Jeremy NATTAGH… music, to life to death ?
There is only one way to save man : reach for the stars !
Jeremy Nattagh… does that speak to you ? Yes ? No ? Here is a very interesting gentleman who loves the show… and blow up the audience who dances endlessly !
Hi Jeremy, who are you ?
Thanks a lot for the invitation !
My name is Jérémy Nattagh. It turns out that it’s also my artist name, that I play solo, duet or more, and whether it’s pure acoustics, world music with my hybrid percussion or downright organic electro. When I started shooting handpan, I made my first album in a few weeks, I already had 15 songs, and my graphic designer suggested that I take « Nattagh » short as an artist name, he said that it sounded good. But after a few concerts during which I presented myself like that when I got there, or when I was announced on stage like that, it made me weird to hear my surname as a blaze. I did not assume and it must send me back to my past.
You would think that the name of group or artist is the easiest to find, it was not my case !
What instrument do you mainly play ? When and how did you hear your instrument for the 1st time ?
After being a transverse flautist, drummer and sound engineer, today my project revolves mainly around the Handpan. But I add my old musician lives to him for a cocktail that suits me. I discovered the instrument in Batteur Magazine (sic), then on YouTube, so not ideal for flashing. Years later, I met KLAÏM and he put one on my knees for a few minutes in front of the Pompidou Center in Paris. There, there was a spark that burns even stronger today.
I point out that since I made music for films and documentaries, as well as dance performances, I had had Bali Steelpans a few years ago, but the current did not pass, using them only a few times for children’s shows. I also ordered a « Bellart » brand Handpan in 2011 for these specific productions… it was available to me in 2014, what patience it took at the time !
Apparently, you often share your scenes with Adèle B., a didgeridoo player, please tell us ?
As for didgeridoo, in the 90s (sic bis!), I only knew the muffled vibrations in the metro or on the banks of the Seine. Unusual but nothing transcendent. Looking back, they were often tourist yidaki decorated with pseudo Aboriginal paintings. Then around 2010 I think, I heard Adèle BLANCHIN playing it in my drum school, where she took lessons… in drums, and there I took a slap !
For the outdoor scene that my school proposed at the Fête de la Musique, I had carte blanche and I offered her a 45-minute jam with myself on drums and a percussion student called… Adel, hahaha…
That day, my ears discovered Adèle‘s super groovy and inspired didgeridoo game, and when she took out her jib, I didn’t know that a new world was going to open up to me (including the meeting with Klaim), and all the wonderful seeds of our future collaboration were sown, germinating years later. This improvised concert is unforgettable, I even have the recording and it’s beating !
Finally, we lost sight of each other until the end of 2012, she became this didgeridoo icon, while I was still rowing to make a living from my music. And one evening, in the middle of the drums, I received a message from her via Facebook. She had no percussionist for a concert the next day. Was I available ?
Adèle B. opened your eyes so… and since then have you collaborated with other players ?
In 2014, I was able to attend the last day at the festival « L’Arbre qui Marche« , a Sunday. First festival of this community for me, I was in my little shoes, a little intimidated.
Adèle introduced me to Klaim and Kelu Didg. Suffice to say that they were true to themselves, Kelu winnowing a little but overall super nice. We talked a little Hang with Klaim, but mostly talked kids and family, ahah.
On the other hand, I had a Udu with me and I found myself pushed by Adèle to do the closing jam. There was a very powerful set of djembes… and Kelu with his Kornbass ! Our first jam together, each of us struggling to get along a little amid the percussion. I was playing standing in front of the microphone, the Udu on my shoulder! I also briefly met Colas that day.
Then over time, the two friends became my friends, I participated in more and more events of this environment and finally the meeting with the Handpan Festival in October 2014. And I had met Zalem on a few occasions since the duo Adèle et Zalem worked well and their music excited me. I even heard the first album excluded because Adèle wanted my opinion on the balance, always delicate between two didgeridoos.
When my handpan project started to grow very quickly in 2015, I did more and more festivals with didgeridoo players, and the community welcomed me with open arms, it was heart-warming.
Kelu was already a poto, he came to record his solo disc in my studio. It’s a sacred memory, they tore the pieces in two takes, and his playing was powerful and all the time thoroughly. I burst out laughing after each take because it put so much energy. We both have a regret on this record, because after my first mix, which I found good, (especially since Kelu plays « Evoludidge », and some other quality didgeridoos, so with his precise playing, it was already well polished sound level), he came back to see me saying that he had listened to the album with his great subwoofer and that it sent too many low frequencies. I was skeptical and disturbed because I had a studio pro studio expressly for his album, it seemed to me that it was well balanced but as a sound engineer, you are listening and serving. In the end we both laugh because it lacks stockings !!
In 2019, we both did a memorable summer tour with my son Timothée who is already a regular at didgeridoo festivals, like a fish in water…
Zalem has become a friend over time, we did a few scenes together, some of which were memorable … the main thing being the human moments between us, sharing our experiences, our lives.
