Gaspar Claus is a French cellist with purely musical academic background, who has developed a mastery of his instrument by working with musicians from different scenes: Alternative (Sufjan Stevens, Bryce Dessner/the National, Jim O’Rourke, Matt Elliott/Third Eye Foundation, Casper Clausen/Efterklang, Serge Teyssot Gay/Noir Désir…), World Music (Pedro Soler, Ines Bacan…), Experimental (Ryuichi Sakamoto, Keiji Haino…) Modern Classical (Vacarme), Chanson Francaise (Barbara Carlotti, Flavien Berger…) and Electronic. He runs the label Festival Permanent, which reflects his encounters, stage collaborations and search for genre-defying compositions.
With InFiné, Gaspar first performed with his father, Pedro Soler, during the InFiné workshops in Poitiers in 2008. The label went on to release two albums by the duo ‘Barlande in 2011 and ‘Al Viento’ in 2016. He has also been credited on albums by Rone (Tohu Bohu, Creatures, Mirapolis…) and more recently Arandel (InBach 1&2).
Gaspar has written several film scores and documentaries. “Makala” by Emmanuel Gras won the critics’ prize at the Cannes Film Festival. Last year, InFiné released “Adrienne” on June 4, 2021 – a four track EP for the short film series “Hobbies” broadcast on the French channel Canal+ and directed by Colin Solal Cardo.
Gaspar Claus will be performing at the 15th anniversary of the InFiné label at the cultural space ZENNER in Berlin next week.
1. I believe that nowadays JOY is one of the most political matter.
2. I see more and more examples of “the road to hell is paved with good intentions” expression, and it questions me a lot.
3. We won’t save this world without being amazed by the miracle of our own existence.
1. What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
Absolutely everything I experience in life, or maybe nothing at all. I mean, I have nothing like a specific field that would be my music area, inspired by a particular genre of music. I more feel like everything I hear and see and feel, every one I meet kind of infuses and sometimes becomes music.
2. How and when did you get into making music?
Very early, since my father is a musician. I guess this all began even before I was born…
3. What are 5 of your favourite albums of all time?
“True love gutters” by Richard Hawley
“Spirit of Eden” by Talk Talk
“Ascenseur pour l’Echafaud” by Mile Davis
“Tilt” by Scott Walker
All the slow movements of the piano concertos by W.A Mozart
4. What do you associate with Berlin?
A part of my youth. I used to spend weeks in Berlin, staying in “Besetztes haus” when I was a student.
Some kind of safety that doesn’t exist in France: open parks at night, with no city lights. This is the most dangerous feeling in France, not in Berlin.
The gate to Eastern Europe, which is a notion that we, western people, know nothing about. You have to go to Berlin to feel that story, and understand better a whole period of our history.
5. What’s your favourite place in your town?
In Paris? With the years, it became my apartment. I’ve been in the same apartment for more than 20 years now.
Second favourite place: the seat of my bike, on which I cross the streets of that amazingly beautiful city.
6. If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
I believe I would strongly explore the world, to find that missing spot, that we would all strangely feel. And I hope, with my friends, we’d find a way to invent such a thing as music.
7. What was the last record/music you bought?
“Promise” by Pharoah Sanders & Floating points
8. Who would you most like to collaborate with?
To be honest, I am in a period where I am taking a break with collabs. I’ve been playing with so many people, improvising mostly. And I don’t know, something slowly disappeared lately, it’s about pleasure, I needed to take a moment for myself, to see what I can do on my own. So I focused on my first “solo album” and I want to play it as much as possible now.
And recently I went back on stage with French musicians I admire, for a one shot, and the pleasure was great again.
So… I won’t give you a name. I just want to get back to pleasure in collabs and then make as many encounters as possible!
9. What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
As a performer it was “La nuit en LA”. Me and my friends from ‘VACΛRME” we gathered 9 musicians and played all together one A note for 10 hours in a row. And that was the most crazy music experience I’ve ever had in my musician life.
As a spectator, I am regularly blown away by what I see. Most recent was 4 days ago, Meredith Monk was playing in Paris, and it was like nothing else, the most delicate and elegant music I’ve ever seen and heard…
10. How important is technology to your creative process?
It recently became very central. My “solo” album is actually nothing but solo. It is more like an orchestra made by many layers of cellos, superposing all different ways I play this instrument. So when it went to adapt this to be played on stage I faced a big challenge. How to play these tracks without falling in the trap of boring loops or pre-recorded back tracks? This is where I started going deep into technology with my friend Basile3. And now, it works!
11. Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career/art?
Yep, my sister Clara is a visual artist, and I love to see our path going their own rhythms. We are very close and supportive to each other. Actually, I’ve learnt a lot from her lately, she is my little sister and thanks to her I have recently realized how much chances are not the same for a boy and for a girl to embrace a career, to make people, even family, be attentive to what you have to show, to say. And this was a great step for me, in those days when we all need to change our behaviors, to break old reflexes that are harmful and unfair.