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Artist of the Week – Bastien Gaisne

April 18, 2011 by · No comments

Interview by Dessislava Berndt with multi-talented artist Bastien Gaisne

Bastien Gaisne, Photo: Veneta Rajnovska

Bastien, what does music mean to you?

Music is one of the ultimate means of expression: listening to music or practicing it, it works both ways.

From writing music, thinking about melodies or the way that instruments would sound together – it’s like cooking with a recipe. I think of vocals as an instrument too with another faculty to it: the words and their factual meaning when instrumental music, melodies or sounds touch one’s sensibility with no help from words; it’s a kind of magic!

You are a multi-talented artist working in a wide variety of media, from music to illustration and from writing to graphics and design. Which one is your favourite?

I need all these medias! They allow me to express different ideas or parts of my imagination, or the need to express myself.

Escalier Pigeons Paris, Artwork: Bastien Gaisne

Music would be the best for feelings, while writing would help carrying on ideas (social, philosophical or political). That’s why it’s so convenient to write both music and lyrics. Illustration and designs are the key to a livelier and more harmonic visual environment. And I love dancing, too! 🙂

Tell us, please, something about your connection to Bulgaria.

It all started when I met a girl, drawing sketches in a Salsa club in Paris in 1998 or so. She was Bulgarian! We happened to have common friends, and got along very well. It was like an obvious forever lasting friendship, no dating or seduction involved. We were right -since we are still very close friends now.

Bastien Gaisne, Photo: Carl Adam Landström

Why did you decide to take part with your own song at the Eurovision selection in Bulgaria?

As I was visiting this dear Bulgarian friend and her Colombian husband in Bulgaria a year and a half ago we got invited to the opening party of a theater/club in Sofia. I then got invited to a jam with the jazz band that was playing that night and performed a wild version of the song “Just A Gigolo”. My singing/playing and attitude stroke Tzvetelina Chendova who happened to be there too. We got introduced and kept in touch via emails. Then we started thinking of working together as I listened to some of her music and we both liked each other’s style. She invited me over to play with her in Bulgaria.

One day, I played her “The Luxury Hotel” song asking what she was thinking of it. As she loved it, I decided to offer it to her as a start to our collaboration.

Adrian Vella a
Photo: Adrian Vella

This song is very special to me. I was traveling in Mexico with my girlfriend 3 years ago, and I can still picture myself, coming out of the bathroom of a cheap beach hotel and telling her I wanted to write a song about hotels. A Hotel is a very inspiring topic; there are a lot of songs about it (Hotel California, Chelsea Hotel, Hotellounge…). She told me it was a good idea, and then I started to put thoughts together, as we changed hotels as kept traveling. I wanted it bittersweet, funny, sarcastic, based on facts or fantasies: Business people, loneliness, gigolos, hookers, drugs, thieves, love affairs, mystery … Luxury is never cheap but can be poor, in fact. That’s how the Bossa nova pop melody arrived, so it would sound Easy Listening Jazz with sharp words.

Eurovision pre-selection song for Bulgaria 2011, Music and Lyrics: Bastien Gaisne

My girlfriend was Swedish. I am still very involved with Sweden (I’ve played with Swedish musicians, I was called to play for the Queen then the Princess these past years) and as I was visiting her, I was keeping on working on the song and playing it as it was in process until the final result. Sadly, my dear love passed away in a tragic accident a year and a half ago, which made me drown in a depression, in which only art and close friendship would be my allies.

That is why it is so great that the story of this song is still being written through my collaboration with Tzveti. It is all special and it is a true international experience. Being selected at Eurovision would mean that it would carry Bulgaria, being supported by France and Sweden , to the face of Europe.

You were performing with Tzvetelina Chendova and Karandila in 2010 on the Apollonia. How was it? What are your impressions from Bulgaria and the Bulgarian people?

Apollonia was great. It was a lifetime experience to arrive there, from Paris, rehearse one of my songs (Evil Today) a couple of hours with Tzveti and another couple in a gipsy ghetto deep down in the middle of Bulgaria. I finally played on a great stage with Tzveti and Karandila crazy gipsy brass band! I could then thank my rock experience, only rock can face their wild playing, me being this French outcast on stage, loving it, elegant and wiiiiiiiild.

