Tag Archives: Newcomer

Career and calling | plus video

How do I found and run an ensemble for contemporary music? Where do I get subsidies for my music projects from? What is the purpose of SUISA and Swissperform? How do I distribute my works via the internet? Impressions gathered during the first ever “Journée d’orientation professionelle” at the Festival Archipel 2017. Text, photo and video by Manu Leuenberger

On Saturday, 01 April 2017, at the Festival Archipel in Geneva, it was possible to witness the reasons why music can be both career and calling. During the day, an information event took place for young music creators. Based on their wealth of expertise and experience, 12 field experts shared their input in presentations which included many tips on how to enter a career as a musician.

The video impressions only grant a glimpse into the expansive range of topics which were discussed. Further presentations during this first ever “Journée d’orientation professionelle”, the organisation of which was supported by SUISA, were given by: Johannes Knapp – Director of the STV/ASM (Association of Swiss Musicians), Damien Pousset – Founder of the Aeon label, François Passard (Director) und Alain Renaud (Head of the production studio) of L’Abri, Lucas Fagin – composer and co-director of Babelscores, Bruno Serrou – music critic and Marie-Christine Papillon – Director of Papillon publishing.

Career and calling | plus video

Inspiration and profession were also touched upon during the discussions with composers on 01 April 2017 at the Festival Archipel prior to the evening concert in the Alhambra. On the podium, on the far right: Xavier Dayer, President of the SUISA Board.

In the evening prior to the concert in the Alhambra, a public discussion with composers was held. Xavier Dayer, President of the SUISA Board, was also on the podium. The audience at the well attended event found out why copyright remuneration is particularly important for composers who do not receive any concert fees. Due to the copyright remuneration they receive for their work, composers such as Hanspeter Kyburz, William Blank or Tristan Murail can create works like the ones that were performed in the concert just after the discussion by the Lemanic Modern Ensemble.

www.archipel.org, festival website

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Archipel Festival: Rendez-vous with contemporary musicArchipel Festival: Rendez-vous with contemporary music Now for the 26th time, the Archipel Festival offers an opportunity for a rendez-vous with contemporary music creation between 24 March and 02 April 2017. For the first time, SUISA will be involved in the Archipel Festival this year. With SUISA’s support, an info day for young music creators will be held on 01 April 2017, as well as a public talk session with composers. More in the interview with festival director Marc Texier which has been carried out in writing. Read more
Publishing agreements: What do I need to consider?Publishing agreements: What do I need to consider? Publishing agreements in Switzerland are governed by the Swiss Code of Obligations (OR) The respective statutory provisions on it are, however, not very detailed. In the case of music publishing agreements in particular, you cannot simply rely on the law. Besides, the contractual parties may also stipulate their own arrangements in the agreement. So what do you have to be aware of with respect to publishing agreements? Read more
Play abroad, communicate with SUISA at homePlay abroad, communicate with SUISA at home How do I get access to my copyright remuneration for my concerts abroad? What do I need to consider when registering works with SUISA if the co-author of my song is a member of a foreign collective management organisation? Important and frequently asked questions on international musical activities are answered in the following. Read more
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How do I found and run an ensemble for contemporary music? Where do I get subsidies for my music projects from? What is the purpose of SUISA and Swissperform? How do I distribute my works via the internet? Impressions gathered during the first ever “Journée d’orientation professionelle” at the Festival Archipel 2017. Text, photo and video by Manu Leuenberger

On Saturday, 01 April 2017, at the Festival Archipel in Geneva, it was possible to witness the reasons why music can be both career and calling. During the day, an information event took place for young music creators. Based on their wealth of expertise and experience, 12 field experts shared their input in presentations which included many tips on how to enter a career as a musician.

