Richard Séguin
An Interview
 More of this Feature
• Part 1
  Related Resources
• Québec Music
 Elsewhere on the Web
• Richard Séguin at Audiogram (with sound clips)
• Richard Séguin par Suzy Turcotte

Paula: Do you have a favorite song that youíve written?

Richard: Depends on the day. When I feel a little bit depressed [laughing] those are the ones that are going to help me. For me, there are typical songs that bring you the light of a question that youíve been living with for a long time. I wrote a song ten years after the death of my father and it was very symbolic for me to not mystify -- sometimes when people die thereís a process of mystification of their life. Ten years was a good balance to see what he gave me, what I received from him; the silence he gave me, the push to say "Go, and sing it for me." That was very important for me. I wrote the song "La raffinerie" -- that song is very important in my life. "Aux portes du matin" also because this song opened me so many doors. The music was an open field --I did that with a string quartet, I did that with people from Senegal. Itís sort of a feel-happiness. I can do that with not a lot of my music, but this one was sort of, "OK, I can jam with you, I can bring my toys!" [laughing]

Richard Séguin Paula: What is the main thing that you hope to communicate with your music?

Richard: Oh, wow, itís a big question. Because you donít really know what response all the songs are going to bring a from people. Itís like if you sing very loud your song with all your heart and people say "This song you sing, you wrote it about me. You wrote about my life." I was very impressed because I received that response from ten people very differently, and I said "How come the song can get a response like that?" When you open a piano and you do a note, letís say you do a D, and itís very subtle that you can see on the piano when you see the string that many string respond to that note, and maybe the song is reacting the same way. Youíre doing your note, your song, and it reacts differently on the keyboard, on the string of the piano, and maybe itís the mystery of the song.

Songs are very powerful because in one song you just hear it once and you see your first lover, you see your first kiss, you see your first car ride, you see . . . it gives you like an emotional milestone.

Richard Séguin Paula: What are your musical goals that you are working towards that you have not yet accomplished?

Richard: A lot! [laughing] It depends because just to meet the different musicians from different fields. I am just starting a new voyage, meeting some people from very academic backgrounds with very instinctive musicians just hearing each other; I like that. Sometimes the biggest influence I have is from the musicians very close to me. I am very open to what they are going to bring me. So my biggest influence in maybe my guitar player who was with me for more than ten year. he showed me some chords, and brought me this passion for this type of rhythm. After that, I donít know -- you are made from so many people. But Sometimes I am very surprised -- I donít have instruments, I donít have nothing, no beat, and just let . . . whatís the voice needed to sing? . . . . I listen a lot to what the voice has to say. Itís the same thing for the lyrics -- sometimes the voice is going to show you what kind of projection, what kind of feel you need. Sometimes itís very intimate. Youíre in a small room and you don't have to yell; sometimes itís, "Whoof, open the door, Iím leaving." So itís different.

Paula: Have you ever written something that was very misunderstood, and how did you deal with it?

Richard: You can say that it happens because you were not clear. I remember mostly the lyrics I used . . . sometimes it is when you write with somebody because you are trying to say something and youíre doing it halfway. But the biggest thing and the hardest thing is to do something simple. Itís crazy how many hours you can work to do something simple, very very simple. To do it with very simple words and bring an emotion with simple words itís like an alembic, when youíre doing wine you put a lot of grapes, raisins, just to have a bottle you work a lot.

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Photos © 1999 Paula Kirman