Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Interview with LeClair, singer, composer, multi-intrumentalist, producer

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Here's a bit about Stephane, taken from his Myspace profile (http://www.myspace.com/stephaneleclair):
"Being a music lover with eclectic tastes, Le Clair experimented in many different musical styles,from funk to experimental progressive Jazz, and beyond. He also did some dj work, and remixed songs for pop music icons DURAN DURAN which frontman Simon Lebon and guitarist Warren Cuccurullo (also from Frank Zappa/Missing Persons) both really loved and talked about using as a b-side material on their next single to be released from their experimental Medazzaland album (unfortunately no other single was ever released from that album since the band parted from EMI records shortly after that). Conversations with Simon and Warren gave Le Clair the boost he needed to focus even more on his own songwriting,resulting in the recording of many very personal acoustic/alternative tracks about life,love,women,sex,war, & peace. Le Clair is a vegetarian,and tries to support as much as possible the following causes: Amnesty International,The One Campaign,Peta (+ other animal rights groups),and other ones against hate, racism,human trafficking,homophobia,& child labor."

Stephane's interview:

[DDTTRH]: What contribution do you feel Duran Duran has offered the music industry over the past 32 years (since their formation in 1978)?
[LeClair]: A huge contribution which is still palpable today,and a pretty diverse one musically speaking. They've managed to record 12 totally different albums,reinventing their sound and creating something new every single time,which is not an easy task. I mean,in the mid eighties,Duran was the biggest band in the world, and instead of repeating the same safe recipe that made them rich & famous,these music lovers went for exploring new musical territories,and taking risks (and I take my hat off to them for having the balls to do that and succeeding so well in doing it).

Many kids today like the band's earlier stuff and don't give a sh** about the videos,the image,or whatever. They just like Duran’s music because these are great pop songs that have aged very well...and by the way (& coming from a musician’s point of view),playing some of Duran’s material is harder than many people would think (I even saw Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl admitting that on youtube lately). Some of their songs have complex structures and unusual chord progressions,and feature ambitious bass lines,virtuoso guitar playing (the Cuccurullo years),unorthodox creative synth work,and pretty high perched vocals.
They influenced a lot of other artists in the eighties,and still do today. I mean,without Duran, bands like The Killers,Franz Ferdinand,The Bravery,Keane,White Lies,just to name a few of them,would certainly sound very different.

[Kirk, DDTTRH]: What is your favorite Duran Duran video and song?
[LeClair]: Now that is a very hard one to answer,and honestly I can't just name one of them (that would be like asking me for only one great Beatles or Bowie song,when we both know they got plenty of great songs)...so I'll give you,let's say...2 favourite videos (I don’t care that much about videos anyway),and 5 fave songs. That is the shortest number I can give you from such a diverse and rich catalogue.

Songs: 1. Ordinary World (they should be inducted in the Hall Of Fame just for writing this one,it is one of the best ballads ever written).

2.The Chauffeur : Because this one doesn't sound like any other songs ever made,which is rare. I adore the infectious ocarina melody in The Chauffeur, and 30 years later,the song has kept every single cell of its uniqueness and appeal. Like most of their songs,The Chauffeur has brilliantly stood the test of time.

3. Come Undone : There is something comforting in the beautiful melody of this one. Perfect bittersweetness and melancholy. And from a songwriter/producer point of view ,Come Undone might be the only song featuring that overused drum loop of the 90’s that still sounds fresh today. One of their best melodies ever.

4. Skin Trade (album version,not the single edit) : To me,this is one of Duran’s musical peak. A Prince/Stones influenced black track that I absolutelly love. The structure of the song,the chords,and of course that amazing trumpet solo during the bridge...I mean,this really is music man! Produced by funk master Nile Rodgers and taken from one of my favourite D2 albums. Another quite unique song from The Fab 3 (then).

5.Lady Xanax : Duran has many musical faces,and the one I love the most, obviously considering my choices, is that rich, darker,intellectual one. Lady Xanax is a good example how rich and how far musically Duran can go. This could almost be a Pink Floyd or Radiohead song. Nothing commercial or pop in this one. A less known gem taken from the alternative/glam Pop Trash album.

Bonus Track (lol)Save A Prayer (album version,again not the single edit) : Masters of melody since the beginning. I love the intro,the bass line,the whole ambiance of it really...a true eighties classic, and always a special moment during a Duran live show.

Favorite videos: 1.Girls On Film (uncensored) : I just happen to love ice...a lot.2.Perfect Day : I like the colors and textures of this one,it is visually stunning. I love the flower throwing thing contrasting with the words “destroy” and “hate”. (not to mention that they did an amazing job covering Lou Reed).

[Kirk, DDTTRH]: Has Duran Duran inspired you as a singer/songwriter? Tell us how!

[LeClair]: Their pop sensibility,and well crafted melodies certainly influenced me, like many other artists that I love who succeeded in creating something new & unique: Prince,Peter Gabriel,Radiohead,David Sylvian,David Bowie,The Velvet Underground,The Police,The Beatles,The Stones,Massive Attack,Daniel Lanois,U2,Björk,etcetera.[DDTTRH]: What are your plans for the future…anything you would like to share?[LeClair]: Well...one of my older songs “New York In Smoke” was released a couple of months ago on itunes and other online music stores. I’m planning on putting many other tracks out there,and hopefully end up with a few albums of original material...I sure have plenty of diverse material that needs mixing and mastering since I’ve been doing this for many years. Music is my life! I’ll also keep supporting Amnesty International,Peta & other animal rights group,The One Campaign,and such. Trying to make this world a better place is important to me. As a citizen of this planet,I feel it is my responsibility to try to do something against injustice of any kind. ..oh,and getting that band from Birmingham into the rock n roll hall of fame ,of course. ;.)

Thanks Kirk,answering your questions was a real treat.

To hear Stephane’s music (and a message Simon Le Bon left on his machine when he did remixes for the band in the past), join his brand new page on facebook :
http://www.facebook.com/pages/LeClair/18951943148
Or visit his Myspace page:
www.myspace.com/stephaneleclair


Please follow DDTTRH on Twitter!  @DDTTRH

1 comment:

  1. great stuff and i LOVE The Chauffer too one of MANY songs I love by DD~

    ReplyDelete