Psychedelic rock has always been a genre that has crossed borders and traveled worldwide. America and England were mainly the epicenters of the early movement that spawned psychedelic music in the late Sixties. Still, bands from Mexico to Australia to Sweden have made great psych-rock jams ever since.
I don’t usually think of France when I picture psych rock, but there are plenty of French psych heads, too. One of these is the young Pierre Lecarpentier, whom I’ve been in touch with for several months.
According to his Bandcamp profile, Pierre has been focusing on a solo project recently, making psychedelic rock, folk on steroids, and pop from outer space. His first solo offering, the EP Braindead, dropped in December 2022, and he’s been busy creating new music since then. He released the full-length album Yesterday’s Melodies in January 2023 and keeps cranking out the tunes.
Yesterday’s Melodies is a terrific album, in my opinion, that blends elements of folk, shoegaze, alternative, and psychedelia. Pierre’s voice crones and soars in the first track, “Somewhere, Nowhere,” and continues with the same urgency in the Sixties vintage feel of “Ballad of the White Lady.”
On April 11, Pierre released a rocking cover of the Spaceman 3 track “Losing Touch With My Mind.” Based in Paris, Pierre seems to be bursting forth with creativity, hoping to gain a foothold in this crazy online music world. I got a chance to exchange some questions with Pierre recently via email, and he told me how he got his start in music and some of his sources of inspiration.
Interview with Pierre Lecarpentier
Third Eye: Thanks for doing this interview! I really like Yesterday’s Melodies. Where do you get your inspiration from? I like to ask this of all musicians and artists. What is the well of inspiration for your songwriting?
Pierre: Oh, thank you! I am happy to do this interview; I really love your blog! Well, my inspiration mainly comes from what I’m currently listening to. I listen to many music and different genres, my favorite being psychedelic rock, but I’m also really fond of totally different stuff like Air, Tinariwen, Jacco Gardner, Cat Stevens, and Bob Dylan. So my music is directly influenced by all those different genres.
Third Eye: I see you live, and I’m guessing you are from Paris. I’ve always been fascinated by French literature, especially Camus and Sartre. What was it like growing up in France and near Paris? How does the towering influence of French arts and letters influence your music?
Pierre: Yes, I currently live near Paris, and growing up in France was great. I used to hang out in Paris all the time when I was a teenager; I played a bunch of shows there with the band I was in back then; those are great memories, man!
I can understand your fascination, I like French literature too, and I’m really into poetry. This love of poetry directly influences my lyrics because, actually, all of my lyrics are poems. I have a little book where I write many things, and I use some of those poems as lyrics for my songs.
Third Eye: How did you get your start in songwriting? When did you first pick up an instrument? And did you have any childhood musical influences, such as parents or relatives who were/are musicians?
Pierre: Yes, when I grew up, I was raised by my mother, and she had this fantastic records collection. The Beatles, the Stones, Led Zeppelin, etc., so I listened to those albums during all my childhood; that was great.
I started playing music when I was a little kid, maybe 3 years old. As I was saying, I was raised by my mom but also by a nanny; it wasn’t an actual nanny, it was my mom’s friend, but I always considered her like my second mom. Anyway, there was this drum kit at her place, and I was allowed to play with it, even if I didn’t know how to play because, you know, I was 3, haha. But I started to take drum lessons when I was 6, I took those lessons for 13 years and in the meantime I began to play bass and guitar when I was ten. I also play piano, but I’m not very good; I only started last year, haha.
As for the songwriting, it’s pretty recent. When I was in bands in my teen years, I wrote riffs and stuff like that, but I was unable to write lyrics, I couldn’t write anything really good. But 3 or 4 years ago I tried again and this time it worked and that was really cool because it meant I could write my own songs now, and here I am!
Favorites From Yesterday’s Melodies
Third Eye: If you had to pick one, what’s your favorite track on Yesterday’s Melodies – and why?
Pierre: My favorite is Life, Hopes & Despair of the Little Rainmaker! It’s a song I built around a poem I wrote a few years ago. This is a poem about loneliness, and I think I did a great job by turning those words and their meaning into music; I really like this song!
Third Eye: Speaking for myself, my favorite track on Yesterday’s Melodies is Ballad of the White Lady. It has that vintage late-Sixties garage psych sound that I love and a good bit of shoegaze that I detected. Can you tell me about this song and your take on it?
Pierre: Oh, thanks! This song was heavily inspired by bands like the Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Jesus and Mary Chain, hence that garage-psych sound.
The lyrics are about my cocaine years, I used to take a lot of coke (among other things), and as you probably know, drugs can quickly turn your life into a nightmare. So what I’m telling in the lyrics is how the cocaine wrecked my brain to the point I wasn’t actually myself anymore.
Pierre’s Songwriting Process
Third Eye: As a non-musician, I’m curious about the songwriting process. What is your songwriting process like? How does it start, and how do you take an initial idea and go through it to completion?
Pierre: I usually have the whole song idea in my head: most of the time, it starts with the melody, so I try to transcribe what I hear in my head on a piano or a guitar, and I record it poorly on my phone (so I don’t forget my ideas). About the recording sessions, I always start with an acoustic guitar track, even if the song doesn’t need acoustic guitar: I use it just to build the song’s structure and to see more clearly where I’m going. Then I start adding the other instruments, first of all, the rhythmic part (bass, drums, rhythm guitars), then I add all the keys and organs. I think this is the part I love the most; I can spend hours and hours trying to find the sounds I want by playing with all the presets and the melodic part comes last.
Third Eye: For someone who’s never listened to your music before, how would you describe it? In other words, if you could be your own press person for a moment, what are the essential characteristics of the Pierre Lecarpetneir sound?
Pierre: I think my music is a blend of psychedelic and progressive rock and that it has a poetic touch to it; at least, that’s the way I hear it, haha. So yeah, I will call my music poetic psychedelic rock!
What’s Next For Pierre
Third Eye: I enjoyed your new single, Inner Disorder, released on Feb. 28th. Has your sound evolved in this short period you’ve been releasing music for your solo project? Where do you see your music going?
Pierre: Oh, thank you! Yes, my sound has evolved into something more psychedelic than before; that’s the direction I wanna take for the future, make people have nice trips while listening to my songs, haha.
Third Eye: Last question – What’s next for you and your solo project? Are you working on new music? Have you played live shows? Thanks again!
Pierre: I’m planning the release of an EP in July and a new album next year! As for live shows, I just don’t play live because I’m alone, but if things go well with my music in the future, I might consider finding musicians and taking my music to the stage; we’ll see!
Support Pierre Lecarpentier by finding him on Bandcamp or social media (Instagram, YouTube).
Leave a Reply