26-year-old Julien Perez was the former frontman of French band Adam Kesher (2007-2011). He writes and sings now in French. His songs are urban, ethereal, nocturnal soundscapes, infused with a sweaty « variété » touch. The way he builds his tracks is tense and sensual, reminding of Christophe and La Perversita lyrics, as much as of Border Community label and Invisible Conga People productions. Perez will release his first EP in 2013 on Dirty. It has been produced by Pilooski (Discodeine, Tristesse Contemporaine), already supported by Laurent Garnier and Tim Sweeney.
Perez – Perez – EP – https://itun.es/i6gC2gW
Thanks to Julien Perez
Pauline / Barclay
My name is Julien Perez and I have been singing under the name Perez for a little more than two years. I have just kept Perez, I thought it sounded better, a bit like « Pepin Le Bref » (Pepin the Short). I used to sing in the band Adam Kesher that was also about pop, but in english.
You’ve gone from a band project to a solo project, though you may never be truly alone. What has marked you the most in this change?
At the end of Adam Kesher, I wanted to quickly go on a new project and do something on my own had become a priority. I could compose in my room, produce a song in one night, no need for rehearsals, coordinate agendas, etc … More fundamentally, the difference is to switch from one mode of collegial and consensual composition to a situation where we are solely responsible for ones choices. It’s a little scary sometimes, but I think it helped me to be more radical artistically.
You’d be willing to reform a band?
I still play in a rock band called Beat Mark. I have no problem playing with other people, we have fun on tour. With Perez, on stage, I’m accompanied by Baptiste and Pierre. So the band is not that far away.
Do you have a favourite time to write? A special atmosphere?
Not really, but to choose from, it’s true that I prefer artificial lights to make music, it works better, it must have something to do with dilated pupils.
How would you describe your relationship with french language?
I feel more legitimate in it than in the English language.
How have you come up with Gamine, your new single?
It’s hard to remember how an idea pops up, but I think it is this word “gamine” (kid) that came to me first, because of the punk band from Bordeaux bearing the same name, and then turning it every way possible I’ve realized that « imagine » was the pseudo-anagram for it, and so on … It turned into a song about desire and its obscure object.
You have a low profound and rather peculiar voice, has this influenced the music you compose?
I’ve never wondered but I try to place my voice most naturally. The problem with this kind of voice is that even though I’d be singing « yellow submarine » I’d still be told that it is a bit « dark ». But I got over it.
The new EP was produced with Jean-Louis Piérot’s help? Did you know him before, did you like his work? How did you meet him?
I met Jean-Louis Piérot through my editor and producer Anne Claverie who’s also been his editor for a long time. I knew he had worked with Etienne Daho on several occasions and on « Fantaisie Militaire » by Bashung. I was to be part of it. It was very rewarding to be by his side.
Was it obvious to you to work with Pierrick Devin you have known for a long time? What did he bring?
Pierrick played in Adam Kesher and produced all the albums. It’s very nice to work with him because we fully understand each other and I know we hear sort of the same things. Moreover, he is an excellent musician, I love watching him nod while playing the bass.
What is the gear you use to produce? Do you have a studio?
I have a sort of home studio. I use a lot of synths, both vintage and current ones. I have a weakness for the Access Virus ti2 and I often get back to my old Juno 6. Otherwise drum machines, samples, a bit of guitar, bass, and percussions. Nothing too unusual, I have a Turkish guitar but I’m terrible playing it and I never managed to use it on a track.
The production of your music is electro oriented, however you sing on your songs. Was it obvious, natural for you to position yourself as a singer?
I have always sung in my previous bands and on this project, the initial idea was to sing in French to be able to go further in writing. So yes, it was obvious. I had more trouble producing music alone at first, I had to adjust myself.
You also work on your album, can you tell us about what to expect, will the feel of the album be the same as in the song ‘Gamine’? Any planned featurings?
There will be no featurings on the record but I would like to do some on isolated pieces, nothing concrete yet. The EP Gamine pretty much reflects the feel of the record, there are very pop stuff that fit into the history of French song, and others much more club like. The new thing for me during the recording of the album was to work with musicians in a studio, which I had not done for my first EP released by D.I.R.T.Y. It opened the spectrum a little. There are even strings at some point. I can die in peace.
What are your records and books of the moment?
The last two books that I really liked are « Sometimes a great notion » by Ken Kesey and « Wilderness » by Lance Weller. I also highly recommend the publications by Mr. Toussaint Louverture who edited the former one, it is an exceptional publishing house. Record wise, the latest James Holden is wicked but it’s been out for a while now. I love the album « New Dawn » by Bobmo. And then I listen in a loop the track « Put your number in my phone » by Ariel Pink who is about to release a new record.
If you had to take five albums on a desert island?
Alain Bashung « Play Blessure » Christophe « Le Beau Bizarre » Pulp « Different Class » Suicide « Suicide » (1977 album) Beach Boys « Surf’s Up »