Les Fragments de la Nuit
Interview with Michel Villar
How and when did Les Fragments de la Nuit got together and how did you, initially, meet?
Les Fragments de la Nuit appeared in 2005. At first we were just two members (Ombeline and I). At this time, as we were composing score music for films, we met some musicians during the studio-recordings and, afterwards, we began to perform with them live for directors. The musicians were very enthusiastic to take part of a quintet line-up. Actually, the band is Ombeline Chardes (violin I), Sandrine Mazzucco (violin II), Aurore Moutomé (violin II), Ian-Elfinn Rosiu(cello) and Michel Villar (piano).
Your sound combines the rigour and solemnity of classical music, with the atmosphere and occasional tone of film scores. How did that synergy surface? What are your musical backgrounds prior to this project?
Ombeline and I did a complementary work. She came from classical music and I came from a Rock, Metal and Hard Core trip, in which I practised drums (even today). As my first instrument was the piano, one day we decided to play our emotions (both of us); it was like fragments we composed during the night and that’s why we called the band Les Fragments de la Nuit.
Your debut, Musique du Crépuscule, features an intriguing, mystic and enveloping melancholy of sorts, like a perfect soundtrack for sundowns. How did the creative process developed? Consequently, how was it to collaborate and record with your fellow musicians?
Our musicians are now in hold of the spirit of Les Fragments de la Nuit; they know our intentions and they appreciate them. We’re always working on the right interpretation to play the tracks and, when we think that this mystic spirit is controlled by everybody, then we perform the songs live. For the concerts, we experiment the perceptions of the audience, then we have the good feedback to develop our new compositions, and that’s why it works when we record the new tracks.
The vocals that emerge from within the record’s fragments sound rather atypical. Was this intentional or did it happen involuntarily? Will you ever experiment with lyrics and proper singing on future efforts?
We wanted the vocals to sound like an instrument; actually, it’s always our choice. We just want to deliver a musical message, so that’s why there are no lyrics. Everybody is at the same level to form the harmony of Les Fragments de la Nuit.
There seems to be a rather dreamlike, utopian feel throughout the record, as well as some sort of vague despondency. Where do you take inspiration, or influences, from, and do you often recur to your mind’s eye to create?
Composing, for us, is like having a fantastic view and perception of the night. Some tracks are inspired from dreams, souvenirs and, for sure, we associate music to pictures when we compose. For the audience, we think it’s better for it to have its own interpretation and let the imagination work just with the notes. We have a lot of influences from music to cinema and paintings or literature, so we make a synthesis of that to create. We think that, in each people, the part of dreams and nightmares are dissimulated, so that’s when we have to provoke it by the music.
What sort of film genres, and other artistic sources of creativity, do you dwell upon?
Great question! We could talk about that during an entire afternoon, but I can tell you that our favourites are David Cronenberg and David Lynch, as their universes are so intense and “oniric”, and they are independent, so nobody tells them what they have to do. Paul Thomas Anderson is also a great director, as his sensibility explodes in all of his pictures. We also like horror and drama pictures. Our Russian master could be Tarkovski (Solaris is definitely a masterpiece).
Musique du Crépuscule was released last summer by Portugal’s Equilibrium Music. What prompted you to work with them? And have you ever visited Portugal?
We worked with Equilibrium Music because the human feeling corresponded to our own feeling. Naturally, we accepted to work both for this album and the record’s feedback has been very good.
We’re waiting to go to Portugal, although we’re not sure when. Equilibrium Music has proposed it to us and we’re waiting for coming. We would certainly be very excited to do the trip and we’d make a special concert to honour this moment.
What are your plans for the future?
For the future, we’re preparing the second album and we’d like to release it this Autumn. In April we’re going to Germany for a week to tour and in June we’ll play in the fantastic Castle of Chambord, in France. There are a lot of projects, but you can check all the news in our MySpace to keep yourself informed.
Thanks for your interest and support. Music is everything in our desolated life.
Les Fragments de la Nuit