French electronic artist, Tchami, unveiled his highly anticipated debut album, Year Zero, on October 23rd, via his label Confession. The talented music maker partnered up with a variety of artists who helped bring this album to completion. The songs on the album bring to you the much needed release after this crazy year we have been having! Having sat with us at VULKAN to discuss his album and career as an artist, Tchami embraces the power of taking a “step on new ground,” and opening up to a whole new world of possibilities. As he continues to rise on his chosen path, Tchami brings light and strength to the music world and to those who follow him.
Talent Tchami @tchami
Interview by Alexandra Bonnet @alexbonnetwrites
Photography by Anthony Ghnassia @anthonyghnassia
Year Zero is a step on a new ground, a new range of possibilities.
What does it mean to you, as an artist?
It is my first album, so it means a lot to me as an artist to see my growth from putting out singles to now a full body of work.
The process is very simple. I don’t make music with any plans, I just make stuff until I get a sense of a direction for my next project. It can be scary for some people to not know what I’ll be doing, but for me, it’s just the way I work the best. When I had enough music, I then set up sessions with song writers to develop the project further. I’m a bit jealous of someone that is able to express a lot in a few words. Writing gives a depth that music only can’t achieve on its own. In the meantime, I need these instrumental pieces too. At the end, I just go with what I think is right for the moment, and that’s what Year Zero is about.
How have you evolved as an artist up until now?
I love creating with other artists, so it allows me to take a step away from my main project, which has been Tchami for the past 7 years. I think I need to go back and forth with all the music that I make and that’s why it can seem a bit chaotic at times. Committing to making this album has helped me grow as an artist undeniably.
If you could go back to your four year old self, what advice would you give him?
Keep exploring mom and dad’s record collection. You’ll understand that’s totally worth it.
You are all alone going on a one month road trip. What is the first song you play? Last one?
The first one will be “Future Islands – Seasons (Waiting On You) (BADBADNOTGOOD Reinterpretation).”
The last one will be “Cotonete – Layla.”
Growing up, what role did music play in your life?
As far back as I can remember, I was always interested in music. I was just listening to it at first, but then I found a few great teachers that made me want to learn an instrument, mostly piano. When the time came to spend my first hard earned money to buy a motorbike – like all my friends did – I chose instead to buy two turntables and a mixer. I had my priorities.
Describe to us your fashion style.
My tastes are very basic. The simpler the better. It took me 25 years and a girlfriend to achieve properly matching colors. Jokes aside, I love the fusion of styles, transgression in any way shape or form. I like to apply it to my music and I love seeing others do it in other fields such as fashion. I can be attracted and fascinated by fashion for sure.
In the industry, what is a memorable moment/encounter you have been through?
It was probably the day when I realized “high profile artists” (if such a thing exist) gave me some love regarding my music. It made me confident enough to do more and never look back.
You say that music is spiritual. What does that mean exactly to you as a person and as a musician?
Music is a language without words. Notes and sounds that everyone can understand and feel. For a brief moment, this is a true liberation from the daily struggles. It gives perspective to life. In that sense it stands on a spiritual level for me.