by Jeffrey Bützer, 2010
1. Could you tell us a little about yourself?
Yes I could ! But I don’t know how begin… First : I apologize for my very bad English.
I’m a 51 years old man, living in France, in Lyon. I play music
since I was 16. I have a girlfriend & a daughter, the wonderful
2. How many people are Klimperei?
Really, one (me). From 1985 to 2001 we were two, Françoise Lefebvre, my wife at this time; we separate in 2002.
From time to time we had some guests but very promptly (mostly Laurent
Fauconnet). There was another experience called “Klimperei
& ses amis”, for live performances only, and Klimparag with
Sylvain Santelli playing.
3. We (I think) have a shared love of Erik Satie, you are a big fan, no?
Yes I love almost all the piano pieces of Erik Satie & I remember
the first time I listened to the Gymnopédies & Gnossiennes
(I was about 16 yo), I just thought something like “That’s
right, exactly that”. Some musics are so closed to your own
sensitivity (feeling?), as a kind of evidence. “Big fan”,
not the words I could use, but Erik Satie, with J.S. Bach &
Béla Bartók are some of my favorite composers.
4. Are you working on a new album?
Yes! All the time… Just right now I’m ending with
IWM(5) (improvisation with myself) : Denis Tagu, of In-Poly-Sons, then
offered me the opportunity to experiment without limits, without
censorship, in the space of five albums ... here he is thanked for his
confidence... and among the completed projects, to be published soon on
Acidsoxx, USA) Radiolaires, with the fabulous Dominique Grimaud,
using only the electric guitar (with lots of effects, however).
5. What newer/younger bands do you like right now?
Is there anything that exites you in modern music right now?
Unfortunately, I’m not able to answer properly to this question
as I’m not informed (& I make no effort to) about new things
in music. Sometimes, by chance, I meet some musicians on the web (like
I’m mostly careful to music close to my “klimperei’
sensibility”, & music of my friends (David Fenech, Dominique
Grimaud, Sylvain Santelli, Palo Alto, Jef Benech, Mme Patate, Pascal
I think the excitement has disappeared with age... This word reminds me
of what I felt (and still feel) listening to Slade, T. Rex,
“Instant Karma”, Chrome or Neu!. But these are not new
How do you feel bout the current state of music ? It seems the internet
has helped music, but also has nearly killed it as well.
What I regret is the death (even slow) of records, LP and even
CD. I like to consider a record as a whole entity. Cover art, music,
If you transpose to a book, what happens now is : I read a book in the disorder, or I only read a few chapters...
Regarding the music : the Internet, but also all the modern technology,
and whose prices have fallen (see the price of a synthesizer in the
70s!) allow the production and dissemination of all kinds of music that
otherwise would not emerged. The recording industry is suffering,
certainly, that I do not care, the copyright too, and I care. The
relation of people with the music changes, it is irreversible. And we
do not know where it's going. It has killed nothing I think but the old
models are dying.
On the other hand, in my opinion, too much music everywhere, is a kind of mental pollution.
7. What do you do when you are not making music ?
I mind my daughter and my girlfriend, I work (caregiver at home), I do
chores, I cook, I daydream, I read, write, eat and drink, I sleep.
Sometimes I go on holiday but I do not care so much. I spend a lot of
time online too.
there is no instrument list on the albums I have by you, and I've had
trouble finding a photo of you online... is there a philosohy behind
Sometimes the list is indicated when, as Dominique Grimaud, it's a
maniac that deals with the cover artwork & indications, but I
confess that I do not find that very interesting. Ditto for the head of
the musician (I do not like mine)...
No philosophy or strategy, especially as I am, finally, enough
narcissistic (as any "artist" ?), But I believe that music should stand
on its own. It was sent to the world, if you can, and it is doing its
own way. Sometimes it takes time.
Ditto for song titles, often artificial, and it induces a particular
listening, “sense”... Ideally : no title, or just an opus
number... But... contingencies…
I agree with you about an album being one entity. Your album art is
very strange, do you make the art ? Or do you have one person you work
with, what is your process of choosing images that represent the music ?
Strange? You think so…? Stranger than the music?
I never made a cover art for my CDs (I did it for cassettes), even if I
I drew a lot and painted once. Today I am just scribbles ... I
unsuccessfully tried to paint (oil) for ten years ... Nothing good ...
I work with different persons, graphic designer / photographer ... as meetings, and the tone of the project...
Talking about that I realized that the last albums where mostly
black & white (and grey)… The photographs for IWM are by
Florence Chapuis, the cover art of Quai des hannetons is by my daughter
Lola, the Octogonale is by Dominique Grimaud… But I must mention
I often worked with Sébastien Morlighem, a fine artist.
I do not choose images first. I ask an artist to work on the project,
sometimes I give some directions, not always. He/she works & offers
different projects. I choose, it is refined, and it's good...
