It was not long ago since we met NEMO , just in 2011 (!!!) , when the band released their 7th Album “Revolu$ion” .From that time and on we became hardcore Fans of the band, waiting for the right time to ask Jean-Pierre Louveton to honor us with a great interview…
The ”Room’ team couldn’t decide what questions should ask and what should not..They were so many, in fact i’d say we could use a notebook or so to cover all the questions we wanted to.
This interview was a dream come true for the Channel.
* Thank you NEMO and JPL ..! *
–NEMO | Interview–
Welcome to ‘Progressive Room’. It’s an honor for us, taking an interview from an important Band such as ‘’Nemo’’. We suppose it’s the first time that you give an interview to a Greek Prog/Rock Channel, so let’s start with a flashback of your career. What was the main motivation that made you start learning music and what made you involve to Progressive Rock specifically?
Hello, it’s a great pleasure for me to answer your questions. Indeed it’s the first time I talk to Greek people. I started as a musician when I was seventeen, and I already loved progressive music. My first band was kind of progressive metal, we were in 1987 and I was a big fan of Fates Warning, Metallica, and beside Marillion or Yes. In those times we were not good musicians enough to really play what was in my head, and I had to wait until the year 2000 to dive deep into progressive rock with Nemo.
How exactly NEMO came up? Tell us, how did you guys met and decided to form the Band.
In 2000 I met Guillaume Fontaine (who’s still the Keyboadist in Nemo) and our first drummer Pascal Bertrand. I had in the head to create a band like Spock’s Beard, Transatlantic or Dream Theater, and as they were really good musicians we started to play some of my demos and to write new music together. In 2001 we recorded what became our first album “Les nouveaux mondes” the year after. That’s how it started!
What does “Progressive Rock” mean to you, and how do you experience it in your daily routine?
Some of my favorite bands play Prog Rock. Genesis or Yes for the old ones, Steven Wilson or Opeth for the newest ones. I don’t like everything in that kind of music, but when it’s adventurous and well played I like it! For me being prog is not to copy what have already been done. It’s a mix of a lot of music genres, assembled in a way that makes you travel within your head. It has to be surprising and original.
Do you feel satisfied with the music evolution of Progressive Rock nowadays? Can it be compared to the one of 70’s considering the music part?
Yes, I do, but not with every band. I think that prog rock must be inspired by everything, even modern music as Electro or Metal. It’s a reflection of the musical world we live in, and not only a photography of the past. I don’t like too much “tribute” bands who copy Yes music or Pink Floyd music, that’s not my definition of being “progressive”. But I think there are also very good bands nowadays, as Pain of Salvation, Haken or Steven Wilson.
Do you see that the progressive musical fixation evolving or being stagnant? Do you separate some new bands with a lot of interesting ideas or orientation?
- Should we be afraid that eventually prog/rock music has come to an end , and everything new is a repetition of an old one?
I think it will die when musicians will stop testing new things. That’s how it started, and that’s how it will continue, maybe with different forms. Archive is a good example of how Prog music could sound like in the future.
Listening to NEMO’s album we can recognize the influence from great Bands such as YES or King Crimson, is that right? Which bands or artists have influence your music generally?
I am a big Yes fan sinc I’m 17, but I must confess that I discovered King Crimson much later, and this band is not one of my favorites even if I love albums like Red or The power to believe. I think my personal biggest influences can be found in the music I was listening to when I was 15 or 18. Let’s say Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Thin Lizzy… Most of these bands had a progressive side, and where inspired by progressive rock bands of the 70s.
- If you had the chance to travel back in time, which of your favorite bands would you like to see playing live?
Thin Lizzy! Yes with the classic lineup! Led Zeppelin!
- What would you say to a listener who asked you to give 2 to 3 good reasons to ”get close ” and listen Progressive Rock? If you had the choice to give 2-3 Albums to convince someone, which ones would you choose?
I would offer him the latest Steven Wilson album! Nobody can be indifferent to this music. Another could be one of my all-time favorites: Seasons end by Marillion. That’s an easy way to enter the progressive would in my opinion. But I think that progressive music needs a certain effort to get into it. That’s the reason why I believe that not everybody can be interested in that strange beautiful music.
You have managed a unique sound to your play, jazzy passages, heavy drums, and wonderful jumps between guitars and keyboards! Also instruments such ORGAN/HAMMOND that brings psychedelic rhythms to our ears…So we need to know, what is the procedure when you first come up to an album idea till its completion?
There is not only one procedure. Most of the time we work together on someone’s idea, trying to be creative and not repeating ourselves too much. I’m the one who often have clear ideas of what arrangement could be like, simply because I’m the one in the band who listen to music a lot, I guess. About Hammond organ, it’s a marriage we like when it’s played with distorted guitar, as Deep Purple do since 50 years now.
I also often have a clear idea about where the songs are going, but everybody in the band take part in the work when it’s time to finalize the songs. It’s something I love when my band mates give ideas that I never thought about!
- How do you compose your songs? Do the lyrics written first and then the music?
Music first, always. Lyrics are more a lone work, and Guillaume or me write them separately most of time.
- What affects you and what motivates you to write new ideas?
I simply love the blank page, trying to write music never heard before. I now it’s an utopian idea, but I do believe that it’s a good state of mind if you don’t want to sound like other bands. And that’s what we always wanted.
- Are you currently there on recordings throughout the process and how do you contribute to the orchestration and the final mix of the songs?
It’s a band work, but when it’s time to record guitars, keyboards and vocals it becomes more an individual work because we record them home. We trust each other enough to let us record our parts alone. Anyway, everything is written before so there are no big surprises in the end.
When you have a melody on your head, which instrument is the first one you play to express it and which one is your favorite that express your feelings ?
I’m a guitarist, and that’s the instrument on which I find 90% of my ideas. But sometimes it can start with a drum pattern idea, or a keyboards chords progression.
What to expect in the Future from your albums considering the type, style and music completion? See you to experiment on trails you have not walked until now.
Well, we are in pause since the release of our latest album “Coma”, and I don’t know when we will restart the band. One thing is sure, we needed to have a break because it was becoming very hard after 9 albums and 15 years to play together to find new music that was exciting enough, or that wasn’t a copy of what we had already released. So we’ll come back when the batteries will be full again!
What shall we expect from your next Tour Project ?
No tour, but we are open to any concert proposal, as we did last September in Veruno (Italy) with Saga. That was a good time to play together after 1 year of pause!
Thank you so much for the interview JP.
Thank you Progressive Room.