Interview: Mehdi Cayenne talks about new video for ‘Je Te Vois’

aube

Mehdi Cayenne recently released a new video for “Je Te Vois,” the first single from their third album Aube.

The video is a lot of fun but also quite complex and has some depth to it. The song itself is a step forward for the band, as there is clear growth and musical maturity as the band continues to progress. At the same time, it is also very Mehdi and has many of the elements that have made so many people, whether English or French, fall in love with the talented singer and song writer.

We caught up with Mehdi during Megaphono in Ottawa. Check out the video for “Je Te Vois” and read the interview below.


Can you tell me a bit of the story behind the song?

It was a love song of sorts, eh? It’s kinda mystical and erotic, and whimsical and dark (like the video too). I think the original feeling came from meeting someone that I felt as though I had known them forever – I’d never felt that before. I wrote it on my guitalele in my living room, in the morning. It took me a while to own up to how poppy that chorus is! [laughs] Also it went through at least 4-5 different versions. I’m really happy with how well the drums and bass sound, that took a while.

Can you tell me about the story behind the video?

Frédérique Bérubé, the director, was really cool and full of ideas and super fun to work with. She came up with the bulk of the scenario, and I was happy to go along, for once! I really like the duality of the two alter egos, and the ambiguous emotions therein. I basically came up with a certain way to move… I think there’s a very interesting (albeit abstract) commentary on double lives, on sexuality, on owning up to our shadow selves. The contemporary dance classes I’ve taken in the last year really came in handy (and in footy!).

The video looks like it was a lot of fun to be a part of? Any highlights or fun stories?

It was! Again, working with Frédérique was superb. She brought in her roommates to help with the lights and the smoke (the smoke blowing at the beginning is from a cigarette – that guy had to smoke for the cause!). The idea for the bling-bling cameos happened very spontaneously, we were just thinking of cool people to go visit, and realized all the peeps therein were mutual friends of ours. Also, I was floored that Bernard Adamus spent his whole day driving us around to shoot, in his own touring van! So the shoot is full of special, funny and touching memories for me.

How was been the reception of the new album? And new music?

Actually, amazing! I was pretty scared by the end of the process – most of my previous music was quite abrasive, and “cool” [laughs]. This record is much more vulnerable I’d say. I am very attracted to the risk of candor, of emotional nakedness with no posturing – with the straight-up-ness of a church hymn or something. So very scary for me, and very exciting. I’m happy that people seem to understand what I was trying to do, which is mixing up very familiar musical elements with more unusual ones. Ive always done that, but for Aube the goal was to create such a wide palette of sounds and vibes, within a much smaller decibel range, you know? Also this time, it’s a story of sorts, with a narrative – also usually very difficult for me – here all the lyrics actually interconnect and build the story, with recurring themes and characters. And, I had to own up to the fact that it’s a love record. But with a unique perspective – which I’m very happy about. Obviously, Geneviève L Richard’s design and the hearts & ears of my beloved Cayenne Clubbers (François Gravel, Oli Bernatchez, Olivier Fairfield and Charles Fairfield) were absolutely essential in bringing Aube to fruition. I can’t say enough good about their good taste, talent and humility.

Can you tell me about how you feel to be part of Megaphono?

Man, I love Megaphono! They do an amazing job at bringing together O-town’s different scenes. For example, I was so proud to see Elsa (of Everett and Babely Shades renown), whom I’d been privileged to perform for back when she was in high school, perform the same night as Boyhood and Duchess Says, and of course alongside scene luminaries Fet Nat – of whom I’m a great, shameless fan (no really, best damn band in town yo). That variety is a nice big breath of fresh air for this town. Props to Jon Bartlett, Rachel Weldon and co!

What’s coming up next for Mehdi Cayenne?

I’ll be working on more visuals and videos, and releasing Aube in France in early June. I also have a few cool projects related to Aube I have to be hush hush about… But some cool surprises coming up!

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