The video impressions only grant a glimpse...read more

“As a songwriter, you’re some sort of a lone wolf”

Debrah Scarlett already enjoyed international fame before releasing her début EP “DYS(U)TOPIA” in mid-March. Prior to that, the Norwegian-Swiss musician joined SUISA. Text by guest author Markus Ganz

Debrah Scarlett: “As a songwriter, you’re some sort of a lone wolf”

New SUISA member: Joanna Deborah Bussinger who has adopted the pseudonym Debrah Scarlett. (Photo: Stian Foss)

“I prefer to play it safe and don’t place expectations in myself and others that are too high”, explains Joanna Deborah Bussinger when asked about her future plans. It was not least because of this kind of caution that the 23-year-old avoided the risk of turning into a fleeting pop starlet that has to waive the control over its career. In 2013, the daughter of a Norwegian mother and a Swiss-Italian father had taken part in the Norwegian version of the talent show “The Voice” – and reached the semi-final.

“I didn’t even want to win”, she adds with a smile, “otherwise I would have had to subject myself to tricky conditions.” Still, she doesn’t want to miss the experience she gained there any less than the experience of representing Norway in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2015, where she reached eighth place under her pseudonym Debrah Scarlett together with her duet partner Kjetil Mørland.

Trying out new things

“I do like to face fascinating opportunities and challenges”, Joanna Deborah Bussinger explains. “Even if I am scared at first, I nearly always learn something from the experience.” This also applies to her commute between Switzerland and Norway. She grew up in her native town of Basel and moved together with her mother and her two brothers to Norway when she was six years old. At the age of ten, she decided to try out “what it would be like to live with her father in Basel”. When she turned 21, she moved back – “rather intuitively” – to Norway. “That was a point in time where a lot of things were open and nothing stood in my way.”

Her family also played a major role regarding her professional career. “My parents have always told me: If you want to do something, then do it.” Another characterising effect for Joanna Deborah Bussinger was that she comes from a family which had been art and music enthusiasts for generations. Her mother is a painter and singer, her father plays the piano and writes poems. “When I was five years old, I didn’t yet know that I wanted to become a musician but that I had to express myself somehow, whether visually or musically. Music turned out to be the most natural medium and means for me to create my own world.”

Fuelled by feelings

When she was 15, Joanna Deborah Bussinger began to play the piano and to write songs. Soon she took singing lessons and attended the preparatory class at the Academy of Art and Design as well as the prep class of the Jazz Campus in Basel. She became more and more active and was a singer with the project ‘The Rumours’, for example. What she really wanted to do, however, was to develop her own music. The début EP “DYS(U)TOPIA” which was released mid-March does, despite its many stylistic influences sound remarkably independent and proficient, and it isn’t just the captivating singing but also the dreamy atmosphere that stands out.

Joanna Deborah Bussinger has written most of the songs at home so far, alone in front of the piano. “I have, more recently, also started to collaborate with other musicians. It is exciting to try something that you wouldn’t do alone at home, after all, as a songwriter, you’re usually some sort of a lone wolf.” Most of her songs are fuelled by a feeling, present around her, and for which she was trying to find a melody. “From this, a theme usually emerges and I soon realise while I am composing which direction the journey will take.”

Still going in 40 years’ time!

Music has become her “language”, as she spoke several languages since childhood and yet never managed any of them to perfection. “Music allowed me to express myself properly.” Nevertheless, she also writes song lyrics subtle and pensive at the same time, which reverberate even more once they are sung. They are always in English even though this is neither her mother’s nor her father’s tongue. “Strangely enough, it feels better for me to write personal lyrics in English. It provides the story with a certain distance, as if I had experienced it three years ago and would now only sing about it.”

Joanna Deborah Bussinger hopes that her career will continue to develop steadily; she is already working on a début album. “I try to do what I can and all members of my great team are doing the same, helping me in Basel, Berlin, London and Oslo. Still, I want to keep a nice, slow pace, not too fast, so that I don’t get under commercial pressure. After all, I still want to make music in 40 years.”

