My Name Is Claude
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My Name Is Claude

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"Review: My Name is Claude im .HBC"

My Name is Claude is a formation around the singer Claude Ferland. He also plays piano and uses electronic sound installations. He is accompanied by harp and contrabass. The music is a mélange of classical, baroque music and melancholic pop, which pulls one in a spell, in a vortex of dark desire. The light show bathes the stage in a sea of blue light; creating a mythical illusion. His lyrics are infused with baroque motifs: of love and loneliness, of impermanence, of illusion and reality. Claude appears on stage not as a human being or a musican. He is rather a timeless and ageless creature. The singing and the playing of his instruments seem not to be directed to an audience; the spectator seems more to attend an intimate, natural process. No direct communication with the audience is taking place, the exterior world doesn’t touch the singer in this moment, he is inside the inner world. The fourth wall of theatre is maintained, the production is perfect, it is much more than an ordinary concert.

The strength of My Name is Claude lies in the intensity of the performance. A breath of myth on stage, an overdose glamour, a dance on the precipice of the soul. - SEEANCE MAGAZIN


"Sein Name ist Claude"

Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung
31.10.2010, Nr. 43 / Page 28 Peter Richter
Translation by Thomas Mader


His name is Claude.
He makes music. And art. He's not completely of this world. But he's about to conquer it.


When I met him for the first time (some years have already passed since then), I was in a store, holding a jacket up to the light which was such a tight fit that I didn't know whether it was made for wearing or for measuring blood pressure. It was he, who, when passing me by, advised me that the tight fit was really flattering, liberating even; that dull realities shouldn't be a criterion for fashion, that only the reverse is what really makes your silhouette show. All this of course immediately made sense. Especially from his point of view. He could have pitched the outfit he was wearing as a tent. In front of me stood a slender and platinum-blond… Well, what was it really? An ambassador from the empire of the elves? One thing is for certain, he was not of this world. His wise words were spoken in English, with a French accent.

When I met him again some time later, somewhere at a party in Berlin, he said: “My Name is Claude”. And that he makes music. And that that was his stage name.

Then again some time later I went so see one of his shows. First it sounded as if someone was playing Satie in an empty swimming pool, then an amazing thundering voice came down on us and made us lie down flat. That is, we were still standing upright, but we were also somehow drifting in this music, just like in a floating-tank. This was on the one hand very beautiful but on the other hand it was deeply disturbing, especially in the sweaty narrowness of this Kreuzberg basement that just seemed to scream punk, techno, noise and ecstasy. Back out on the street we above all had the feeling that we had just witnessed a great artist.

This fall My Name is Claude played some highly successful concerts in Paris, that have also caused a stir because all of a sudden the pin-up veil of Diane “A Shaded View on Fashion” Pernet was hovering over the whole scene. The Grand Old Riot Lady of fashion blogging later put My Name is Claude on the stage of the Centre Pompidou for the closing concert of a film festival.
And finally all the pieces are in place.

On top of all this the new album Camille Voit la Neige was supposed to be released shortly.

And so we met at the good old Ankerklause in Neukölln, almost Kreuzberg, and watched the water of the Landwehr Canal flowing by, black and wet, under a black and wet sky- but, for the time being, we really were in Montreal, Canada, where he, by the name of Claude Ferland, once was born into an art and music loving family. He doesn't tell in which year, not even out of coquetry (he says that he wouldn't have a problem with instantly growing old), but because of an honest indifference towards something as profane as ageing. Until he was 14 he still believed in magic and that he didn't belong on this earth, that he was a stranger, an alien, and that soon somebody would come and take him away. The part of reality that involves filling out official forms with one's personal data is not really his thing.

If not knowing the exact year of his birth causes sleepless nights for anybody, then that person will have to be so vulgar and will have to consult Google. The date can be found somewhere out there, on the website of some art magazine or gallery. Because Claude, who was pretty much forced by his surroundings to become an artist, not only completed an education in classical music, but also has a degree in Visual Arts and New Technology. And after all, nothing makes for a more ideal escapism than new technologies and media. You could possibly call it digital Pre-Raphaelism.

But you could also call it a strong dedication to the synthesis of the arts: video, performance, music- all of these elements at the same time, always. If there were someone that he would have to compare his style to, it would be Laurie Anderson, even though she is mainly a performance artist, while he, Claude, is gravitating more towards music.

