Du Berry, Lewis Introduce ‘Quizz’ to İstanbul

Belle du Berry and David Lewis will present their newest project this weekend at Salon in İstanbul.

March 26, 2010, Friday/ 15:15:00
Singer-songwriter Belle du Berry, the lead singer of the band Paris Combo, has been appreciated by an ever-growing audience over the past decade.
Together with the ensemble’s multi-instrumentalist David Lewis, she has now embarked on a new side project. Their first album, “Quizz,” was released in September 2009.

As part of their ongoing European tour, du Berry and Lewis will perform their newest project for the first time in Turkey on Saturday and Sunday at the İstanbul Foundation for Culture and Art’s (İKSV) new performance hall, Salon. Du Berry speaks about her new project in an interview with Today’s Zaman.

After four successful studio albums, do you feel like Paris Combo has completed its mission?

We have been together through 10 intensive years as Paris Combo. Paris Combo has not completed its mission yet, but we just needed a little break. We created our own sound and style as Paris Combo. In order to try something new, out of this style, we came up with this new project. On the other hand, we have already started recording brand new songs for Paris Combo, but we feel more freedom with our new project in expressing ourselves.

What is the difference between Paris Combo and your new project?

On this album, I felt more freedom to express myself, and it’s more intimate. I tried to go beyond Paris Combo. We know each other so well, and we are being more sensitive to what we are and we share more of ourselves on this album. I can say that on this album especially, the lyrics are more sensitive.

“Quizz” has the feel of alternative pop lounge. How would you describe the music on the album?

Guitar was so powerful in Paris Combo, but on this album, the piano is the star. Our music is much more minimalistic, and the piano, keyboards and organ come forth. We recorded the album live.

Your early musical experience was in post-punk bands. Do you still have punk influences in your songs?

I still listen to too much punk. I love to listen to punk and ska so much. I love the attitude and performances and originality and sense of humor when it comes to punk groups and singers. But it’s not that possible to compare my softer way of singing to punk music.

You are also a songwriter. Isn’t that a real freedom for an artist in terms of self-expression?

Exactly, it’s too much freedom to express your emotions. Actually, I was anxious in the very beginning when I started to write songs. I didn’t know how people would react if I shared my emotions directly in this way. But if people like the emotions and songs that belong to you, it becomes an indescribable joy.

You also have acting experience. Does that contribute to your live performances?

For the movies and for the theater, there are people who tell you what to do, but when you sing, you are by yourself. You have to find a good reason to be on the stage. Although you are with musicians, you are much freer on stage, and you are being yourself. The only common thing about singing and theater is the connection you get with the audience.

You began collaborating with David Lewis in the Cabaret Sauvage. How did that affect your artistic expression?

Cabaret Sauvage was an experience we shared with comedians, magicians and even with acrobats. There were very different stage personas all together. The musicians were so funny and entertaining. The acrobats were so strict and serious because they were doing something dangerous. My part was all about singing Brazilian music and some jazz.

You are going to perform two shows in İstanbul this weekend. What kind of styles do you offer in your gigs?

There becomes a spontaneous mise-en-scene, and we create dialogues accordingly in response to the reactions of the crowd. We never come up with a plan beforehand; we create a mise-en-scene in accordance with the atmosphere. We prepare a good meal and wait for the guests. We don’t know who the guests will be, but we have already prepared a pretty good meal for İstanbul.

What do you know about İstanbul?

I read a lot about it, and I even wrote a song for İstanbul. David told me so much about İstanbul and about its atmosphere and how magical the city was when he went there. So I wrote a song about İstanbul for the debut album of Paris Combo using my imagination about İstanbul after reading and listening to David. The first song on which I collaborated with David was “İstanbul.”

What’s next?

“Quizz” is a brand new album and we’ll keep on promoting it with concerts. Our big-big tours are on the way. Besides our tour in France, we are also going to tour in Australia and the US. We have already recorded some new songs for Paris Combo’s next album.

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