Whether Aimee is a phenomenon album, its monumental tour is just as much. Julien Doré dresses his questions with lightness and invites us into his nature baths, between beach and mountain, to better talk to us about “Us”. Invitation to an ocher and dazzling summer.
By Gilda Benjamin
Since his return to the Cévennes, his native region, Julien Doré has found his balance: as a man, as a father, as an artist. What animate it with a tenfold energy on stage. Belgium, with which he has a long friendship, will still be able to realize this on August 6 at the Ronquières Festival and on December 11 at Forest National.
Paris Match. How to keep the energy after so many months of concerts?
Julien Dore. The summer festivals are like the open-air extension of a tour started in February where I present a show designed as extremely solar, childish, with the desire to find a smile and an energy together. I have had the chance, for 15 years, to make music and concerts. As in everyday life, my journey takes shape in cycles. For 2 or 3 years, I will create songs, nourish them, dress them with images and wear them on stage in order to share them with the public. Once the tour is over, I return to a completely normal life, with the healthiest possible relationship to time. So I observe and nourish myself hoping to give substance to new songs. I’m more of a very calm guy. It is true that the years of music are lived very intensely and I try to inject all possible energy into my professional activities which are always driven by passion. Psychologically, I need periods when I ask myself, when I take the time. I think it’s also a form of respect towards the public in a time when everything has to go very quickly, in a tyranny of the moment. I don’t see myself being offered an album every year, I tend to get lost in the face of such pressure.
New life, new rhythm?
I am inspired by an artist like Francis Cabrel. I find it hard to envisage an artistic and media superexistence. I need to be on stage as much as I need to get off. However, when I started, I was able to feel this fear of the tour stopping, convinced that boredom would arise and that I had to write and compose quickly. But when I found a balance as a man, with in particular my return to the Cévennes and my life close to nature, things calmed down. I no longer need to “surexist” permanently because I finally have the feeling of existing also in my life as a man.
Would it be elegance to talk about serious subjects without “drunk” the public?
If we could have the ideal recipe for tackling dark themes without losing the attention of those listening to us, that would be great, if only from an educational point of view. But there is no recipe, just an approach that can work if it is sincere and free from any moral lesson. I’m lucky to have a large and caring audience, especially toddlers who sing my songs and watch my clips. The transmission report also involves a lot of humor and strong images likely to give rise to discussions and encourage reflection. This approach was very important in this last album: to feed a sharing between parents and children or even grandparents. The notion of transmission was very present from the start of the writing of the songs. There is something very instinctive in my writing, I never start from a specific subject but rather from a few chords or words, sitting in front of my piano. Listening to a song like Coco Câline or Kiss Me Forever, people smile without asking a lot of questions. But they can quite dialogue with titles like Us which questions the place of human beings on this planet but by offering a fun clip populated by dinosaurs. Fever or Barracuda meets the questions of hundreds of thousands of people. It is in this common sensibility that the magic of music resides.
Music, writing, image, comedy, drawing…. Do you need several modes of expression to converge towards a global inspiration?
It’s my way of creating. When I write about ten songs, I’m already thinking about the album cover, the images in the booklet, the clips, the future sets for the show. Everything comes together. I like to grind different artistic materials at the same time. Of course, as the stages progress, I benefit from a team that helps me develop these ideas, but I take great pleasure upstream in designing a total universe in which to immerse myself for a few years. It’s no coincidence that I studied art history and drawing. I draw moreover for my only pleasure outside of any professional objective. Drawing soothes me, I can spend hours there, I feel a need for expression by hand, this hand which sometimes writes texts, rests on a piano or a guitar. And who, for several months, also needs to work the land, to take care of the vegetable garden… It is important this relationship with the hand which manufactures, manipulates, cherishes the hope of making beautiful things. The earth allows me to have a link to peaceful time, to forget the mirror, the ego, and to achieve things without finding myself at the center. We come back to the balance between the life of a man and the life of an artist.
“The sky enchants me, every evening I admire the Milky Way, devoid of any light pollution”
What does summer represent for you who are a man of the South and of the mountains?
Apart from concerts, I take full advantage of the beauty of the place where I live while welcoming my family and friends. Time then expects nothing from me other than to be in harmony with it and my environment. In summer, I like to be at home, sheltered by oaks and olive trees, gently enjoying every minute. The nature that surrounds me, through the valleys and the forests, is beyond me. The sky enchants me, every evening I admire the Milky Way, devoid of any light pollution. So much immensity and beauty brings me back to my role as a human on earth. Faced with this power and this greatness, I tell myself that the little that I am, in the little time that is allotted to me, has a responsibility.
Have you always known this immediacy of contact with people?
Oh no, I had a lot of trouble with sociability. An immense shyness plunged me, throughout my childhood and my adolescence, into a very great loneliness. Openness to others came with the feeling of being listened to and understood, during my studies at the Beaux-Arts and then, slowly, thanks to music. First in bars in the south of France and then with this great plunge that was La Nouvelle Star 15 years ago. And if I gave the impression of displaying a very assertive personality by my style, this was not the case. On the other hand, the stress and the fear helped me to build a shell. I was very afraid that my freedom would evaporate and that I would be forced, because filmed and exposed to the whole of France, to cross my limits. I had no idea what I was giving off. Even today, when I see these images, I wonder how the shy boy that I was was able to go through with it. But my shell forged out of obligation helped me say no without ever saying the word. My attitude kept unpleasant proposals at bay. The pleasure of playing with musicians ended up dominating because, in this show, only the music mattered.
You have chosen to end your tour in Belgium. Are Belgians simply irresistible?
There is something bubbling in this room, a palpable energy at the second, it was unthinkable to end my tour elsewhere. My link with Belgium goes way back before La Nouvelle Star. Already during my art history studies at the Lycée and then at the Beaux-Arts, I was very attracted to Belgian visual artists. It was around this time that I started a band and we were very admiring of Sharko, Ghinzu, Girls in Hawaii, and Arno of course. There was this meeting with David Bartholomé of Sharko, the first concerts, the first parts of the group… There is the idea of playing the ukulele while watching Hep Taxi. The friendship that unites me with Virginie Efira, so close to whom I tell everything, has been present since the beginning of my career. Brice VDH, the Belgian director of my clips. And many of my moments of humor, of intense laughter, I owe them to my Belgian friends. Humor is rooted in you. Belgium is in my heart, forever.
In concert this Saturday at the Ronquières Festival and on December 11 at Forest National.
Album: Julien Dore, AimeeSony Music