Published at 7:00 am.
Daniel Belanger’s new album, due out Friday, has a kind of post-pandemic air calling. A breath we feel from the first song, In the wind of ideasThe instrumental finale, which stretches over a minute, heralds well what is to come in the following nine.
“My idea was not to make an album about the epidemic,” the singer explains, “but my clothes smell of the epidemic. Code Jeans the day after the fire. »
Wednesday in May A cozy bubble, songs with aerial textures, stretching musical bridges, singers’ voices amplified to infinity, two instruments… If Daniel Belanger was a “lucky” survivor of the epidemic – “I didn’t lose anyone close, I didn’t fire anyone, I continued to work in my studio” – He mentions that he may have escaped from music.
“In a song like Sunrise, we walk, get some fresh air… Long instrument pieces to remind us that this place exists. And we can be in it. »
“Life is beautiful, but sometimes hard,” he sings Sleep in the car. A sentence that seems to sum it all up nicely.
It’s true that he loves the album. He loves light. But it is still difficult.
We meet Daniel Belanger at the offices of his new record label, Secret City Records (Patrick Watson, Chloe Belcock). After 30 years of loyalty, his brother Michael gave birth to the box, Audiogram, as chairman and co-founder.
“It’s been 30 years and it’s a good reason to leave. I think I broke a world record! “, begins the singer-songwriter, confirming that his departure has nothing to do with selling Audiogram to Quebecers in 2021. “Even if Audiogram is in Quebec, I’m happy to be in Quebec, even if, for example, Sony Japan isn’t. But it’s time to shuffle the cards a bit. »
Daniel Belanger rediscovers the “freshness” of Audiogram’s opening in Secret City. This is how, at the age of 60, he opened a TikTok account, in which he gradually revealed the first extract of the album. I hear everything playing in your head. The strategy is a huge success and seems to please him. “A guy from the club offered it to me. I said, “OK, I’ll give you the content, you take care of the editing and distribution.” I’m doing it on my scale. »
Days before the album’s release, Daniel Belanger is happy and relaxed. “I haven’t felt any pressure for a long time. I present my things and the one who loves me follows me. »
Four years apart PalomaAn album of original songs released in 2016, Instrumental monitoring (2020) After that, he has also composed the music for the film Confessions Luc Picard wrote and published an anthology of poetry, Heavy weights, launched at the end of August. The experience enchanted him. “It’s as good for me as my instrumental album. Poetry is complete freedom, within few constraints. You don’t have to worry about the fitter in tune… but you have to fit something else! »
Revising his texts with a teacher, discussing the merits of a word, all this stimulated him greatly. “It’s one of the best cases I’ve had in years and it’s proof that he still has things to learn.
You must be curious. Youth is important, but don’t try, you’ll grow old. When interested, you can hold it, nurture it, hold it, protect it. That brings you closer to being young.
In the song, Daniel Belanger is “more confident” and less in need of an outside perspective: he works alone in his studio, without a director, playing all the instruments, only bringing in musicians at the last stage – in this case, Guillaume Doiron on bass and Robbie Guster on drums.
“When you reach your tenth, each new album is part of the whole, a sculpture that sticks with the rest. I’m not saying I know the song, but I know mine. I have a lot of notes, I know what I did, what I like to do, what I don’t like…”
Where Wednesday in May In carving? “For now it’s a big lump of earth! “He laughs. “Here I am in my head and in my heart. »
Last year we celebrated the 20th anniversary of his debut album Best dreamMany new songs Wednesday in May Guide us to it. Is it the effect of talking too much? “I want to be free,” he replied. Don’t create reactively Best dream There is no restriction of “fighting for or against” as he has long done. “I want to make the album that I want to make now. I want to be who I am. »
However, he wanted to bring back the synths as they were 20 years ago and wanted to mix acoustics and keyboards. “There are also memories of OMT or Tanitha Dikar’s synths from my youth. I have bases like that and they’re just poupoum, poupoum… a push. »
We are far from the heavy rhythm of Paloma. “Yes, he was more crunchy. The beat here is like the steady step of a walk. He smiles. “And no stationary bike! »
Daniel Belanger claims the same freedom in writing lyrics, which he improvises on audio rather than on paper. “Instead of crossing out a sentence, I erase it and say another one. It’s the same job, but more intuitive and seamless. ” Conclusion: Her texts have a rich vocabulary, with titles that include words such as wind, sun, joy, stars, flowers.
I’m trying to simplify rather than…simplify. There is a lot of prejudice against simplicity, as if it doesn’t work.
Simplify, reduce complexity, direct: that’s what he’s looking for. ” Insomniacs Will be my most complex album. I love poetry and I wanted people to understand that I am capable of writing it. I sought approval. Today I try to communicate. »
The singer is expected to hit the road again in the spring. He rediscovered his taste for performances in the summer, when he shared the stage with Half Moon Run at the Festival d’Day de Quebec, and during a memorable concert at the La Nozé Festival in Saguenay. “There was too Body movement. That’s something! »
Daniel Bélanger may still be one of those rare Quebec artists who has transcended generations, but the reception he’s received over the past few years has surprised him. “At MTelus Paloma, the girls were on their friends’ shoulders! I, my God, I’m not going to live to be 95, what will they do to me! »
Wednesday in May
Secret City Records
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