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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Exclusive Q&A with Pierre Pascual

Pierre Pascual is a presence on the current dance-music scene unlike any other. After being introduced to his stage persona via the Deneuve Danse video, I had to know more about this richly creative and fascinating new artist. Thanks to Barbara Sobel and Sobel Promotions, I was able to arrange this interview through Pierre's management in France. He is thoughful, brilliant in ways, an accomplished musician, a cinephile with directoral aspirations, highly intelligent and, above all, a true artist who puts his work above commerce. A rare breed in this day and age. To learn more about Pierre:

Dj Buddy Beaverhausen: Bonjour, Pierre, and thank you so much for doing this interview with me. I adore, on Pierre Pascual: Le Site (, where you write: "Pierre Pascual is the dream of Pierre Pascual." We'd be very happy if you'd expand on that for us, please. 
 Pierre Pascual: Hello. First of all, thank you for inviting me to answer to your questions. About this sentence, my message is that who we are is a very important thing. Every human being is unique, with his own dreams and particularities. I don’t think we can just be labeled so simply in this world with genders, colors, ages.... The societies we live in force us to reduce our personalities and dreams, we always have to choose. I try to encourage people to find their own way and to be happy, to dream their lives and make the dreams come true, to abandon nothing. I’m working on identity and it shows. I’m sometimes using my real name as a generic name. What's important is not me, but what I do as a human being.

DBB: You arrived in Paris in 2003. How old were you, might I ask? Where were you born and raised, and where had you lived before Paris?
PPI arrived in Paris in 2003, so ten years ago and I was 26. I tried to come when I was 17, to follow classes in a cinema school. I wanted to be a director. I passed the exam but finally I had to decline, regarding all the money costs, the school and living in this big city; it was already very expensive. Before 2003, I was living in Bordeaux, my city of birth. I studied there (cinema, dramatic art) and that is where I wrote my first songs. I also lived in the south-east of France and in Africa when I was a young child. My father was a geologist and I had the chance to see different countries with different cultures, an incredible wealth.

DBB: You have a new single, "Deneuve Danse." We love Catherine Deneuve! Thanks for dedicating a dance song to her. [Original music video posted at end. Don't miss it.] I love the song and the video presentation of it. What inspired you?
PP: Catherine Deneuve is so French! She represents France in its chic but also old-fashioned aspects. The unchanging and unchangeable art. A very classic and glamourous icon, she represents, I guess, the chic à la française. I wanted to write a song about an actress dancing alone, with no one watching, and Catherine came to me. Deneuve Danse. I love alliterations, they are everywhere in my work. The song is about those paradoxes: when you are a personality, what is private, what is not. I think we all have our Deneuve side and our Catherine side. Ok, they love Deneuve, but all that, this cinema, this drama, was it Catherine’s dreams ?

DBB: Pierre, who are your influences -- not only in music, but in cinema and the arts generally?
PP: I have been very influenced by cinema and images in general. I am from this first generation who ate television and cinema very early. I experienced my love for directing in some of my music videos. I love treating music and visuals, that is a very complete way to express deep feelings even if that is dangerous because visuals are always more powerful than sounds. My favorite director when I was a teenager was David Lynch, some of his films are masterpieces for me. I am also a big fan of Jean Eustache (masterpiece : The Mother and the Whore, 1973), Gregg Araki, Gus Van Sant, Leos Carax (The wonderful Holy Motors!) I also love documentaries. The most beautiful documentary I’ve seen is called Nostalgie de la Lumière (nostalgia for the light) directed by Patricio Guzman. I wish I would be able to create such a beautiful movie. It can be seen now in a very little cinema in Paris where it has screened for several years now ! 

DBB: You truly are someone so very fresh and essential, I feel, on the dance-music scene. You bring performance art back to stage and video, along with the music; an art maybe lost since the '80s. How would you describe your aesthetic and your approach to your work? How much did punk-rock influence you?
PP: I always practiced a lot of arts, since i was young. I began writing poetry at 7 years old and music at 12. I began filming myself and acting at around 15, so at some moment in my life, I thought it would be cool to do all that at the same time. Directing my own music videos was great for that. I would love to direct a movie with more money and time, to go further in that way. What I tried to bring to my art those past years is real life that is, perhaps, close to performance. Yes, I am a real person with real intentions and dreams, I try to be honest. Pierre Pascual exists, that is my real name and I am who I am. Everything I show is true. I'll explain: if my body has lived what I am showing, that is not a lie, then that is a real emotion. Emotions and freedom of action are important for me. We have to allow our bodies to follow our dreams, to respect what is good for them. And we are all changing, every time, if we listen to what we are learning from this earth, from us. A human being is always a progression, more freedom, more beauty, more dreams, more pleasure. Nothing has to be stopped.

