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Soft Cell: first album in 20 years

Missing for ten years, the one who wanted the life of others to be like poetry, MC Solaar, reappears around the corner with no less than nineteen titles. Meet

Find MC Solaar at the Francos de Montréal on Friday, June 17 – Info and ticketing

Better on the rap weather: the Solaar is back. After ten years spent in almost complete obscurity, Claude MC, the pioneer of prose-combat made in France, the ace of clubs who stung our hearts, the man who sowed the tempo of the genre in the early 90s , finally put into practice one of the refrains that made her success: Move from there! Result, a new album, baptized Geopoetics, eighth of a career voluntarily interrupted for a decade, 19 titles in which we find the claw of the joker: elastic flow, dense texts with their ration of alliterations, dry humor without rhyme, old school arrangements this time crossed with funk, d electro or classical music, in short, everything that made Solaar cream. Reunions.

RS: Ten years of absence… What happened?

MC Solaar: At first, I said to myself that I was going to stop for three or four years. I had just become a father and I wanted to take advantage of it. And then the years passed… Every June, when I found myself on a café terrace, I said to myself, a bit like a dunce, “ well, you haven’t worked during this school year, but next year you’ll get back to it! “In fact, I wrote a song a year, I went to the studio once or twice, I tried to motivate myself but it didn’t follow. I had taken other habits of life, I walked on foot in the street, from Saint Augustin to Porte Maillot, going back and forth to my children’s school, all the neighbors in the area know me by force , and I know everyone.

What made you decide to go back to it?

In the same week, in July 2016, there were several people who encouraged me to return to the studio regularly. I took back my notebooks, my notes, and we looked for sounds with my composers. The concern was to work in diversity, not to repeat the same thing as before. I didn’t want to arrive ten years later ten years late.

The album is called Geopoeticsyet no song, as with many of your colleagues, alludes to recent news…

The theme of the title is rather travel and poetry. I avoided topical songs, firstly because there are already a lot of them, but above all because I wanted an atmosphere of peace and harmony. I find it hard to write about painful news, I’m not a café-theatre artist or a songwriter, and I don’t feel like going to drop off a song about the attacks… In rap, there are a lot of words, so the risk is to say too much. It’s easier in song, there is a watercolor side.

On one of the titles, you pay homage to Gainsbourg. One of your spiritual fathers?

More than a tribute, I wanted to do something a little Gainsbourian, in the manner of, in alexandrines. What I liked about him was his interpretation, the way he embodied his texts. We can say that he rapped before anyone else, even if he called it talk over. At the time, when I wrote a sentence like “I saw the hemoglobin concubine”, it was under its influence: the feeling of being upright and speaking above the music. A lot of rappers do Gainsbourg without knowing.

Like varieties, rap has become a popular genre. Do you yourself make a difference between the two?

Today, in 2017, I would say that I do French songs. What makes the difference with the varieties is the strength of speech, of words, a typically French thing, even if we can find an equivalent with Bob Dylan or Leonard Cohen. The text with its thickness can be music all by itself. You can stand straight, still and sing Aznavour. If you sing variety, you hold your microphone and you start dancing, you feel compelled to overplay.

Rap today, how do you find it?

I will do the old one. Before, in rap, there were still things to say and to carry, for example to advance a cause. Since it became institutionalized, it became mainstream, I have the impression that people rap to rap. Part of the roots have disappeared. When the first rappers started in the United States, it was under the Carter-Reagan era, in difficult conditions, there was apartheid in South Africa, race riots, they had things to express, for example telling the kids that they had to educate themselves. Luther Campbell, one of the founders of the 2 Live Crew, claims that the same song comes up every 25 years. One day, in Africa, someone told me that rap meant learning to speak again. I agree with this definition.

After this album, do you plan to disappear again for ten years?

This time, I really got back into the music. I want to do the tour of France again, tell lots of stories on stage, rediscover the energy of the 90s. After all, I’m still a young rapper since I didn’t make music for ten years.

Philippe Barbot

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