An Auditory Adventure in Paris
An Auditory Adventure in Paris
Paris is the auditory adventure of two longtime friends, who first met as kids at school in their hometown Bouffémont which is located around 10 miles north of the French capital Paris – and have been working on music together and apart since that time. This is the story of Frédéric Dechavanne and Sébastien Montet, who who have just released their 3rd album entitled 50/50 via AOR Heaven. Produced by the one and only Steve Newman of Newman/Compass fame, 50/50 by Paris is jam-packed with rapturous songs that melodic rock fans will want to revisit time and again. Highwire Daze recently caught up with the two creators of Paris to find out more about their absolutely sweeping artistry. Read on..
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Paris, and how long the band has been together.
Frédéric: Hi, my name is Frederic, but you can call me Fred, I’m a songwriter for PARIS and the lead singer.
Sébastien: And I am Seb, songwriter and guitar player for PARIS. I programmed and played the keyboards as well in most of the songs. We’ve been friends since a very young age and we both started making music at 14 or 15 years old so I guess that’s when it all started. But the PARIS project really kicked off about 10 years ago when Fred decided to record an album with our songs.
Where is the band based out of and what is the music scene like there?
Sébastien: The band is actually only the two of us. I live in Paris and Fred lives in Germany, near Hamburg. Melodic Rock is not that big around here. Heavy Metal and Pop have a much larger fanbase and we try to survive in the middle.
Frédéric: We grew up right next to the city of Paris so it will always be our town and even though I’ve been spending most of my life on foreign soil I will always be a Parisian. Now if you look at the producers and the guest musicians on all 3 albums we released so far, it is more a European than a French project.
How did you wind up signing with AOR Heaven?
Frédéric: We’ve been in contact with Georg Siegl from AOR Heaven since the Demo Album that led to our first LP Only One Life. Then, while recording the album, we made a deal with another label from Germany that had ties with Producer Alessandro Del Vecchio over the first Lionville album.
Sébastien: Our second LP The World Outside was released on Australia-based Label Melodic Rock Records. We submitted our new songs to Georg, who has worked with Steve Newman, and I guess he really liked the result. The fact that Fred lives in Germany may have made it a bit easier too.
Is there any overall story or concept behind the album title 50/50?
Frédéric: Seb came up with the idea for the cover that was designed by our friend Arnaud Léger who makes artwork for Bill Champlin and many other artists from Nashville, and I woke up one day with 50/50 in mind. The main reason is because we equally share the songwriting, the arrangements of the songs, the production costs… and hopefully the big profits that are coming as well! And then we both turned 50 last year.
Sébastien: Now the funny thing is, and I swear we didn’t make it on purpose, the album has a total duration of 50 minutes and 50 seconds. At least that’s what a reporter from Germany told us, but we actually didn’t check it out!
Select two songs from 50/50 and what inspired the lyrics.
Frédéric: I guess this is a question for me. Let me talk about the 2 singles Breathe In, Breathe Out and Touch Me (With Your Eyes). Seb wrote the music for these 2 songs and he usually has a title in mind going with every pieces of music he creates. Then I make up a story with it. Breathe In, Breathe Out is about taking and giving, the only way to make a relationship work. We wrote Touch Me (With Your Eyes) at first for the great Norwegian singer Issa. The song is about the respect that every woman deserves and not just to be seen as a sexual object. I’m not sure she ever listened to the song back then but we loved it so much that we decided to have it on the album. I just needed to make a few changes on the lyrics as it was supposed to be sung by a woman originally.
What has it been like working with Steve Newman on this album as well as on your previous album The World Outside?
Sébastien: Steve is not only a master at making an album sound huge, he’s a great human being, he really is: kind, patient, hard working…
Frédéric: He is a natural fit for our music, it’s as simple as that and like Seb says, he is very easy to work with. It’s only a shame that we haven’t had a chance to get together since the Covid-19 outbreak.
Robert Säll from Work Of Art and W.E.T. also appears on this album. How did Robert become involved with the making of 50/50?
Sébastien: It is such a thrill to have Robert again on the album. I just love it. Robert plays a guitar solo on every album of PARIS, ain’t that something? We met with Robert for the first time one year before Only One Life in Nottingham, England, during the Firefest Festival, and I fly to Stockholm every now and then for an live event that he is part of. It’s always great to have a beer (or two) and talk about music with Robert!
What has it been like to write and record new music in the middle of a worldwide pandemic and so much social unrest in the world?
Sébastien: The songs on the album were actually written before the start of the pandemic and 99% of the album was already recorded when it all started. The lockdown in England didn’t allow Steve Newman and Dave Bartlett to get together at Steve’s studio for the recording of the Backing Vocals. And then Steve had a couple of projects with due dates so the release of the album had to be delayed a bit, but that’s okay.
Frédéric: Because we all spend more time at home, the songwriting has been flourishing… Seb keeps sending me new music every week, and it all sounds awesome, I just can’t keep up with his pace (Lol)!!!
Your first album Only One Life you worked with Alessandro Del Vecchio of Hardline and Sunstorm. What was that experience like, and do you still keep in touch with him?
Sébastien: Ale is simply amazing, he lives for the music 24/7. We spent 3 weeks with him at his brand new studio then in 2012 and to think about the all great artists that recorded there afterwards is just amazing.
Frédéric: I went to visit Ale in Italy a few years ago and we saw each other again in Hamburg, Germany, when he performed there with Hardline. He’s a very busy man but we always have a great time together whenever possible.
Would Paris like to tour in support of 50/50 after the pandemic comes to an end?
Frédéric: To be honest with you, we don’t think it’s gonna happen… the tour, I mean!!! You’ve got to understand that PARIS has no band structure. We are songwriters before all and the goal at the very beginning was to build a platform for our songwriting. We never really considered playing live.
If Paris could open for any band either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
Sébastien: Well if any fantasy is allowed in your question, instead of opening for a band, I imagine ourselves in the audience during a “Tribute to PARIS” show and see all the great bands perform our songs!!! There’d be Def Leppard, Journey, Winger, Work of Art,… Please don’t wake me up just yet (lol)!!
Are you currently involved with any other bands or projects outside of Paris?
Frédéric: Not really. We are in the process of writing and arranging new material if we decide to bring album #4 to the market. A lot will depend on the success of 50/50. The feedback has been very positive so far but you know how it is, it’s become harder and harder to sell music.
What do you hope the rest of 2021 brings for Paris and for the music community in general?
Sébastien: Health of course, to everyone around the world. We are proud to bring some joy to our fans that have been waiting for a new PARIS for almost 5 years now, it’s great but… it’s only rock n’ roll. Hopefully it all returns to normal soon, without the fear of getting sick. Melodic Rock or A.O.R. is at a good place at the moment. Many great records being released now would have turned classics if released 20 or 30 years ago, like the new W.E.T. for instance.
Any final words of wisdom?
Frédéric: I think Seb just said it all: stay healthy everyone, have fun and live life!
(Interview by Ken Morton)
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