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Interview with PATRICK BROGUIERE

June 2001

Nowadays it's very rarely that you hear music as interesting as clever. Even more rare this kind of music receives advertising - especially, if the author is neither American, nor Englishman. Patrick Broguiere hails from France, and his music appears to be nationally coloured. With his music Patrick tells of his homeland's history and beauty, creating magnificient cycles, which he delivers with just a little help from the friends because Broguiere plays many instruments himself.

He started from hard rock, but later on switched to more exquisite matters: "Icones" album came out as art-jazz, "Mont Saint-Michel" a kind of chamber, while last year's "Chateaux de la Loire" feels airy and pereptive. So the word "masterpiece" isn't a hollow superlative - and the chat with monsieur Broguiere was inevitable.

- How do you manage to mix the modern approach with music of old?

Usually I mix one aspect of the early music with one aspect of the modern music. For example it could be a modern rhythm played with an old instrument, a modern harmony used with an old rythm, a modern instrument used with old chords...

- In your opinion, how does classical music idiom belong to rock?

Classical melody and harmony are the basis of occidental popular music. And all the rockers learn music in their childhood with classical nursery rhymes...

- You play many instruments. Which of them you consider your main?

In the studio I use many keyboards and computers - and also guitars, violin, flutes... But on stage my favourite instrument is the electric guitar.

- What determined your shift from hard rock you did before to the kind of music you play now?

It's an evolution. In France it was very difficult to find a good hard rock singer. And in the Eighties all the keyboardists wanted to play New Wave! Also it's difficult for a band to keep together in a country without rock clubs. Finally I am composing alone since the invention of home studio in 1985. And I stopped hard rock after the listening of Eddie Van Halen: it was really too difficult to be a guitar hero like him!!!

- Was it difficult to find a niche for electric guitar in "Chateaux de la Loire"?

Yes. So I used first a lot of acoustic guitars. And then, at the end of recording, I found some space for rock solos.

- Ritchie Blackmore was one of your idols. What do you think of his new works with BLACKMORE'S NIGHT? Does it somehow appeal to you?

I know "Shadow Of The Moon". For me it's a "fresh" acoustic album, not fabulous but very pleasant.

-. What about his early works?

I know mainly his early albums where he is really FANTASTIC: with DEEP PURPLE - "In Rock", "Machine Head", "Made in Japan", "Made in Europe", "California Jam" - and with Ronnie James Dio - "Rainbow On Stage" and "Long Live Rock 'n' Roll". The bridges in the amazing long versions of the singles are an influence in my way of composing.

- Another clear influence is Rick Wakeman. Was it him, who inspired you to use the method of "musical portrait", creating a certain image through music?

I know only "The Six Wives Of Henry VIII" and it's clearly an influence. Not really by the music but by the concept: six musical portraits with photos and explanations in the booklet.

- The "Broceliande" is based on King Arthur myths. Was it hard not to be influenced by Wakeman's "Arthur"?

It was easy because I don't know this Wakeman's album! On the other hand there are a lot of classical influences in "Broceliande". For example the "Mother Goose Tales" by Maurice Ravel (music inspired by the Charles Perrault's Tales).

- "Broceliande" was meant to become a rock opera. Is there a chance to hear it in its original form?

Maybe, when I am an old composer I will record this opera. And if a director want to make a show or a cartoon with this project I agree. But today my musical priorities are in new projects.

- Was "King Arthur" piece from "Icones" originally supposed to fit "Broceliande"?

I have composed "King Arthur" specially for "Icones" like a hint about "Broceliande". It's a fugue for three voices (left, middle and right) played by a sampled harpsichord and inspired by the theme of the "The Battle Of Avalon" from "Broceliande" album. And on the cover of "Icones", you can see an imaginary museum with many hidden pictures and with the red cover of "Broceliande".

- "Icones" seems more like Wakeman's "Romance Of Victorian Age" album rather than ELP's reading of Mussorgsky's "Pictures", but you opted for a modern art. Why? Who's your favorite artist?

I opted for young artists in my circle of friends because it's more pleasant to work with friends. And also it's easier for avoid the copyrights problems in the booklet.

- Did you study the Renaissance music?

Yes, I did. To travel and to study in libraries are very important and interesting aspects when I prepare a concept album.

-. What do you think of a band RENAISSANCE?

If you speak about Annie Haslam and Michael Dunford, I don't know their music yet. In progressive music, my main influences are GENESIS and PINK FLOYD.

- What do you think of all this contemporary bands like ERA or ENIGMA that combine medieval stuff with electronic pop?

I don't like it because it's in my humble opinion too much easy listening or supermarket music! Sorry... I know that one compares the Gregorian chant of ENIGMA and the Gregorian chant of my "Mont Saint-Michel" album. But there is an important difference: ENIGMA has just sampled an existing Gregorian CD but I have composed and sang an original Gregorian melody! Also I used the six notes of my Gregorian melody as a main theme in all the songs of the album.

- You spend more time on composing or orchestration?

Composing is a gift from Gods and orchestration is a long human work! In the present popular music, sound production and orchestration are important priorities. Maybe it's an error?

- How long each album took to compose and arrange?

About twelve months (not full-time) for find the visual concept and compose the demos. And about two months of full-time recording.

- Artwork of your albums seems very important to you. Is it you who come up with art conceptions?

Yes. In all my albums I make the visual design. But, of course, all the pictures are original creations by my favourite painters. Beautiful covers are an invention from Seventies. In my opinion it's also a way to limit piracy: with mp3 files, music is free on the web but you have to pay if you want to own the original artwork and the beautiful booklet.

- History of France - what does it mean to you?

Maybe, it's the roots of my childhood. Today the world is changing a lot and I am not fanatic about the national roots but it's a good way of inspiration. It's a pity that a lot of people sing in English because all the singing languages are interesting.

- Will this medieval/Renaissance theme you pursued with "Mont Saint-Michel" and "Chateaux de la Loire" be continued? What can we expect from you in the near future?

On March 2001 I have composed a music for a medieval city in France, Carcassonne. But for my two next albums I work in two different directions: the French music of the XVIII century and the popular music of 2001. My challenge is to mix "progressive hip hop" and "progressive techno" with my usual style!

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