In the art scene a very jealous and begrudging attitude can be found, that doesn't go well with somebody who's strong desire for transformation also functions as a protest against unreasonable demands of identity.

Claude was about to escape the art circus when he moved to Berlin, some five years ago.
There it didn't even take four months and he could be seen whirling across stages as the face and voice of the disco project Love-Love-Love. Electro, New Wave, sex, five different costumes in twenty minutes. Claude was on stage at Arena in Berlin and at B2 in Moscow. Only the biggest clubs, in front of thousands of people, of which, however, one hundred percent were always high on E. This means: they always had a great time. It also means that Claude felt “unfulfilled as an artist”.

He quit the band and formed an orchestra. Twelve people. Too stressful. Consequently: chamber orchestra, four people. And finally: just him, the piano, the voice, combined with video installations. But it still remains a double-projection, consisting of art and music. Also Claude sews the edges of his CD covers himself. This adds a third dimension to the traditional two-in-one, consisting of Pop Art (the CD cover) and Minimal Art (the music). Scars, healing, ritual destruction- Beuys so to say.

He describes his musical ideal as “Prokofjew meets Arvo Pärt”, and hearing his surprisingly powerful and deep voice, which is oftentimes surrounded by a cold reverberation of loneliness (just like sometimes the voice of Depeche Mode's Dave Gahan), coming from his ultra-fragile body, is a contrast that is just as elementary for his art as the fact that he prefers to sing in English, because French for him sounds too heavy, too existential, too depressive. He prefers a melancholy that is both deep and light, a melancholy that is more of a “comfortable feeling”, like the ambiance of the blue hour, something that makes the listener look inside himself, a sort of a melodious evening landscape, a musical Caspar David Friedrich painting.

One can without a doubt say that he has come very very close to his goal. One can also say that Berlin is just the right place for him. Claude is bridging the gap between Berghain and the Bröhan-Museum, between effusive club culture and phlegmatic Art Nouveau. Berlin generally seems to be a good place for Canadian artists: Peaches, Chilly Gonzales, Mocky, and now My Name is Claude. All of them from Canada, all of them became famous in Berlin, and are now, finally, Gonzales as well as Claude, conquering Paris. Does a francophone Canadian really have to take the detour via Berlin to get to Paris? Well, it seems that it helps. Paris is working hard on its pop-cultural “berlinification”.

Claude Ferland however also knows the dark truth behind the German capital's myth of tolerance and creativity. Already back when he had just moved to the Graefekiez neighborhood in Kreuzberg, they had thrown stones at him, the alien. Back then he hadn't said anything because his “German wasn't that good.” But when he got attacked with a wooden club by four Turkish guys just outside his house this summer, because his shirt was too transparent for their taste, he at least called the police.

He'd prefer to talk about this with Klaus Wowereit. After all, he represents everything that the mayor is peddling around all over the world in the name of Berlin. Foreigner, artist, gay, colorful, effusive- but in the end defenseless, exposed to the blunt Berlin reality. Another reason to seek refuge in work and art. And speaking of work and art: the record we really wanted to talk about now won't be released before January. Claude suddenly had the feeling that there was still a song missing. We don't mind the wait.
- Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung


"My Name is Claude"

NEO2
By Héctor Llanos
ENGLISH TRANSLATION

Claude has left the decalogue of electronic music, on which he had based his former projects Sas-31 and Lovelovelove, in order to embrace minimalism and orchestral arrangements. The categorical baroque of this new project allows Claude, who has been playing the piano since his childhood days, to finally feel free.

Impulsively he says: “I felt the need to trace back my own steps. I have been studying music since I was 6 years old and wanted to return to the past. After closing the chapter of Lovelovelove in 2007, a time during which I rejected several record deal offers, I started to coordinate a formation of twelve instrumentalists in order to set up My Name is Claude. I invested too much energy in things like managing a simple rehearsal and it did not leave me with sufficient time to compose. That is why we became a quartet… and from there the evolution went on until I became a soloist. It was very difficult to feel free when at the same time I had to fight with so many people! Despite all this I am still being accompanied by several musicians when I'm on stage”.

