May 23, 2024

Jean-Marc Lederman explains his latest album ‘The Helpless Voyage Of The Titanic’ – a comparison with the current Coronavirus crisis is not far away…

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Jean-Marc Lederman has a brand new release out as download and on CD on Wool-E Discs: “The Helpless Voyage Of The Titanic”. The record describes how over a century after the disaster, White Star Line’s sunken jewel continues to spark maritime as well as political debates.

Jean-Marc: “Like the ship, our planet has reached a tipping point: the hole that we tore in the sky is still wider than the gash on the starboard hull; greenhouse emissions are melting the pole that spawned the ill-fated iceberg and sea levels are swiftly rising. Once again, too many politicians and the shamefully rich are standing around in their finery, ceaselessly chattering as Venice sinks. On this current trajectory, history will repeat itself. With a world population approaching 8 billion, there won’t be enough lifeboats.”

A message that sounds rather apocalyptic but which in times of Coronavirus also sounds quite familiar. We decided to phone Jean-Marc to ask him some questions regarding this release.

SL. How did this album start?

JML. It started cos a friend from Minneapolis (South-African born Brooke R Calder from the band The Red Hour) told me about the story of the Titanic as she’s passionate about it and I thought it would be a nice story to tell: from the docks in Southampton to the, unfortunately, bottom of the Ocean. So, I started looking at facts about the boat, saw a plan of it and there’s a place called “The Boiling Room” (la salle des machines) on it and every techno buff knows it’s also a kind of event where the crowd behind the DJ, in the same spot, no stages, no cabin, nothing…And I thought that it would be fun to do an album going thru all the places in the boat…So, I did one track, then another one and a few weeks later, it’s all there and it made total sense.

SL. Can you describe what listeners can expect from it?

JML. It’s a real sonic voyage where you are taken through the different places aboard the Titanic: the Captain’s quarter, the dancehall for the very rich, the boiler room with the machines but also the below deck, at the bottom of the boat where the immigrants were located. At the time, immigrants were flowing to the US and as there weren’t commercial airlines yet, boats were like busses, starting from different european haven everyday. So, same boat, but 30 meters were separating the very rich to the poor…There’s of course the crash, the boat going down, the rescue boats…We all know it doesn’t end well but it can be musically painted in ways that aren’t all dark and somber.

SL. What sound were you looking for?

JML. As usual a variety of sounds as to not bore the listener. So, I used many different sources, some real electronic sounds but also some samples.

SL. The title of the album, “The Helpless Voyage Of The Titanic”, could easily be interpreted today as what we are going through with the Coronavirus crisis these days… any remark?

I’ve been told that, yes… I know that, and Brooke points it out in her sleeve notes on the CD, the story of the Titanic is very close to what we experiment in today’s world: everything is made for the rich and little care is given to the people with little or no wealth. And for money, as today. An example: there were only 20 rescue boats on the ship, which was legal, but factually they could not fit about a thousand of the passengers if something went wrong, which did happen as we know. The company didn’t want to put more boats for sparing money. At the same time, they did build a fourth chimney which is for prestige only as the boat didn’t need it but it made the boat look more majestic. So, money was spared for essential but given for showing off…And the sailors weren’t even drilled on how to use the rescue boats…But, to be fair, it’s a legend that the lower deck passengers weren’t allowed to go to the above decks when the catastrophe happened: the truth is that the crew didn’t instruct them at all and cared more for the higher decks, with the richer/very rich passengers.

SL. How do you spend your days now? Working from home for your daytime job which seems very important these days?

JML. Yes, I telework now. My job, in e-health, can be done from home and that’s what I do for now. I also get first hand (wash it !) informations about Coronavirus so I tell around me to not panic but to follow confinement and safety measures (social distancing and cleaning hands) with total obedience. This is not a drill!

author avatar
Bernard - Side-Line Staff Chief editor
Bernard Van Isacker is the Chief Editor of Side-Line Magazine. With a career spanning more than two decades, Van Isacker has established himself as a respected figure in the darkwave scene.

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