Riding high on the success of his melancholy debut, Francophone artist Méandre’s sophomore record, Là où les saisons t’emmènent, reaches for song structures that pack a little more punch but also build on the sincerity and purity that marked his earlier work.
Find Méandre online
Méandre 101: Cheat Sheet
A piece of gear you can’t live without:
Favourite “I’m in a session” meal:
Most important trait in a collaborator:
Best way to get “in the zone”:
A cold beer
If I weren’t a musician, I’d be…:
It’s already been two years since Ludovic Volper, better known by his stage name, Méandre, dropped his first album, Le Temps Passe. Melodic and possessed of an aching melancholy, the album seduced audiences in Quebec and French-speaking Switzerland (he’s played Les Docks, Port France, and Festival des 5 Continents) with its heart-on-sleeve sincerity and DIY ethos, not to mention loads of local airplay and encouraging critical reception.
Managing to side-step the dreaded “sophomore slump”, Méandre’s new record, Là où les saisons t’emmènent, is a decidedly more “rock” affair that’s lined with synthesizers and examines the lessons learned from the changing seasons of one’s life. Despite his penchant for nostalgia, Ludovic’s new music sees him firmly grounded in the here and now but ultimately looking towards the future. RAC recently caught up with the up-and-coming grad to learn what makes the man behind Méandre tick.
RAC: Thanks for joining us, Ludovic! Tell us a little bit about how Méandre came about.
MÉANDRE: Méandre is a personal project that was born in the Swiss mountains around 2018. After having shared the stage with several bands for nearly ten years, I needed to be a part of something that reflected my goals and would free me of limitations and artistic constraints.
What were your earliest musical influences, and how have they evolved over the years?
Punk! Which was more than just music–it was an entire movement! That’s what pushed me to make music. With time, I broadened my musical tastes to finally appreciate a broader range of styles from metal to electro, with a healthy dose of lyric-based songs.
When did you first realize you wanted to pursue music as a career?
Every day when I get out of bed, I think to myself, “I have another beautiful day ahead of me!” Life is too short to impose choices that go against what we want. It was imperative to focus on what made me tick– music and sound production.
How does the music you listen to now influence your work?
I like to discover new trends, new artists and new records. I find it enriching, and it allows me to go further and further in both music and production. The music around us is a constant source of inspiration. Educating your ears is the most important thing.
What would you say you bring to the genre?
I like breaking the mould from time to time–to surprise and go beyond a musical genre. An album has a colour that defines the atmosphere in which it was composed. Tomorrow, it’ll sound different and touch on other musical genres.
What does your creative process look like today?
I arrange and compose the entire song with each instrument worked out. Then, I work with musicians to re-interpret the parts.
Tell us how this album came about. What can you tell us about the inspiration behind it?
I left for Montreal for a year and regained this freedom of movement because my agenda and obligations had totally disappeared. Being in a new environment enriches and changes my way of writing and composing. The listener can perceive that journey through this album.
I noticed an emotional weight on this new album and in the song “Je m’envole”. Can you tell us a bit more about what inspired you to write it?
Each stage of life brings us to a specific place. Remembering where you came from can sometimes bring a certain melancholy. I like to play with these past emotions; that’s what I look for when I listen to an artist. In this song, I take stock of where I am now and where I want to be in the future. Hindsight allows me to keep my head on my shoulders and keep me moving forward.
What aspect of the musical landscape do you enjoy most?
Each step brings a different dynamic, and that’s what I like about music. There is no such thing as routine. The creative process defines a temporality that is never the same. Apart from that, it’s true that performing on stage has always been something I’ve loved doing. It’s the culmination of a lot of work done beforehand.
What is the most significant impact your training in music production has brought to your work? Is it purely technical prowess?
The main impact has been the education of my ears. In the end, it doesn’t matter what material you’re working with; without good ears, it is unlikely to achieve any musical prowess. That’s why I listen to a lot of music– I analyze mixes, structures, and rhythms.
What are your goals as a musician?
To never lose the passion, whether it becomes my job or not. I also want to explore more musical worlds and collaborate with artists I’ve never had the opportunity to work with before.
What can we expect from Méandre in 2021?
A new EP at the end of 2021 and a concert series with projections!
Illustration by Malaika Astorga