Pensively he says: “With ‘Science of Doubt’, besides trying to travel through different musical landscapes, I wanted to analyze the world in which we live, the impressive relations that are being constructed between man and machine. I wonder myself how we can find ourselves in such a situation…”

The aesthete says: “The fundamental importance of the image is a concept that is intimately related to the proposal that I make as a musician. In fact I see myself as an artist who incorporates photography and video-projections to his live concerts. The garments that I wear on stage for example help me to protect myself, not so much from the public as from my own emotions”.

The music fanatic says: “At this moment I am inspired by Arvo Pärt - Estonian composer, father of the sacred minimalism - and Blonde Redhead, but when you are focused on producing your own music, what you really need to listen to is silence”.

The dualist says: “In past years sometimes the artist in me has gotten more attention than the musician, but from 2005 onwards it has been the music that has taken me to places that I could have never imagined. For that reason, for a little more than two years now, I have not been producing anything that does not involve my live shows in one way or another. I am sure that in a not so distant future both facets will be completely united”.

The cosmopolitan says: “Montreal gave me a European taste and now I adore this continent, which is where I live nowadays. On my last tour I have passed through Paris, London, Berlin… I do not believe that I will ever live in Canada again, although I will forever be connected to my country”.
- NEO2 Magazine


"The Existentialist"

In less than 24 hours I received 3 messages from friends telling me
that My Name is Claude was going to be in Paris at the POP IN and
that this was a concert that I absolutely could not miss. It had to
be one of the hottest days in Paris but none the less, how could I
resist?
My Name is Claude, aka Claude Ferland, picked up a violin for
the first time at the age of six. He quickly moved on to the piano.
As a teenager, he discovered the literature of Charles Baudelaire,
Jean Cocteau, André Breton and André Gide. He says Gide’s Les
Nourritures Terrestres had a profound effect on his life, and in a way,
it proved to be the key that opened many doors.
As a child Ferland grew up in Montreal with his eyes in the stars,
his heart on the ocean and his soul in the air. His dreams were filled
with elephants and swans. On the cover of his upcoming album,
Science of Doubt, being released this September, Ferland is dressed
as a swan man, in a costume by Danish designer Mads Dinesen.
Like Dinesen, Ferland also lives in Berlin. He moved there in 2005
after traveling from Montreal to Paris, and then to London.
In contrast to his brooding music, which he says is rooted in
deep feelings of loneliness, Ferland appears upbeat, even happy in
person. “It’s about the paradox,” he says. “We look for freedom but
we never reach it; we hope for love but never seem to find it.”
Ferland goes on to explain the Albert Camus novel, The Fall,
where the author writes about not feeling at ease in one’s own skin,
living in an in-between state as though in a medieval prison, where
one could neither stand up fully nor lay down flat.
“In a way, we travel this amazing journey through life in that
position,” explains Ferland. “My work has to do with existentialism;
it also takes roots in romanticism and poetry. Emotions are
important to me and I like the fact that my songs can have a direct
impact on the people that listen to them.”
“My songs are always somewhere between fiction and reality,”
he continues. “Sometimes, I put myself in a place to write and feel
the fiction. In my everyday life, I am not a sad person; I am always
happy, laughing, active. But when I create, it is always melancholic.
I express that side of myself through my art and when I perform.”
Science of Doubt is the third release by My Name is Claude.
www.mynameisclaude.com
by Diane Pernet/photography Mali Lazell
The Existentialist
The philosophical melancholy of My Name is Claude - ZOO Magazine


"ÉLU PAR TÊTU"

