In concert at the casino and at the Zénith de Toulouse, Thiéfaine admits “a certain apprehension of the future”
In his 18th album, “Géographie du vide”, currently at the top of sales, Hubert-Félix Thiéfaine tells the story of the world as he feels it, damaged, torn, and the future as he imagines it, inevitably twilight. He will be in concert at the Casino Barrière in January 2022 then at the Zénith in Toulouse in April 2023.
The album cover has an obvious symbolism: Hubert-Félix Thiéfaine appears there in the form of a stone bust (or plaster), reconstituted after having been broken. The singer is thus: big heart seized by the tragedy of the existence; suffering soul striving to continue on its way despite everything. In an intact poetic impulse, so characteristic of his style, carried here by the music of JP Nataf, Arman Méliès, Marc Périer, Joseph d’Anvers, Nosfell… and Lucas Thiéfaine, also producer of the record.
The tone of your new album will sound even lower than usual. Did you feel it that way?
No, I think it’s a continuation of what I’ve always done. I have a certain apprehension of the future, not for myself but for humanity… even if I know very well that all the individuals that we are are destined to die.
The recent period has not therefore particularly influenced you?
Not really. I will give you just one example. When I mention “a shroud that sticks to our face” in “Black page”, I never imagined that it would one day be a surgical mask: I wrote this text in 2016.
And when you ask the question of “wait here or go somewhere else” in “Reykjavik”?
I have used the verb “to wait” a lot. It illustrates a common situation among artists: we have a concert in the evening that lasts two hours, so we have 22 hours left to furnish. It is not very comfortable, sometimes even scary.
You are very attached to the Jura, where you live and where you recorded this new album. You are not a man to travel to feed your imagination like a Lavilliers can be?
For a long time, yes, I traveled a lot to write and compose. Today, I rather aspire to rest after the tours… until the moment when the desire to leave is too strong. I am a multiple being, I have like three lives corresponding to my name and to my work as a singer-songwriter. In the first, I am alone in my corner, out of the world, after having digested what I have seen. In the second, where friendship and company take precedence, I bring together musicians and I record. Finally, in the third, on the roads, it is still the collective that takes precedence.
The guitar, your favorite instrument, seems less prominent in this album …
I tried to evolve, to turn the page. In “Le chant du fou” (in 1978, Editor’s note), I said “The madman sang 17 times”. Or, the fool that I am did his job with Strategy of Hope, which was my 17th album. For the 18th I wanted to break the pretty symbolism a long time ago. My son Lucas helped me make this turn. In this rather sad period, he told me that he liked melancholy a lot musically. Me, as a performer, I was looking to go towards something other than ballads and rocks at 11 bars. Lucas was there, very available; I took advantage of his youth.
Your other son, Hugo, is your manager. You can feel a very close family around you …
Nothing was planned. We got there out of necessity and because Lucas and Hugo are talented. Hugo, for example, had the idea of celebrating the 40th anniversary of my discography by reissuing all my albums. He did a great job, he didn’t make any mistakes. Even chosen for Lucas. Of course, sometimes we don’t agree. And even that we argue! But the work remains easy because we are complementary. Everyone has a specific role, we are not in competition. This seals our union.
Album “Geography of the Void” (Columbia / Sony Music).
Two tours or nothing
Hubert-Félix Thiéfaine will embark on an “Unplugged” tour at the start of 2022 which will pass through the Casino Barrière, in Toulouse, Thursday, January 20 (prices: from 45 to 65 euros). He will be accompanied by four musicians and will play about twenty songs. In 2023, return to the Zénith (including that of Toulouse on Saturday April 1, prices: from 39 to 62 euros) with another more rock tour offering, again, about twenty titles, totally different.