How did this Obispo All Access platform project come about?
It was born simply by seeing the time pass and the fear of not being able to fulfill all the musical desires that I had. The tempo imposed by the record boxes no longer suited me. A lot of things were hanging around like some of my live albums that never came out. This rhythm of the majors was getting slower and slower. Maybe because of the record industry crisis. However, artists cannot and must not stop writing and composing. It did not alter my desire and my need to create. But it generated a form of frustration in me that prompted me to cut ties. Things were done smoothly, with complete intelligence. It has been five years since I started to think about this question. And two years that I work actively. My app has been open for a week and I put what I want in it. My artistic horizon has opened considerably.
What are you doing at the moment ?
Right now I’m focusing on uploading content for Obispo All Access. We are in the process of putting together a series of programs called Parlons-nous, which will be offered online. These are meetings between artists. At the same time, I am finalizing the mixing of a jazz album which uses my tracks as an instrumental, like a big band. And I’m also looking for old DAT tapes to find my first song, “Anna”, which I wrote in Rennes for my goddaughter.
A maximum of content for the price of a concert ticket per year
My application must be varied, just like the work I have done for 30 years. It has to be beautiful, precise, eclectic, rich in quality and quantity. For several months, the public will be able to access all my albums for free by downloading the app from the App Store or Google Play. Then, for the price of a concert ticket per year, we will have access to a maximum of content: lots of music with pieces that have never been released, but also the musicals that I wrote, documentaries, texts, karaoke, interviews that will be conducted by my wife (Pascal Obispo has been married to model Julie Hantson since September 2015, Editor’s note). Every Friday, new, original content will be uploaded. But also surprises, according to our inspiration. We will also be able to present artists who are close to our hearts.
Some people say that you are taking a lot of risk by standing out like this. What do you think ?
It may be a risk. But for me, it’s freedom. Freedom of expression and style. This week, for example, there are two covers that I recorded with my band: a pop-rock version of “Voyage Voyage” by Desireless and “La ballade de Jim” by Souchon. But also the second episode of a series of 14 parts, which we designed with documentary maker Stéphane Basset and which is called Obispologie. This second episode is devoted to my journey in Rennes where I lived from 1978 to 1990. There are lots of people with whom I worked who tell the beginnings of my musical history. We will also post things in a more random way. I planned a highlight, for example, on March 8, for Women’s Day: a beautiful clip, for which I composed the music, dedicated to a village forbidden to men in Kenya. It is abundant. If I had respected the tempo of the record boxes, I couldn’t have done all of this.
The Rennes scene has brought me a lot
Is the passage of time an important marker for you?
Yes. I just turned 56 but still have the soul of a 16 year old kid. I remain someone who makes a lot of proposals. The last part of my life, I want to devote it to creation, 360 degrees. I make this application in the same state of mind as I was when I was rehearsing in Rennes with my first group Words of Ghoete. We made music with a lot of energy. We had our teenage dreams. Time is also the chance to have met good people like Sam Stoner with whom I played in the Rennes group Evening Legions and who later became my guitarist.
Then it was Frank Darcel, co-founder with Philippe Pascal de Marquis de Sade, but also Etienne Daho. The Rennes scene has brought me a lot. Then, in February 1990, I went to Paris and I met other people who encouraged me not to pursue this path of post-Rennes rock. Success has arrived, but the pillars of my musical culture are certainly the Cure, New Order and Siouxsie and the Banshees.
The past two years have been very hard on you. Why ?
I lost two friends. Christophe, who died in Brest hospital, with whom I was very close, humanly and artistically speaking. I had to accompany him on bass at the Grand Rex for a concert. And we had other projects in common.
I also lost Philippe Pascal (died in September 2019, Editor’s note), a lifelong friend. It’s a disaster, a huge loss for me. On the app, I’m going to upload a song called “Ballad of the Last Love” that we sang as a duet. This song will be released soon. And that moves me deeply. Time flies, I know it, and I don’t want to miss anything.
I come back to Rennes from time to time. I find many friends there
You are preparing a CD dedicated to Rennes rock. What about this project?
Yes indeed. It will be called “Marquis de Rennes” and will contain covers of songs by groups from Rennes. I recorded four of them, two of which came out as a bonus on the last album: “L’Éclaircie” by Marc Séber and “Saudade” by Etienne Daho. We will continue with “Actors” of October, and “Love at the beach” of Niagara in Mano Negra version. I come back to Rennes from time to time. I find many friends there who live there. Friendship is very important to me: it is actions rather than words. It is also loyalty.