Lumiere is the project of Greek musician and composer Thanos Christodoulou. He has announced the release of a new album. Phases is out on September 18th as self-release. It is an invitation to an atmospheric trip of the heart and the mind towards dream-made images and memories of the future.
Using the piano as the core instrument and combining post-classical elements with electronic structures, minimalism, and modern jazz, Lumiere’s aim was to create moving cinematic music that grips the listener and becomes the exciting soundtrack of modern daydreamers. “F” is a new excerpt. Listen below and check our talk with the artist who details the new album and much more.
Let’s start from the new album “Phases”. What drove the inspiration of your work and what is the story behind it?
During the last years I have been listening to a lot of works from minimalist and classical composers, modern jazz and acoustic techno bands as well as greek folk and traditional music. All those different styles of music blended into one big inspirational cocktail that I drunk and that made me want to compose and record a new album. During the time of composing and recording, I started reading again the poems of C. P. Cavafy, arguably the greatest greek poet of modern era and perhaps one of the greatest poets of modern European literature. His poems constituted the second pillar of inspiration for this album. More specifically, the intro of the album contains a recording of a reading of one of his most beautiful poems, God Abandons Antony, while the closing track contains also a part of one other great poem of his, Polis (meaning “city” in greek). Cavafy poems are describing in an amazingly condensed way and through shockingly accurate symbolisms, the beauty and the melancholy of our existence and of the several phases of our lives.
The Artwork is powerful. How did you choose it?
For one of the tracks of my first album, I collaborated with Jean-Charles Couty, a very talented French director and videographer. When Aris Goumpouros, the artwork designer of both of my albums, saw the video made by Jean Charles, he proposed to work on it in order to create the artwork. When I saw the album cover he created, it struck me immediately, it was perfect. A limitless space outside our bodies, an undiscovered abyss inside our minds.
You worked with Theo Tagholm for the video for the first excerpt “Doppler”. How much important is the visual part for your music?
When I started composing instrumental music, almost everybody started telling me about the images that they create in their minds when listening to my music. So I have realized that creating a visual part that would be combined with my music would be very important in order to enhance the experience of listening. That is why, during the last years, I try to collaborate with talented visual artists that I admire, such as Theo Tagholm, that can beautifully “decode” my music and create a lavish visual trip.
You spent a couple of years studying Physics in Lyon. Tell us more about this experience and how had an impact on your music.
First, I believe that the fact that I studied Physics has played an important role on how I understand music. A lot of times I realize that I experience music creation as a perfect combination of two theoretically opposite elements: on one hand, strict scientific sequences and on the other hand, sentimental, irrational bursts of improvisation. So Physics has definitely played a role in the first part of this equation. During my stay in Lyon, I was staying near its national library from which I borrowed hundreds and hundreds of records and films, mostly European works of art, which helped me broaden my mind. In Lyon I also met Romain who became my closest friend there and who is one of the biggest music fanatics I have ever met, proposing me, almost daily, tens of new things to listen to. It was during my stay in Lyon, the home-town of the Lumiere Brothers, inventors of cinematography, that I came up with my stage name.
You are from Greece. I’m very interested to the connection between the places we live over the years, the territorial geography of our roots and the art. How do you feel these themes connected to your music, your way to think of music? What are some of your favorite places?
I feel really fortunate for the fact that I am from Greece. I was not feeling always the same in the past, thinking about the music I wanted to play in my early youth (indie rock). But during the last decade, I have started realizing the amazing richness of Greece’s musical history, the fantastic range of musical experiences that one may have when diving into the incredibly variable waters of traditional, folk and modern greek records. Greece’s geography creates a wide range of places, from exotic beaches to snow-covered mountains, from lakes and rivers to rocky peninsulas, and since Greeks were mostly isolated to their local communities, the music they created is full of different elements, exactly like the geomorphology of their places. Some of my favorite places in Greece are Astros, Sklithron, Syros and Thessaloniki, all very different in size, beauty and aesthetics.
How are you living these strange times and what are the main concerns as an artist?
Being in lockdown has helped me focus on the completion of the album and everything that was related to it (videos, artwork etc) so I can say that fortunately it did not impact my work. My main concerns are related to concerts and live events because I know that musicians nowadays can make a living mainly by playing live, so I hope the whole condition gets better and we start enjoying again live music, both as performers and listeners.
Ritual question. Have you seen or heard anything good recently?
Owen Pallet’s latest record, “Island” is fantastic! I also discovered recently the Paris Concert of 1988 of Keith Jarrett which is a masterpiece (along with “La Scala” it has become my favorite Keith Jarrett solo concert). Also, I just finished an amazing book, “The great chimera” by greek author M. Karagatsis.