Original interview here
.Hello Florent and Mikelangelo, welcome to Ptitblog. At the end of the summer you'll return with MORLC. Could you explain what will be different from the show you were in from 2009 to 2011?
Mikelangelo: The symphonic concert MORLC isn't like the musical. It's more or less the concept they had developed with Notre Dame de Paris: they've rearranged the entire musical into one concert, where there is no acting, no dancers, and everything is based on the sound. So this time, they wanted to do it with MOR. It's a French organization called V. Dest which works with bringing famous French artists together and sending them to easter countries to do huge concerts there. We did two tours in Russia and Ukraine with 7000 people at St Petersburg both times, we were at the Kremlin, so it was an incredible experience. We have confidence in this show because we tested it in a country where people weren't familiar with it. There were just posters in town. They came to see us and accepted us and it worked.
What are some of your memories from the two tours in Russia and Ukraine?
Florent: It was pretty incredible because as Mikelangelo said, we were unknown there. That is, we weren't completely unknown, because there were some fans that knew us from the internet and came to see us in France during the show. So we had a little fanbase there, which we went to see, and then the community grew. We haven't made it as far as the greater public yet, but we've reached a certain audience. And it was incredible because it's just another culture, they didn't listen to the music the same way we do, of course, because we're speaking a foreign language... But anyway, we met new people, we played with a new orchestra, with a conductor, and a new troupe was created. And we have incredible memories of all of it, which is why we're so eager to show the French public, who already knows us!
Your tour had to be pushed back because of the events in Ukraine, which affected your orchestra. Are you going to be reunited with the same orchestra in September?
Mikelangelo: Well the situation has stabilized so it will be the same orchestra. But in any case we had to make that decision and we were affected by the production team's decision. It's the producers who are really human. It was out of anyone's control. No one could help it, and when that happens, you have the choice between carrying on with your plans or waiting for them. We decided to wait, and I'm proud of that decision because, in a country where people are shooting each other, calling on some folks to work, making them leave their families, is forcing them to do something horrible if they want to keep their jobs. So that was the right decision. If all goes well, they'll be the ones at the concert.
Have you begun rehearsing for the French tour?
Mikelangelo: No, not yet.
Florent: We're playing at the Festival de Carthage in Tunisia this summer so that will be a little like a rehearsal for us.
Mikelangelo: Because we don't really rehearse. Even when we rehearse, we're doing concerts! But on the other hand, yes, it's true that Carthage is a chance to test our show again.
I imagine that it's very difficult for you to sing these songs without performing the entire show.
Florent: They've got nothing to do with each other! This is just the music! So we're much freer to have fun with it. We play with the audience, I play with the orchestra, I stroll through the rows of the orchestra during the concert. Whereas during the musical, it was theater, there was timing... This is a concert. We come onstage with a microphone, the conductor, 1, 2, 3, 4, and we're off!
Mikelangelo: It's a journey with the audience. Whereas sometimes, a theatrical show, the audience watches you make a journey. It's different. But in any case, we're confident, because you know, when it works in Russia... the Ukranian fans and the Russian fans, they practically made love to us there. Really! While we were on stage we felt this energy. There were people who did dances, who threw flowers, drawings, works of art... They made dolls for us, they made us comic strips... The amount they put into it was incredible... So then we came back, recharged by all this love and now we're eager to do the same thing in France with the same energy.
Can you share an anecdote from the Russian concerts for your fans?
Mikelangelo: We have a song where Solal breaks in with a part like "[je parle] au nom du père, ne lâche pas la main de l'ange..." [Les Solos sous les draps] something really serious like that. That means that the entire symphonie orchestra slows down and creates this super moment, a really sumptuous sound, right? And then Solal arrives in this huge beam of light and sings his part, all the lights are on him, all the audience is watching him, all the orchestra is with him. But right at that moment, he was messing around backstage. So then, we hear the orchestra playing Solal's part, without Solal. Solal was backstage.
Florent: I forgot about that! (laughs)
Mikelangelo: And Solal was with me! He looked at me, and I saw his expression change, I saw his face change and he said "That's me! And I have to sing!" With the entire symphonic orchestra asking him "And where were you?" So there was an instrumental section instead of Solal! And the lights all went over to one spot, no one understood why. They must have lit up a stairway. It was amazing! One of my favorite memories of MOR in Russia! And I think that was at the Kremlin!
Florent: And it was at the Kremlin! What!
Mikelangelo: Yeah, Solal was even more upset. And he was in the middle of telling a joke. Can you imagine? When he's supposed to be the most professional of all of us!
Florent: No, he's always messing around!
You'll be doing a tour like in the good old days. Are you excited?
Florent: Yes! Also, this tour is a little different. During the first MOR tour, we did a "star tour", that's what it's called. That means we left from Paris, passed the weekend in a city, and at the end of the weekend we came back to Paris, then left for another town the next weekend.
