Photo Marie Monteiro
Gilles Laval is a french guitar player, member of legendary rock band Parkinson Square formed in Lyon in 1988 with Laurent Frick (vocals), Gilles Laval (guitar), Akis Abrazis (bass, 1988-91), Hugo Maimone (drums, 1988-90), Lucien Mingoia (drums, 1990-96, 2006-present) and Richard Gaultier (bass, 1991-96, 2006-present). He has been active in a miriad of different sound and social projects, underground shocks and avant-garde scenarios.
Gilles Laval has worked at Chef Menteur (a musical company), Impur I & II with Fred Frith, La Douzaine (12 composers/performers of rock and contemporary music), Triple G (slam electro noise with G Spica, G Hilbe) … Over several years, his approach to music has given a greater importance to improvisation, in solo situation (Passes), with ephemeral meetings (Noël Akchoté, René Lussier, Laurent Grappe…), and in groups such as Akuanosti (with Camel Zekri, Gregor Hilbe, G Spica), Gunkanjima (Yoko Higashi, Yuko Oshima, Marc Siffert, Takumi Fukushima, Laurent Grappe, Didier Coquelet, Manu Gilot), PFL Traject (Jean Charles François, Pascal Pariaud), RYU (Yoko Higashi, Lionel Palun, Marc Siffert), The Mirror & the Hammer (G Chenevier, Franck Testut), among many other scene experiences.
Photo Marie Monteiro
He composes music for dance and theatre. As faculty at the Villeurbanne National Music School he created Scènes musicales, a project for supporting groups of young musicians living in deprived areas of the city. Since 2000 he has been a professor at the Cefedem Rhône-Alpes, in Lyon, with the responsibility to educate future popular music teachers. He is also active within the research laboratory on the artistic practices in acts PaaLabRes.
He has worked with many artists from rock, music research, improvisation and contemporary music such as Noel Akchoté, Jean Charles Francois, Fred Frith, Réné Lussier, Phil Minton, Dave Gregory, Mark Dresser, Maguy Marin, Guigou Chenevier and Camel Zekri.
What do you remember about your first approach to music?
I don't remember exactly, but since I began, it was impossible to imagine to stop music one day.
When you play music, you are somewhere but it's difficult to say where exactly, but this place exist!
I remember that I liked to be there.
Which was the first and the last record you bought with your own money?
Perhaps the White album Beatles or Led Zep The song remains the same, I don't really remember, but I do remember how I was surprise when I listened for the first time Remain in ligth from Talking Heads...
The last one: Mutant Maha (Fukushima, Malric, Chenevier). But I have many friends' presents, both last ones are of Marc Dresser, and Dominique Répécaud Les massifs de fleurs...
How's your musical routine practice?
I have this year like 7 different projects, and I'm teaching music too in the National Music School of Villeurbanne, so I play a lot with students and when I'm not teaching, I work on my projects, and I record and I mix and I drink music... so I spend a lot of time with music; I also have a little structure -association Chef Menteur- and we work a lot... we are only two persons, with Fanny Hauduroy!, to develop projects , it's very very hard, but we try!
Which work of your own are you most surprised by?
Probably this crazy project:
Ryu:music for 2 aquarium an video and multidiffusion...with Yoko Higashi, Lionel Palun, Marc Siffert
And also, working with Fred Frith on Impur (two CD part 1, part 2) project over 2 years (1994-1996)
I was impressed for the "social" that Fred put into the music. How to compose for the musicians whom you have in front of you, using their qualities and defects, even if they are young musicians, good, or very good musicians; how to make them important or irreplaceable in the music. The musicians are part of the creation...And the music was very very good!
I made last year with Moom with Pham Trong Hieu, Franck Testut, and Nicolas Sidoroff a kind of similar project with 17 students from rock, jazz, and classical, all around Olivier Messiaen music, particularly the Quatuor pour la fin du temps, it was fantastic.
In fact I'm surprise in any new project ...
What's the relevance of technique in music, in your opinion?
Technique it's just a medium that gives you possibility to express yourself, it depend of what you want to say and the way that you want to say it. For exemple, I will always be a Thugs fan's (it's a fantastic french band) ; Do they have technique? it's not the problem, they have music, an also politic engagement. They give you good vibe and propose to "emancipate yourself from mental slavery" like Bob would say, that is enough, it's essential.
Why do you need music? Can we live without music? exemple
Music is every where, even without instrument.
When I was young I had a hardcore band, Parkinson Square (3 cd, lot of concerts...) and I discover at the same time electroacoustic music, concrete music, working during 3 years with Denis Dufour. It's like very different music, but it's ok music is everywhere. I recorded all I could, from field recording, to every kind of springs, or unusual object, or music from the city from machine....ok just open your ears... Perhaps improvised music is a mix of all this...
And music is part of society I believe, I shall like that that laic music could find a really place in laic society.
Tell me one impossible project do you like to realize?
Playing music under the sea with a storm above the surface.... or in the space... or in a book...
What quality do you most empatize with in a musician?
