1969

1969 Collective

1969

Montreal producer and songwriter Connor Seidel made a name for himself working with some of Quebec’s hipper acts—Charlotte Cardin, Matt Holubowski, Les sœurs Boulay, and Elliot Maginot among them. But he got tired of hopping from one gig to the next. “I had this yearning to work on something that wasn’t a two-month sprint but a three- or four-year research project,” Seidel tells Apple Music. With his revolving-door 1969 Collective, he found that project: a concept album devoted to the last year of the ’60s, a bittersweet time of innocence and change. Created with an all-star cast of friends and collaborators, the album is inspired by folk-rock legends such as Joni Mitchell and Nick Drake, and their Quebec counterparts like Jean-Pierre Ferland and Robert Charlebois. “I thought to myself, ‘How come nobody is making albums like this anymore?’” Seidel says. They are now, as he proves, walking us through each track on 1969. “Deux Cœurs Vagabonds” (feat. Ariane Moffatt) “We wrote this song the first day we met. We really connected. It was wild. Musically, the idea was inspired by Quebec duo Jim et Bertrand, and the idea of fusing the classical guitar melody with the vocal melody. It’s very string arrangement-led, and very much about finding nature and going somewhere else. It was recorded on a rooftop, with birds that you hear in the song.” “Tu Danses, Condessa” (feat. Safia Nolin) “Safia had met this trans woman, Liberia, who was originally from Mexico—she called herself the Countess of the North and talked of going dancing and drinking, in an almost biblical way. There are big string arrangements. It’s ‘Moon River’-inspired and bossa nova-inspired, a synthesis of folk and jazz." “Provincetown” (feat. Elliot Maginot) “Elliot and I have worked together for years. The initial idea was something dark, Nick Drake-like, somber and heavy. It’s about a gay man in late-’60s Boston, who is married with kids and going to Provincetown to meet his lover. Elliot wanted to brighten it up, so we added Wurlitzer keyboard, percussion, and flute weaving in and out.” “Même les Loups versent des Larmes de Joie” (feat. Louis-Jean Cormier) “I mentioned this Nick Drake documentary to Louis-Jean, the end scene of which takes place in a graveyard. Louis-Jean’s last album was very much influenced by the recent passing of his father. He came up with the lyric ‘Even wolves cry tears of joy.’ We wanted a retro-indie approach. We did it in two takes, with guitar and voice on top of each other, with no metronome. It came out freakishly perfect.” “Interlude I” (feat. Philippe Brault) “I love interludes on albums. Philippe Brault was responsible for conceiving ‘Interlude I’ and ‘III’ from start to finish, and he brings an entirely new color and influence to the album. There’s a beautiful balance of flutes and strings, with percussive elements that move it along. It’s a chance to take a deep breath.” “Post Mortem” (feat. Claudia Bouvette) “Claudia’s a close friend. She was writing a lot of songs after a terrible breakup. I said, ‘Claudia, we need to find a way to wrap up this chapter for you.’ It’s a postmortem not only of the relationship but of us talking about the relationship. It’s so over the top. It sounds like the James Bond song ‘You Only Live Twice’ by Nancy Sinatra. We had Eveline Gregoire-Rousseau of The Barr Brothers on harp.” “Fatal Line” (feat. Half Moon Run) “This is the only song with real drums. On the rest of the album, the drums are quite subtle. I was trying to fit it in with this low-key folk-jazz album. I stumbled on two albums from Bob Dylan that have harmonica and use a left-right sound treatment. Yes, Half Moon Run are explosive and loud, but the placement here is weird with the drum kit on the right and the keys on the left; we gave everything a pocket. That’s not how albums are mixed these days. It allows the explosiveness to be tamed.” “Pleure Pas Pour Moi” (feat. Les sœurs Boulay) “This song is the epitome of the idea of complex musicality with a simple lyric. They sing, ‘Don’t cry for me,’ ‘Pleure pas pour moi,’ and it’s repeated with kids’ voices. They sing it one way, then something changes. The idea came from this man they met at a café, who had exiled himself by moving from Tunisia to Canada, bought a café, and lived here. He was saying, ‘Don’t cry for me, it’s a good choice I’ve made.’ It’s about self-love and comfort. It was inspired by Jean-Pierre Ferland, with its dreamy string arrangement, classical guitar, and English-garden flutes.” “Grande Ivresse” (feat. Jason Bajada) “A lot of people don’t like Neil Diamond; they think of ‘Sweet Caroline.’ Jason turned me on to his album Brother Love’s Travelling Salvation Show. Quentin Tarantino uses one song in [Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood]. It’s a stunning album that came out in 1969. It’s just wild, so tasteful—the string arrangements are stunning and there are these ‘la la la’ choruses. It feels so American and close to nature. I fell in love with the album and said, ‘Why don’t we do something like that?’” “Interlude II” (feat. Joseph Mihalcean) “Joseph Mihalcean is an incredible guitar player who has accompanied so many people—Ariane [Moffatt], Safia [Nolin], Woodkid. Everyone knows about him. When you hear his guitar playing, you know it’s him. There’s this subtle, emotive feeling in the way he plays and the voicings he chooses.” “Vers La Beauté” (feat. Matt Holubowski) “The title, ‘Towards Beauty,’ is the exact lyrical embodiment of the album. He’s literally describing how beautiful things deserve your attention. We’re so easily distracted these days, but when you go into nature and observe the clouds or a waterfall, it can be so therapeutic. The string arrangement is my favorite on the album. It comes in, in these sharp little moments, like clouds or wind waving over a song. It’s a long, slow journey Matt takes you on, with his storyteller voice. It’s very Nick Drake.” “Ullutamaat” (feat. Elisapie) “Elisapie is the most stunning human being, both physically and in the way she speaks. Every word feels rooted in years of thought. She turned me on to an album called Just Another Diamond Day by this artist Vashti Bunyan, from 1970. She wanted to do a song in Inuk, representing the Inuk landscape. I consider this almost like poetry over music. It’s the story of a woman walking, and the seasons changing around her as she experiences life.” “Interlude III” (feat. Philippe Brault) “Initially, ‘Interlude I’ and ‘III’ were one piece, but we split them in two. This one is more aggressive, or louder. It’s cool to wrap the album with; it brings you back to where you were 20 minutes before. It starts with the same flute melody. There’s this nostalgia feeling. The whole album is about nostalgia. It feels like you’ve heard this before because you kind of have.”

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