2009.03.30 SPLEEN ARCANA – Julien Gaullier (interview)

For some time now (even through Rock Area Service) you have been able to download the entire album of French project – SPLEEN ARCANA. I’m convinced that some of you already know the album. Mabye thanks to this interview some other will have a listen to it. Feel free to read interview with Julien Gaullier, who answered some questions for Rock Area Service.

What does „Spleen Arcana” mean, and why did you choose such a name for your project?

The „Spleen” is an organ of course but it’s also a french word that refers to a special state of melancholy. It was used in romantic literature and of course by Charles Baudelaire. The word „Arcana” has different meanings as well; It comes from esoterism and alchemy, it refers to something obscure but it can also refer to a remedy. That’s why I choose to juxtapose those words, there are different meanings and it reflects what I like in music. Music can turn melancholy into something different, music can be a remedy sometimes. There are some other meanings but I don’t want to say too much…

How long did it take you to compose songs for Spleen Arcana debut album?

Some of the songs were written some years ago, actually „A Kind Of Heaven” is the first song I ever wrote, in 1999. „A Picture Of Two Lovers” is one of the last one. I have a lot of music that is already composed at the moment but I like to take my time and let the songs evolve through weeks or months.

What are the lyrics about on „The Field Where She Died”?

Lyrics on this debut album are really important to me. It’s about the loss of someone, in different ways, about love and death. About the thin line between who you are and what you are. It may sound really depressive at first glance but I think there’s some hope here and there.

How did it happen, that Spleen Arcana debut’s cover artwork is a picture by a Polish artist: Malgorzata Maj?
How did you find her works?

I found Malgorzata Maj thanks to Marie (who sings on the album) who knows a lot of fantastic graphic artists, she thought that I could like her works and I did for sure!! I find that her pictures are the perfect reflection of what the word „spleen” really means. Melancholy which comes from her works is really powerful. I’m really glad about what she did for Spleen Arcana, so glad that I didn’t want to add anything on this cover artwork, not even the title of the album, the picture speaks for itself.

Are you happy with the response regarding your debiut album?
Do you get response mainly from France or from abroad?

I’m more than happy to be honest. Actually, I have some really good reviews about this first album. Some people really enjoy it and the feedbacks are really good. Response comes mainly from abroad, USA, United Kingdom, Holland. I suppose that it comes from my interest for those countries and I really like the idea that music travels around the world, I think it’s great!

Why did you decide to put your music for free download on the Internet?
And was it worth doing it? What about selling CDs?
Do you know the statistics? How many people have downloaded your album for free?

I think that mp3 is really changing the way people behave with music. I don’t think it’s bad. I don’t think that pointing the finger and saying that mp3 is the evil is the good way to go. Mp3 is like a door to a world, it’s not enough in itself and I’m sure that people who love music know what I mean. So I decide to give my music for free because I want to share it and I can’t ask for people to buy something they absolutely don’t know. The album has been downloaded 1000 times in two months. Some people bought the mp3 edition (at a better quality than the free version), some people have waited for the cd edition, and some people bought both editions! And others who didn’t buy my music but listen to it and share it. And then, new people comes and buy the CD, and so on. The debut album has been self released, in an independant way because I want to work this way and people knows that buying my music will allow me to make a second album. And we all know that mp3 sounds quite bad, there’s no competition between mp3 and CD for me, it’s two different worlds and it’s complementary.

Spleen Arcana is a studio project… Is there any chance for you to complete the band’s touring lineup and play some shows? Or mabye you are not interested…

Yes I’d like to find some musicians to play live. I think that it could be interesting to wait for the second album and have more materials to play. But yes, definately. I hope that there will be more guest musicians on the next album by the way.

You are working on some new tracks? What can we expect on second Spleen Arcana’s album?
And what is the expected date of release?

I’m working actually on the first opening song which will be an epic one. The other songs are already written but I need to work on arrangements. I think that it should be in the same genre of The Field Where She Died but with more percussion, more rythms… And a different atmosphere. I hope that it will be possible to record it this year. It all depends on The Field Where She Died.

On your first album you used mandolin and mellotron. How are you going to surprise your fans next time?

It seems that ukulele is trendy here but… No I’m joking, I don’t really know which instruments I will add but I have some ideas about percussion and strings.

I have to admit, your website and Myspace profile are impressive and fully professional. Do you take care of it by yourself. Or mabye some people help you?

Thank you very much! Yes I take care of these visual things by myself with the help of Marie who is a great graphic designer and photographer. I like to see pictures as an extension of my music.

Thnx for this interview. What do you want to say as an outro to your Polish fans?

Thanks to you for your interest and for everyone who listened to my album! I know that Poland has some great progressive bands, it seems that Polish people really enjoy progressive music so it would be an honour to be played over there. Thanks!

Interviewer: Piotr Spyra

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