The first day of Étienne Daho’s latest album, the dazzling Shoot the stars at night, comes to life as he watches a documentary about American actress Ava Gardner. “Shortly after they met, she and Frank Sinatra both drove off into the desert. They had a little drink and started shooting at the stars. I found that the image was super beautiful, very cinematographic, and then it is really so symbolic”, says the French singer-songwriter with more than forty admirable years of career.
According to him, when you are in love, you are ready to do anything to seduce the other. “Including shooting at the stars,” he says. At the time, the artist wrote down these few words in a corner of his notebook… “I told myself that one day I would write something about it. And then there was the music which stuck well, played in synchro by two drummers, with this kind of exaltation: the text, all of a sudden, imposed itself. Here is the story of the duet he sings with Vanessa Paradis and which lends his name to the opus.
Étienne Daho’s music is thus one that puts us upside down. Since the dawn of the 1980s and his first albummythomaniac, this one murmurs, hums with lightness the intensity of life, of being in love, of desire, of melancholy, but also of celebration, of happy tomorrows and others, more gray. “Love is one of the things that makes us better, younger, that makes us want to move mountains,” he says in a surge of unalterable enthusiasm. And to continue, always so passionate: “Whether you are 50, 60 or 90 years old, you can fall in love. It’s the most normal thing in the world, to have a beating heart. You don’t stop suddenly at 40. That would be awful! For me, in any case, I think it will last a very long time, until the end of my existence. »
Étienne Daho never lost his enthusiasm. On the contrary, his voice has never been so powerful as in Shoot the stars at night. “Most of the voices are those that I sang spontaneously, as soon as I had finished my texts. I didn’t come back to it. I felt it like that,” he says. If there is a little more light in its timbre, it is because it has gone upmarket. “Usually I’m really in the cellar, but this time I turned up all the tones and I think that changed a lot of things,” says the Frenchman. “ On hypnotic rhythms / the fanatics console each other / In the vapors of alcohol, / the frivolous romances of the idols”, he intones proudly, almost high up, in The song of the idols.
Top of the pop
Precisely, whooping coughs, Étienne Daho has had them since the dawn of time. “In work and in love, I need to admire. I need that, the opposite really freaks me out,” he jokes. When you have a job like yours, what’s marvelous is being able to join forces. “When artists mix, the best thing that can happen is to make music or a film together, to have projects together”, adds this eternal sentimentalist.
He also considers himself lucky to have met a lot of people he appreciates, and vice versa, throughout his career. “It makes a family of spirit. We want to be together, we want to do things together. There is really nothing better! » Françoise Hardy, Dani, Elli Medeiros, Jane Birkin, Flavien Berger or Nile Rodgers… the list of his musical collaborations is as long as it is remarkable. “Today, there are still quite a few artists who are on Shoot the stars at night : Calypso Valois, Doriand, Yan Wagner, Lou Lesage, etc. For him, there is always this little authentic je-ne-sais-quoi that gives pretty things.
Regardless of who he creates with, Étienne Daho always manages to produce timeless and elegant pop music. “Making pop is a way of not being sectarian, of being able to love, appreciate, be touched by something that a priori isn’t necessarily our style, you see? It’s my own opinion, but making pop means bringing something very sophisticated to the general public,” explains the singer-songwriter.
Whether you’re 50, 60 or 90, you can fall in love. It’s the most normal thing in the world, to have a beating heart. You don’t stop suddenly at 40. That would be awful! For me, in any case, I think it will last a very long time, until the end of my existence.
For the sake of being inclusive, it is important to him to decompartmentalize the genres. “Hip-hop people, pop people, rock people, song people don’t meet,” he says regretfully. I hate to say it was better before, because that’s not what I think at all, but I’m from a generation that mixed a lot with others, both in terms of style and as far as discipline is concerned. Since life is too short and there is only one, you have to take advantage of everything.
Be that as it may, Étienne Daho knows how to convince his peers to join him in his great adventure. The group Unloved – of which Jade Vincent, Keefus Ciancia and David Holmes are very active on Shoot the stars at night —, who had come to visit him at Christmas a few years ago, even decided to leave Los Angeles for Saint-Malo, in Brittany. “They liked it so much that they settled here. It’s great, because I was able to work with them and see them as often as possible,” he says.
In this regard, the Breton city occupies an essential place in his discography, including in the last album. ” I wrote The note, the note in the same places. Saint-Lunaire, Sables-d’Or and Dinard are very inspiring. Saint-Malo is a place of work and pleasure, to recharge your batteries, refresh yourself and feel alive”, he confides as he contemplates the sea and the breakwaters, these immense woods which contain the waves during high tides during the interview.
And Montreal, then, when is it? “I have very good memories of my time in Montreal. I had come with Jeanne Moreau to The convicted to death. It was an exceptionally strong moment, ”he replies. He will be back ? The question, obviously, burns the lips. “Yeah, I think this time it’s good. But I don’t know exactly when yet…” says Étienne Daho, innocently.