With Florence, as I’m the model, we work together…
10. You seem to like working with short pieces, as do I. When you write do you set out to work in miniatures ?
There are several reasons why I prefer short pieces. First, by
taste. For example, I love Jeremy Bender, a song by ELP (progressive
rock), The Sad Skinhead by Faust or The Commerical Album by The
Residents. Erik Satie also of course, but also the Children's Corner by
Then this is my way to work : I like that it goes quickly. And, at
last, my memory is very bad and I'm not comfortable with long and
Regarding writing, yes, also. Most of my books (small books often)
consist of short texts, kind of images, stories airtight. Among the
most recent, a good example is Les Alfreds.
11. How did you start using toy instruments? Was it gradual?
When I met Françoise Lefebvre, she played the piano (classical
pieces), I played in Los Paranos, a kind of electro-pop — often
funny. I had the feeling of repeating myself with Los Paranos, and we
wanted to do something new together. I sold all the musical equipment
and LPs, and we bought a piano. I started composing short pieces that
Then, a friend, neighbor, and musician (Laurent Fauconnet) lent us
musical toys & we began to record some tracks. Éric Chabert,
label Underground Productions heard this, and intends to publish the
first tape, When memories began to fade…
Fairly quickly, we felt that something was stabilizing. Klimperei.
I know what you mean about the exitment of music going away with age, I
feel bad about it, but I have a hard time getting too worked up about
new music, especially rock music...
discovering something old is another story, I learned of this obscure
singer Wilma Goich a few years ago, and I feel like my life is
One day, a disk upset me. Deeply. The Rock Bottom by Robert Wyatt.
13. Do you think the interview is complete?
No, of course, it could take hours, pages...
14. Do you like Pascal Comelade or Yann Tiersen's music?
When I toured in Hong Kong, you, I and those guys got lumped in together.
Yes rather, of course. But I don’t like all they do…
On the other hand, it is also a kind of ease, intellectually lazy to
put musicians in the same box. Let’s say : this simplifies things.
You mentioned The Residents. I can hear a little of their influence in
some of your work, have you ever seen them live? I've seen them twice.
Once good, once... not so good.
Unfortunately, I have never seen them in concert (I go out little,
though). I remained mostly fixed on the early albums, to the album
Intermissions. After I like less. Also mention the excellent Renaldo
& the Loaf... & Snakefinger…
You would get along with my bass player, he talks about the Loaf,
Snakefinger and The Residents a lot, I just gave him a Cd of yours.
What music do you listen to that would surprise your listeners ? Any
guilty pleasures ?
For sure. First : some hard or glitter rock, as Motorhead, Deep Purple,
Roxy Music, T. Rex & Slade… All poor 70’s synthy music
(kind of bad sci-fi movie soundtrack)… Tomita, Mike Batt, all
(almost) 70’s prog music (Gong, Yes, Gentle Giant, ELP…).
But I mainly listent to what we call “ethnic music” (but I
hate “world music”), especially from Africa. &
classical : Bach, Bartok, Chopin (almost all piano & string
quartets music)… + some industrial (TG, Vivenza…) +
“krautrock” of course.
17. Do you like to play concerts ? Do you play in france much ?
No. & no.
I am developing : the concerts are for me a considerable expenditure of
energy in terms of results that often disappoint me... organize, plan,
I'm not good at it, besides that I'm unable to replay a song in
public... and I like so much time spent in the studio, composing,
recording ... I feel more craftsman than showman ...
Do you keep up with film ? Are you a fan of the cinema ? I try to, but
like music less and less intrest me these days. I do however think
there are some great filmmakers working now, Michel Gondry and Guy
Maddin know what they're doing.
I do much the same response for music, film and literature: I'm at a
time when I read, watch old movies again ... I have no desire or energy
to keep me and follow all the news, especially since I spend a lot of
time to the music ... and the rest to the family ... I let the chance
encounters, a friend lent me a book, a film returns to the TV ... yet
well enough for me ...
Some authors : Fellini, W. Herzog, Charles Laughton, Tod Browning, Philippe Grandrieux, Wim Wenders, Jim Jarmusch…
19. Is there any french directors I should keep my eye on?
My lean culture does not allow me to respond. I regret ...
20. (Do you have any Qs for me?, I think I'm running out of stuff haha)
For sure. Can we talk about you ?
21. And yeah we can talk bout me too if you like.
Well at first, I’m used to google, to see
biography/discography… for you I found this interesting page
First I must tell that “pine” means “cock”,
“boner” in French. This precision is not very politically
correct but I think that linguistic accuracy is not useless.
“Four instruments / a song” is a quite interesting
constraint. Do you love that? Need that? Did you use other constraint?