Comforting knowledge

With such long-term plans in mind, SUISA also plays a role, even though Joanna Deborah Bussinger has only recently joined as a member. “I had not really seen the sense in a membership of a collective management organisation for copyright before, as I had not published my compositions at that time.” This changed since she has been signed to the management and label ‘Radicalis’. As the company has its offices in Basel, she decided to become a SUISA member even though she is still living in Norway. “This way, the specialists at Radicalis can check any questions directly with SUISA which is also known for the fact that settlements are made quicker than at any other collective management organisation.” She doesn’t know yet what exactly she can expect from SUISA in terms of royalties. “But I think it’s great for all musicians that this kind of cooperative society exists. After all, it simplifies our lives with its work and defends our rights – to know that is really comforting.”

Concerts:
4th – 6th April at the “Zermatt Unplugged Festival”.

www.debrahscarlett.com, Debrah Scarlett’s official website

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“New York forced me to be original” Basel-based musician Manuel Gagneux has caused quite an international stir with his utterly unusual style mix of his project Zeal & Ardor. The composer and artist of dual Swiss-American nationality has recently joined SUISA. Last year, Zeal & Ardor seemed to appear out of nowhere with their mix of gospel, slave song, blues and black metal. The renowned US-American magazine Rolling Stone wrote the following under the title “Best Metal Records of 2016 So Far”: None of this year’s songs sounded “as strange, unfathomable and wonderful” as “Devil Is Fine” by Zeal and Ardor. Read more
Dual memberships: SUISA, and what else? SUISA manages the rights for its members globally. You should carefully review and consider the relevant effort and income if you wanted to become a member of several authors’ societies. If you live outside of Switzerland or the Principality of Liechtenstein, you can also become a SUISA member. Last but not least, it is also possible to be a member of another collective management organisation in addition to your SUISA membership. The following FAQs are intended to summarise what you need to consider when contemplating a so-called dual membership. Read more
Carrousel: “Sometimes a toy piano helps when you’re looking for a melody” | plus video – Chromatic, cheerful and charming – thats the sound of Carrousel’s chansons. Hard to imagine that they are created in the sparseness and solitude of the Jura landscape rather than in the backstreets of Paris. “At the beginning of our cooperation, we tried working from Paris”, Sophie Burande laughs with her crystal-clear and yet warm voice. “Thanks to a stipend of the Canton Jura it was possible for us to work and live in Paris for half a year.” She and her life partner Léonard Gogniat found the energetic lifestyle, just as the rich cultural offering, rather stimulating. “But in the end, we preferred to come back to Switzerland.” Read more
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Debrah Scarlett already enjoyed international fame before releasing her début EP “DYS(U)TOPIA” in mid-March. Prior to that, the Norwegian-Swiss musician joined SUISA. Text by guest author Markus Ganz

Debrah Scarlett: “As a songwriter, you’re some sort of a lone wolf”

New SUISA member: Joanna Deborah Bussinger who has adopted the pseudonym Debrah Scarlett. (Photo: Stian Foss)

“I prefer to play it safe and don’t place expectations in myself and others that are too high”, explains Joanna Deborah Bussinger when asked about her future plans. It was not least because of this kind of caution that the 23-year-old avoided the risk of turning into a fleeting pop starlet that has to waive the control over its career. In 2013, the daughter of a Norwegian mother and a Swiss-Italian father had taken part in the Norwegian version of the talent show “The Voice” – and reached the...read more

Archipel Festival: Rendez-vous with contemporary music

Now for the 26th time, the Archipel Festival offers an opportunity for a rendez-vous with contemporary music creation between 24 March and 02 April 2017. For the first time, SUISA will be involved in the Archipel Festival this year. With SUISA’s support, an info day for young music creators will be held on 01 April 2017, as well as a public talk session with composers. More in the interview with festival director Marc Texier which has been carried out in writing. Text/interview by Manu Leuenberger

Archipel Festival: Rendez-vous with contemporary music

“The Archipel Festival has a twofold mission: Its aim is to seek out young artists and present contemporary music in all of its forms”, writes Marc Texier, Director of the Geneva Archipel Festival. (Photo: Festival Archipel / Isabelle Meister)

Marc Texier, the 26th occurrence of the Archipel Festival between 24 March and 02 April 2017 in Geneva will be held under the motto “ensemble”. What’s behind this slogan?
Marc Texier: Under the motto “ensemble”, Archipel 2017 celebrates the important art of joint creation, which would be nice if we could see it transferred to other communities and which is extensively practised by the young musicians’ generation. We would like to offer it a broad concert platform.

