Give yourself a creative immersion in 1969, the year of the explosion of all genres in the world of rock and popular song, does it tempt you? The following artists embarked without being asked on Connor Seidel’s imagined time machine: Ariane Moffatt, Safia Nolin, Elliot Maginot, Louis-Jean Cormier, Philippe Brault, Claudia Bouvette, Half Moon Run, Boulay Sisters, Jason Bajada, Matt Holubowski, Elisapie. Questions to the instigator.
Why 1969, instead of 1967 or 1972, great years anyway?
At the beginning of the project, I thought it would capture the general spirit of the musicality of the late 1960s and early 1970s. As an English speaker, my exposure to Quebec music was pretty minimal until I met the Boulay Sisters; I was shown several albums from that period. My fascination began to grow as I learned more about the history of Quebec, particularly the year 1969, and it seemed to me that the turn of the decade seemed to capture something quite specific.
The possibilities for inspiration are endless. Where to go?
Musically, for me, the first source of inspiration for 1969 was the album Five leaves to the left by Nick Drake. The project was progressing and more and more artists were sharing albums that were meaningful to them. The liner notes on the records always said “recorded 1969”. Joni Mitchell, Monique Leyrac, Neil Diamond…
Halfway through the project, I came across a Mary Hopkin album titled postcard —my grandmother told me it was my grandfather’s favorite record— also released in 1969, and that’s when the choice of the year became unmistakable for me.
We usually think of 1969 as a busy and boisterous year.
What particularly fascinated me was the softer, more subdued folk movement: a collision of simple folk composers and complex jazz arrangements. I discovered that there was a common thread of artists, born in the silent generation, who were not quite defined as the main movement, but who were nonetheless relevant. For me, our tribute to 1969 is not about capturing the whole essence of the year, but about highlighting a very small niche of it.
Have you immersed yourself in the recording techniques of the time?
Working with sound engineer Ghyslain-Luc Lavigne has been a blessing! It was his idea to make sure we used the right mics and mine to focus on composition, musicianship and arranging. He suggested not only using the same ribbon microphone for every artist on the project, but also using virtually no compression or equalizer during recording and mixing. The album is very light and uncompressed, like many records of the time.
How to avoid pastiche?
I think the idea of this album was not to imitate or copy the era, but to draw a subtle influence from it. She starts with writing the songs; the simple fact of presenting the context to each artist allowed them to think outside the typical musical formats of radio and television. transmission, thinking about complex harmonies, bold tempo changes, and not worrying about the three-minute time limit that is so often imposed. This, combined with some arrangement elements that tie all the songs together, allowed the artists to remain themselves, but subtly lean towards influence. Ultimately, this project was made by and for us, so I never wondered if we were going to be too close or too far, I just wanted to smile while doing it.
an eclectic year