I also instantly sympathized with Dubravko Lapaine during my first festival « Le Rêve de l’Aborigène« . An extraordinary being. I had no idea who he was or his stature. But he was touched by my remarks about his wife’s work on the console, an essential part of her sound texture, and he said that I appreciated the way I took care of my musicians. In short it broke the ice, thank you backstages, and we always meet again with the same pleasure in festivals around the world. From philosophical discussions of which he is fond, to absurd delusions that do good. We shared lots of good moments, including featuring on stage, with Tiago Francisquinho and Joao Jardim, great friends too, simple and fun relationships, respect and mutual support for our respective projects.
I may not be able to cite them all, my memory is not always available, but William Thoren, Kéké*, Agustina, Eolya, Cyrille Lecoq are all artists and friends dear to my heart, only good memories, musical smacks while listening to them, and giggles, moments when we have been there for each other. This is what is beautiful in this community. And I realize that I have a huge chance of meeting so many great musicians, who are also lifelong friends.
*Editor note : Kéké is the didgeridoo player and co-founder of the excellent group DJEMDI !
Your 5th and last album has just been released, does it contain some sort of message ?
Today with the virus, this unprecedented situation of global confinement, and life which enters a new paradigm for many, this title takes on a new meaning. Originally, it is a sonata that I composed for solo handpan, in 3 movements, and which is particularly close to my heart because it was the first step towards a style of composition close to French composers of the 20th century, Debussy, Ravel , Fauré. They are great influences for me, even if I don’t compare myself for a second, they are incomparable.
The Sonata « Life Equinox » was born during that year, combining sadness, light streaks and a life-long record dedicated to music. Perhaps the 40s crisis? Body and mind dropped on Thursday June 21 ! I was preparing to do 3 dates in 2 days the following Saturday, with a lot of kilometers, and I had 2 and a half months of high season to insure. So I did it day by day, using the little energy I had left, cracking with exhaustion more than once, but the profession and the experience allowed me to insure until the end of august, well, i ended this summer there sound manager for 3 days for the festival l’Arbre qui Marche! The loop was complete, but the frame was broken.
The first CD of this double opus consists of pieces of this type, melodic and harmonically rich on an instrument which is often played modal on a chord, or even two. Raindrops Sonata for example was composed when I regained my energy and the zest for life, at the very beginning of 2019. Lots of emotions in this first CD.
The second CD consists of duets « world music » with musicians of the heart, whom I have often encountered on the road, and with whom I have lived extraordinary moments : Lily Jung, Xavier Desandre Navarre, Julien Coste, Yves Mesnil with whom I have a duet that delights me, Tritha Sinha, sublime Indian singer, Kengo Saito….as well as Adèle and Zalem. Two songs with the latter, one with a messy didge and one with a beatbox, I am delighted with his presence.
The song with Adèle is of her composition, and the only one recorded in studio of CD2, all the others having been captured in one or two takes at the time, at my place or between two concerts on the site of a festival. She sings wonderfully, plays the drum and Huaca (bewitching triple ocarina). And no didgeridoo for her this time!
She has often been the guest of my previous albums, and there are always many requests for festivals and festive events. She’s my musical soul mate, we follow each other everywhere in our flights, in our mistakes too, ahah. I appreciate the incredible luck that we have found ourselves on the way, because the hardest thing in music for me is to find the playmates who match us.
To come back to the question, the message of the album is to fully realize your being and your art, to give everything you can to your dreams, but also that friendship and love are essential, that sharing the music is the essence of it !
Your best memory in live concert ?
In 2017, Zalem and Lily Jung agreed to be my guests at the first Holi Powder at the Handpan Festival in Valras. At a moment’s notice, they followed some of my songs, we still remember them, right Raph? Especially because the audience was jubilant, sending colored powder when I counted on the microphone, while playing. Then it went to the big trance bazaar, with powder thrown everywhere. it took me over an hour to clean my handpans and effects pedals. We did this every year for the next 3 years. It’s completely crazy each time and unique to see from the stage.
Many concerts remain in my memory because I see the smiles of the audience, the dance, the emotion at its peak. Sometimes in complete privacy in a living room, or on a lawn under a tree, you have the best possible listening, and people are touched like never before. Recently in the wind and pouring rain, we played Suntribe Festival in Flemish Belgium with Adèle, the festival-goers in the mud, the instruments that take on water. But show must go on, it sent and the joy was total.
Several memories with you Raphaël, at the 1st Handpan Festival that we did together, where you discovered my well-tempered and determined personality, ahah. But especially when you were among the first to jump right in front of the stage when I was playing, taking the audience with you, and that’s priceless and really enjoyable !