What is the greater motivation when it comes to organising a festival: The desire to provide contemporary composers and artists with a shop window or to entice a wider audience for New Music?
The festival has a twofold mission: Its aim is to seek out young artists and to make the transition from university to work life easier. Its intention is also to present contemporary music in all of its forms and to pave the way to New Music for a big audience. The festival follows a dramaturgic script and provides the platform for the sound of living material of an art form which is reinventing itself.

Works of contemporary composers are often doomed to a life in the shadows when it comes to the programmes of traditional concert halls. Why is it that people prefer to perform Bach rather than New Music?
If only it was Bach; but it’s usually rather Tchaikovsky. That’s a question you should ask the representatives of orchestras and concert halls. Where does this strong restraint vis-a-vis contemporary music creation come from? It’s not always dictated by the audience, as they are curious, how I could determine time and again. It’s the structures, orchestras, opera houses, radios which hold on to music which dominated the time of its creation in the 19th and 20th century. What people forget is that the music back then was the most important carrier of modern times. We’re facing a museum-like approach rather than the joy of discovery. Thank God, however, there are exceptions.

Under the auspices of the Académie Archipel Ose! which takes place for the first time and is run by Kaija Saariaho and Daniel Kawka, 6 young composers may take a one-week course in symphonic composition for the first time. What’s the point of an education when there are no more rules and everything is allowed in music nowadays?
Edgar Varèse, one of the ‘fathers’ of New Music, wanted to reduce the rules (grammar) and only follow the (mainly acoustic) laws. Here we are now. There are basically no more rules, just what you need to channel your own imagination. What still applies are the physical laws of sound, its source and how it spreads. There are thousands of techniques to construct a work, to dominate its form, the musical discourse. And finally, computer science also belongs to the pragmatic and necessary instruments of music composition. Once all of that has been acquired, the most substantial factor comes along: to find your own voice, to create something of your own. Colleges, where people of the most diverse backgrounds and varied careers get together, are a help to achieve this: Once the young musicians have learned about the “laws” at the conservatoire, they discover their own “self” when meeting other composers of their generation.

What kind of challenges does a budding Swiss composer master so that his works gain international recognition?
The same as a Frenchman or a Korean woman. Since the wall came down, and many countries have gained access to relative wealth, music creation has been heavily internationalised. The candidates for the Académie Archipel Ose! came from no less than 30 countries on five continents. They are expected to bring along a solid theoretical and practical basic knowledge, imagination and originality, since they travel from academy to academy around the world in order to complete their education and to be able to gain international recognition.

On Saturday, 01 April 2017, a “Journée d’orientation professionnelle” for young composers and artists will be held, co-produced with SUISA. Access to this event in ‘L’Abri’ is free of charge. What does this event have in store for a young music creator?
As newcomers, we have all had the unsettling experience that there is a gap between our career ambitions and professional reality. We cannot change that altogether, but we can help young musician, composers and artists to get to know the environment in which they will be active. This includes administrative, legal, technical and human constraints which they are subjected to when they perform their music for which they were specifically trained. Musical professions – ranging from music critic to publishers of music score and from orchestra musician to creators of sound – have been fundamentally changed as a consequence of the computerisation of music creation, the dematerialisation of carriers, the disappearance of boundaries between the art forms, and the replacement of traditional dissemination channels such as TV, radio and print media by social networks. Experts that have been invited to attend this event will be addressing these issues.

