French musician Yann Tiersen released his eighth album ∞ (also known as Infinity) on May 19th. To learn more about the album before he plays Toronto’s The Opera House this Wednesday night, I gave Yann a call to discuss the creation of the new album, using toy instruments, endless manipulation, and touring. Here’s what he had to say:
AMBY: Hey Yann, thanks for speaking with me today.
Yann Tiersen: My pleasure.
AMBY: You released your new record Infinity on May 19th. Tell me about the album — what was the experience like recording it?
Yann Tiersen: The first idea for the album was to record some artistic and light stuff, using lots of electronic treatments, and using those as a remix of sorts. I don’t know how to explain it [laughs]. The album is kind of a back and forth from live recordings and acoustic recordings to an electronic and computer treatment.
AMBY: When it comes to the songs on the album, a track I’m currently loving is A Midsummer Evening. That song also has a lot of layered textures, and I read that the idea was to start with toy instruments and then manipulate the sounds electronically. What was the inspiration behind taking the album in this new direction?
Yann Tiersen: Yea, you know, when I first started to work on the album I thought it would be a funny idea to go back to toy instruments because of past works. A Midsummer Evening came soon in the creation process; even the bass layer was catchy and I said, “oh yea, maybe this one can be a song”.
AMBY: When it comes to the title, what inspired Infinity?
Yann Tiersen: It’s a bit by chance. When I was making the album at first, I realized that this was my eight album and that’s also my favourite number!
AMBY: [laughs] How did that affect the title?
Yann Tiersen: Because of this process of manipulation in the music, the endless manipulation, I thought it was the best title and fit the album perfectly.
AMBY: You mention how this is your eight studio album. With so many great records under your belt, when making a new one did you think about how it would fit into your discography?
Yann Tiersen: I never asked myself that question, so I don’t know [laughs]. This album is who I am now and I think it fits well into the discography as the eighth album. It was really a relaxed process making it and was fun to do.
AMBY: I noticed that there’s often a lot going on within one song on the new album. I’ll use A Midsummer Evening again, for example, with the vocal harmonies, strings, and bells. Have you ever found it a challenge transferring your music from on disc to a live setting?
Yann Tiersen: No, actually. We’ve been rehearsing for three weeks and everything’s gone easy to reproduce and play the songs off Infinity.
AMBY: That’s good!
Yann Tiersen: [laughs]
AMBY: You also recently embarked on a North American tour, and we can’t wait to cover your Toronto show. What do you look forward to most regarding the rest of the tour?
Yann Tiersen: It’s always great to tour in the US and it’s all really exciting.
AMBY: For the last question of our interview, outside of music, what are some things that you like to do for fun?
Yann Tiersen: Hiking, I love hiking.
Thank you Yann Tiersen, for giving us your answers!
Interview by Alicia Atout | @AliciaAtout