Music

Rone and friends overcome Covid emptiness at Paris theatre

Electro DJ Rone at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris on 19 March, 2021.
Electro DJ Rone at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris on 19 March, 2021. © Mathieu Zazzo/Arte Concert

French electro musician and producer Rone invited 12 artists to participate on his eighth album, "Rone & Friends". A film for the album was shot at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris. Rone and singer-songwriter Yael Naim explain the behind-the-scenes process of making this 'locked down' album and describe their relief to play on stage together again.

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In ten years, the musician and producer Rone - aka Erwan Castex - has become an emblematic figure of electronic music in France with his hypnotic and mesmerizing sounds. 

His album Rone & Friends, produced during the first lockdown in France last year and released on 26 March, marks the collaboration with French and international artists such as Yael Naim, Georgia, Dominique A or Roya Arab.

"The Rone & Friends project wasn't actually planned at all. What was planned was for me to do a big tour of the Room With a View album with the dancers of the Ballet national de Marseille for the show I created here at the Châtelet with the Collectif La Horde.

"Obviously, with the arrival of the coronavirus, everything fell apart. The tour was cancelled, so it was a hard blow.

"I found myself, like everyone else, locked down and isolated in the studio."

From this period of forced isolation came the idea of working remotely, with artists he likes.

Electro DJ Rone at the Théâtre du Châtelet on 19 March, 2021.
Electro DJ Rone at the Théâtre du Châtelet on 19 March, 2021. © Mathieu Zazzo/Arte Concert

All the tracks were produced in Rone’s home studio in Brittany. "It was a file exchange. I'd send them an instrumental track and then they'd try things out, they'd send me a voice back three days later." 

Singer and songwriter Yael Naim is one of those who took part.

"During the Covid lockdown, Rone just called me one day and said: 'Would you pick a song, a track from the last album and do what you want on it?'

"This period brings a lot of people to want to collaborate. Because of the distance between us a lot of people also feel like wanting to get closer to each other, to find solutions together. I feel it’s important to explore the link that exists between us."

Yael Naim met Rone first in 2015 during the production of her album Older when she asked him to make a remix of the song Coward.

They created the track Breathe in for the album.

"It’s about the most essential thing for every living creature. It’s to really connect 'breathe in' and 'breathe out', the only thing that makes us alive. Most of the time, we resist, and we want to hold onto things. Even when it’s time for something to end, you try to hold it instead of letting it go."

Rone at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris on 19 March, 2021.
Rone at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris on 19 March, 2021. © Mathieu Zazzo/Arte Concert

The tracks from the album Rone & Friends were performed, filmed and recorded by Milgram Production and RFI Labo at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris on 18 and 19 March. 

All the artists - except Odezenne - from the album were able to play together on stage. 

"First of all, what's special about this shooting is that it allowed me to meet all the friends I invited to sing on the album and also to meet some of them for the first time because I met Roya Arab [singer with Archive] today, for example. We only exchanged files virtually," says Rone.

"I felt that we were all happy, including the technicians around us and all the people who were with us here at the Châtelet, because indeed, everyone misses being around music. All the artists really enjoyed being on stage. And it felt good!"

Rone was awarded a César for the best original music last month, for the film La nuit venue directed by Frédéric Farrucci. 

On 13 April, at 9pm, Arte Concert will show the film of the album Rone & Friends, featuring the guest artists.

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