Not talking about music all day long... about Greece perhaps? or Iceland?....
Which living or dead artist would you like to collaborate with?
Too much... but I think it's not good to have "masters" like "intouchable" people.. I should probably say that I would like to play with Neil Young, or Bad Brains (all the band;) Bob Mould, Tres Manos from UDS or Tom Zé, Janis Joplin, Patty Smith, Adrian Belew, David Byrne, Arto Lindsay, Nina Simone, and yes of course, Jimi!! , and so many others... Derek Bailey, The Ex, Sonic Youth, Georges Clinton, Sun Ra... Richard Hell, Sophie Agnel, Iva Bittova, ...This list will never stop, and so much "young " and incredible musicians I hope I will play with some of them... So I stop;
Improvisation by Akuanosti with Gregor Hilbe, Giaco Spica, Gilles Laval and Camel Zekri @ the Festival Temps des Createurs in Lyon
I had the chance to meet a lot fantastic people with improvisation. My first "guitar duo improvisation" was with the incredible Noël Akchoté, it was a long time ago, 1997 or so... we made the record Stage Fright last year in 3 days!: I sent him some new tracks, and he added his guitar by above... and the second one with René Lussier, just after working with Fred Frith, it was a nice start in improvisation music!
I played with a lot of incredible and great musicians from improvisation, or traditional music, even from rock like with Dave Gregory from XTC or Cathal Coughlan from Fatima Mansions! (thanks F. Ribac).
I shall see which new surprises the life will bring me...
What is some valuable advice that someone has given to you in the past?
I don't like advices... perhaps I should listen to sometimes...
Guigou Chenevier/ Gilles Laval Academy of Mediia Arts Cologne 3 Juillet 2014
What instruments and tools do you use?
As an improviser,there is almost a standard set of tools ;)
I use E-bow, or bow, many pedals, some stone, some metal, shells, balls; boino, gas lighter, a fane, vinyl (with bow), dictaphone, chinese baguettes... And just beginning Daxophone (built by a friend).
I have often 2 guitars of which one with an open tuning, which I found accidentally...
And I'm gonne work with sensors for a duo with Camel Zekri coming soon...
What is the most recent musical experience that has attracted your attention?
I have this year a really fantastic experience with javanese musiciens from Jojakarta, the "fantastic" Gayam 16. They are Gamelan musicians, and they also have a school for young people , with gamelan, dance, pupetts (Wayang), paint.... This project is called Balungan, with 6 french and 6 indonesian people.
We went to Java (10 days) next year, and then they came for a little tour in France in March, we are now working for continue this project next year...
Beyond the music there are very strong human meetings, and also a lot of discussions , political, religious, economic... How can we "compare" societies? Which is the role of the musicians, or artists in this societies....
PFL Traject. Pascal Pariaud, clarinets, pipes, Jean-Charles François, percussion, Gilles Laval, electric guitar, with James Ilgenfritz, bass
And I have too a incredible tour in USA with PFL Traject this year
I will never imagine that when we begin to work with Jean Charles François and Pascal Pariaud with PFL Traject (trio improvisation) that WE will have a 3 weeks tour in USA (New York and California), with a fantastic gig in San Diego for example...
What projects are you working on now and what does the future hold?
Just finishing a record with Guigou Chenevier for the Vand'oeuvre Label. The name is L'Art Résiste au Temps with text from Naomi Klein. It will be realized next year.
Now working on the CD of Gunkanjima "Ghost Island"
Mimi Festival, (with Acid Mother Temple) it was fantastic and incredible ( the subject of the cd is a island: "Gunkanjima", and we played on an island: "l'île du Frioul next to Marseille!)
And the next project very exiting is a duo with Camel Zekri (first gig in November), I'm very honor to play with Camel, great musicien, great person.
And I will work with Maguy Marin, fantastic choreographer, during August, for a new creation, this very exciting too!! It's included in a big project from Florence Girardon with nine company called Passion(s), around the Passion selon St Matthieu from J.S. Bach.....
and also KorD: a big band of 12 electric guitars, very cool project, the best guitar band of the world from Lyon!
Almost forget that we will have some gig coming in December with Crossed Meeting (another very nice project with Xavier Garcia (composition) Pham Trong Hieu (drums) Eric Brossard (Bass) and Jérôme Aubrun (vidéo).
1990 Parkinson Square - Square up
1991 Parkinson Square - Back To Front
Semetry records / wrote music
1996 Chef Menteur - Par exemple un oeuf qui parle
Laurent Frick, Stephen Tissot, Denis Mariotte, Fred Frith
2000 Chef Menteur - Y’a plus de saison
2006 Fred Frith - Impur. Music for 100 musicians Part 1,
Anthill music - Gema
2006 Fred Frith, Impur part 2,
Anthill music ReR Megacorp, Fred Records
2006 Akuanosti 2009 (G Laval, C Zekri, G Spica, G Hilbe)
2010 An anthology of experimental solo guitar music
Setola di maiale (Italy)
Le miroir et le marteau
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