Daven Keller has a brand new album coming out next month called “Reaction C.” This French pop artist (pop doesn’t begin to cover it) has been, over the last decade or so, busy producing records of astonishing breadth and finesse.
“Reaction C” will have you pleasantly bewildered and isn’t that the expected reaction?
Reaction C is out now on iTunes
h6>Thanks to Daven Keller
Patricia Tavares De Oliveira
Hello. I have been living in Paris for 20 years now. So this is where I am writing to you!
You have a new album coming out next month named “Reaction C”, a quite unclassifiable record, how would you go about describing it?
Reaction C is a pop album, which is sung, where I wanted to explore different styles of songs. To me each title seems to have its own identity, but is still connected to others, partly, through my voice and, rather serious, tone, which allows a homogeneous album in the end.
Your last two records are called “Reaction A” and “Reaction B”, what does the word “Reaction” mean to you, and how is it relevant to your creative process?
Indeed, Reaction C is part of a series started in 2008 with Reaction A and followed by Réaction B in 2012.
Apart from the fact that the word « reaction » is an anagram of « Creation » my intention was to find a generic term (the word « Response ») that would link the albums together. Still, I thought it would be appropriate to differentiate them by a letter because each project has its own identity: Réaction A is a sung pop album, Réaction B a totally instrumental based on a string quartet album and Réaction C a return to pop. Réaction D will probably be an instrumental album.
Your records are packed with a wide variety of atmospheres; each song has its own feel, is its own experience, how do you produce these songs, how do you sequence them, do they react off of each other?
It is true that each track has its own identity. In general, I like eclectic records as much as homogeneous ones but for Réaction C, I wanted to play with the styles of music that I liked at the time of making the album, and this way, go to an all-dimension album just like a kind of puzzle, where each piece has its place but is interacting with other pieces to ultimately form a coherent and readable whole. So I did produce the songs constantly keeping this setting in mind.
What were some of the ideas or desires behind “Reaction C”? What does it aim at?
There is no « goal » like in the « purpose » sense of the term in my records, except the pleasure and the desire to go where I think I’ll have fun and explore new lands. It seems to me that underlying any artistic project (and this applies to all artistic disciplines) there is what I call a « gesture », an intention, an intuition on which we will build something. This raw material is going to be reworked and kneaded until reaching a form that suits us. In all cases, it’s all about a repeated action but that is never identical to the previous one and is even often in contradiction with it. Nevertheless, and in all cases, it is a response, hence the name of my records.
You’ve collaborated with great French pop artists, you’ve composed movie soundtracks, what have you learned from these experiences?
Obviously, you learn a lot by working on diverse and varied projects and alongside other artistic « actors ». Each project and each personality being different, it is clearly a real source of enrichment.
Nevertheless, true is that I love the opportunity (and the luxury) to be able to focus on my own projects because it allows me a great ability to concentrate on what I’m doing.
Can you name some of your influences, musical or otherwise? Any current musicians you would like to collaborate with?
Even if it is commonplace to say, I think that every artist combines many influences as it cannot be otherwise and that’s fine.
As far as I am concerned, I listen to musics from such different eras, by such unique personalities that I wish I had more capacity to synthesize all that but it is true that the so-called « classical » music is my home. I discovered the Beatles when I was 18, which is very late, I have to admit. However, I was absolutely blown away when I discovered their albums and they are mainly the ones who gave me the desire to write in the pop format. At the same time, I think the Lieds by Schumman are also songs, so in the end, everyone has got something out of it!
In the studio, are you easy or demanding?
In the studio I’m pretty demanding, but especially towards myself as most of the time I do recordings on my own. I love this intimacy with my music even though it is not always easy! I am a rather solitary person so it’s all very logical. Sometimes I really envy the band concept but I have learned to live with it: it’s not for me, at least not for now !!
You’ve been active for a little over a decade, how has your music evolved since your debut album? And can we talk about evolution or should we say experimentation?
Above all I hope to progress from record to record. Again I do not think in terms of trends or experiments, but in terms of experience.
A piece of advice for up and coming artists?
Always follow your intuitions.