Quentin is known for his solo project Le Garçon de l’Automne, his music covers and his famous “Walk&Talk” with other folk musicians. Everything is available on his YouTube channel (link at the end of the interview).
Hi I’m Iris from Mythologica and today I’m glad to interview Quentin from Le Garçon de l’Automne. Hi Quentin!
So what’s the story behind your solo project? How did it come to the world?
Actually it all started in 2017, I guess. I started making some covers with the hurdy-gurdy. I’ve been playing for 2 years at this time.
I started making some covers on YouTube. At first the project had another name.
At that moment I also started learning a lot of other folk instruments. In 2018, I started thinking, as I couldn’t find any other musicians in my region to start a band, I could just try to make music on my own. That’s what I did and I started recording and composing and writing lyrics.
That’s how it all began.
What are the pros and cons of being a solo artist?
The big, big advantage is that you’re the only one to decide. So I make the music I want to make and I don’t have to make compromise with other people.
That’s cool to have a band and to have a kind of writing process with other people but it is also nice to have a solo side project and to be the only one and just do exactly what you want. That’s really cool to be the only one driving it all.
But of course it’s almost impossible to make some shows because I just can’t play all the instruments at the time, obviously (laugh).
That also means that’s as you’re the only musician you won’t ever be able to play the songs on stage. Unless you hire some other musicians. But it’s starting to look like a band, that’s pretty much the same. So, no shows unfortunately.
What led you to compose and play folk music?
It all started with learning the hurdy-gurdy.
I found out the hurdy-gurdy in 2008 with Eluveitie and I was 16 at this time, something like that, and I thought “okay, if one day I can learn this instrument I want to do so because it didn’t look like anything else I’ve known”. It looked so unique!
After my studies in 2015, I started learning the hurdy-gurdy with a teacher in my town. And I started being really into folk music and not only folk metal music. I started listening to a lot of other bands and it went very naturally. I never thought “okay that’s the kind of music that I could do”, but it’s just that naturally I started recording some music like that and at the moment I thought “well that’s not so bad, maybe I can try to make something out of it”.
That really came naturally.
Are there any artists who have played a significant influence on you as a solo artist?
The first one definitely is Anna Murphy (ex-Eluveitie), of course, because she was the hurdy-gurdy player when I found out about the band and the hurdy-gurdy.
That was my very first hurdy-gurdy player I’ve ever listened to.
Of course there are a lot of musicians, too many to name them. But also, members of Faun. I really like this band. I tend to think that all the musicians of the folk scene that I’ve ever met or listened to inspired me in a way. Because everybody has another composition process, some gimmicks, some ideas and by listening to them you just gather all these ideas and at a moment if you like this music it will kind of be infused in your music.
So, really a lot! And if one of them is listening to or reading this interview, they will recognize themselves.
Did you have some live experience? And if so, where and how?
Just a few actually. My very first experience with a band actually was when I was invited on stage by Pyrolysis from the Netherlands. They invited me on a stage on Pirate Festival in Germany because I had covered one of their songs on my YouTube channel. They had seen the video and they had told me “if one day we can do so, we have to play together on stage”. And we had the opportunity! They told me “okay, bring your gurdy on stage!”
That was my very first experience with a band, really on a stage.
I had made some performances with my previous strolling group. I was playing music and they were juggling with fire and stuff. But with Pyrolysis it was the very first time I was playing music with other musicians with a band on a stage.
I played once again last summer with them on the same festival with less people of course due to the epidemic.
But I also played twice on stage with Scurra from Nothern France. They invited me twice on stage because I recorded some hurdy-gurdy for their first album. We are very good friends so I try to visit them as often as possible and if the opportunity is there we try to share a stage for one song or two.
You released your first album in October 2020. How was the writing process and the recording ?
It was kind of a long, long adventure full of doubts and joys. The process started in 2018. I recorded a first song and it was like “okay, I will try to do something!”. And the track that came out of it was Nattkulten which features in the album. That was the very first one and I recorded some other things and I started thinking about an EP. And then I started to make a full-length because I had quite a lot of ideas and I wanted to put a lot of things in the album.
But I work a lot on separated tracks. I mean I’m not recording everything and then mixing everything. I started recording one song and then I mix it. Then I record another song and then I mix it… I do everything one by one.
The big problem was that I learned how to mix while mixing (laugh). I had absolutely no backgrounds in sound engineering. When almost all the tracks were over I re-listened to all of them and for the oldest one I was thinking “Oh my God the mix sucks so bad!” (laugh). And so I remixed quite a lot of them again.
