Seven years ago, Sébastien Lacombe erupted onto the scene with an authentic and warm folk-rock debut album titled Comme au cinéma. He launched his sophomore effort, Impressions humaines, in 2008, an album where his writing was still as delicate and endearing, but his compositions were definitely more pop and slick. His third, Territoires comes in the wake of a year-long trip to Senegal. A destabilizing, yet necessary exile.
“To me, if I don’t meet someone when I stop somewhere during a trip, it’s was not a good stop”
“It was a major life change for my wife and kids, and myself. We wanted to completely uproot ourselves and leave for two years. I left the comforts of city life for many reasons, the first of which was that I wanted to live a human-scale adventure. I craved exile, living elsewhere for a while. Plus, on an artistic level, my inspiration was gone. I’d totally run out of fuel. I was wondering what else I could contribute to the world of music. I was totally questioning the trade I chose. I needed new points of reference. And through the life experience a new project emerged: a new album.”
By adding touches of World Music (“Adouna”) and Electro arrangements (“D’où je viens”) to his rich folk palette, this third album is a proper portrait of his wanderlust (“Mr. Taximan”). It is the unadulterated product of Man’s two main sources of inspiration: travels and the people we meet in the process. “I love unexpected encounters. In Montréal, I was a creature of habit, a homebody. When you travel, your thirst for something new is reborn. That’s when you become more open-minded and seek human contact. It’s a kind of perpetual instability. It’s not hotel life, you meet everyday people. Your create a new bubble for yourself. I weakened myself by going to Senegal. I had no phon number, no friends. I had to talk to people to stay alive. No other choice. To me, if I don’t meet someone when I stop somewhere during a trip, it’s was not a good stop,” says the 40-year-old songwriter who won the Ma Première Place des Arts contest in 2003.
Now that this solid album is done, the tireless traveller is looking forward to working on his next stage show. One can clearly hear how excited he is about it. “The stage is increasingly important in our artistic lives. It cannot be ignored. That’s why my next peregrination will be a creative one. I came back from Senegal and other trips filled with images and I’d like to integrate them to my next show, which I intend to develop along three main axes: the French fact, travels and opening oneself to the world. I want to create a documentary/stage show and ask questions about where French fits in our modern world and in the music world. There will no doubt be an educational aspect to it all, even though I intend to remain in the realm of poetry,” says the creator.
This globe-trotting admirer of Félix Leclerc, Alain Bashung and Didier Awadi (leader of Senegalese Rap group Positive Black Soul) has a very down-to-earth—vision of what it means to be an artist in 2012. His only hope is to keep forging ahead in the realm of “la chanson francophone” while remaining open to any possibility. “My approach is dead simple: I’ll go where I’m invited. You shouldn’t overthink it. I’d love to export my music, but Québec remains my priority,” he says decisively.
Despite the fragility of a constantly evolving music business, Sébastien Lacombe does not intend to give up. Ever a hard worker, he remains lucid and knows he hasn’t said has last word yet. “It’s a fact that Québec artists work incredibly hard for very little revenue. We sometimes forget about it or simply don’t give a shit, but it’s still the truth of the matter. At the end of my African trip, I did ask myself why I should go on being a musician, and this is what I concluded: I haven’t yet reached the end of my adventure. As long as I have something to say, a message I need to share, and that it will be heard and appreciated—and that I will not hear that voice inside telling me to move on—I will carry on. Standing tall.”