If LG Breton Considers It Done, So Should You
For over the past ten years Montreal’s LG Breton has been known more as a sideman and score composer, but all that changed last week with the release of his debut album, Consider It Done! After having flirted with studio life as a producer and arranger, touring the world backing other artists on a variety of instruments, and writing the scores for three contemporary ballets and a rock opera, Breton has officially claimed the spotlight for himself. Before embarking on his mission to conquer the world through his music and love of red wine, Breton took the time to answer a few questions for That’s Funky Awesome. After you’re done reading, make sure to check out Breton on Twitter (@lgbreton), Facebook, Myspace, and his own site, www.lgbreton.com. If you like what you hear, support Canadian music and stop by iTunes to buy the album.
That’s Funky Awesome: First off, congratulations on making an album that manages to feature the glockenspiel on a few tunes. Has your time spent as a score composer influenced your choice of instrumentation on ‘Consider It Done!’?
LG Breton: Hey! Thanks for mentioning the glock. Very true, it is present on at least half of the songs on the album. Yeah, certainly, experimenting with instrumentation, recording techniques, etc. in my score composing activities probably influenced the way the album was put together in many ways. First, even though it is a “rock” album, I certainly never even considered sticking to the basic “Drums-Bass-Guitar” rock ‘n’ roll instrumentation. I wanted to remain free to use as many interesting sounds and textures as I felt were appropriate for each song: acoustic, electric, electronic, orchestral, “toyish”, etc. The end result, so I’m being told, sounds like a collection of very “visual” tunes, sometimes full-on “cinematographic”. Songs like “Hey!” and “Watcha Wanna Throw Out?” for instance, have plenty of late 60s-early 70s English spy movies references. As for “My Life Begins Today” and “Consider It Done!”, I think both have some kind of a TV-series theme feel to them.
TFA: The album title almost seems to be a response to people who have been asking you about how the album is coming along.
LGB: You’re right! It is exactly the meaning in the case of the album’s title. The opening song of the same name has it’s own story and meaning, though. Let’s say that the song came first and that the same title felt quite right to tell my close ones that my own personal baby was finally ready.
TFA: You have a long and varied career in the Montreal music scene, including stints as a session player in support of other artists. This is your first solo effort-what made now the right time for making and releasing the album?
1- Inspiration struck! I started writing new, more “luminous” songs than usual.
2- Then, a few months later, I had the chance to try a couple of them live, three nights in a row, as the opening act for the artist I was working with then. And it just felt so right. I really didn’t want it to stop there.
3- The vinyl revival. Obviously, every album I’ve worked on before was released on CD, but the idea of offering my own personal stuff on a real record with two sides (and two distinct pacings), in a gatefold jacket with big artwork and all got me really excited! I just had to do it, and do it as well as I possibly could.
TFA: You play most of the instruments on the album. When you play live shows, how open to interpretation are you when it comes to other players tackling material that you’ve not only written but played on for the recordings?
LGB: After choosing the right musicians (shared references and musical sensibility, compatible personalities, etc.), I just try to make sure that everybody not only “plays” the song but “understands” it as well, in all its nuances and specificities. From then on, I find that the more you play the songs, the more spontaneous changes brought to the original arrangements will remain “à propos” and connected to the primary intention. In other words, I favour “organic” and evolving interpretation of the original parts by the best compatible multi-instrumentalists I can get to play with me.
TFA: Is there a tour planned in support of Consider It Done!? You have rescheduled UK dates mentioned on your website-is that still in the works?
LGB: Yes, of course. You see, although quite flattered and excited to be booked in unconquered territories, it just didn’t make much sense to tour that far from home before the album was available anywhere. But now that it is out, we’ll gladly visit every rockin’ city that will greet us with their best red wine and finest women.
TFA: When you write, is it from the outside looking in or the inside looking out?
LGB:Well, It depends. The lyrics to songs like “Losing My Cape”, “Watcha Wanna Throw Out?” or even “Saviour”, are clearly looking within the individual to find answers to personal or existential questioning. Other ones such as “Hey!” or “(Oh Babe) Just Take My Hand” tend to “reach out” to someone else. In the case of the latter two, the narrator is trying to comfort and soothe his babe’s mind, lift up her spirit and share some good times with her.
TFA: You’re bilingual, and your album is sung entirely in english. Any plans for a French-speaking release with different vocals?
LGB: Interesting question, but as far as this album goes, everything about it really is the way that I wanted it. That being said, I wouldn’t be against the idea of adapting one or two songs into French and have them sung by other artists, but I don’t think that I’ll personally ever record any new vocals with French lyrics on those particular tracks.
Maybe someday I will record songs in French but then it would be a totally different project. The truth is, even though most of my known work as a producer, arranger or instrumentalist in recent years has been on franco projects, I, personally, have written only two complete songs in French in my whole life! But these days, as an encore, I sometimes do one kooky French tune that I’ve composed the music for; a kind of acid-infused parisian waltz. The lyrics are the work of Alain Cormier. It is called “Dentelle” and it is about lingerie…
TFA: When people who aren’t from Montreal talk about the Montreal music scene one of the first bands they mention is Arcade Fire. What are your thoughts on their success? Has it pigeonholed up and coming bands from the region into trying to copy the Arcade Fire sound because that’s what people expect to hear, rather than forge their own?
LGB: No, I don’t think so, really… The Arcade Fire have their own sound and very specific energy and, ultimately, I think that every Montreal project probably have theirs. Arcade Fire might be quite influential right now on young bands just starting out in various places around the world but I’ve never heard another Montreal band trying to sound like them. Right now, the other better known high profile indie Montreal bands are probably Karkwa and Malajube (they both sing in French) and they all sound very different from one another.
TFA: Lennon or McCartney?
LGB: Lennon for the comparable looks. I once rode the Metro for free because the ticket clerk, an absolute Beatles fan, thought that I was John’s perfect look-alike: round glasses, beige cap, 1968 hair length, etc., and just wouldn’t let me pay for my seat! My über cute girlfriend of the time was asked to spit out the $2.75, though. But, McCartney also, for his multi-instrumentalist side and his overall playful attitude towards music.
TFA: Fame or fortune?
LGB: Fortune while I’m alive, fame when I’m dead.
TFA: High five or fist bump?
LGB: Fist bump.
TFA: Gibson or Fender?
LGB: Fender Telecaster (my dear main axe). Thing is, after years of exclusive usage, I just can’t play or listen to the Strat much anymore. But I just LOOOVE the Gibson “ES” series (335-345 & 355) they can really rock, blues, jazz and everything else in between!
TFA: Mitsou or Bieber?
LGB: It would HAVE to be Mitsou! She’s a brilliant business woman who’s been running a music/video company that provides music scores for loads of TV series/movies. She’s also a very popular radio/TV host and the editor of a well known fashion magazine. Plus, she is still quite beautiful to look at, no? Now, who the heck is that Bieber character anyway?