You can read this post in: Portuguese (Brazil)
Sylvaine is an “one woman band”, playing all instruments and singing. Her first full album “Silent Chamber Noisy Heart” is filled with a dark and emotional song, with beautiful moments. We interviewed her for Groundcast and you can read it now.
It is an honor for us to interview you, Sylvaine. Starting this interview, could you talk a little about you? When and why did you decide to become a musician?
Ever since I was a child, I was surrounded by music. With parents and family that both worked in the music business and were musicians themselves, I was brought into that world from the very beginning. In my teenage years I realized that thru music, I could express feelings I otherwise had problems letting out. I began to write lyrics and experimenting on the piano, which was my instrument of choice for song writing back then, and step after step, I started playing all the different instruments and evolving my own style. Since then it was never a question of what I wanted to do with my life. I knew I needed to make music and communicate it to be complete.
What are your influences and inspirations?
I use my music to process feelings and conflicts within myself, that I otherwise have troubles expressing in words. The duality between happiness and melancholy, the outside world versus my inner world, as well as the duality between nature and urbanity, is all subjects included in the influences of my music. Inspirational sources that come from the outside can be other music, art, nature, literature, visually beautiful places etc.
It is not common one-woman bands, because the people think (generally) the woman cannot be a guitar player, a bass player, a drummer etc. Did you face any kind of prejudice because you are not just only an “angelical voice”?
Yes, it’s strange how that works, isn’t it? I think that women are more present in the music world today than before, so the balance is slowly leveling out. Thru my years in various different musical projects, I have indeed met this stereotypical prejudice you’re mentioning. I never had strong self-confidence when it came to music, even if I knew that this was the path I had to follow, so it took me a while to realize that what I do with the different instruments is actually good enough for my music. I might not be the best at any of the instruments I play, but I manage to express what I want with them on an emotional level. In the end, this is what matters to me.
You are from Norway, land of important singers as Kari Rueslåtten and Liv Kristine. Do you think they are inspirations for any female musicians?
They are not super prominent characters in the Norwegian music scene actually and to be brutally honest, I’m not a huge fan of either of them, but I’m sure there are a lot of female musicians out there that have drawn inspiration from these two artists.
How do you describe your music?
I always enjoyed the mixture of heavy music and delicate melodies and more ethereal aspects, so this is what I try to do in my music. The main focus is on emotions and atmospheres/moods, as I believe music is all about emotion. I also have a love for melodies and like to include solid grooves to back up all the dreamy layers in the sound landscapes. It’s always somewhat difficult to describe your own music, so I would say it’s up to the listeners to decide what genre it is a part of.
Why did you decide to have a solo act? Have you just thought in choosing musicians to join in a band?
Thru many years I was playing in various bands, as well as doing projects on my own, but last year I came to realize that I needed to make a project that was more personal to me, where I could be more “hands- on” in every aspect. Therefore it became the natural choice and time for me to start my own solo project. In the future I might bring other people into the project, as members or guest artist, but for now I am happy to be able to express what I need on my own. For the live aspect, I will include 3 or 4 other people, to create a band, as this is the format I prefer for my music in a live setting
You are based in both Norway and France. Has some influence in your music living in these countries?
It’s two completely different settings, so I draw inspiration from the different impulses the two places present. One of my main inspirations is nature, so of course Norway is the perfect place for this. Taking a walk in the woods is a spiritual experience, which cleanses both your mind and soul. Paris has a warm vibe and a beautiful visual aspect, with grand architecture and diverse art, which is great since I’m a very visually inspired person. Most of “Silent Chamber, Noisy Heart” was written in Oslo and most of my next album was written in Paris. So to be honest, they both work well and balance out each other.
One song from “Silent Chamber Noisy Heart” is a version for the poem “Il pleure dans mon Coeur” from Verlaine. Why did you choose to record a poem from a French author? Do you like literature?
I’ve always loved literature, and especially poetry. It inspires me a lot for my music, so it seemed right to use at least one poem as lyrics for one of the songs on “Silent Chamber, Noisy Heart”. Some of my favorite authors are French, among them Paul Verlaine and Charles Baudelaire, so it seemed natural to use a poem from one of them for this song. I also love the sounds of the French language and the meaning behind this poem fits perfectly with the theme of the album.
You were the support band in the Alcest’s South American tour. How was the experience (and what a hell did you not played here in Brazil? LOL)?
Haha, yes, I am really sad that I was not able to play in Brazil! The reason for that is simple; the two shows in Brazil were festivals, and the bands were already booked way in advance, so when it was decided that I was going with Alcest as their support band, the festival bills where already set. Hopefully though, I will be able to come back some time soon, as I would absolutely love to play for you guys in Brazil! You guys are among one of the best audiences I’ve ever experienced! I would never have imagined that my first tour would be in South America, supporting one of my favorite bands Alcest, so even before leaving, I was so thankful and excited. The shows themselves were amazing and the South American audience was so warm and supportive. I couldn’t have asked for a better start! It was truly an amazing experience that will be remembered for a long, long time. All the people we worked with there did a wonderful job and of course the guys of Alcest are a bunch of sweethearts, so this tour was a pleasure to be a part of.
Is there any possibility for a tour or a tour as a support act?
There are no tours planned at the moment, but I will for sure start playing shows very soon. Next year I will start focusing on the live aspect of my project, but for now, I’m focusing on the release of the first album and I’m also back in the studio, starting the recording of my second album. Busy times in other words, but I love it!
Normally I ask the musicians about mp3 sharing. What is your opinion about it? Do you think services as Deezer and Spotify are the future to fight against illegal sharing?
That’s a good question. I’m not really sure how we are going to fight the societies attitude towards illegal sharing, which I personally don’t support. It’s very frustrating as an artist to see that people love to enjoy art, be it music or visual art, but are not willing to pay for it. In the end, it’s a job like anything else, so why shouldn’t the creators behind it get their fair share? A lot of the streaming services offer such a bad percentage to the artist, that most artists don’t earn anything on having their music included in their catalogues, unless they are really huge bands. So to answer your question, no, I don’t think this is the answer to our current problems, unless the streaming services change their deals.
What are you listening to recently? Could you give us some suggestions?
Recently I’ve been listening to some of my usual favorites from the dreampop/shoegaze/post-punk scene, like Slowdive, The Chameleons, Cocteau Twins, The Cure etc. I also have been listening a lot to the band called Lycia, which is a great dark wave band that I could recommend to anyone that likes gothic, dreamy music. Their album “Cold” has such an amazing mood, you should check it out! I could also recommend some more modern bands that I love, like Hammock, A The End Of The Ocean, Explosions In The Sky, 40 Watt Sun, Soror Dolorosa and Mono.
Do you know any Brazilian band?
Well, I know one of the most famous ones within metal, Sepultura, and the brazilian band that played at the Overload festival with Alcest called Labirinto, but other than that I’m a bit of an ignorant unfortunately… However, I’m familiar with the latin music in Brazil and South America, which I like a lot for it’s rhythmic aspect.
I need to express my gratitude for this interview Sylvaine. I hope you can come here to Brazil again. For now, let’s a message for our readers.
It was a pleasure to do this interview! Thank you so much for your interest in my project. To all the readers of Groundcast and all my Brazilian fans; Thank you so much for your warmth and support. You have no idea how much it means to me. I hope you have enjoyed reading this interview and hopefully I’ll see you on tour very soon! Cheers!