released four albums on Real Music, France-based New Age maestro Thierry
David returns with his fifth for the venerable label. The 2014
CD release of Hypnosis marks the latest and greatest
Real Music release to date from Thierry and, start to finish, its
a real winner of an album. Although clearly adept in a number of musical
genres, for the 2014 CD release of Hypnosis, Thierry puts his
musical wisdom to work on an album that can be described as one of
the most adventurous New Age instrumental albums of the year. The
Hypnosis album is kind of similar in scope to Group 87 founder
Patrick OHearns albumscutting edge and atmospheric,
complete with dreamlike electronica blending with romantic melodies
and a myriad of musical moves. Thierry handles all the synths, sampling,
percussion, piano and all forms of programming, while additional percussion
is handled by Steve Shehan and theres also guitar sounds
here from Claude Samard. Speakaing to mwe3.com about Hypnosis,
Thierry explains, "For
the Hypnosis project, most of the tunes were built on ancient percussion
sessions I did with Steve Shehan a few years ago. These rhythmic patterns
served as the basis of my work, adding on bass, synths layers, guitars
and atmospheres without forgetting some piano interventions. I did
the mixing like for the other albums but I did the final mastering
with Pierre Jacquot, a French engineer I am used to working with and
who has a long experience with many French artists and among them
Deep Forest". Although
Real Music excels in meditative and therapeutic sounding albums that
contain elements of healing music, Thierrys Hypnosis album
sounds more like a soundtrack to an imaginary movie that also blends
in chill-out and groove sounds, complete with ambient music overtones.
In other words, Thierry Davids latest Real Music adventure is
literally all over the map and its all the better for being
so adventurous musically. Thierry Davids Hypnosis is
a masterful, progressive album of exotic sounding New Age listening
pleasure that gets better with each spin. www.ThierryDavid.com
mwe3.com presents an interview with
Where are you from originally and where do you live now and what do
you like best about it?
Thierry David: I was born in Paris, France and I currently
live there. After graduating from a prestigious business school in
France in 1978, I spent some time in Latin America (Peru, Brazil,
Mexico) and also studied at the Berklee College of Music in Boston
(1980/1981). Since then Ive made several trips to India and
the Middle East (Syria, Oman). All these experiences naturally fed
my creativity and imagination.
mwe3: What music were you first introduced to when you were
young and what musicians, artists and composers would you consider
to be among your musical influences? I know you were born in 1955
so you must have lived through the Beatles rock era too.
Thierry David: I began with the piano at the age of five studying
classical music by Chopin, Bach and Beethoven. As a teenager I began
trying to reproduce on the piano by myself songs I heard at that time,
among them many French singers of course but my first thunderbolt
was for Elton John. Listening to his music, I perceived that a fusion
between classical and modern music was possible. I was particularly
influenced by his album Blue Moves which is still one of my
Then I discovered progressive rock bands like Pink Floyd, YES and
Genesis. Sometime later Peter Gabriel became one of my heroes, especially
when he created his own label Real World. That opened my ears to music
from different continents and new musical modes and harmonies. At
that time I did listen a lot to music from Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan,
the Pakistanese master and more particularly his album Mustt Mustt.
At the same
time I began to get interested in jazz and mainly, Brazilian composers
like Antonio Carlos Jobim. Jazz naturally led me to black and funk
music with people like Quincy Jones, Earth Wind & Fire, Barry
White and above all Michael Jackson.
Much later one of my main influence I guess was to discover the music
of Robert Rich and Steve Roach from whom I got inspired for creating
my own sound spaces.
As you can see my musical background is quite large and eclectic and
I love many kind of music going from classical (Chopin, Mahler, Bartok)
to contemporary (Varese, Ligeti), traditional jazz (pianists like
Oscar Peterson) to jazz fusion (Miles Davis, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock)
as well as modern electronic music (Brian Eno, Marconi Union, etc..)
All these composers influence my work and I am sure I did forget many
on this list.
mwe3: How did you become a Real Music artist and when did you
start releasing albums on Real Music? How many albums have you released
on Real Music and how would you compare them musically and compositionally?
You seem to be in tune with the Real Music label philosophy.
