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Musical News 17 - In Tenebris

This month, special issue dedicated to this dark ambient album, inspired by Maxime Chattam's novel : "In Tenebris"

The project

L'Ame du Mal

Last year, after finishing to read "L'Ame du Mal", which is the first opus of the trilogy written by Maxime Chattam, the idea of an album of illustrative musics came up.

The author invite the readers to listen to some musics before, after or while they are reading the book. These musics inspired Maxime Chattam in the creative process.

The book inspired me to compose musics, directly inspired by his work.

Some readers, thriller books addicts, told me the musics were very good to accompay the reading : not too much disturbing. Other readers didn't succeed to read with music in the ears, so they told me they put on music before, to get in the mood.

That was my goal in this project : make music you can listen to while reading : minimalist, background music, which doesn't take precedence over the book. And that wasn't easy !

No melody, nothing to disturb the reading, except some rare surprizing hits (in "l'Ame du Mal" at 1"10)

A few weeks after this project, I read the second volume "In Tenebris", and again, the story inspired me to compose a dark soundtrack.

In Tenebris

I started writing the music in June 2021. It took me 6 months to compose the 16 tracks (55 minutes).

For this new project, I wanted to transcribe what I felt by reading the book, but I also wanted to make a coherent work, as a new and unique musical work.

Should the order of the songs be chronological?

Which passage should I select?

For this project, I had two new ideas :

- Make collaborations with other artists

- Release some of the tracks as singles before being included in the album


Joran Elane : 67 and 67 (epic version)

Karen Biehl : Brooklyn's Snow

Brannan Lane : Signal Radio

Stephen Weber : Le Wagon

Blaned : Une Ombre

Byebyefish : Manbo

OpeNWave : Coney Island

Marketing ideas

Next idea was releasing some singles before the whole album. A nice idea, but I wasn't sure it was possible on Distrokid with all these collaborations.

I had to change the plan (because I had only 2 artist's names with the standard plan on Distrokid).

8 tracks were released as singles :

- In Tenebris

- Joshua

- 67

- Brooklyn's Snow

- Signal Radio

- Le Wagon

- Une Ombre

- La Cour des Miracles

The eight other tracks are released in the album, which contains all these singles.

This marketing idea is well-known, a lot of artists do that, and it allows to discuss about the next album. When it is finally released, listeners may already know some tracks.

Since the beginning, although I'm not a famous artist in a great label, producing awesome and commercial musics, I like making plans, thinking of the entire project around the album (as if I was creating a project with a label or professionnal producers).

I have created an event on Facebook, to launch, 7 days before the date, the album release.

For the official date of the release, I have chosen the date of Maxime Chattam's

birthday !

I have invited the artists who have collaborated, and this blog article will be published.

The trailer (a short video clip) is shared too.

I made it with my brother, who is very skilled in movie editing / cut. We made 2 versions of the trailer, in 1 minute for the social medias (Instagram, Facebook...) : a vertical version and a 16/9 version.

Saturday, february 12th, a special issue of my Podcast "Musical News" is online.

It's now in french, because it is easier for me to make these episodes, which aren't listened by hundred people, so...

In this podcast, we can listen in exclusivity to all the album tracks. I comment all the musics and give informations about the production process, some anecdotes and how we collaborate for some tracks.

It's more for me, to remember, than for people who may not be interested by all this...

However, I like making all of this, because it gives sense to this project, and present it with all the consideration it deserves.

You can listen to the album here :

And if you like this genre, you can follow and listen to my playlist "Thriller Reading" (a lot of tracks from "In Tenebris" and "L'Ame du Mal" are in there), with Jerry Goldsmith,Alan Silvestri, James Newton Howard...

The interview

Why did you make an album inspired by Maxime Chattam?

First reason : I liked the book ! It's a really great book. Maybe it will make you want to read it !

Second reason : music is a language. I felt the need to express the emotions, the atmosphere we are when we read this novel.

In his latest books, Maxime Chattam shares a list of musics which has inspired him to write. I tested reading with earphones and music. I liked it, but I had difficulties to stay concentrated on the reading because of the musics : I was more listening than reading. Music disturbed me.

So I had this idea : make minimalist music to accompany the reading, without disturbing.

Why not another writer?

It could have been another writer. But Maxime Chattam is one of my favourite ones.

I just bought the third volume of the trilogy. Maybe I will make a third album, to have a trilogy too.

But I have read some other thrillers which were awesome too, so, maybe I will make musics inspired by some other writers, like Franck Thilliez, or Olivier Norek.

Personaly, do you listen to music while reading?

As I said previously, not easily. Because as a musician, my concentration is all focused on the notes, the melody, the rythm of the music...

I can read the same paragraph many times for this reason.

But I have tested my own musics while reading, yes. To see if it works.

Some readers, lovers of thriller books, told me it works and with other books too !

How did you choose the artists for the collaborations?

I would like to say that the main reason is artistic, that I chose the artists who make this kind of music. But in reality, I first and foremost chose artists that I admire. Of course, I also knew that they could not only adapt to this particular project but also bring their style that I love so much. And inevitably, it was going to enrich the album in a way I never could have hoped to do.

For some artists it was a real challenge because it was far from their genre.

Tell us how did you work in these collaborations.

For all the collaborations, I proceeded in the same way. I started by creating the base of the piece: the atmosphere, the "background sound". Very often, with in mind the artist to whom I wanted to send the piece.

Then, I asked the artist to complete with more melodic elements (Karen Biehl for Brooklyn's snow), other atmospheres or voices (Joran Elane for 67).

For 67, for example, Joran sent me several recordings of her voice, which were inspired by the music. I cut and placed different recordings, which resulted in two pieces : one quieter than the other.

With François Maillard (alias Byebyefish), the collaborative work gave rise to rich exchanges, and interesting round trips to build together a piece which changed several times in orientation, sound dressing and even duration. .

With Blaned, we had already collaborated together, for "Broken Machine". He brought to the piece musical atmospheres and also the sounds of footsteps, door slamming, to give the piece a very realistic and immersive side.

Brannan Lane and Stephen Weber fit perfectly into the atmosphere of the piece that I had built and added their touch, their inimitable style and this gives very successful music, perfectly in the atmosphere of the chapters of the book.

"Coney Island" with OpeNWave is the latest collaboration. I had sent him a piece with very present, oppressive wave noises, explaining to him the passage in the book which refers to it. The abandoned seaside resort, in winter, therefore a completely different atmosphere from that which can be observed in summer. The work he has done on this title is simply fantastic. His additions give a power to the piece which becomes cinematic. (It's this piece that is used for the trailer). Perfect for the end of the album!

To finish with the subject of collaborations, I was very proud to see that the artists I contacted were (almost) all ready to participate. In the end, there were a few withdrawals, for reasons of busy schedule, but in the vast majority, all responded present and I thank them warmly!

What do you expect from this release?

Well, honestly, I know this kind of music isn't much listened. But I see this album as a coherent project which has succeeded, which is a work in its own right and which will be able to appeal to the small minority who like this kind of musical atmosphere, in particular the community of thriller readers who like to immerse themselves in an atmosphere such asthis one before, during or after reading their new thriller.

I now make two genres of music: the genre "relaxation / meditation" which is listened to a lot (but less interesting on a creative level) and a genre much less listened to, like this album, but which is an artistic creation in which I enjoyto invest myself.

Thank you very much for your answers ? Did you have an exclusive information for us?

You are welcome ! Thank you for this interview ! How much do you pay for this exclusive content? ^^ Ths next single is a fast and powerful orchestral music, inspired by a short story written by a Maxime Chattam's fan !

Here is the link to the story if you are interested !

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