“nul n'est prophète en son pays” No one is a prophet in his own country

Updated: Mar 4, 2020

Having charmed the Indian crowd with their unconventional jazz rhythms in the past, EYM Trio – the global jazz band from France, is set to return to the city in December, this year. In an exclusive interview with Half Step Rock, the band talked about their live performances across the world, released albums, future plans and jazzzzz….

Famous for composing songs with irregular rhythms and harmonies, the band has gained popularity with originals like Le Lours de Kuala Lumpur; Grand-Pas; Möbius and Bengaluru to name a few. “Jazz isn't the most popular kind of music in the world today, for sure. But there are many addicts and passionate people around the world, and also many curious people, so I think that there is a very large crowd for jazz music,” shared Elie Dufour, the exceptionally talented pianist of EYM Trio, as his thoughts on current global music scene with jazz in particular.

“Basically artists, especially jazz artists, make their living out of performing, that's the main thing. Generations have changed, people want an easy access to music (YouTube, Spotify, etc.) or they want real feelings. In a way it's cool and deeply human. The jazz audience is growing up, India is a good example, people are curious about this music,” added Marc Michel, the classical yet unconventional drummer of EYM Trio.

Annual world tours by musicians is not a new trend but is picking up pace, now more than ever. With the drastically changing landscape of the music industry bands/artists are finding more success and recognition in foreign lands than their own, though their talent respected equally worldwide. Most successful music tours worldwide in 2016, earned a gross revenue of up to US $268.3 million.

Here’s the take of perhaps the only international band to have composed a song on Bengaluru, EYM Trio, on performing in foreign countries and their India tour in specific. “Performing in France is different than performing far away. When we play in India, people are curious because we come from Europe, they think that we have to be great musicians to play that far. There is something exotic for us and for them. So playing is easier and very exciting. When we play in France, people are less interested by what we do, if they don't know us. However, after the show, there is a great exchange with the audience and most of the times the perception about the band changes. A proverb in France explains that “nul n'est prophète en son pays.” The funny thing is that in Asia we are respected immediately because we come from far away to share our music. In France we are respected because we often perform in Asia and far from Europe,” said Elie.

“There are so many differences. It's really interesting to see how the audiences react in different countries. Basically the Indian audience is very intensively focused, which is really inspiring. I really think that jazz concert is a moment when magic can exist. It all depends on the vibe. Audience is so important to create that,” shared Marc.

The global recording industry is seeing meek growth after a long lull and constantly declining market. Finally the modernization and transformation of the industry into the digital age of downloads and streaming has started to reap results. The global recorded music sales totaled US $15.7 billion in 2016, showing a growth by 5.9% with the digital income now accounting for 50% of global revenues.

A band that has released two albums so far – Genesi and Khamsin, talked about the challenges faced during recording their music and response to their albums worldwide - “The challenge for me was being inspired at the right moment. When the sound engineer says record, you have to be ready and peaceful,” shared Elie. “Basically the challenge with recording is to keep the vibe created during a jazz session without the energy of a live concert and being in different rooms. Personally I don't like to do too many takes of one tune, if possible. I feel bad if I'm not really improvising. After a few takes you can run out of ideas and creative vibe, which is a terrible thing on a jazz record,” shared Marc.

Genesi has been well received by people and professionals. It has helped us being selected in prestigious competitions in Europe. Khamsin has been a great success too. Recording this was less challenging than the first one. Music came immediately on the first day itself. This one got us opportunities to perform outside Europe. It has reached a large part of the world,” mentioned Elie.

While the industry is going through a metamorphosis, bands like EYM Trio are going places with their music sharing it with people all over the world and incorporating every culture they discover into their music. “India is such a great inspiration for me, the music, the rhythms, the perfume, the colors, the culture, (the food), I think it makes me creative. We just want to play here as much as we can because the mood is great,” added Elie.

“Indian audience is generally quite interested and curious about this music. This is a country with a super deep musical tradition, I guess it has its importance and they’re not afraid of improvisation and creating new rhythms. This is why (among many other things) India is so special.

I'd love the Trio to reach another musical step, create new sound nobody has ever done before. It's really challenging because the amount of music floating nowadays is huge. To be unusual and genuine at the same time is a hard task but I guess we go down our path anyway,” added Marc.

Watch out for EYM Trio’s third and to-be-released album sometime April next year with some interesting surprises for the Indian audience in specific.

The Band - Elie Dufour (pianist); Yann Phayphet (bassist); Marc Michel (drummer)

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