ÉLU PAR TÊTU
by Matthieu Conquet
ENGLISH TRANSLATION

His name is Claude. Forget Madame or any other tacky word game and don't miss THE performer to follow this year. Originally from Quebec (Montreal) and moved to Berlin in recent years, Claude Ferland has the ambition to be himself and all the forms this self can take, just like Bjork or Bowie did in their days. His first concerts in France combined music, fashion and video and created a tragic narrative close to the style of the Gothic novel. With his sylph-like silhouette (imagine Jay Jay Johanson crossed with Ritchie Hawtin and add the effect of Azzedin Alaia's hoods), Claude seems like a contemporary Hamlet, who chooses the orchestra instead of the theater to permeate his audience.
His pop music blends stripped classical arrangements (he musically quotes Erik Satie) and sounds reworked on computers, as if the machines came back to haunt the melancholic themes. Piano, double bass and harp meet analog keyboards and Claude's surprisingly versatile voice plays with silence in order to direct the attention to every single word. When Claude evokes the sound of his wings (imagine soaring harp) or desperate calls that nobody hears, one hesitates whether one should understand his songs as fabulous stories or as intimate confessions (if the expression is still allowed).
Designer fabrics (by Danish designer Mads Dinesen) and video projections dress the musician, as to mitigate the shamelessness of certain lyrical desires. His fragile physique and the dark atmosphere of his musical theater don't yet compete with the sound frescos of the two big B's we've mentioned earlier. But there is already one thing we know of him: His name is Claude.
- TÊTU Magazine


"Ein Kanadier in Berlin"

(English translation follows)

Claude, 29, stammt aus Montreal und lebt seit fünf Jahren in Berlin. Der Sänger und Komponist gibt mit seinem Projekt My Name is Claude intime Konzerte.
Eine CD mit seinem Barockpop soll bald folgen
FH: Wie kamst du auf Berlin?
C: Ich war 2000 zum ersten Mal hier. Danach bin ich oft zwischen Montreal und Europa hin- und hergereist. Es war ein Nomadenleben.
Schließlich bin ich 2005 „eingewandert“ – und bin mehr und mehr Berliner geworden. FH: Wie ist das Leben als Künstler hier?
C: Inspirierend, man hat viele Möglichkeiten – und man muss nicht sieben Tage die Woche arbeiten, um
seine Musik finanzieren zu können, wie es etwa in London der Fall ist.
FH: My Name is Claude ist ein toller Name.
C: Ja, danke, so heißt mein Projekt. Anfangs war ich mehr für Electro bekannt. Ich wurde zwar gebucht, aber nur, um in Clubs Musik zu machen, damit die Leute tanzen. Aber ich wollte nicht der Sklave der Massen sein. (grinst)
FH: Es sollte mehr in Richtung Performance oder ins Konzertante gehen?
C: Nicht direkt, ich wollte einfach andere Seiten als Musiker erforschen. Also habe ich neue Songs geschrieben, bin ins Studio
gegangen. Zunächst hab ich mit 13 Musikern zusammengearbeitet, klassisches Orchester. Jetzt sind meine Auftritte ganz minimalistisch. Ich spiele fast im Dunkeln, nur mit Piano, Kontrabass, neuerdings auch mit einer Harfe und eben ich als Sänger. Ein bisschen existenzialistisch, melancholisch. Aber vielleicht hab ich eines Tages plötzlich Lust, mit 100 Musikern
zu arbeiten.
FH: Wie planst du deine Auftritte?
C: Ich spiele nur ein, zwei Mal im
Monat in Berlin. Meine Musik ist nichts für große Partys oder entsprechende Locations, sie braucht eine ruhige, intime Atmosphäre. Und es gibt nicht allzu viele Orte, wo so etwas hinpasst. Es sei denn, du bist ein Superstar und trittst in der Volksbühne auf. Aber das wird kommen. (lacht) Da bin ich sicher! Immerhin bin ich schon bei der Fashion Week aufgetreten.
Demnächst kommt auch eine CD, an der ich arbeite. Das sind bis jetzt neun Songs, ich nenne sie Soundscapes.
FH: Das klingt romantisch.
C: Ach, es ist schwierig mit den
Labels. Aber mir hat neulich jemand gesagt:
Claude, was du machst, ist Barockpop.
Das gefällt mir ganz gut. Eines ist
aber sicher: Ich werde immer ich sein, egal, welches Label die Musik hat.
FH: Wo lebst
du, im Wrangelkiez? C: Nein, ich wohne im Graefekiez! Als ich vor fünf Jahren dorthin gezogen bin, war ich der einzige „Alien“. Man hat Steine nach mir geworfen, was furchtbar und auch bedrohlich war. Das würde heute nicht mehr passieren, weil es mittlerweile zu viele von uns im Viertel gibt, um uns zu übersehen. Wir sind nicht mehr unsichtbar. Aber ich war ohnehin nie unsichtbar. Ich leuchte auch im Dunkeln.
Interview: fh


A Canadian in Berlin

Claude, 29, is from Montreal and has lived for five years in Berlin. The singer and composer gives with his project My name is Claude intimate concerts. A CD with his Baroque-pop is to follow soon.