But at first I’m doing the track one by one: composing, recording, writing, mixing everything one by one.
So it takes a long time!
It’s quite a long time yes! It’s a long process because I’m alone. And I also have a daily job of course. I make music on my spare time. And I also have the YouTube channel. I try to make some videos which requires a lot of time too. So that’s a long process to have an album like that! It took me 2 years of work. And I recorded and mixed here at home and it would have been even longer if I had to set up some things with a studio. I feel quite lucky to be able to record here because it’s spared me some costs, some time. It would have been even longer if it wasn’t on these conditions.
Have you got a favorite song?
A lot of people are asking me this question and I never know what to answer (laugh).
I don’t have like “the One”! I have several of them that I really love. I love Saltatio Vita which is the song I recorded with 3 members of Scurra. I really love this one, this probably is one of the most beautiful of the album in my opinion.
I also love Tiniri because I love the oriental melodies and this one is really nice! The orchestral parts, choirs and stuff that my best friend added… It’s sounds like so magical and I’m in love with what he made for this track!
I also love Au fond des brumes. These are probably the lyrics that I’m the most proud of in the album. And I’m also completely amazed by the accordion solo that Laurens of Pyrolysis added on this track.
I think that’s my 3 favourites.
You choose to blend languages on this album (English, French, Polish and Swedish). How do you manage the choice of a language in your creative process? Is that something obvious for you since the beginning?
I’ve always wanted to have a lot of languages because I’m kind of fond of foreign languages.
It also depends on the atmosphere that I want to have on a track.
Nattkulten and Båtens för are kind of a bit more like Nordic folk, so I thought it would be nicer to have Swedish or Norwegian or Icelandic language. I have chosen Swedish because I love Sweden.
That comes quite naturally. Some tracks I’m just thinking “that would be nice in French!” and sometimes I just start writing French lyrics and I’m like “mmmh no! French is not good for this one!” so I switch to English or other.
It depends on the atmosphere that I want to have on the tracks. I’m influenced by a lot of different kinds of folk music: Nordic folk or more Eastern folk. I try to stick to the original influence with the languages.
Do you think some languages are better to stick with a precise atmosphere for the music?
I mean for example on Leshen, it was really inspired by The Witcher, obviously! (laugh). When I thought that I want to have some lyrics on Leshen it was pretty obvious that it had to be in Polish. Or Swedish for more Nordic like folk music.
I think the languages are also inspiring me and it’s a part of the feeling that I get when I am listening to a specific kind of folk music. I think that for example the feeling Eastern folk music is giving me comes quite a lot also from Czech or Polish music. I think I want to stick to that. It’s kind of trying to be coherent.
Many guests can be seen in this album. What brought you to collaborate with all these people?
These are all people that I love basically, to be really honest. That’s people that I’m very happy to collaborate with and it’s also a matter of opportunity. Like for example on Au fond des brumes. It’s a track about a sailor so I wanted to have an accordion on this one to stick to the theme. And I immediately thought “okay I have to ask Laurens from Pyrolysis” because we are friends and we’ve been knowing each other for 3 or 4 years now. I just asked him because I wanted some accordion and he is an accordion player. That was perfect! That was pretty obvious that I wanted to ask him.
Same for the 3 members of Scurra, who are also members of Lupercales. After recording Saltatio Vita, we decided to have this band together.
The same for my best friend. He is a very good and talented musician and it was impossible to record without asking him to be on one of the track.
For Michalina of Eluveitie: I wanted the first and the last track to have kind of a narrative glimpse. And I wanted the text to be in English, so it could be understandable by a vast majority of people, but I wanted this voice to have an accent. I found the Polish accent of Michalina really cute and I was like “okay if I have a voice with an accent I want hers!”. I explain her everything about the process and I asked her “do you want to be a part of it?”. She listened to some of the tracks I have already recorded and she was like “okay, let’s do this!”.
You are a multi-instrumentalist. How do you manage the learning and composing for each instrument ?
I don’t (laugh)…
Every time I am amazed by a folk instrument I want to try it and I want to play it. That’s a very good thing but sometimes also very bad because it requires money.
I have a list of the different instruments that I want to own.
Short one or big one?
I bought some of them and I got some of them for Christmas, so now it’s getting shorter. So that’s okay!
Actually I try some instruments and if I feel like I want to play more I try to rent or buy one. It’s difficult to try to have a good level on each of them. I think I don’t master any of the instruments. I’m not a master on gurdy, I’m not a master on flute, on bouzouki or anything but I can play. I wouldn’t say that I am a flute player. I don’t know to say that… But I’m not a very good flute player but I can play flute for my tracks.
