Once upon a time there was a musician named Fanny Roz. Her story involved snail races, tree houses, smokey French jazz bars, magical beaches in Chile, and a tale of two cities. It was the best of times…yeah, okay, it all really sounded like it was pretty much the best of times…
The whole story of how a French musician that studied in Toulouse ended up on a label in Barcelona (Bcore) is one that Roz has nicely divided into four chapters and posted to her websites. She has just released Prend Son Souffle et Saute!! (“take a breath and jump”) and just as her tale has many parts, each track tells a different story. She sings them while plunking a piano or plucking a guitar with a myriad of tempos, shifts, and vocal oddities tht make it hard not to think of Regina Spektor. The influences of the two places are evident all over her record, as it’s sung in French with a few dashes of Spanish.
It was kind of funny for THE BOMBER JACKET to do an interview in Spanish with a native French speaker that would then be translated into English. Check it out below.
TBJ: So, on your website you have this little four-chapter story about your journeys. Was the place where your story began, with these tree houses and snail races, in France?
Fanny Roz: I grew up on a farm named “Le Liron” next to the forest. The little town had 58 inhabitants, called Cazeneuve-Montaut, and it’s at the foot of the Pyrenees.
What led you to Barcelona?
While getting my master’s in musicology and singing, I had an erasmus grant from ESMUC (Escola Superior de Música de Catalunya – Higher School of Music of Catalonia) in Barcelona. I also knew that the composer Guillermo Klein lived there and I really wanted to study with him, because I had studied with him before. I was especially interested in his technical fusion compositions and his variety of styles.
Also, after a trip to Chile, I decided that I wanted to improve my Spanish (and a bit of Catalan).
What is the journey a listener will go on when listening to your record, Prend Son Souffle Et Saute?
It’s impossible to know what different people feel when they listen to the same music. I suppose that everybody will see different things in the songs.
Are we holding our breath as we jump into the water?
We hold our breath before we jump into the air to learn how to fly. The title is a phrase from “Hirondelle,” the fifth track on the album, that tells the story of a swallow learning to fly. Its fear to jump into the nothing…
My jump was to release this first album. I doubted myself a lot before I released it!
Each song seems to tell its own story (or fairy tale at times). Do they connect at all?
The songs are the fruit of very different experiences and moments in my life. But when the time came to put them together on the same record, they took on a similar air, even though they were written at different times. Interpreting and arranging them all happened during the same time, working with Andreu Monclús. The spirit of the songs came out while we were preparing all of the material.
The tracks have gone through many changes during the year and a half that we were playing them live without stop!
What’s your favorite fairy tale?
“Le Magicien Des Couleurs” (“The Wizard of the Colors”), told many times by my grandmother when I was little. And also the real stories of Perrault, not the Walt Disney versions that changed the ending so that it always turns out okay.
The song “Cachagua” is about a beach in Chile, right? Can you tell me a little about that?
Cachagua is a little town next to the sea near Santiago de Chile. I wrote that song sitting on the beach with a melodica, discovering the Pacific ocean for the first time. I returned to France with the melody and the title.
As a French speaker, why did you end up on a label in Spain instead of France?
I knew Bcore from playing with my friend María Rodés. It happened naturally. When I finished the record, María recommended that they listen to it and they loved it. I’ve also spent a lot of time working here and my band also lives in Barcelona.
Where do you live now?
I live in Barcelona, even though I’m constantly going to France to play and teach classes.
Are there a lot of places on the record where you speak Spanish?
There’s a chorus in “Takatetekitatum.” And the Catalan phrase that María Rhodés sings at the end of “C’est Fou L’été.”
So, it’s hard not to think of Regina Spektor when listening to your music, especially with how goofy it can be at times. What do you think about Spektor?
I love that artist. These days I’ve been studying “The Flowers,” a song from her first album. I love her voice, her energy, and her music. She’s a teacher for me.
What’s the weirdest thing you think you’ve done musically?
Improvising on top of some drum ‘n’ bass at a rave party.
What records do you listen to for inspiration?
André Minvielle, Canto,
Sufjan Stevens, every album,
Anja Garbarek, Smiling and Waves,
Regina Spektor, Soviet Kitsch,
Camille, Le Fill,
Maria Joao, every album,
Puente Celeste, Canciones,
Nick Bartsh, Ronin,
Maddi Oihenart, Lürralde Zilarra,
Chopin, Impromptus y Valses.
What are some examples of your favorite music from Barcelona?
Mussakis, Blaue, María Rodés, Jollyheads Circus, Octavio Bugni Trio, Santi Careta Group, Alessandra Patrucco & Angelo Conto, The New Raemon, Joan Colomo, Maria Coma.
Do you recommend any French bands?
Camille, Paris Combos, Pagaille, Leila Martial group, Jeanne Cherhal, Jell-oO, Arthur H, Les Têtes Raides, Pulcinella, Stabat Akish, Emlie Simon.