How about yourself: What kind of events from this year’s festival programme are you not going to miss under any circumstance?
I will, of course, attend them all, and can therefore not really answer this question. As a connoisseur of New Music, I would not wish to miss out on the creations of our four most important contemporary composers: Murail, Kyburz, Gervasoni and Blank, in the course of the concert of the Lemanic Modern Ensemble on 01 April. If I wanted to have an introduction to contemporary music unknown to me, and wanted to be able to ask various artists questions in a pleasant atmosphere, I wouldn’t want to miss the afternoon of 2 April to the ‘salons de musique’, which are dedicated to the contrabass clarinet and the drums.

www.archipel.org, festival website

“Journée d’orientation professionnelle”
I am a young composer and at the beginning of my career. Where can I complete my education and training? At which academy? How do I introduce myself? I have founded an ensemble: How do I get it to become well-known, how do I develop and run it? Do I have to register with a collective management organisation? What’s better: paper or ‘dematerialised’ editions? Can I upload my music on the internet for free? Where can I work in an multidisciplinary manner? Where do I distribute my work? These and many more questions are what young artists are asking themselves at the beginning of their careers. We attempt to answer them in the course of meetings with lawyers, publishers, teachers and music producers. The event is under the auspices of SUISA and intended to facilitate the career entry for young musicians. It is open to everyone. (Text: Archipel Festival)
Saturday, 01 April 2017 at the ‘L’Abri – A2’, free admission
10:00-10:10 Welcome speech by Bernard Meier – President of the Archipel Association responsible for the workshops of the music conservatoire HEM
10:10-10:30 Nicolas Pont – Head of SUISA Legal Services
10:30-10:50 David Johnson – responsible for Swissperform’s branch office in the French-speaking part of Switzerland
10:50-11:10 Johannes Knapp – Director of the STV/ASM
11:20-11:40 Damien Pousset – Founder of the Aeon label
11:40-12:00 Andri Hardmeier – Head of the Music Division of Pro Helvetia
12:00-12:20 François Passard (Director) and Alain Renaud (Manager of the production studio) of the ‘L’Abri’
Break
13:30-13:50 Marc Texier – Archipel Director
13:50-14:10 Daniel Zea – Composer and founding member of the Ensemble Vortex
14:10-14:30 Tzairi Santos Garcia – responsible for the digital development at Outhere Music
14:30-14:50 Lucas Fagin – Composer and co-director of Babelscores
15:00-15:20 Bruno Serrou – Music critic
15:20-15:40 Marie-Christine Papillon – Director of Papillon Publishing
15:40-16.00 Conclusion/Debrief
Conversations with composers
With Hanspeter Kyburz, Stefano Gervasoni, William Blank, Tristan Murail, Xavier Dayer. Presented by Marc Texier.

Saturday, 01 April 2017, 20.00 hrs
Alhambra, free admission

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Marcel Oetiker: “I often get inspired when I am travelling” | plus video – At the Zurich station, Hardbrücke, trains rush past, screech in the bends, and groan when starting up and when braking. But Marcel Oetiker has not chosen this as a meeting point because such sounds inspire some artists to take a creative flight of fancy. Read more
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Now for the 26th time, the Archipel Festival offers an opportunity for a rendez-vous with contemporary music creation between 24 March and 02 April 2017. For the first time, SUISA will be involved in the Archipel Festival this year. With SUISA’s support, an info day for young music creators will be held on 01 April 2017, as well as a public talk session with composers. More in the interview with festival director Marc Texier which has been carried out in writing. Text/interview by Manu Leuenberger

Archipel Festival: Rendez-vous with contemporary music

“The Archipel Festival has a twofold mission: Its aim is to seek out young artists and present contemporary music in all of its forms”, writes Marc Texier, Director of the Geneva Archipel Festival. (Photo: Festival Archipel / Isabelle Meister)

Marc Texier, the 26th occurrence of the Archipel Festival...read more

20 years M4music – with SUISA in the midst of it

Over the last 20 years, the M4music festival has become an important get-together of the Swiss Pop music sector. In 2017, its anniversary, the festival offers numerous networking opportunities, information events, evening concerts as well as a showcase stage for young Swiss talents. Such a variety of activities enables the audience to catch a broader, sophisticated glimpse into current music affairs. Text by Erika Weibel