FH: How did you come to Berlin?
C: I came here for the first time in 2000. After that, I traveled between Montreal and Europe, often back and forth. It was a nomadic life.
Finally, I immigrated to Berlin in 2005 - and becoming more and more a Berliner.
FH: How's life as an artist is here?
C: The city is inspiring in many ways - and one does not have to work seven days a week to finance his music and life which is not the case in cities like London for example.
FH: My Name is Claude is a great name.
C: Thanks. Initially I was better known for in the electro scene. Although I got booked easily, it was mostly to perform in clubs, to make people dance. But I did not wanted to be a slave of the masses. (Smiles) FH: Is your show more in a performance direction or in the concert one? C: Neither one of them directly, as a musician I just wanted to explore other ways. So I went back in studio and started to write new material. First, I worked with a classic orchestra made of 13 musicians. But now my performances are quite minimalist. I play almost in darkness, only with voice, piano, bass, more recently, with a harp. My work is a bit existentialist, melancholic. But perhaps one day I’ll have a sudden urge to work with 100 musicians! FC:How do you plan your Performances? C: I play only two times a month in Berlin. My music is not for big loud parties, it needs the appropriate venue, an intimate atmosphere. And there are not too many places where something like that can happen. Unless you are a superstar and perform in places like the Berlin Volksbühne. But that will come. (Laughs) I'm sure! I was already booked 2 times in the Berlin Fashion Week. Very soon I will complete work on my new album, on which I nine songs are now recorded and to which I added what one could call soundscapes.
FH: That sounds romantic. C: It’s difficult to put a proper label on it. But someone told me the other day: Claude, you are doing Baroque-pop - I liked that pretty much. One thing is sure, no matter the label you put on my music it will always be singular, I’ll always be 'me'. FH: Where do you live? In the Wrangelkiez? C: No, I live in Graefekiez! When I first moved there five years ago, I was the only 'alien' (note by translator: the Graefekiez is traditionally a very Muslim area). Some people even threw stones on me as a threat. This would not happen these days because there's too many of us in the quarter. We are no longer invisible. But I, in any case, have never been invisible. I glow in the dark.

- Frank Herrmann for Siegessäule Magazine April 2010


"My Name is Claude @ L.U.X."

http://tinyurl.com/32kvyng

Montreal is home to a great many fantastic musicians. A-Trak, Chromeo, Leonard Cohen, Arcade Fire, AIDS Wolf, you name it. Yes, Celine Dion calls it home, too, but let’s not talk about that and I think that Canada deprived her of her citizenship last year anyways. It just seems as if this city was the perfect breeding ground for all kinds of innovative, creative and progressive artists. Montreal almost serves as a seal of quality. It surely does so in the case of My Name is Claude, and so it was pretty much a given that the visitors of L.U.X., a cosy and intimate location on the edge of Kreuzberg, would be hearing some amazing music that night.

First up on stage was the lovely Susanna Berivan and she made sure that nobody would be leaving the place without knowing her name.(…)

Up next was the main act, My Name is Claude, who some folks in Berlin might already have seen performing at the infamous Bar 25’s competition “The Saddest Music in the World” or at the show that Claude had played at Freie Universität to support the students on strike. And while Claude chose to play a happier set at said university gig, it was at L.U.X. that he really showed his forte and proved once more why he deserved to be amongst the finalists at the Bar 25 competition. This man possesses the rare talent to create songs with gloomy, almost spooky, depressing and sad moods, without taking it too far. Just as Susanna Berivan, his whole appearance and his art fuse and become one to the extent that it’s hard to tell one from the other. While Claude himself seems of a very fragile nature, his body is being thwarted by a powerful and dramatic voice and the combination of both creates a very unique and impressive live performer.

But My Name is Claude is not only Claude singing and playing the piano, it’s also Steffen Illner on double bass. And to all of you guys who are thinking about learning an instrument in order to impress the girls, drop your guitars and go get a double bass, because the magic that Illner was working on his instrument was just incredible. Whether he was playing it like a cello, picking strings as if it was a guitar or creating some menacing baselines, it all fused perfectly with Claude’s melodramatic piano play and vocals and more than one face, female as well as male, lit up with unshrouded excitement.