I also played handpan skiing, paragliding, hot air ballooning, canoeing, in a tree. These unusual shoots are engraved memories … You can also find them on my channel Youtube. Do not take yourself seriously, it is also a good way to stay down to earth !
Very recently, in full confinement I made a livestream for a handpan community on facebook. My grandmother died a few minutes before I played. I experienced a state of emptiness, of total upheaval, I did not know what to do: play, not play ? I was afraid of collapsing live. And then, I took my instruments, for an acoustic concert whose pieces came from the album Life Equinox, and corresponded perfectly to this deep emotion. I spoke with seriousness and sadness, without pretense, I had tears in my eyes at many times, I played for her, it was so emotional and suspended. Each note made even more sense. And it turns out that the emotion passed strongly even through the screens and the disastrous internet connection, according to the returns. Fortunately, the sound was good and it was our farewell ceremony with my family who was before me on the grass. I will remember it forever.
In the studio, it’s never easy for me, it’s always a lot of concentration and doubts. the most beautiful moments are clearly the duo recordings, made in the magic of the moment and in the joy of sharing.
Your worst memories live or in the studio ?
Just before going on stage on Saturday evening at the festival « Le Rêve de l’Aborigène » in 2018, in full burn out, I cracked from exhaustion! Tears fell when I remember I don’t know what subject. Adèle and my 11 year old son Timothée were there … and at the time, my son had the most beautiful reaction, that of a real Dreamer: he opened his arms without saying a word and told me taken in his arms. My throat is still tight. He’s next to me while I’m writing, it’s my greatest achievement… A few minutes later, I was wondering how I was going to talk to the crowd, send energy. But in the end it was an incredible festive concert with a 10 minute reminder! The energy went up as the songs went by, and I was transfigured at the end of the concert. This is how I managed the burnout tour this summer!
Very often bad starts turn into beautiful memories if we do not let go…. Or sometimes yes ! We loose !!!
At the speed of things going today, do you have a personal message for people who read, listen to or listen to your album ?
Each at his own pace, each his own journey. It took me many years to find myself, going through despair, injuries, but also an evolution and unexpected joys. What makes me me, what makes me happy, will not be the same for you, free yourself from mimicry and the desire to be someone else, to look like your idols. Listen to yourself for your choices and decisions, but especially to others when you play music. What will stand out is your musicality and your aura. There will always be better than you technically, but no one else conveys your emotions and your lyricism.
To achieve musical achievement is a lot of work, dedication, and constant focus. I had almost no talent for music when I started, that’s also why I took so long, but the difference was made in consistency and resistance to difficulties. Knowing how to constantly evolve and reinvent yourself is also a key, especially in a society that is accelerating almost all the time. But the key word is fun, having fun with what we do; I happen to forget it, and these are my worst years as a musician.
To finish on a happier touch, I would not trade my life for any other, and this is my greatest achievement !
. And for the rest… apparently great projects?
Yes … this MONDAY MAY 11, 2020, I will be on CLUBBING TV at 12 am (GMT) noon with Kontsha Prod… a booker and concert producer, they take care of the Trance group Hilight Tribe.
Lien du live sur FACEBOOK :
As well as a MASTERCLASSE de 35 tutoriels which will be released at the end of May on the MASTERTHEHANDPAN platform, dealing with Live Looping, the Workflow that I apply, my philosophy on the arrangement of the pieces, the effects that I use, the microphones, the processing the sound that I apply to each instrument before sending them to the looper, that’s how it is clean at the end, or more or less, because it’s like being on the wire permanently, a discipline rigorous but so much fun !!!
» The culmination of years of work and research, Life Equinox is a double album covering a wide stylistic palette around the handpan ! »
CD1 consists of very sophisticated solo works, in the form of sonatas. And CD2 a set of duets with artists very inspired by the current world-music scene : Lily Jung, Adele B, Yves Mesnil, Zalem, Xavier Desandre Navarre, Julien Coste, Cyrille Lecoq and Tritha Sinha.
« Immerse yourself in an original goldsmith universe that will transport you. »
You will understand : with Jeremy Nattagh… it’s party until the end of the night !
Take a dynamite, and put a dozen wicks in it… what do you think will happen… Huh ? Will it explode or not? … and what hides behind this festive facade full of enthusiasm ???
For my part, I had the joy of having a bit of an answer during the HANDPANAME FESTIVAL in 2015… When just after his live we meet in the boxes and I see him burst into tears when I warmly congratulate him for having touched me to tears also… magic !!! The wall that breaks in front of a few simple but true words… this is the Jeremy Nattagh that I love ! For the rest, I leave it to you to find out… because yes, you are going to dance, have fun endlessly ! Fortunately, moreover !
Jeremy is among the winners; of those who have the talent (s) to transform rain into good weather ! And it’s all to his credit ! So, festival goers and organizers… don’t forget to book it or take your places when Jeremy Nattagh comes by and plays… because we won’t be waiting for you !
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