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From Jacques Higelin to Kanye West, the youthful airs of Hervé


Hyperactive and extroverted child, he adored merry Breton street shows and going to the Huma party with his father. The 29-year-old singer from Yvelines was fed, thanks to his parents and his big brother, from Dire Straits, Renaud, the Beatles or Daft Punk. Before, teenager, to touch the keyboard …

Where did you spend your childhood and in what environment?
I grew up in the Parisian suburbs, in Fontenay-le-Fleury, between Versailles and Trappes. My parents separated before I was born. I have two half-brothers, one of whom was ten years older than me, with whom I lived, and a half-sister. We lived in a residence of about twenty buildings, all the same. I was a hyperactive and outgoing child, I had a lot of friends at the soccer club, where I played for ten years, until I was 16.

Very good pupil in primary school, I started to get bored from the sixth to finally give up the lessons in high school. I worked part time in my best friend’s multiservice box. We repaired the site and moved. At the same time, I obtained a bac ES option political science as a free candidate, a little to please my mother. Fontenay is a very urban city, at the border of two worlds: on one side Versailles, a very rich right-wing town, and on the other Trappes, rather popular, which allowed me, as a teenager, to meet people from completely different cultures and social backgrounds.

Did your parents listen to music?
Music was something I shared with my dad instead. He was passionate about Breton, Irish and Scottish music. My parents met on Dire Straits, which really rocked my childhood on both sides. My mother listened to relatively little music. I remember Cat Stevens whom she adored, Charlebois, Jacques Higelin and the record Renaud sings Brassens that she was vacuuming. I think the only concert she’s seen (apart from mine now) was Jacques Higelin’s at the Grand Rex. She still talks to me about it! There were often parties at the house, she loved to dance, especially on Louis Prima records. I discovered pop music thanks to my brother who one day brought home a Beatles tape given to him by his best friend’s sister. We have listened to it on repeat for years.

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“I was touched by the childish nature of the themes of ‘Tombé du ciel’, as simple as they are effective”

What’s your favorite childhood song?
I would say Fell from the sky, by Jacques Higelin. First, for some reason I still can’t explain, I thought the skydiver in the album cover photo was my dad. I also liked this song because I felt a lot of joy while listening to it. Looking back, I think I was touched by the childish nature of its themes, as simple as they are effective, which remind me of the melodies of Pierre and the Wolf, by Prokofiev. Maybe Jacno’s pop production appealed to me as well. Teenager, I was fascinated by the album Discovery Daft Punk, and especially by the song Voyager. When I was little, I must have seen the clip on television and the teenage replay was daunting. As I began to compose music on the computer, my keener listening made me measure the genius of the group.

What is the first concert you attended?
A very politically engaged activist, my father took me to various demonstrations from an early age. Among them, the festival of Huma, to which we went every year. Thanks to photos, I can tell you that I saw Jacques Higelin there when I was 5 years old. I also remember the street performances in the town of Morlaix, where I was the conductor in the middle of the crowd of people in make-up dancing. I loved these festive atmospheres, the fireworks, the wading birds shows. As a teenager, the first concert I bought tickets for was that of Kanye West in Bercy. He was playing his album Graduation. The staging was completely crazy. Standing on a huge moon crater, he asked an alien projected onto a giant screen to confirm that he was indeed the best musician and human being in the world. There was also a tactile floor as in Saturday Night Fever. Every song was a hit. At the time, he was not yet married to Kim Kardashian.

Did you learn music as a child?
I was a hypersensitive child and as I cried as soon as I heard the piano, at the age of 8 my mother enrolled me in the Fontenay music school. Just as my dyscalculia caused problems in mathematics, I failed to understand the logic of the instrument and of music theory. I quit after two years and finally got back to it when I was 16. I bought a keyboard for 100 euros at the Leclerc supermarket in Bois-d’Arcy. I took lessons with a friend who taught me chords that I photographed in my head to reproduce them at home. But the most important thing was that I could check in. So I installed free music software on my computer. I wanted to make sounds, find my identity, compose for my friends who rap on it.

“I always preferred to listen to the instrumentals, the B sides of the songs”

Little by little, the people of the neighborhood started to hear from me and to come to the house to listen and write on my instruments. When I was 17, accompanying a friend to the Planete Sun studio in Puteaux, I met Sec.Undo who took me under his wing. We saw each other regularly for two years for working sessions, before he moved to Switzerland. At the same time, I discovered electronic music. After a few years of work and research, I met Dennis, an Englishman. We worked in the studio, we set up a band and then a label in England.

Do you remember the first song you wrote?
I always preferred to listen to the instrumentals, the B sides of the songs. Even though I have always loved to write, it was not a need and the desire to express myself in words came very late. That being said, I remember writing a text about the instrumental of Jackpot 2000, of 113. I must have been 10 or 11 years old. But I don’t remember the lyrics at all!



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