Chagall - Voyages en Méditerranée" à l'Atelier des Lumières

Cinéma :

en salle :
"Ailleurs" de Gints Zilbalodis
at home :
"Caramel" de Nadine Labaki
"Tomboy" de Céline Sciamma
"Peur" de Danielle Arbid
"La Cour de Babel" de Julie Bertucelli
"La Bataille de Solférino" de Justine Triet

Lecture avec :

clickez ici pour Notre sélection des livres de la rentrée mais aussi

"De soleil et de sang" de Jérôme Loubry
"Fin de combat" de Karl Ove Knausgaard"
"KGB" de Bernard Lecomte et "Napoléon, dictionnaire historique" de Thierry Lentz
"La danse du vilain" de Fiston Mwanza Mujila
"Louis XIV, roi du monde" de Philip Mansel
et toujours :
"Apeirogon" de Colum McCann
"Ce lien entre nous" de David Joy
"Dans la vallée du soleil" de Andy Davidson et "Les dynamiteurs" de Benjamin Whitmer
"Ensemble, on aboie en silence" de Gringe
"Hourra l'Oural encore" de Bernard Chambaz
"Mes fous" de Jean-Pierre Martin et "Et si on arrêtait de faire semblant" de Jonathan Franzen

Froggeek's Delight :

"A short hike" sur Windows, Mac, Linux, Switch

Toute la semaine des directs jeux vidéo, talk show culturel, concerts en direct sur la FROGGY'S TV

Bonne lecture, bonne culture, et à la semaine prochaine.

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