Thierry David: In 2005 I released Zen Pause on the French
label Vox Terrae. The people at this label wished to get international
exposure and they were in contact with Terence Yallop from Real Music.
Through this connection Zen Pause was released on Real Music
in 2007. Since then came Zen World in 2008, The Veil Of
Whispers in 2011, Stellar Connection in 2012 and finally
Hypnosis in 2014.
and Zen World have both been inspired by what we call here
in France, Lounge Music but even if there is obviously
a personal and common style in all these projects, I think I did make
an amazing musical shift with the two last releases with a transition
to more ambient and groovy tribal atmospheres balancing between accessibility
mwe3: Your 2014 CD release on Real Music, Hypnosis is
being called by some, your best album yet. Where and when was the
music written and recorded and who else plays with you on the Hypnosis
album? Did you set out to make a truly special album with Hypnosis
and what was your musical approach like this time around?
Thierry David: I have always worked the same way for thirty
years now and I will try to explain here my working method. In fact,
I dont have any specific project in my head or any strategy
concerning the future album that will be the result of a long process.
The final product may be probably the interacting of the daily musical
work with my past, present and even future emotions and intuitions.
Thus, little by little within this process some tunes are emerging
and the unity of the future album is building by itself simultaneously.
Regarding Hypnosis, the method of creation was the same and
lasted around two years, led by my intuition and moved by the wish
of creating a unique groovy but relaxing and hypnotic ambience.
mwe3: Is Hypnosis best described as New Age / meditation
music or is that term too well defined? I hear a lot of Eno inspired
soundscapes in your music and I know, in the spirit of Eno, that you
were influenced by all forms of guitar music that you sometimes blend
into your sound. Is that a fair assessment and is New Age music the
21st century classical music?
David: By definition, Ive always thought that any term to
categorize any music style is reducing and restrictive. Unfortunately,
it is often necessary to find words to describe a record in order
to sell it and reach the maximum of people. For instance when I released
my first solo album Tales Of Sand in 1992, the record shops
here in France decided to sell it in the New Age category, although
I thought this project was more a crossing of world music with jazz/fusion
colors. After that when one of my tunes was selected for one Buddha
Bar compilation, my music began to be associated with lounge music.
Moreover when I produced Stellar Connection we talked of ambient
and space music, and so on. As you can see I dont feel very
comfortable with all these terms and classifications and I try anyway
not to be influenced by this marketing point of view when I compose
in order to stay focused on my creative goals.
I should say that my cooperation with Real Music works perfectly in
that sense as I feel free to compose exactly what I feel while respecting
the label philosophy, that is making good music for meditation and
Concerning my musical influences, I agree with what you suggest about
the Eno spirit, but we can also evoke others inspiration sources like
Pink Floyd, Robert Rich, Steve Roach and many others.
mwe3: On Hypnosis you worked with a producer called
K-Vox. What is involved in working with a producer and how does a
producer help shape the sound of your recording process and sound
in your estimation?
Thierry David: K-Vox is my own production company that I created
in 1986 when I started to be fully involved in the music business.
One of the main objectives I had to achieve at that time was to make
my own home studio in order to fully control the production of my
work. Then I began to produce several records for one of the biggest
French music library Koka Media.
During all these years I worked with several composers and in 1991
I decided to get my own label K-Vox Records. The first release was
a collaboration with another composer and the album was entitled Humaninhuman.
Then I produced, under the label name, other musicians like Steve
Shehan (Indigo Dreams, Amok) as well as my own projects.
own label means taking charge of every step of the musical process,
including composing, recording, mixing and also all the cover art
work. I personally designed every cover, without forgetting the promoting
and commercial aspects.
This was very heavy work, so I decided to find a label in order to
concentrate exclusively on my own compositions. Finally I signed with
the French label Vox Terrae in 2002 and released our first collaboration
Moksha, with them the same year.
I am at the same time the artist and the producer. That means that
most of the time I am working alone in my home studio and maybe it
is one of the reasons I do take time between two releases in order
to get enough time out after composing and before mixing. Taking time
may be my secret weapon in order to adjust sounds, blending them and
refining the arrangements of my compositions.
mwe3: Youve released a number of other albums that werent
released on Real Music. Can you tell us something about your other
albums and what styles of music are covered on your other album releases?