My Name is Claude will be recording new songs in the near future and the music video for their song “Airport” is about to be finished, but this band really is a live band so if your feeling in the mood for a little drama and some very sad songs, then go out, see one of their shows, for example the one on the 20th of February at the Gypsy Hotel in London, and I promise that you’ll be in for a treat.

This entry was written by Thomas Mader, posted on December 10, 2009 at 11:02 am - Dossier Journal (NYC)


Discography

'Always Lost Somewhere' (demo) 2008
'Camille voit la neige' (3 track EP) 2010
'Science of Doubt' (full length album) 2011

Photos

Bio

***Following the 2011 release Science of Doubt, My Name is Claude has begun an evolution. On a stage of strings, synthesizers and deep bass, Claude is now creating characters with his voice, allowing them to play out their stories through his music.***

PREVIEW 2012 DEMOS: http://mynameisclaude.com

After a year spent recording and honing live performance which has brought them to such acclaimed stages as Paris’ Centre Georges Pompidou and la Gaîté Lyrique, My Name is Claude, the intensely personal and poetic music of Claude Ferland, released ‘Science of Doubt’, the first full-length album of this baroque-pop band from Berlin. The official worldwide release was on Friday September 23, 2011 at St Elisabeth-Kirche, Invalidenstraße 3, 10115 Berlin. The former church is a cultural landmark in Berlin, and was chosen for this important night specifically for its impressive architecture and central location. The soft release concert was held with great success at the exclusive le Carmen in Paris on Friday July 1, 2011.
The first run of ‘Science of Doubt’ is 1000 hand finished albums, which can be ordered online at http://mynameisclaude.com. The album is available physically and in high audio quality on bandcamp, as well as through regular digital streams including iTunes, Amazon, etc.

Inspired by the release of ‘Science of Doubt’ in Berlin, director Tristan Milewski (MTV Access All Areas, MTV Masters, Fett MTV, MTV Diary…) is beginning work on a documentary feature about My Name Is Claude. He is known for his work with artists including Britney Spears, Eminem, Marilyn Manson, Madonna, Christina Aguilera and Pink. A live DVD is also currently in production.

"He makes music. (...) He's not completely of this world. But he's about to conquer it” wrote Peter Richter in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Germany’s foremost cultural newspaper. Claude Ferland is a multi-disciplinary musician whose creativity manifests in the oeuvre of My Name Is Claude. At the intersection of minimal classic arrangements and new technological sounds, My Name Is Claude writes and performs hauntingly melancholic songs that you may recognise as baroque pop.

On stage, Claude reconciles his grounding in classical instrumentation, his development in electronica, and his collaborations with a myriad of musicians. His performance focuses on his natural instrument, and Claude's resonating voice swells to fill the room, juxtaposing his deep and playful lyrics with his fragile physical beauty and elaborate costumes designed by lauded fashion designer Mads Dinesen. Using the stage as a creative object, video art is employed to design the stage, projected directly onto the musicians, and the affecting images deepen the dark musical theatre atmosphere. Live performance, from the small bars of Berlin to the grandest Parisian theaters including the Centre Georges Pompidou, is an intimate and revealing process that Claude variously describes as being undressed, metaphorically, and completed, artistically.

In the midst of a bleak Berlin winter, Claude recorded an album of compositions involving electronic elements, contra-bass, piano and harp accompaniment, co-produced by himself and Sylvain Carroz. This album, his debut long-player “Science Of Doubt” was released in September 2011. As well as recurring themes of love, loss and solitude, “Science Of Doubt” examines the troubled relationship between mankind and knowledge, science and the paradoxes that exist within.

My Name is Claude is Claude Ferland’s most assured incarnation yet, and his album Science of Doubt its perfect manifestation; where storytelling and confession, performance and reality, art and fashion combine for a truly revealing, captivating and disarming form of creative expression. Feet on the ground, head in the clouds, and accompanied by what he calls his “imaginary troop of elephants and giant blue butterflies”, My Name Is Claude now walks the world, sharing the sounds of his disarming and touching music.