When I first heard "I Was There" by French songwriter My Broken Frame (Guillaume Léglise) I felt like I should've heard his music long ago. In some sense, though, I have. Guillame channels the character of Nick Drake's vocals, and the mood of some of Tim Buckley's songs ("Once I Was"), and fits them into a compelling arrangement that just feels so relevent, and moving. Plenty of bands can put together a song that sounds like however they want to sound, but doesn't match the mood to the lyrics so much. Guillame's songs have the thought put into them that makes every song a completed moment, with the full range of feelings that can be felt in such a moment. Guillame obliged me, recently with some answers to a few questions that I had for this mostly unknown songwriter.
You've said that you started writing music six years ago. When did you realize that you wanted to write music?
Maybe when I heard for the first time "What would the community think" LP by Cat Power... That was 10 years ago. I was 16.At this time, my Mum had bought me a guitar for Christmas.When I was 6, I asked my parents to buy a piano. But I didn't realize I would actually have to take lessons to be able to play...and I hated taking lessons...but I was dreaming I could write songs, just like that, sitting at piano and looking at the keys!...and I finally ended up composing my first song with a guitar, 10 years later.
Obviously, both are very important, but now that you've done some touring, do you prefer writing music or touring?
I think that from now on, I prefer touring. But maybe one day it could be different. I've got a dream : live in a house near the sea where I could record my music.
What are your favorite bands?
Anthony and the Johnsons, Belle and Sebastian, Young Marble Giants,The Zombies, Camera Obscura, Suzanne Vega, Nick Drake, Tim Buckley, Death Cab For Cutie, Diane Cluck, Herman Düne, Elliot Smith, Sun Kill Moon/ Red House Painters, Mojave 3, Julie Doiron, Jeff Buckley, Paloma, Gastr del Sol, Jim O'rourke, Ron Sexsmith, The Smiths, Sophie Moleta, Spirtiualized, Songs Ohia, The Magnetic Fields, The Dream Syndicate, The Sundays, Sufjan Stevens, Stereolab, Pavement, Talk Talk.
What bands have influenced your music?
Tom Waits, Red House Painters, Nick Drake, John Coltrane, Songs Ohia, Young Marble Giants, Yo La Tengo, Anthony and the Johnsons, Julie Doiron, David Sylvian.
How do you describe your music to people?
"Folk dreamy pop"... For nostalgic girls and boys....
How do you get inspiration to write a song, and what does the song writing process look like for you?
Usually my inspiration comes from strong moments of my life, be they happy or sad. I get inspired by the people that surround me, the relations I have with my friends and my family, the feelings I have for them and memories I share with them.
But sometimes, I write a song when I watch a good movie. The pictures inspire me...I write the music at the beginning. I write the entire song with one instrument, piano or guitar. I find the melody really soon. Then I write the lyrics. Then I take other instruments...
Which of your songs is your favorite, right now?
It's always the last I wrote...
What is the name "My Broken Frame" about? Why did you pick that name?
It's a tribute to the New Wave. An LP of Depeche Mode is called "A broken frame". It's a really old one. I'm 26, and I feel like a son of the new wave. That was a real liberation for music and creativity.But it also refers to As for the title of the album, "Chapel Hill", it's a city where my mother worked for a few months when I was 9, and I spent one month holiday with her there.
What has the response to your LP, Chapel Hill, been? How do you feel about the response?
Today Chapel Hill is just a CDR. But we'll publish it, here in France, next September. I'm looking for a licence and distributors in the US and in UK....MySpace is a great way to promote my music around the world and reach people I would have never been able to reach otherwise. I get mails from Australia, Italy, Canada, USA, UK...without being released there. Some radios in the US and in Canada also played my tunes.
How do you feel about having played with Final Fantasy?
Actually I just had a gig with him in Paris. That was really cool. And few days ago I also played with Wedding Present, an old and really good noisy pop band from UK.
What band would be your favorite to tour with?
Maybe with my friends Herman Düne because they are so cool and friendly. They've got some amazing songs.Maybe with Josh Ritter or Ron Sexsmith. I admire them.
What is the purpose of music to you?
To be free, open my soul and meet people and musicians, travel all over the world....
Be sure to pick up a copy of My Broken Frame's LP, Chapel Hill, when it comes out in September. Check out his MySpace page, http://www.myspace.com/mybrokenframe, to keep updated about the LP's release, and to download/listen to some of his songs.
Edit: Check these MP3's from My Broken Frame as well...
My Broken Frame - Something You Really Need.mp3
My Broken Frame - Willy's Story.mp3
As a small way to take part in Memorial Day, I've got a good War-related song for you...
Download>>Zoe Keating - Legions (War).mp3
As a note, Zoe Keating is a member of Rasputina who, as a solo artist, has opened for Imogen Heap (Frou Frou) several times. She uses only a cello and creates her own samples which she lays as a background, then layers her cello in over that. Check her out on MySpace at http://www.myspace.com/zoecello!