DBB: I read you were recently gay bashed on a Facebook site and your abuser was actually, most shockingly, someone who works in the dance-music field. What do you make of all that?
PP: I stopped reading all the messages under my videos for months now, it was sometimes too upsetting. On MySpace, some years ago, I had several death threats and tons of homophobic private or public messages, that is why I decided to not allow private messages anymore. Even if the hate will never stop me from doing what I want to do, I have to preserve myself and the closest persons in my life. Happiness is the more important thing, I always have that balance in my head. I am not a masochistic person, nor a superhero. One of my messages is "respect yourself;" that is also applicable to myself. I have to always adapt my ways of doing this job to be able to have happiness in my life because if I am not happy to do it, I will give bad things to the public and that is not what I want to do. 
To be more political, I hope this world one day will allow some boys to be singing and sexy divas, and some girls to be Barack Obama. Our patriarchal world has shown its limits, we need a more feminine world. More women in politics. I am a convinced feminist. And my feminine attributes are a symbolic tribute to women, to ring a bell, hey there are men with you, don’t lose the liberties you gained in the past. Fight ! That is the poetic way I found to express my love to women. Fuck Eve, fuck Adam and Viva Lilith ! Boy or girl, we are all Lilith (to use some religious images I am fighting against). And I am sometimes sad to be always labeled as a "gay artist." It is not that I am not proud of who I am. I love gay people as I love straight people but i just hate categories. I am not a gay artist talking just to gays or representing gays, of course, I talk about problems and violence we experience as gay people, that is sometimes so hard. 
I want to fight hard for gay rights, we have to talk about that but, first of all, we are all humans and we have first to fight for human rights in general; if we do not, it would be like wanting to save all the cherries but not the cherry-trees, absurd. My message is not "do what I do or live what I’m living" but, rather, it's just: "be yourself !" The saddest thing for me are those homophobic homosexuals or misogynist women, the kind who are saying things like, "Hey, you made wrong things for feminism or the gay community." The gay community doesn’t exist, that is a term invented by homophobic people; there are only one human being + one + another.... I truly believe what a person does is representing only himself or herself. The most important thing is freedom. The only things all people of the world have in common and that are important are our bodies and sensations. We are not bodies and separated souls. We are entire living bodies. That is what i wanted to show in my video, "Mi Novio es un zombi" Hey, dead zombie, you can live too, you can move, like you are ! You are free to do it, don’t be a zombie of this society ! When you have the zombie in the beginning in the shopping cart, I wanted to say: hey, stop this consumerist society! Go outside ! And the dance, the body is what is waking the zombie, the present, not the promise of an hypothetic future ! I treated this video, my first attempt as a director and editor, to talk about this over-consumering society. This video cost zero euro. And this look of a homeless person I have at the end, that is my message. You don’t need money to be free. Like the dancers wearing craft paper bags. And the little white hat I wear in the beginning was the chinese lamp of my flat I just took from there some hours before the shooting. I always did that, I take what I have around me and it becomes my world, and imagination costs nothing. I am not for creating so many new things, like a ton of new clothes in the shops, I go to flea markets and find all that I need. Everything can have a second life, everyone can have a second life and a third and a fourth... 

DBB: In 2006-07, you were in the band Cartel Couture. Could you talk a little about that period?
PP: That was a very crazy and funny period. The time I discovered stages, stilettos, make-up. I did my first music videos, I was also discovering social networks. Yes, we knew about the MySpace revolution when we were really free and not killed by publicity, money and censorship! We had two amazing years on MySpace, it was a great revolution ! I was a crazy and tall thing on stilettos, I wanted to do everything and go everywhere. We had a lot of fun. I had more energy than now, I have been spent and worn out by all this craziness, fighting against all of the windmills of this show business. I still love that song, "Still Seeking Susan" I wrote and produced for the band. And the video "Paupiette" is very representative of what was my idea of this period: mixing dance music, queer attitudes and butchery stuff, sausages necklaces, performances with meat. I began playing with the idea of pop artist as a product, all the dead meat thing. This was in 2006. 
DJBB: You influenced Lady Gaga, obviously.
PP: Oh, and we had giant human poodles on stillettos dancing on stage with us! I was afraid of nothing. I miss Héloise and Jérôme; I hope one day we will do something all together again. A gay, a bisexual and a straight, that was a cool, open band! When I was saying that, everyone wanted to know, who is the bisexual?? who’s the straight ??? It was, I don’t know why, very obvious that I was the gay member ! [Grins.]

DBB: In 2011, you released an album from which came the single, "J'aime Sentir Ta Bouche Glisser." It was remixed by Chew Fu. What did you think of the remix, the promotion of that single, and the way that album turned out?
PP: I released the album in 2012, and the single, " J’aime sentir ta bouche glisser" was in 2011. Yes, I was very proud to have this Chew Fu remix, I love it. For the promotion, we had the best team in France, the one who is in charge regularly of the singles of artists like Black Eyed Peas, Britney Spears...  A lot of promo CDs had been sent, but no big radio airplayed it; too "weird" they said. Perhaps, if a lady sang it.... Anyway, I love this single, I have no regrets. There have been many times in my career when people told me, "No, you cannot do that that way! It will be a disaster." An economic disaster they mean. But I cannot do something for fame or money, I am really not interested in that.
The album, I am very proud of it too, it’s like I dreamed it. We had some cool reactions from some press, blogs and fans, of course, but I didn’t succeed in finding a distribution for it nor a place for doing my show. To be honest, I lost a lot of money. But the dream exists! I was very proud and sometimes surprised to read in some articles the production of my album was compared to big artists from majors, as I produced the album almost alone and 95% of the tracks has been produced at home, that prooves that I worked correctly. So, yes, I was proud but I remain a craftsman, alone in my flat with my production, poor but free and happy. The important thing now is that all this music belongs to people who like it.

DBB: The music industry is such a difficult one for artists in so many ways. What have been your disappointments? Your triumphs?
PP: My triumph is to be still alive and with some new dreams coming to me. I have no time for being disappointed. I still have a life to enjoy, more people to love, more art to make. That is the only important thing. I don’t understand this business, the media and this crazy agitation all around. You know, I am a very quiet person, I just love to read, dream and create. All the rest is too complicated for me.
Our societies always see professional success in terms of money, exposition and competition. You have to be number one, or be rich; if not, you’re nothing. We have to redefine all that. The most important thing is happiness and freedom. We have to encourage everybody to be n°1 in terms of happiness. So many artists sacrifice everything and are zombies and sad people, so crazy and inhuman. I want to say no to this masquerade. Only if I am happy, can I share true and deep things.

DBB: You've toured internationally. My blog has an international, club-loving, large LGBT audience. Any shout-outs to your dance fans? Any plans to perform any time soon in NYC?
PP: Yes, I did a lot of shows all around Europe those past years and to be honest, I’ve been tired, not of the public cause that was the amazing part of it, but that was often and regularly such bad conditions, bad lights, bad sound system, so I was upset for me and for the public. It was also very hard for me to perform some nights so late in some clubs, my way of doing my job was to never drink before a show, I don’t like that and i never took drugs and I had to deal with drunk people backstage or people on drugs, and that was very violent to me. I don’t like noise and agitation. There was this confusion, people were thinking, he does such crazy things, he must be a crazy person. Sorry to disappoint some of them, but I am not.
I was drinking too much alcohol after the shows, to stand for the after parties, I sometimes wished I would have been able to be this punk star they thought I was, with a rock and roll attitude. I pretended a bit, I tried but that is not me....
Now, I prefer waiting, as [performing] doesn’t make me dream anymore.... Perhaps I will have the occasion to do a cool show in the future. I will think of it again if I record a new album. It took me 20 years to produce the album of my dreams, perhaps I will do a real show in 20 years. I would be older than Madonna! I used YouTube as a big show. I did so many videos those past years, I wanted to touch the world, and the youngest, the poorest people, to be seen by everybody. A live show is expensive to create and also expensive for the fans to go to, it excludes so many people. Now, I will give my best somewhere else, but I'm sure I will have occasions to meet my fans some day. I am less obsessed by this idea of sharing at any costs, and being heard and seen. Time is the key. I decided not to direct myself new music videos for the moment, I said goodbye to this period in my "Secrets" video, that it's too complicated now to create the images I dream of with the little material I used, my Mac is too old and slow now, but if some young genius directors want to use me for directing a music video of one of my song, that is still possible, because I always liked to share art and emotions. What I learned from life is that tomorrow is a new day. With new dreams. Never say never.

DBB: When you read the news about the USA and its Tea Party crazies, what do you think of us Americans? 
PP: American people have a lot of qualities. First they have a beautiful [use of the English] langage, so musical and friendly for songs! They also have a beautiful country that allows people to live most of their dreams. We have that impression here in Europe that you can be nobody in America and go far if you are the best or if you work a lot. Sometimes in France, if you don’t know the right people or if you don’t have social connections or a name, you’re dead.
But, in the USA, it's so sad to see how religious lobbies can have a so big an influence there! Anyone can have his convictions, ok! But I saw so many crazy religious images, like the Jesus camps, it frightens me a lot. I don’t believe in God, or in Satan, I don’t believe in a life after death. I believe in humans, in all humans and in the present, that we have to live now! We won’t have a second chance. We have to love each other now and not a hypothetical god who tells us: that is ok for you but that is not. We know what is ok for us. Love and respect. That’s all. I also hate the way American social networks like MySpace first, and then YouTube and Facebook, began imposing their morals by controlling censorship all over the world. My work has been banned a lot, following rules created by American people, and they say that is to protect children! We had that in France in the '50s and that is horrible to face that again, and sorry to say, but that is the bad influence of religions on people. The image of a man on stillettos doesn’t kill children; hate kills children!  Ignorance kills children ! Homophobia, racism kill children! Wars kill children! But all that, you can find on social networks....

DBB: My blog audience includes friends in Russia and its territories. Could you share your feelings and thoughts about what's going on there right now?
PPVery sad about what happened and still happens in Russia, for LGBT people, for artists, for women, for freedom and equality. For that, internet is great, it allows people to see what we can do in other countries (when governments don’t ban some websites or all the internet). I believe in freedom, and wish everyone could experience, one day, the sensation of being free. To do what you want, to be who you want! I am sending all my love to LGBT people in Russia, go on fighting for your rights, we are with you. Putin, instead of showing himself like a super hero with the biggest weapons, the biggest fishes, should show himself with a bigger heart and a clever government ! There are so many countries and continents suffering and fighting right now: Iran; in many people sent to prison for what they are or believe in. And, right now, I feel very concerned by all that's happening in Syria. I don’t know how we can close our eyes on the rest of the world. A lot of governments are so selfish.

DBB: On a personal note, love your legs! What's your work-out like? Does performing in heels help shape your gams?
PP: Ah, thank you, I am very proud of my legs! And, as I always say, what is beautiful has to be shown! Seriously, I love bodies, I wish we could allow more nudity everywhere, for men and women, we don’t have to be ashamed of our bodies, a body is always superb, it allows us to have joys, different kind of joys, pleasure and great sensations ! We have to respect our bodies and take care of them. And yes, high heels are great for legs ! Can you believe I was hop-scotching on high heels on-stage? Men should put on high heels instead of playing football; that is more athletic!

DBB: You recently caught the eye of a US promoter who has been getting you played all over the radio and you are now hitting charts. You have also developed a huge new fan base of die hard fans. How are you feeling about all of this?

PP: First, I love my fans. I feel very lucky and so grateful. Even if I don’t like this term, "fan base." I don’t own my fans, I see them more like friends to whom and with whom I share my creations. If my music can be played, listened to and loved, that brings me a lot of joy and pride! When I write songs, those songs are like gifts I want to give. If there is no one to open the gift, there is no gift. I would like to give so many things to my fans, they are sometimes so nice to me. I am afraid to disappoint them if I don’t have the success they want for me or if I don't do shows, but I also know they can understand more than I think. I have very clever fans ! [Smiles.] 
I want to progress as an artist and also as a person, that is the same thing. I hate competition and this kind of communication overdose, full-time work of artists now is communication on social networks, which is why I've decided to be more discreet there. I don’t want to participate in that craziness and it would not have been honest to go on with that. I finally authorized my music to remain on Deezer, because I know some of my fans love it, even if i don’t like the way they work with little artists, they made mistakes on some of my albums and do not care.... I prefer Spotify, they are more regular, even if I hate all those middlemen, intermediaries, they are making money on people they don’t know and they don’t care of us, they see us like a big mass without faces. 
Actually, all the intermediaries earn money from the little artists but those little artists are dying. I can tell you what I earned from streaming platforms if you want to have an idea: a lot less than 100 euros for more than 15,000 listenings in those streaming platforms (and you have to put away 30% taken by Believe, the society which put my digital music on internet, another intermediary). I think that not much was paid for those horrible ads they put every 3 minutes, and Sacem paid me zero euros for the 300.000 videos seen on YouTube, even the ones with publicity put first. They just told me I didn’t fit in their "barema," the barema means you have to have 50,000 views per video in a short period, blah bla... so all my money went to bigger artists, as always with Sacem. But I’m used to that, they never gave me one euro for a show I did, and never one euro when I asked for an help for a production. When you are a little artist, they are just here to take your money. This is why I opened my little internet shop, to sell some copies of my CD on my own and survive, to sell directly from producer to consumer is the only chance for me not to just lose money, like in agriculture, intermediaries kill everything! I’m like a farmer! I would really like to give my digital music for free, to the poorest or youngest people who cannot use all those streaming things and create more physical objetcs directly from me to my fans. When you buy something in my website’s shop, all the money goes to me and allow me to produce new releases
Even for the show I made for television last February, Sacem told me i have to wait for a whole year to have the money from it ! I cannot wait for a year, I am not rich enough for that, this system is made for artists who are making money. But all those bad vibes don't have to contaminate everything....  I really want to concentrate on positive things that happened to me. I had a lot of joy, that is the most important, from what I shared with people. I wish i could just offer my art, everything, leave this idea of selling. I would like to put everything for free, free releases (and real ones, not fake like streaming platforms) because to use Spotify, you know, you cannot have too old a computer or Mac. It happened to me this year: Spotify told me your system is too old, you cannot listen, it was impossible for me to access my own music. So absurd! 

I hate to be forced to listen to those crap ads when I listen to music. I never watch television, all the programs are just the children of publicity, and this society where money is the only god. That is incompatible with my message. I don’t like this system, all that does not make me dream, we are like oil and vinegar, not made to mix, even if sometimes we can make a good salad with it. I am not sad about it, I’m beginning to make some choices to go on in a new way that can respect my ideals. We have to be positive, all our lives are still front of us. I still have that impression I did nothing. I am always a new born, with new dreams, new sensations. Every single day, I am telling to myself when I wake up, that is a new life. That is a new me. What universe will bring me today? I don’t know but I’m open. I'm going to take the time to listen and receive. I have no prejudices about the world, about me. All is possible.
DBB: My readers and I thank you so much! We'll be following and supporting you.  
PPThanks to you for this interview. Thanks also to Barbara Sobel/Sobel Promotions for all the great work and to all my fans. Be free, be happy!


  1. There was no Gay Bashing at all to set the record straight. The comment was aimed at the music and nothing. I have a 100+ Gay friends if you want they can set the record straight that I have never even come close to Gay bashing anyone nor is it my nature. You can check with all the professionals I have worked with in the music industry for over 35 years. Interesting how your French version of this interview made no mention of this but it was twisted/pencilled in for the english version. If anyone has any questions including Pierre who I would love meet one day they can contact me directly. Sincerely . P.S. Shame on you as a reporter to even go along with this petty game that you know who put you up to. I have kept silent on this since this article was posted but enough is enough. Happy Thanksgiving.

  2. Dan, thank you for your point of view & civil discourse. The French version was translated by Pierre from the original English version & it was from a first draft, so any discrepancies were not intentional. Dan, this was an interview, not an investigative report, but sincere apologies if you feel you were misrepresented.

  3. all good. just wanted to set the record straight...