20 years M4music – with SUISA in the midst of it

More than 700 songs were sent in for the Demotape Clinic 2016. Veronice Fusaro (picture) were awarded the main prize “Demo of the Year”, and the “FONDATION SUISA Award” in the category Pop for the song “Come To Naught”. (Photo: Alessandro Della Bella)

SUISA has been involved in the M4music festival for years now. 2017 marks another year where music creators can benefit directly from the expert knowledge of SUISA staff members, and network during the annual ‘Professional-Apéro’ drinks. On top of that, SUISA supports the ‘Showcase Stage’ where Swiss newcomers can present their music to the festival audience.

FONDATION SUISA, SUISA’s charitable foundation for music promotion, is the main partner of the well-established Demotape Clinic, which takes place in the course of the M4music festival. The “FONDATION SUISA Awards” are granted to the best Rock, Pop, Urban and Electronic songs from among the submitted demos. Furthermore, the main prize “Demo of the Year” is awarded together with the Migros-Kulturprozent [Migros ‘Culture Percentage’]. The award show takes place on Saturday, 1 April 2017 at 7.00 pm in the ‘Box im Schiffbau’. At the same event, FONDATION SUISA, the Solothurn Filmtage (‘Film days’), and M4music jointly award prizes for Best Swiss Video Clips 2017.

All information events and performances on the Showcase Stage are free of charge for the audience.

Panels at M4music 2017 with SUISA participation

Friday, 31/03/2017, 14:45, Matchbox
Copyright Debate: Sampling, Remix, Mashup

Samples and remixes can be found all around in the music sector. Nevertheless, this issue often leads to emotional discussions and also triggers the question among professional musicians: What’s allowed, and what isn’t? Where do I have to obtain rights, from whom and when? Questions which have become acute again in the digital age. Can the current copyright legislation provide topical answers? The panel will be presented by SUISA.

Saturday, 01/04/2017, 17:45, Matchbox
Blockchain: More than a hype?

Blockchain is the technology watchword of the day. No other topic inspires the imagination of entrepreneurs, investors and IT strategists more than the concept borrowed from Bitcoin, the digital currency. The financial sector attributes the potential to the Blockchain that it could fundamentally change entire commercial sectors. The Blockchain allows for tamper-proof transactions at cyberspeed without intermediaries. This topic has also caused ripples in the music industry: Income could then be distributed automatically among rights owners and the balance of power in the music industry could shift dramatically. But how exactly does Blockchain work? At the event entry-level knowledge will be conveyed and discussions will be held about the opportunities and challenges for musicians and collective management organisations. Andreas Wegelin, CEO of SUISA, will be a contributor to this discussion at the event.

www.m4music.ch

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Over the last 20 years, the M4music festival has become an important get-together of the Swiss Pop music sector. In 2017, its anniversary, the festival offers numerous networking opportunities, information events, evening concerts as well as a showcase stage for young Swiss talents. Such a variety of activities enables the audience to catch a broader, sophisticated glimpse into current music affairs. Text by Erika Weibel

20 years M4music – with SUISA in the midst of it

More than 700 songs were sent in for the Demotape Clinic 2016. Veronice Fusaro (picture) were awarded the main prize “Demo of the Year”, and the “FONDATION SUISA Award” in the category Pop for the song “Come To Naught”. (Photo: Alessandro Della Bella)

SUISA has been involved in the M4music festival for years now. 2017 marks another year where music creators can benefit directly from the expert knowledge...read more

“New York forced me to be original”

Basel-based musician Manuel Gagneux has caused quite an international stir with his utterly unusual style mix of his project Zeal & Ardor. The composer and artist of dual Swiss-American nationality has recently joined SUISA. Guest contribution by Markus Ganz

Manuel Gagneux: “New York forced me to be original”

New at SUISA: Basel-based Manuel Gagneux of Zeal & Ardor. (Photo: Matthias Willi)

Last year, Zeal & Ardor seemed to appear out of nowhere with their mix of gospel, slave song, blues and black metal. The renowned US-American magazine Rolling Stone wrote the following under the title “Best Metal Records of 2016 So Far”: None of this year’s songs sounded “as strange, unfathomable and wonderful” as “Devil Is Fine” by Zeal and Ardor. Said album will now be officially released globally, and international live performances will follow.