I do not feel like I need limitations, but sometimes it's nice to have
a goal with rules, I'm a very organized person, so to say "Let's make a
record with 1 drum track and 3 guitar tracks (which I did with
guitarist Claire Lodge www.myspace.com/clairelodgesongs)"
is sometimes more fun (to me) than saying "Let's screw around and see what works"
I feel like you can still experiment with limitations
with my first record, all I had was a four track, and I wasn't getting
good results "bouncing tracks" so I said, forget it, I will only use
four tracks per song
You mention Tom Waits, John Zorn & Harry Partch, composers
that I love too. Experimental by not too much cerebral? How do you find
the balance between emotion and conceptualization?
I don't feel like I am ever very
conceptual, I almost always work emotionally, or mechanically (as in
sitting at the piano until something sounds like a song)
which I don't think is what a lot of people want to hear, but it is true.
I'm really drawn to artist such as David Lynch, who seem to shoot from
the hip and work from their instincts. to me this is a very honest way
what about you?
For my part, I think (it's a confession, a scoop of no interest
for that matter) be a false conceptual. The concepts (call it like
that) for me are a kind of trigger, but the lack of discipline prevents
me (protects me) to lose myself in too cold regions... The constraints
are fertile but I do not do much. Not completely anyway.
You played in Hong-Kong, do you know The Pancakes ?
Yes ! Pancakes played a show with us our first night in Hong Kong, I
assumed the show sold out because of her, but our other shows sold out
also ! so I was very happy, I really like her music, Hong Kong has such
a cool scene, there is so much good music going on there, and America
seems to have no idea!, it is crazy
I love this comment « Jeffrey tells bad jokes and performs
in flip-flops. He's cool by me. ». Any comment ?
Well, I normally dress nice for shows, but festivals in summer, I
go shoe-less or I wear flip flops, and yes, I have become somewhat
"known" for telling very bad jokes, not bad as in gross, bad as in the
crowd groans before laughing ... do you know any good jokes?
Yes I do. But most of them are based on puns, which translation almost impossible ...
I add a few questions, in bulk.
What is your feeling towards death or, more precisely, is making music a way of projecting parts of the self into the future?
I'm not sure about how I feel about death in relation to my work ?
one time a friend said he hoped to have a big body of work, so he would feel as if he had a legacy through music.
I had never really thought about it... but now that you mention it, I
will start working on an "unreleased box set" so my family can exploit
me when I am gone !
Five records to take on a desert island?
I would just bring a book on tape of "how to get off of an island"
I'm thinking literally of being on an island with 5 cds and a cd player
that is hard, I would want music I am not likely to get sick of.
1. PIANO WORKS: Erik Satie
2. THE VOGUE YEARS: Francoise Hardy
3. NO MORE SHALL WE PART: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
4. Songs of: Leonard Cohen (this record is short, so maybe a "best of")
5. FOREVER BLUE: Chris Isaak (I know it sounds weird choice)
and since I will be home sick I would sneak
Baby, a Little Rain Must Fall: the Rock*a*Teens
+ here is a top 100 I did one time... (I put in red those important to me (Klimperei), plus some perfectly useless comments ...)
- Yann Tiersen - LES RETROUVAILLES
- Leonard Cohen- SONGS OF LEONARD COHEN [klimperei : songs of love & hate, + Songs from a room by Red ]
- Nick Cave - NO MORE SHALL WE PART [klimp : quite evrything ! ]
- Tom Waits - REAL GONE [k : all he recorded since he became cracked (?) ]
- P.J. Harvey - WHITE CHALK
- Francoise Hardy - THE VOUGE YEARS < VOGUE !
- Wilma Goich - WILMA GOICH
- Beck - ONE FOOT IN THE GRAVE
- Chris Isaak - FOREVER BLUE
- Innocence Mission - WE WALKED IN SONG
- Captain Beefheart - SAFE AS MILK [k : quite evrything ! + many Zappa albums]
- Tindersticks - TINDERSTICKS
- Tetes Raides - LES OISEAUX
- Anouar Brahem - LE PAS DU CHAT NOIR
- Elliott Smith - ELLIOTT SMITH
- Neil Young - DEAD MAN [k : a major album ]
- John Zorn - BAR KOKHBA
- Django Reinhardt - DJANGO’S BLUES
- Edith Piaf - BEST OF
- Micheal Nyman - ESSENTIAL
- Ennio Morricone - THE LEGENDARY ITALIAN WESTERNS
- Erik Satie - PIANO WORKS
- Chopin - PIANO WORKS [k : espacially Nocturnes & Etudes ]
- Moondog – MOONDOG [k : everything ! ]
- Cracow Klezmer Band - DE PROFUNDIS [k : many Klezmer & fanfares ]
- Harry Partch - COLLECTION 1
- Rob Burger - LOST PHOTOGRAPHS
- NIno Rota - 8 1/2
- Ewan MacColl and A.L. Lloyd - BLOW BOYS BLOW
- Elvis Costello - MY AIM IS TRUE
- Andrew Bird - NOBLE BEAST
- Julee Cruise - FALLING INTO THE NIGHT
- Etta Baker - RAILROAD BILL
- The Residents – WORMWOOD [k : I stop in 1982 ]
- Vince Guaraldi - A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS
- David Bowie – LOW [k : one of the better concert I saw : Bowie at the Heroes/Low period ]
- Feist - LET IT DIE
- Sonny Sharrock - ASK THE AGES
- Thomas Fersen -4
- Bill Frisell - IN LINE
- Nico - CHELSEA GIRL
- Bonnie Prince Billy - I SEE A DARKNESS
- Morphine- YES
- Grinderman- GRINDERMAN
- Billy Bragg and Wilco - MERMAID AVE.