So far Bulgaria is a very friendly country to me. From my first visit 11 years ago, till now I get along with the people very well finding them very enthusiastic, curious, different from any experience that I’ve had when I was living in the USA or in Sweden. Still I think that sometimes, things might go a bit slowly compared to the crazy life rhythm that I’m used to from Paris to Los Angeles and Stockholm… but is that bad?

For you, what was the most surprising experience working with Tzvetelina? And with other singers or musicians?

Tzvetelina Chendova is very much like me. We share this passion for performing. I was impressed by the immediate connection we had when we first played Apollonia. We looked at each other, smiled, and it was on. She has this inner power that you can sometimes feel in animals or humans, being very sensitive with something big inside. She is an unique character. Thanks to her I met many musicians in Bulgaria. Of course, Karandila (RIP mister teeth missing bass drummer, I loved your style), but also the Sofia jazz scene people who are extremely talented and open to new things that I may represent.

Veneta Rajnovskaa
Photo: Veneta Rajnovska

As well, I have a good relationship with the radio host, singer, song writer Geri Turiyska. We share attitude, musical taste and ideas. I already “arranged” a song she wrote as a duet for her and Tzvetelina and hope to continue this collaboration with new upcoming ideas.

What are you dreaming about?

I am dreaming about being as happy as can be, putting my shit together. Chasing the dragon to the point I actually realize I’m sitting on it and he’s carrying me on, as people dance around our fire prints.

What is the greatest satisfaction for you as an artist and your biggest challenge?

People liking and supporting my artwork (meaning the raw projection of my soul) is the greatest gift of all. The biggest challenge is to stay true to myself and make good money with it because soul food doesn’t pay the bills!:)

What is the most important thing people should know about you?

Listen to my songs, read my books, watch my art, and you will know everything about me. I am a good ear and a good mouth. I am a complex open book, you just need to read between the lines, ain’t it easy?

The most important thing about me? I am likeable. 😉

Would you please tell us something about your current and future projects?

I would like to release my book “Night Stand, take out the trash” in Bulgarian (an illustrated novel about 13 different one-night-stand stories, worldwide sarcastic explicit social experiences).

I am writing and composing material to record a new album and prepare new songs for Tzveti or myself and think about her export from the Bulgarian to the French market.

Photo: Veneta Rajnovska

I have a musical collaboration with former members of American cult band the Blue Oystrer Cult and may go on tour with them this summer (got the proposal email an hour ago).

I will also have a drawing exhibition (Parisian drawings) in the city of Malcesine, Italy, in June/July at the Gallery „Studio 10“.

Besides that, people can still see some of my artwork at the big dinosaur exhibition that takes place at the National History Museum in Paris.

William Beaucardeta
Photo: William Beaucardet

Finally, I guess some local interior design requests will add salt to my stormy-ocean-look-alike-life!

Do I have plans? The plan is no plan… but it has to be organized:)

Bastien “Baz” Gaisne was born and raised in Paris. After he finished his Art studies, he lived in various countries (Germany, USA, Sweden) in order to acquire a worldwide life experience.

As an assistant of the famous guitar-maker James Trussart in Los Angeles, Bastien played early shows in California, then in France and in Sweden with various musicians. In Paris, he even got involved in the Swedish community, which led to performances before the Queen of Sweden for a charity concert at “Theatre des Champs Elysées” in 2006 or for the princess of Sweden at a Christmas 2009 show with the Swedish Choir of Paris.

In 2003, he formed the “Baz limited” project with Sofia Nilsson, a jazz musician based in Stockholm. “Baz limited” is an international group which explores male/female vocal harmonies to rekindle the tradition of groups with two singers and of sixties and seventies pop-rock creativity, with heavy or light guitars, piano melodies and emotionally charged vocals coming together to create an unique sound.

One experience leads to another: in May 2009, while visiting friends in Bulgaria, Baz was introduced to Tzvetelina Chendova after jamming with a local jazz band at the opening party of a club in Sofia. They got along immediately and made plans to play together in the future. Keeping in touch in spite of distance and their respective careers, they finally shared the Apollonia Festival stage with the Gipsy Brass Orchestra Karandilla in August 2010. The wildly enthusiastic audience response made it clear that Baz and Tzvetelina had to continue collaborating on their unique musical fusion.

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