While he has called Paris home for the past few years, Eric Chenaux was a fixture of DIY and experimental music in Toronto throughout the 1990s and 2000s, progressing from local postpunk legends Phleg Camp and Lifelikeweeds towards a highly distinctive technical and gestural mastery of amplified acoustic guitar. An intrepid explorer of free/improvised music, folkways, bent jazz, and sculptural sound, Chenaux began releasing solo and ensemble work in the 2000s, amidst incessant live performances as a central figure in Toronto’s fertile avant/improv scene, and as co-founder of the experimental music label Rat-drifting. Constellation has been home to Eric’s “solo” records since 2006 – a brilliant discography of adventurous, sumptuous, mostly languorous deconstructed folk, jazz and pop-influenced balladry rooted in the juxtaposition of Chenaux’s fried guitar playing and his gorgeously clear and lyrical singing voice.
Eric Chenaux will perform at our Kiezsalon on 23rd May 2018 alongside Namgar.
1: It is near impossible to perform this task without traversing at the very least a few pretentiousnesses, so if I may, I will skirt around it like a puddle who’s depth I can only guess.
2: From the above I believe I may have proven my point, which was not my intention at all.
3: (improvising or playing, not at all unlike loving, requires us to pay attention without force, intention or judgement so that we may have the luck of encountering the spaces that emerge when the noise of language and interpretation are softened). I believe that I realize that this is in fact not a fact and that it would be against its nature to be one.
1. What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
I believe that I lean more on curiosity than inspiration.
2. How and when did you get into making music?
1980. I had heard Diana Ross’s Upside Down on the radio and having not understood how radio worked I thought that they would play the same song at the same time the following day. I sat in front of my parent’s clock radio with my cassette recorder, ready to record the song. Before every song I would press record, and when I realized it was not that song I pressed stop. I did not listen to the results though I do feel that these equal parts curiosity and utter lack of understanding continue in my music.
3. What are 5 of your favourite albums of all time?
Let’s say these for today:
Archie Shepp: Blasé
Robert Ashley: Private Parts
Martin Arnold: Aberrare
Betty Carter: Inside Betty Carter
and more recently I have been very much smitten by Mhysa: fantasii
4. What do you associate with Berlin?
I once stayed for a couple weeks in the kreuzberg apartment of the wonderful Berlin-based composer Marc Sabat and went to the Hamburger Bahnhof every day to see Walter De Maria’s 2000 Sculpture. Mind-numbingly psychedelic sculpture (not unlike Buttes Chaumont I wish to add, see below). That is certainly the first thing to come to mind when I think of Berlin.
5. What’s your favourite place in your town?
Paris is Parc des Butte Chaumont (Belleville, Paris), the fifth largest park in Paris, which was built in the late 1800’s. It is both real and artificial and breaks down both of those categories. It seems like something resembling an idea of nature; very psychedelic proportions and curves and angles.
Any view from anywhere is absolutely wonderful.
6. If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
Not much I imagine.
7. What was the last record/music you bought?
8. Who would you most like to collaborate with?
I very much look forward to making more music with the fried electronic/dance/trombone maverick Ralph Cumbers aka Bass Clef.
9. What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
There are many and they are all gigs where I was a listener.
Robert Ashley in Montreal with Thomas Bruckner at the Suoni Per il Popolo festival.
That concert altered everyone in the room.
10. How important is technology to your creative process?
I am not sure that I can delineate where technology begins.
Are the throat, foot, finger, stomach and tongue and lips not in some way technological?
11. Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career/art?
My brother is a chef in Napa Valley California. We do not really talk about my music.
We talk about food and my parents.