His new release was created in collaboration with the Mexican electronic musician Murcof, who made it into a sublime album which was then released last November by Mundo Recordings. It was an idea of comics artist and film director Enki Bilal and the album “Being Human Being” prompted us to have a small chat with this notorious and appreciated French trumpet player Erik Truffaz. Enjoy the interview… and his sounds, of course!
Chain D.L.K.: Hi there! How are you?
Erik Truffaz: I’m ok. Thank you very much.
Chain D.L.K.: Did you know each other from a musical point of view, of course, before meeting on stage or on tones?
Erik Truffaz: I heard about Murcof from my manager. I discovered him when someone played his music in a car while I was touring in Mexico. When I got home, I recorded some parts over his album ‘Mir’ and I sent him the final product. I was anxious about it but thankfully he loved what I’d done! It was after this that we decided to collaborate.
Chain D.L.K.: I remember a memorable performance of Talvin Singh at Miles Davis Hall, during the Montreux Jazz Festival in 2006…I think it’s safe to assume that your “musical roads” intersected years before ‘Mexico’…
Erik Truffaz: Yes, of course! We both had and continue to have some common roots and interests, most notably Jean Michel Jarre, Oxygene and Kraftwerk.
Chain D.L.K.: Why did you decide to link your first collaborative release to Mexico? Is there any ‘hidden’ connection to Switzerland or France, as well?
Erik Truffaz: It was mainly because Murcof is Mexican and the concept was: three CD’s dedicated to three towns.
Chain D.L.K.: That mini-album had a ‘geographical’ connection, while your new album depicts humanity, even if your music has often been described as otherworldly and even cosmic…does it sound like a sort of a paradox to you?
Erik Truffaz: Not really. There is a link between my music, humanity, and cosmic connection, and all of this is a part of humanity.
Chain D.L.K.: Before speaking of ‘Being Human Being’, what’s your own definition of humanity? Have you ever felt inhuman?
Erik Truffaz: My own understanding of humanity is the ability to understand other people and, in order to do so, one needs to be without a big ego. That helps you listen to others and also make music more easily.
Chain D.L.K.: How important is improvisation in your collaboration?
Erik Truffaz: In life I am really free and I have some themes, but I really can’t choose what comes out. It really helps to stay fresh and creative.
Chain D.L.K.: After continuous, non-stop listening, it’s easy to notice that you alternated gloomy, eerie and more soothing moments… Enki Bilal’s comics aside, would you consider ‘Being Human Being’ as a sort of soundtrack for a non-existent movie?
Erik Truffaz: The concept for this album was originally proposed by Enki Bilal and it’s about the birth of the universe, the arrival of man, war, chaos, humanity, love and abstract thought. That said, everyone can build their own message from the music and try to be better in touch with their own conceptions.
Chain D.L.K.: Besides the exquisitely musical aspect, is there any kind of philosophical or spiritual research behind “Being Human Being”?
Erik Truffaz: Enki gave us the scenario for it and we wanted to follow that idea of his; his own dramaturgy. It is up to the listener to decide whether it is a soundtrack or not.
Chain D.L.K.: We mentioned the comics by Bilal that play an important role in this album…is there any specific image or scene that impressed you or upset you? If so, why?
Erik Truffaz: Since ‘And Nina’, the film is getting better and better.
Chain D.L.K.: Is there any previous record (solo or collaborative) that could be somehow considered as an embryo of this album?
Erik Truffaz: We did almost all of the 20 tracks last year. ‘Mexico’ is probably the one that could be considered to be the embryo of this album.
Chain D.L.K.: Erik, you also played the tuba and piano in this album…would you say you have a different emotional approach to these instruments, compared to the one you have with your trumpet?
Erik Truffaz: I play tuba and trumpet with the same emotion, purely because of the use of breath. For the piano, it was a digital emotion and, to be honest, the result was greater than l expected.
Chain D.L.K.: Do you regard the music more as an inspirational source, according to its original function and its etymology (muse), or as a way to express what words or other arts cannot express?
Erik Truffaz: Music is a transitory art, especially when a musician improvises. Musical time is not the same one as painting time; that is one of the main interests of our show with Enki Bilal. We combine two different creative times.
Chain D.L.K.: Any words about other contributors with Nina Truffaz (clarinet on ‘And Nina’) and Catherine Delpeuche (cello on ‘The Eye’)?
Erik Truffaz: Nina is my daughter; she is part of a rock band called Mauve Celestine. When she was practicing, I heard a line she played on the clarinet and it was this particular line that inspired me to compose ‘And Nina’. Catherine is my daughter’s cello teacher and has a doctorate in Musicology. She makes a wonderful sound. I recorded eight different cello voices for ‘The Eye’.
Visit Erik Truffaz online at: www.eriktruffaz.com