That’s how it goes: I get a new instrument, I try to play it, to get better and after having an “okay” level, suddenly I’m thinking about something else and I try something else… And the list is growing!
I’ve quite a lot of instruments now and I try to play a bit of them at least each week. I try to play like one day it will be the gurdy, another day it will be the low whistle, another day it will be the harp… And I try to increase bit by bit my level like this. I know now that I will never be a master at bouzouki or a master at hurdy-gurdy but I think that’s not something for me. I’m unable to focus on one instrument. I am amazed by people who can be so great at the hurdy-gurdy and I would love to have a very cool level. But I think that’s just not something that I can do. I accepted the fact that that’s not my thing. I love to have a lot of instruments and to play a bit of everything.
You also participated in The Castlefest Collective album. Can you tell us more about this project and what this experience brings to you?
It started with the “Folk musicians crisis collective”. That’s a Facebook group that was created by Tim of Pyrolysis and Sara of SeeD. The idea was to gather as many folk musicians of Europe as possible.
I was invited in the group. I never knew if it was by Tim, or by Sara, or maybe both I don’t know… but in fact I was invited in this group. At first it was totally amazing to see that I was in the same Facebook group that many of the musicians that I was completely fan of. At a moment, Stepan of PerKelt made a post and told us “hey, we are all like in quarantine and we can’t play live music so why not making music altogether on a distance?”. He recorded chords on the guitar and sent that to everyone and he told us “if you want to add something, to add a part of your instrument, feel free, send it to me and I will mix it all and we will make a track with it”. That’s what we did!
Few weeks later Kati Rán came up with the idea of offering the track to the Castlefest so the Castlefest could sell it and try to get some money to survive this year without Castlefest. And we were all totally okay with that.
That was the very first track: Hope is the thing with feathers. There was a complete incredible moment just after Oliver and Adaya of Faun arrived on the project. They recorded some lyrics, some vocals and at a moment, Stepan told the group “we want to have a big choir at this moment of the track so anyone who can sing please sing vocals”. And that was a completely surreal moment when I was here in this room and I was recording backing vocal for the voice of Oliver of Faun and I was like “Oh my God!”!
After that Stepan came back, one or two weeks later and he told us “why not making other tracks?”… and we made 7 other tracks with the same process. We recorded 8 tracks with that and we made an album and we offer the album to the Castlefest so the Castlefest could sell it.
That was totally amazing! I collaborated with members of all these bands that I’ve been listening to for years and these bands that are influencing me. That was like collaborating with masters, with people who gave me this will of making folk music. That was very surreal! And I’m still very proud and honored to be part of this project . And I met a lot of incredible musicians from bands that I love… That was really cool!
If there is a Castlefest this summer, can we hope a kind of live performance?
I don’t know. I’m not the one to ask this question to. If you want to have an answer I think you could ask Stepan of PerKelt or Rob van Barschot. But I don’t know. I have no information about it yet. I would love to, obviously (laugh) but I don’t know.
To end, what’s your plan for the future?
For 2021 I want to try to make some more quality videos and I want to make some videos outside, I mean music videos. I don’t want all my videos to be in this room. I think I recorded a lot of videos inside and I think it’s time to try to make things outside because well that’s Pagan folk and Pagan folk is Nature! I already shot one and I have to edit the video.
There is another series of videos that is coming with a kind of concept. I’m not sure when the first one will be on the YouTube channel but it’s already recorded and shot.
I’m also working on new tracks and I’m planning on releasing an EP maybe by the end of 2021, beginning of 2022. As we can’t be outside because of the curfew or because of the lockdown and stuff, at least we have time to make music at home. So that’s progressing quite nicely, quite softly. We’ll see.
But the first album won’t be the last one, definitely. That’s not possible!
Where can we find and support you?
Instagram (where I post a lot of stories): https://www.instagram.com/legarcondelautomne/
I’m also on Patreon where I post some exclusive news and early access to videos for people who want to financially support me: https://www.patreon.com/legarcondelautomne
I’m also on Bandcamp for those who want to buy the album (on both physical and digital format) and recently I added some merchandising for the very first time. A friend and bandmates of mine, made some very cool leather bracelet with the logo and that’s really nice:
Feel free to follow and support his project! Thank you Quentin for sharing this time with us!
I hope you enjoy this new format.
Take good care and stay wild !