Daniel Belanger |  curious eternal

Daniel Belanger | curious eternal

With mercury in may, his tenth studio album, Daniel Bélanger returns to his musical source while looking forward. Explosion of debates with a creator freer than ever.

Posted at 7:00 am

joseph lapointe

joseph lapointe
Press

There is a kind of post-pandemic air call on this new album by Daniel Bélanger that will be released on Friday. A breath we feel from the first song, In the wind of ideaswhose instrumental ending, which extends over more than a minute, well announces what will come in the next nine.

“My idea was not to make an album about the pandemic, explains the singer. But I realize that my clothes smell like a pandemic, like Coat jeans the day after a campfire. »

mercury in may it’s a comfortable bubble, with songs with aerial structures, laying of musical bridges, the singer’s voice multiplied to infinity in the choirs, two instrumental pieces… If Daniel Bélanger survived a “pandemic of the lucky ones” — “I didn’t lose nobody close to me, I didn’t fire anyone, I kept working in my studio” — he points out that he probably escaped into music.

“In a song like Sunrise, we walk, we get some fresh air… The long instrumental pieces are to remind us that this space exists. And that we can be in it. »

“Life is beautiful, but sometimes it’s hard,” he sings in sleep in the car. A phrase that seems to sum it all up very well.

It is true that the disk you want. He wants light. But he is still tough.

Daniel Belanger

We meet Daniel Bélanger at the offices of his new label, Secret City Records (Patrick Watson, Klô Pelgag). He left the box that gave him life, Audiogram, of which his brother Michel was president and co-founder, after 30 years of fidelity.

“Just that 30 years have passed, it was a good reason to leave. I think I broke a world record! “, Launches the singer-songwriter, who affirms that his departure has nothing to do with the sale of Audiogram to Quebecor in 2021.“ I am happy that Audiogram stays in Quebec, whether it is Quebecor and not Sony Japan, for example. But it was time to shuffle the cards a bit. »

Daniel Bélanger rediscovers in Secret City the “freshness” of the beginnings of Audiogram. That was how, at the age of 60, he opened a TikTok account, in which he gradually revealed the first excerpt from the album, I hear everything playing in your head. The strategy has been a great success and it seems to amuse him. “A boy from the club offered it to me. I said, “Okay, I’ll provide you with the content and you do the editing and distribution.” I do this to my measure, as I am. »

Sculpture

A few days before the album’s release, Daniel Bélanger is happy and relaxed. “I haven’t felt any pressure for a long time. I present my things, and he who loves me follows me. »

four years apart dovealbum of original songs released in 2016, instrumental Tracing (2020). Since then, she has also composed the music for the film. confessions of Luc Picard, in addition to publishing a collection of poetry, Heavyweight, released at the end of August. An experience that he loved. “It did me as much good as my instrumental album. Poetry is total freedom, within certain limitations. You don’t have to worry about fitting into the tune… but you do have to fit into something else! »

Reworking his texts with an editor, spending hours arguing over the merits of a word, all of this stimulated him greatly. “This is one of the best cases that has happened to me in recent years. And that is proof that he still has things to learn.


PHOTO ROBERT SKINNER, THE PRESS

Daniel Belanger

You have to stay curious. Youth is important, but don’t try it, you will be old. As long as you are curious, you can preserve it, nurture it, pamper it, protect it. That’s what gets you closer to being young.

Daniel Belanger

In singing, Daniel Bélanger is “more confident” and has less need for an outside perspective: he works alone in his studio, without a director, he plays all the instruments and only brings in musicians in the last stage, in this case, Guillaume Doiron on bass. and Robbie Kuster on drums.

“When you get to your tenth, each new album is part of a whole and sticks to the rest to form a sculpture. I’m not saying I know THE song, but I know mine. I have plenty of references, I know what I’ve done, what I want to do, what I don’t like…”

Where it is located mercury in may in carving? “For now he is a big clod! “He is laughing.“ This is where I am in my head and my heart. »

Simplicity

As we celebrated the 20th anniversary of their flagship album last year sounds bettermany of the new songs mercury in may address her. Is it the shock of having talked about it a lot? “I just want to be free,” she replies. You don’t believe in reaction to sounds better as it has done for a long time, having no obligation to “fight against or for”. “I just want to make the album that I want to make right now. To be who I am. »

However, I wanted to bring back synths and mix acoustics and keyboards, like 20 years ago. “There are also memories of the synthesizers of my youth, of OMD or Tanita Tikaram. I have basses like this, that go poupoum, poupoum… Just an impulse. »

We are far from the heaviest rhythm of dove. “Yes, it was crispier. The rhythm here is more like the steady pace of walking. He smiles. “And no to the exercise bike! »

Daniel Bélanger claims the same freedom when writing lyrics, which he improvises on audio and not on paper. “Instead of crossing out a sentence, I erase it and say another. It’s the same job, but more intuitive and without restrictions. Result: there is a very wide vocabulary in his texts, with titles that include words like wind, sun, joy, stars, flowers…

I try to simplify… without being simple. There are many prejudices against simplicity, as if it were not elaborated.

Daniel Belanger

Simplify, reduce complexity, be more direct: that’s what you’re after. ” the insomniacs It will be my most complicated album. I wanted people to understand that I liked poetry, that I was capable of writing it. I was looking for approval. Today, I’m just trying to communicate. »

The singer is expected to hit the road again in the spring. He rediscovered his love of showmanship over the summer, when he shared the stage with Half Moon Run at Québec’s Festival d’été, and during a memorable concert at Saguenay’s Festival La Noce. “There was even body surfing. It was something! »

Daniel Bélanger may well be one of the rare Quebec artists who still transcends generations, but the reception he has received in recent years surprises him. “At MTelus, for dove, the girls were on the shoulders of their friends! I was like, my God, I’m not going to live until I’m 95, what are they going to do to me! »

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