Broadly influenced style

It is not out of nowhere that this solo project by Manuel Gagneux has appeared, after all. He grew up in a musical home in Basel, where there was a piano that always invited to tinkle the ivories. Such are the memories that the 28-year-old shares during an interview in his cool and gloomy basement practice room in Kleinbasel. His mother is an Afro-American singer, his Swiss father has been playing percussion with the salsa formation Picason and in the funk band Grand Mother’s Funck for many years.

They sent their son to take saxophone lessons but Manuel Gagneux couldn’t get on with this instrument at all. At the age of 15, he began to play the guitar because he loved Rock and Metal – well, he still does. Soon, he fell in love with Black Metal because “it was the most extreme music around back then”, he admits with a laugh. “Of course I know now that a lot of things surrounding Black Metal are questionable”.

Looking for a challenge

Manuel Gagneux has already proved with three astoundingly versatile and pop-like albums of his solo project Birdmask that he does not want to be nailed down when it comes to his style. These albums were mainly created in New York where he had moved to in 2012, since he found that the Basel music scene was not challenging enough. “If you do something in New York, you can be sure that there’s someone that does it better. That requires a certain kind of humility but also forced me to be original, something I actually appreciated.”

Looking for a new creative approach, he followed unusual paths. On the internet forum 4chan, he posted the question which two music styles would be incompatible, intending to use it as a kind of exercise to combine them into a song in half an hour. Someone replied “Black Metal and nigger music”. While Manuel Gagneux didn’t find that too funny, what with his Afro-American mother, but he found it musically stimulating.

Combine the incompatible

The singer and multi-instrumentalist thus went on a search for original material of Black Music. He had particular success in the online archive of the US-American ethnologist Alan Lomax. He took his inspiration from songs sung by slaves in the fields, for example, and repeated them by singing parts of them in a modified manner, then combined them with Metal riffs and even added electronic sounds to three of the songs.

Following a trial & error method, he was able to combine these different elements, Manuel Gagneux adds. “The first songs turned out to be awful”, he recalls and rolls his eyes. “But at some point I realised that it would be best if I opened the pieces with Spiritual Music, as it has a welcoming effect: You want to bop along, join in. Metal Music, on the other hand, is like a slap in the face, and you can give the music an enormous push with that.”

From a solo project to a band

Manuel Gagneux played all instruments himself, apart from the drums which he programmed, as he does not regard himself “as a gifted drummer”. He also recorded everything with his laptop and “a simple microphone” and engineered it. “I only used bad equipment, but that was also an advantage”, he grins.

What he probably means: The recordings really don’t sound perfect but it amplifies their authenticity. In order to be able to give a captivating performance during his coming tour, he has assembled a band with five musicians – and he’s already writing new material for it – his album is, after all, only 25 minutes long.

“There’s no two ways about it”

Before his career kicks off properly, Manuel Gagneux registered with SUISA. His parents had already told him early on that he ought to become a member. “I used to laugh it off. And my opinion of SUISA was ambivalent because some of the bands had told me that they would not be booked by clubs because they had to pay SUISA fees.”

His manager, David Burger of Reelmusic, had, however, warmly recommended that he become a member, because there’s simply no two ways about it. He has no expectations as of yet what benefits this could bring him for definite. “I am a new member and have therefore got no clue what I can expect.”

