Your new song Déracinés quand même - do tell us what the
lyrics are about, and what were your inspirations?
When I first wrote Déracinés (French for "without roots"), I was
inspired in Déracinés, a french space opera comic of Gildas Jaffrennou
and Gelweo. A beautiful story about two humans lost in space. It was in
last November. I was a little depressed, with a lot of doubts - you know,
I try to search myself... to understand meaning of life... and... I wanted to
talk about identity, about backgrounds. As a mixed guy, I suppose that
these questions are very... important. I'm not alone, of course. And then,
I contacted the rapper Mc Coco. It was really a challenge for me, I knew
her a little, and I just said: ''Ok, hip hop, rap, all this, it's not
really my style, I prefer 'chanson', pop music, but we can just try
something cause I know that you're very interesting.'' And she had a lot
of things to say about identity, travel, about Africa, Europe... and Déracinés
quand même ("Without roots anyway") was born.
of your fans might be surprised to see you branch out into hip hop - so
how did that happen, and what can you tell us about the style of the song
You know, I like when it's true, when it's
sincere. It's not my problem if the song is techno, pop, dance, country,
classical, anything else. I just like beauty of sound, beauty of words,
beauty of notes. The melody is very important for me. And you know, I
don't have the feeling to belong to this ghetto of 'Chanson Française'. I mean
it's a white white old men world, most of the time, with clans, conflicts,
it's not really easy. I needed to breathe. Of course some of my fans were
surprised but... it was a good surprise cause I talk about the same themes.
Just the musical aspect is different. It's a mix of pop and rap, it's a
little bit more 'mainstream'.
can you tell us about your partner on Déracinés quand même, Mc
Coco, and what was your collaboration like? And how did you first meet
Mc Coco is
an extraordinary woman. Really. I respect her, I like her. Her life is a
book. She's atypical, with no fear. She likes to sing in concert, she likes
the public, she makes the show, you can be sure of that. She comes from Cameroon,
maybe it explains why the feeling between us is good too. I grew up in
Gabon, in Central Africa, near Cameroon, there is a lot of common
Jann with Mc Coco
I meet her in a big associative night in a Parisian theather in 2012. The contact was quick, normal, we just said
'ok maybe we'll work together'. But I must confess that... it was not my
priority. Time passed and in November 2014, I contacted her on Facebook.
Just cause... it's very strange, just cause my intuition was telling me
that it would be a great adventure. Very quickly, we recorded in studio,
and then we were invited by radios, TV, it was really... disturbing.
So what can you tell us about the videoclip of Déracinés
quand même - what's the story of that one, and how does it relate to
Déracinés quand même is a song about exile
and the difficulty to keep something of our identity in a different
world. The forest is a beautiful symbol, not only about roots of course,
but this is the nature, the origins...
Jeff Bonnenfant, who is a very good friend, realized
this clip near Le Mans.
The events of Déracinés quand même
take place in a forest, like so many of your movies - why choose that
Like a friend of mine said ''you
couldn't imagine a movie or a videoclip with Jann Halexander without a
forest in it.'' Most of the time I think it's true! Forest, it's so
mysterious for me. For example, I ve walked alone in beautiful pines
forests around Hogsback, in Eastern Cape, in South Africa. I was thinking
about Life, Death, deep Love...
In the clip, when Mc Coco finds the dead
body - could you explain her reactions?
Yes. You know,
sometimes in Africa, in the desert, migrants who try to go to Europe find
dead bodies of other migrants. They don't really have time to bury them. So
they close their eyes, cover it, sometimes they cover the body a little,
they make a prayer then they continue to walk...
The video was
directed by Jeff Bonnenfant, a frequent collaborator of yours - so what
was your collaboration like?
I've known Jeff Bonnenfant for a
long time, maybe 2002 or 2003, you know. It's a strong friendship. He
doesn't talk a lot, he just... acts. He does the job. It's a nice
relation. Human first, and of course professionnal.
What can you tell us about
the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
shining, beautiful blue sky, and... wind was blowing. Wind in this
videoclip is... a fantastic actor. Really. All the videoclip has a
phantasmagorical ambience to it.
$64-question of course, where can your song be obtained, your video be
People can see this videoclip about YouTube,
essentially, just writing our names Mc Coco, Jann Halexander, Déracinés
quand même. The song is available on the albums Amour and Pars et gogo
too, on Bandcamp.com, Noistr.com. I shall thank Monique Hottier, secretary
of my own label too, for the organisation. And she realized the other
videoclip Pars et gogo, the second featuring Mc Coco.
Any future projects you'd like to share?
I ve given some concerts in February and March in
Paris, it was tiring but very... beautiful - people come to see you,
there is a magical connection during one hour and more. You know why you
choose this kind of life... I want to give more beautiful concerts...
I can say
that I'll come back the 7th of November for a new show, Affidavit, in Paris. I
hope other concerts in Paris, in France, in Europe, anywhere.
website, Facebook, whatever else?
The french website is http://jannhalexander.blogspot.com.
I receive a lot of messages on Facebook too, on
The English-speaking people can visit the website
Anything else you are
dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
for your website, very interesting, very rich, and for your fidelity.
for the interview!
Link Déracinés quand même: