Christophe Violland - Composer, Arranger, Pianist, Photographer, Producer

August 29, 2018

Christophe Violland is a composer/arranger from Paris, France. He has distinguished himself as such with some incredibly creative work. I have posted quite a few of his videos on Facebook, but one in particular stands out. He shared this with me recently and this one speaks to his versatility. 


"Rockit" by Herbie Hancock - arranged for jazz orchestra by Violland



His website, of course, can be found here:


This is a very different video that smacks of the uniqueness of OK-Go. The original video can be watched in the thumbnail in the lower right hand side of the original. I asked Christophe about producing this. Here are some things he shared with me. 


The alto soloist is the brilliant Baptiste Herbin. He plays on several Violland videos and is exceptionally skilled. He simply played the written work and then improvised a scorching solo in the blowing sections.


First, Violland hand transcribed the piece on the fly. If you watch carefully, there are even some white out sections and added bars by hand. It apparently took a great deal of time to do this.


He shot the video with a Canon 5D Mark II camera. 


He did the edits and time compression with Final Cut Pro. 


In short, this fascinating little video took an extraordinary amount of work to assemble.  The payoff is in a really unique piece of art.


I first discovered Chirstope Violland's music several years ago with his unique arrangements of the Beatles tunes on Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. You can find these tunes on Soundcloud, and are worth the search. 


You should be impressed with the incredible tightness and precision performance by the musicians. These are incredibly talented people and there are a LOT of them. Add to that the larger studio and the engineers involved and you have a substantial undertaking on your hands, from a managerial point of view and financially. I asked Christophe how he was able to do this. How did he fund it? 


In the US there are a few possibilities for grant money (think NEA grants) but these have been gradually being decimated by the folks in DC. Apparently, there are similar grants available in France, but they are equally difficult to come by and carry the bureaucratic baggage of extended paperwork and justification to get them. Violland opted to NOT apply for these.


It turns out he is completely self funded. He pays his sidemen as much and as often as he can, but occasionally they work for him on spec. His music is so unique and so well crafted that Paris' best musicians are eager to help him out. 


He does use some crowd funding, but that was all he was willing to share with me on that matter.


Mr. Violland is making some excellent music and art. I found it fascinating to communicate with him as to how he does this. Perhaps he can inspire others to make similar efforts. 


This is yet another example of what a fascinating place the internet can be. Decades ago, it would be nigh impossible for an independent artist to pull things like this off without connections with deep pockets. Now, the playing field is much more level and allows talented yet obscure artists to share thier music on a world stage. 


Now, if you are reading this, you made it through the post. Thanks! I hope you'll consider subscribing to my blog. If you found this interesting, please read the blogs in the archives. I also hope you'll consider supporting my work. As the blog evolves and as I get ready to launch my podcast later this summer and as I continue to record audio and video, please remember, I am totally self funded. If you enjoy my music and have benefited in some way from reading the blogs and or watching the videos, please consider a donation to the cause. I am seeking advertisers and backers, but every individual can contribute in some way. No donation is too small, and no donation is too large! ;-) This is tantamount to digitally passing the hat on a no cover gig, but so be it. If you wish to make a contribution, just use and send your tip/donation to me via Paypal. 


Thank you for at least considering. 


Respectfully submitted:

Nick Drozdoff














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