Tour dates in Switzerland and adjacent regions:
14 April 2017 Czar Fest Basel, 3 May 2017 Magnolia Milano, 4 May 2017 Usine Geneva; he has also planned some summer festival performances.

www.zealandardor.com, official website of Zeal & Ardor

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Basel-based musician Manuel Gagneux has caused quite an international stir with his utterly unusual style mix of his project Zeal & Ardor. The composer and artist of dual Swiss-American nationality has recently joined SUISA. Guest contribution by Markus Ganz

Manuel Gagneux: “New York forced me to be original”

New at SUISA: Basel-based Manuel Gagneux of Zeal & Ardor. (Photo: Matthias Willi)

Last year, Zeal & Ardor seemed to appear out of nowhere with their mix of gospel, slave song, blues and black metal. The renowned US-American magazine Rolling Stone wrote the following under the title “Best Metal Records of 2016 So Far”: None of this year’s songs sounded “as strange, unfathomable and wonderful” as “Devil Is Fine” by Zeal and Ardor. Said album will now be officially released globally, and international live performances will follow.

Broadly influenced style

It is not out of nowhere that...read more

Award for songwriters at the Swiss Music Awards | plus video

The newcomer Nickless and the renowned producer Thomas Fessler won the first award for songwriters at the Swiss Music Awards 2016. The winning song “Waiting”, jointly composed by the two, didn’t appear out of thin air but is the result of lots of teamwork. At the occasion of the Swiss Music Awards 2017, SUISA will honour the performance of composers and lyricists with an award again.

The first award for songwriters at the Swiss Music Awards was granted to a newcomer and a “veteran”: The 21-year-old Nickless from Zurich, and the producer Thomas Fessler received the award for the jointly composed song “Waiting”.

On top of the necessary inspiration, a lot of work went into the song over a long period of time. “Waiting” reached 14th place in the Swiss single charts in April 2015 and was granted the Swiss Music Award in the category “Best Hit” in 2016.

For the first time, and in collaboration with SUISA, composers and lyricists were honoured in the course of this award category in 2016. By introducing an award for songwriters at the Swiss Music Awards, the audience would realise that songs don’t appear out of thin air but that a lot of work, heart and soul, said producer Thomas Fessler during an interview. Nickless was particularly happy about the recognition he received for the work as a consequence of receiving the award.

Andreas Wegelin, CEO of SUISA, adds: “Behind every big hit there are composers and lyricists. It is important for SUISA that the work of these authors will be honoured at the Swiss Music Awards.” As a consequence, the award will be granted to the songwriters of the winning title in the category “best hit” in 2017 – for the second time.

The following artists and songs are nominated in the category “best hit” and thus also for the award for songwriters at the Swiss Music Award 2017:

“Angelina”
Composers and lyricists: Andreas “DJ Arts” Christen, Dabu Bucher, Gianluca Giger
Artist: Dabu Fantastic

“Thank You”
Composers and lyricists: Arie Storm, DJ Antoine, Eric Lumière, Fabio “Mad Mark” Antoniali
Artist: DJ Antoine

“Monbijou”
Composers and lyricists: Joachim Piehl, Lucien Spielmann, Manillio
Artist: Manillio

The award for songwriters is granted in the name of SUISA, the Cooperative Society for Music Authors and Publishers at the occasion of the Swiss Music Award ceremonies on 10 February 2017 in the Hallenstadion in Zurich.

Nickless, website
571 Recording Studios, website
Swiss Music Awards, website

SUISA is a member of the Press Play association. The association, founded in 2012, is official sponsor of the Swiss Music Awards.

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The newcomer Nickless and the renowned producer Thomas Fessler won the first award for songwriters at the Swiss Music Awards 2016. The winning song “Waiting”, jointly composed by the two, didn’t appear out of thin air but is the result of lots of teamwork. At the occasion of the Swiss Music Awards 2017, SUISA will honour the performance of composers and lyricists with an award again.

The first award for songwriters at the Swiss Music Awards was granted to a newcomer and a “veteran”: The 21-year-old Nickless from Zurich, and the producer Thomas Fessler received the award for the jointly composed song “Waiting”.

On top of the necessary inspiration, a lot of work went into the song over a long period of time. “Waiting” reached 14th place in the Swiss single charts in...read more

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