Interview: Florent Simon

Hello. We were captivated by your song “The Ether”. What is the story behind the song and how did you create/write it? Also, what inspired the song title?
Thank you so much! This song is my first collaboration with French guitarist and producer Jean-Pascal Boffo. Actually, it is my first collaboration ever, so it was quite exciting to write. The story is quite simple: I met Jean-Pascal in July 2020 when I recorded my debut album. I chose his studio because everyone told me we would get along musically…And they were absolutely right. As a prolific composer, he is used to featuring guest singers on his albums and he sent me this guitar part that I instantly loved. So I fiddled with it for a few weeks, trying to find the right words and melody. “There is no door to enter the ether” was the line that triggered the lyrics, which actually is a digression over a line that I plucked from a book I was reading at that time (La casa nel vicolo by early 20th century Sicilian novelist Maria Messina).

The ethereal and fleeting quality of the word seemed to fit the smooth arpeggios and poignant chord progression in Jean-Pascal’s composition. So I pulled the thread and tried to patch up visual impressions, as I often do in my own songs. Then I went back to the studio for what was supposed to be a demo but a few hours later, the whole song was edited, recorded, and mixed!

We’ve watched the music video that accompanies the song. What inspired the video and what ideas went into making it? Is there a message that the video carries too?
I don’t think there is any message (I hope Jean-Pascal will agree here). We just wanted to shoot a live performance in an inspiring place. And this coffee shop in Metz, France, has a beautiful atmosphere, matching that of the song.
But maybe the one statement we can draw from the video is this: please, let us return to a world where we can play live music to a real crowd without any cameras on…

If you had to describe your sound, how would you do so? Furthermore, what artists (or other sources) do you cite as influences?
I’m usually into folk and indie folk kind of sounds with a touch of classical influences.

Jean-Pascal comes from progressive rock but has managed to blend a lot of influences in his music. Over time, it seems his music has equally touched upon the land of World music, folk, pop, jazz, ambient, film music…Actually, the man can play anything!

But for this particular song, would folk pop be alright, haha?

What have been career highlights so far? And what is on your bucket list that you’d want to achieve?
No doubt the launching of my debut album “The birds are back” in November 2020.

On my bucket list, you can find a second album, a few more collaboration as this one (we are currently working on a second song), and bringing this debut album on tour.

Jean-Pascal has so many musical highlights it would be tough to list here!
I know he would say: his work with legendary French prog rock band “Ange”, and his splendid album “Vol d’oiseau”, with an impressive list of guest singers.

If you could be the main support for any living artist, who would that be for and why? Alternatively, what would be your dream live booking?
Oh, I would need a few hundred pages to answer that one! I’ll try and keep it short.

I would love to open for Sufjan Stevens. And Fleet Foxes. And if the slot is already taken, then, yeah Scott Matthews or Patrick Watson. And also Leif Vollebekk, Rufus Wainwright, Villagers, Adriane Lenker, Tiny Ruins, …argh…please stop me…!!!

Dream live booking would be to play the Union Chapel in London. Anyway you could help make this happen? Haha!

What artists have you been listening to? Additionally, who should others be listening to?
You should listen to Anglo-Italian singer-songwriter Piers Faccini. All of his albums are fantastic but his latest one, “Shapes of the fall” is an absolute gem. He is my number one influence.

Lately I’ve been listening a lot to the album “Bonny Light Horseman” by the eponymous band who revisits folk tunes. It is brilliant.

I’m in love with Adriane Lenker’s solo album “Songs” and This is the kit’s “Off off on”.

Jean-Pascal also introduced me to the work of Madison Cunningham. Her voice is mesmerizing and everything she touches instantly turns to gold. Flawless, from her original work to her covers.

Florent Simon: Facebook | Instagram

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