- Squirel Nut Zippers -PERENNIAL FAVORITES
- Dirty Three - WHATEVER YOU LOVE, YOU ARE
- Flat Duo Jets - LUCKY EYE
- Ute Lemper - SINGS KURT WEILL
- Nick Drake - PINK MOON
- Pixies - DOOLITTLE
- Wire - PINK FLAG [k : I prefer 154 (gRRRReat one) ]
- Blonde Redhead - 23
- Rolling Stones - AFTERMATH
- The Gun Club - MIAMI
- Sonic Youth - GOO
- Man or Astroman? - DESTROY ALL ASTROMAN!
- Portishead - DUMMY
- Shonen Knife - HAPPY HOUR
- The Clash - THE CLASH
- Jesus Lizard - SHOW
- Rock *a* Teens - BABY, A LITTLE RAIN MUST FALL
- The Birthday Party - PRAYERS ON FIRE
- Metallica - MASTER OF PUPPETS
- Blacktop Rockets - WHAT’LL YA HAVE?
- The Blasters - AMERICAN MUSIC
- Jawbreaker - BIVOUAC
- Cub - COME OUT, COME OUT
- Penguin Cafe Orchestra - BROADCASTING FROM HOME [k : everything ! + Simon Jeffes solo work ]
- Wu-Tang Clan - THE W
- Kraftwerk -MAN MACHINE [k
: I prefer TEE, Radio-Activity or Autobahn, makes me think – who
knows why – of Tangerine Dream Rubycon, & Edgar Froese Aqua
(1974) & Epsilon in malaysian pale (1975) ]
- Runaways UK - CLASSIC TALES
- Ace of Base - THE SIGN
- The Fugees - THE SCORE
- Talking Heads - SAND IN THE VASELINE [k : MORE SONGS ABOUT BUILDING & FOOD !]
- Roy Orbison - BEST OF
- The Police - BEST OF
- Jane Birkin - BEST OF
- Astrud Gilberto - BEST OF
- The Specials - SINGLES
- The Jam - SINGLES
- Buzzcocks - SINGLES
- Nina Simone - BEST OF
- The Clancy Bothers - BEST OF
- Johnny Cash - SUN SESSIONS
- The Shadows - SHADOWS ARE GO!
- Operation Ivy - OPERATION IVY
- Madness - MADNESS
- Dave Brubeck -TIME OUT
- Dead Kennedy’s - GIVE ME CONVENIENCE OR GIVE ME DEATH
- Motorhead - GOLDEN YEARS
- Gus Viseur, Medard Ferrero, Jo Privat - MON AMANT DE SAINT JEAN
- Meiko Kaji - BEST OF
- Howling Wolf - MOANIN’ IN THE MOONLIGHT
- Thelonious Monk - COLOMBIA YEARS
- April March - APRIL IN PARIS
- The Sadies - PURE DIAMOND GOLD
- Creedence Clearwater Revival - BEST OF
- The Pouges - ESSENTIAL
- V/A - SURF RUMORS AND LEGENDS [ do you know The Surf Punks ? My Beach ]
Best concert you seen?
that is easy... well, it is a tie.
Nick Cave 2002 ; he is the most amazing performer alive hands down !
I met him after the show and I said "that was great, you know... my
first real concert was to see you in 1994" and he said "oh yeah?, sorry
and then there is Leonard Cohen ; not to be too dramatic but it was
like a religious experience seeing him in person, I came away a changed
it is not like I have one foot in the grave, but inevitably the older
you get, and the more shows you see the less you are impressed
so to see one of my heroes play for three hours (most likely the only
time I will get the chance) was (to put it lightly) a big deal!
It's almost over... last (?) point : some things annoy me immensely. Hangers for example. And you?
Just to end, I have to say that our interview gave me the idea, the
path to the next project “pièces délicates”,
a kind of neo-classical collection… For the moment just an idea.
If I get my goal, and stick to it... hey well this is partly thanks to
this interview... !