French experimental composer Bernard Fèvre aka Black Devil Disco Club will reissue three of his seminal ‘70s releases, including for the first time in its original, complete sequence, the storied Black Devil ‘Disco Club’ EP.
Alongside ‘Disco Club’ will be a pair of Fèvre’s most influential library LPs, 1975’s ‘Suspense’ and ‘Cosmos 2043’ from 1977.
Bernard has also given us some insight on why he’s chosen to reissue the albums, detailed production notes from the albums, and he also goes into great detail on his influences. Check out the remastered “H”-Friend from ‘Disco Club’ above.
Some words from Bernard ahead of the reissues:
‘The idea of highlighting these discs, and for the first time in their original format, is very dear to me. I hope they show that I have been an originator not an imitator although at the time they were made I never considered myself futuristic or revolutionary. The important thing with these re-issues, is the fun it will bring the fans who have been asking for the re-issues for so long. I understood it was going to make people happy, so I wanted to re-master my old tracks myself because I do not want to have a modern filter that would take away the charm of my old work.
Listeners will have the exact sound of the studio I was using at the time, hardly adjusted by me from the original Revox tape. It will be a journey for them to my side of a universe that until now I was the only one to experience. ‘The Kid In Me’ on my last album, refers to the child in me who thinks his music timeless and impervious to the march of time and the proof is that it continues to be enjoyed even today by young people all over the world, even in countries I doubt I’ll ever visit. These people could be my grandchildren!
The most exciting thing for me is that for the first time my early work will be released and distributed in many countries, 40 years after being received poorly except by a few, rare illuminated souls. That means that I keep my job, which is very exciting. Music, musician, my soul, it’s my life.’
‘Suspense’ and ‘Cosmos 2043’ were made one after the other in 1975. The writing and production lasted two months for the first and four months for the other. I chose to do everything alone because I did not trust the technicians and musicians around me: I thought they were way behind the times.
For the performance of these albums, I used a Solina keyboard, Hohner Clavinet, Korg Poly and a monophonic Moog plus of course the Mini Korg 700 I still use today. I also had a Teac 4-track tape recorder, Power effects (a French brand since disappeared) and a 12-track Allen & Heath console. A real home studio before it’s time in 1975!
‘Cosmos 2043’ (released in 1977) is known for the track ‘Earth Message’ as sampled by The Chemical Brothers in their ‘Got Glint’ track. I chose the date 2043 at random; it had to indicate a distant time, far away. Now I imagine that life in 2043 will be harder with warmer temperatures than today but unless I live to be 97 I will never know for sure!
For the third album, ‘Disco Club’ (1978), I worked with a drummer making loops that were adjusted, to create the hypnotic groove that is so special. Despite the fact that it was all recorded in a professional studio (in a suburb of Paris) I find this a very ‘artisan’ disk because it was all done using equipment that we now consider “home studio”.
My producer, Jacky Giordano and I chose to use nicknames for the credits: he would be ‘Joachim Sherylee’ and I would be ‘Junior Claristidge’. As for Black Devil, that was the end result of this change: an extension of me, a new character.
My influences come from classical music, rock’n’roll, rhythm and blues and radio songs – even the most kitsch. My pleasure has always been both to follow some musical conventions while rejecting traditional musical theories. Maybe this can be seen by the my choice of heroes: Louis de Funes, Maurice Chevalier, Edith Piaf, Woody Wood Pecker, The Addams Family, Gary Cooper, Grace of Monaco, Buster Keaton, Little Eva, Mickey Mouse.
My music is rather Phantasmo-psychedelic, as if the soundtrack to an imaginary film (few films were using this kind of music at the time). It could be used for a film like ‘Barbarella’ or ‘Interstellar’ instead of the very artificial synth you hear throughout the film. I also imagine it used in a movie with Gary Cooper, in place of the usual western music, or ‘Star Wars’, rather than the redundant symphonic music, or even in ‘Alphaville’, ‘Alien’ or ‘Mars Attacks’.
Words of parting:
In the second half of the 70s, Paris was ‘free thinking’, the economy was healthy, the baguette cost 1 franc (€0.15) and the outlook was good, with nice girls (girlfriends) and good guys (friends). It was a fine time, I was going to dance clubs, and I did not need to pay the entrance. I also found I could drink for free: I would sit at a table of old guys and berate them about their “zero ideas and poor policy.” That always annoyed them and they would invite me to drink with them while they tried to convince me of my mistakes!
Actually, I’ve always thought the future would be rather redneck, and I think it is today. I hear the same sentences for sixty years in the mouths of énarques or of those with “no teeth”; Technology has made the world happier, but just more dependent and gullible. And a gullible man is the preferred food of the predator.
However, the 2000’s were a real godsend for me: Thanks to Lo Recordings who released my new material I was able to show the public that I really existed and that my talent was not dead. With my live shows I was able to prove that my work was not the producers but rather my own. All my life I survived music by compromising with crooked merchants. I was hoping for better than 60 years, but I have to thank the artists who helped me.
Today I feel I am really Black Devil instead of Bernard Fevre because Fevre was born in 1946 and Black Devil in 1978. So if I am Black Devil I am 37 years young!
Bernard Fevre, Paris, January 2015
Released May 11th (12th in US) 2015 on CD / LP / Digital
Released via via Lo Recordings and Sound Obsession in the UK, Anthology Recordings in the US and by Alter-K in France.