Is your other music in print on CD or just as downloads and will there
be a Thierry David CD compilation of your early music? How about DVD
David: As I said before, I released my first solo commercial album
in 1992, Tales Of Sand, then came Khora (1994), Yoma
(1996), Fantasia (1998), Ajanta (2000), Ayodhya
(2001), Moksha (2002), Mosaïques (2003), Zen
Pause (2005), Zen World (2006), Evasions (2007),
Ocean Rhapsody (2008), The Veil Of Whispers (2011),
Stellar Connection (2012) and Hypnosis (2014).
In addition, Ive released some compilations like Tones &
Colours (1993), Explorator 1995, Les Voyages Imaginaires
(1998) Passage (1998), and more recently Ambient Tales,
Chill & Lounge Tales and World Fusion Tales.
Its highly unlikely to find these projects on printed CDs, except
maybe on Amazon but all are available as downloads on iTunes or on
my own website (www.thierrydavid.com)
Concerning the musical styles covered, as I told you earlier in this
interview, the more ancient CDs are closer to world fusion music,
evolving progressively to New Age, chill and ambient electronic.
mwe3: What are your main musical instruments and how many instruments
do you play? Are you into gear and collecting unique sounding instruments
David: My main instrument is the piano and I also play some percussion,
but what I prefer above all is to be in my studio managing sounds
and mixing them like a painter preparing his own palette of colors.
When I was very young I bought a Revox tape recorder and began to
record everything that came in my mind without knowing a lot of harmony
but just putting sounds together. That way I became a self-made engineer
and producer being obliged to learn how to use all my electronic equipment.
Since then you can imagine that my gear became more and more professional
using computers, synthesizers, virtual synths and effects as well
as analog material.
Sometimes in my music, I also introduce sounds from ethnic instruments
using either samples or real instruments as duduk, bansouri, saz,
tablas, gembre, sitar and so on...
And of course I also worked with wonderful musicians like Steve Shehan
(bass and percussion), Nguyen Le (guitar), Claude Samard (guitars,
mwe3: What instruments are you playing on the Hypnosis album
and what was the recording sessions like? For instance were there
a lot of overdubs during the final mixes?
David: For the Hypnosis project, most of the tunes were
built on ancient percussion sessions I did with Steve Shehan a few
years ago. These rhythmic patterns served as the basis of my work,
adding on bass, synths layers, guitars and atmospheres without forgetting
some piano interventions.
I did the mixing like for the other albums but I did the final mastering
with Pierre Jacquot, a French engineer I am used to working with and
who has a long experience with many French artists and among them
mwe3: France has a long history of progressive music. What
is the scene like in 2014 for New Age, rock, classical and other electronic
music in France? Most international listeners know about Jean-Michel
Jarre but hes just the tip of the iceberg so to speak as far
as French electronic music. What about other types of music in the
electronic / New Age synth genres that interest you and is there a
Thierry David: As you say there is a long history of French
progressive music beginning with Pierre Henry followed years later
by Jean-Michel Jarre and more recently by people like Air.
But what to say about the English and German electronic scene with
people like Brian Eno, Klaus Schulze, Kraftwerk, Marconi Union, William
Orbit, etc... I dont think that we can talk of a French sound.
Nationality has nothing to do with creativity which is universal.
As far as I am concerned I just enjoy hearing and learning from all
these talented creators whatever their origin might be.
do take as much pleasure listening to the string quartet of Béla
Bartok as music from Coldplay or ambient atmospheres from Steve Roach.
That is the magic of music which is so vast and diversified with such
a few notes.
mwe3: What other plans do you have for 2014 into 2015 as far
as promoting Hypnosis as well as writing, recording and producing
new music for future release?
Thierry David: As long as ideas will flow, I will keep on writing
and producing new music. The permanent evolution of digital gear allows
me to constantly create new sounds. Every new created sound can be
an inspiration, the same way as you discover a new instrument. It
is like playing with a new orchestra. As far as what is possible,
my aim is to keep on my musical path with passion and creativity.
to Thierry David @ www.ThierryDavid.com