Un Blonde’s World of Colour
Photo by Sebastian Buzzalino
Jean-Sebastien Audet (Un Blonde) has never stayed in one headspace for long, or location for that matter. After projects in his Calgary home, Audet moved to Montreal, where he redefined himself artistically as Un Blonde. Charting down ideas and concepts through a constantly ready-to-go studio, Audet tracks musical ideas like journaling rather than traditional song writing, piecing it all together later. We talked with Audet ahead of his December 9 show at the 27 Club to talk about how colour has inspired his music, how he manages to record so frequently and why he had to make an experimental album just to get back to organic tones again.
Ottawa Life: How did you want to differentiate this project from any of your previous work with Faux Fur or the You are Minez?
Jean-Sebastien Audet: For all the work I did before, my goals were very outside of myself musically. When I approached Un Blonde, I recognized the difference was that I was not making songs necessarily, more intent on laying out everything I see. I don't see myself making music any other way now, so those projects were before I came into myself musically.
Looking to the live sphere, why have you had the band change out members so often over the years?
We've actually been a solid three-piece for a couple years now with a couple additions. We played a show recently with string players and vocals, that was a big expansion and I'd never really done it before. Usually the band has been this three-piece, but the way we put ourselves into it and evolve, is really bending the music into different shapes to get the idea across from the recordings. I'm not able to perform a version of a song over and over again in the same way. You take the music into something you think is quintessential to the original vibe but new enough to play it live.
Can you explain your minimal recording gear setup to you, and how this ability to record whenever shaped Good Will Come To You?
The only catch is I can't leave the studio I live at too often. I won't feel comfortable outside of that environment for long because I won't be able to lay down an idea when it comes. I've never really taken heavy advantage of the technology I have, I've got a four-track app on my phone and I never tried recording my ideas elsewhere. I'm studio-locked and recording ideas in fragments, making it really slow. I abandon fragments really easily, so I'm trying to lay down as many separate ideas, and journal what I'm feeling in a day. It hasn't expanded to other technologies, my studio is always ready to be used. All the gear is ready to use so I can really journal it.
What inspired you to move away from the synths on Good Will Come To You for more natural tones?
When I made the that synth record, I was really experimenting with getting the kinds of sounds I never had access to. I've never been a synth or electronics person at all, I don't know my way around it. My goal was to get the desired sounds without any of the knowledge. Looking to this last record, the instrumentation: sparse percussion, cello and acoustic guitar, laid the groundwork. It felt contrived at the time so I made this experimental record. I found it natural after to go back to this organic instrumentation, and I was able to make the shift consciously. I had been meaning to elaborate on that instrumental world before but it just wasn't the time.
In understand you painted your studio blue for your latest music, how do you find this helps the music and did you do something similar with your previous records?
I didn't have a yellow space for my last record. One of my walls was yellow, so that's where I took the photo for the cover. My life was yellow at the time, it's something that I had no say in. I felt blew this time, I just realized this is the shade I'm living in. I painted the studio blue because this is the first opportunity I've had to build a studio from the ground up. I had brought all this stuff from Calgary, so for this one I wanted to carve out a real space for the first time since I moved. Painting it just helped make my world feel tangible. The studio space is so important and helps articulate the music, it makes it come across.