Mikelangelo: I like that, "star tour". I didn't know, that's cool, you taught me something great.
Florent: This time, we're not doing a "star tour", we're doing a continuous tour. We're on the road together for two weeks straight. We're going to have a lot of fun.
Mikelangelo: We're going to have laundry everywhere! (laughs)
Is there a song that you particularly like in this new version?
Florent: I have a lot of fun singing "Victime de ma victoire" because my colleagues are doing the chorus parts now. It's something I couldn't do when I was Salieri during the first version of the show, because Salieri always sings alone, it's kind of annoying!
Mikelangelo: I love watching him while he sings "Victime de ma victoire" because he acts like he's drunk, so he moves strangely, I promise it's a show!
Florent: I'm also pretty good at acting drunk.
Mikelangelo: He's really really good at doing that. You can't take your eyes off him, you watch him the whole time and you crack up the whole time.
Florent: You were asking for anecdotes a second ago, so here's one! So one day we were singing "L'assasymphonie" in Russian, so we had a guy who came up with a teleprompter because we didn't quite have enough time to learn the song in Russian. But this guy, he didn't speak English or French, just Russian, so we had trouble understanding each other. And he was really stressed. Really, really, really stressed. And just before "Victime de ma victoire" he didn't know if he should leave, so it was right then. Just before coming onstage I get in character, so I was acting a little drunk backstage. And he saw me coming, and I saw his whole face go, "he's been drinking, no way! I'm already stressed, I don't know what I'm going to do!" and I said to him [in English], "Vodka good!" He didn't understand anything that was happening to him, it was pretty funny!
Mikelangelo: That's amazing! (laughs) For me, the song I like to sing the most is "Le carnivore". It's a song that I've always wanted to sing but it wasn't in the final cut of the show, and now I can. And we did an incredible arrangement with a super guitar solo, a little like Pink Floyd toward the end, it's incredible.
During the first tour, social networks weren't as powerful as they are today. Are you counting on using them more this time?
Florent: Oh yeah, that's true, in Mozart's era we didn't have twitter and instagram! So now we can put things online in real time! That'll be fun.
Mikelangelo: Yes, for the time being we're focused on preparing the concert and a few other things but I think soon we're going to have a little fun with social networks!
Next, would you like to do the whole show again someday? Or would you dislike that?
Florent: Yes, yes! Why not?
Mikelangelo: I don't know. I don't think so, for me. Unless it's something completely redone, original, if it's like a revolution.
Florent: Yeah but there's already been a Revolution!
Mikelangelo: Yeah that's true. But I mean a revolution in the musical format, not the Revolution in musical format! (laughs)
Now we're going to talk a little about your solo careers if you don't mind. Florent, your first album came out a little over a year ago. What are the numbers like from that year?
Florent: It was my first album, it was a little difficult because I had just come out of MOR, and I was new to it all. But I know that there were three or four songs on that album that I'll play for the rest of my life.
And you're preparing a second album. Where are you planning to take that?
Florent: It's a little lonelier, a little more cheerful, funnier, a little more wacky as well, and a little less sad! The first album had a lot of guitar, this one was composed on the piano, so it will sound different, you'll see. I'm excited!
You worked with Ycare on the first album. Did you work with him again for this one?
Florent: I started to work with Ycare but he's very busy. I work with lots of new people now and it's great! I'm really very pleased.
And you, Mikelangelo, where are you with yours?
Mikelangelo: For us, we had to break free of MOR. And then we found ourselves with huge organizations. So it's hard for us to lead the teams. We are artists. I mean, leading businessmen, musicians, labels, etc, while still doing exactly what's in your head... It's tough when you have a vision, it's a lot easier to say "okay, do what you want, and I'll sing". So for now I'm in the middle of preparing an album, and I'm going to take the musicians that have been chosen. We're working on getting ourselves into a rehearsal space to really perfect the arrangements. The album is pretty much ready except for the lyrics, where there are a few things left to finalie. It will be an album that's very original, it's very very hard to get it out, because people don't allow for an album to be very extravagant, and since that's the idea that I've had for such a long time... It's really my dream to make a truly original album, but I'm being pushed back. For now I'm going to get into a studio, I'm going to record it all live. After some post-production, I'll be ready. But first I've got to put out two wild singles online and a real single.
A while ago you performed a single while you were on the show "Toute une histoire"... [Memory Day]
Mikelangelo: That song, it might not even be on the album. Because I'm a musician, I'm a creator of songs, and when someone asks me to make a song for myself, I make a song to myself, just a song for me. I didn't have anything to sell at the time, I couldn't say, "my album is going to be like this". I just chose a song that was fresh and I tried to do it.
You also recently created a series called "A star, a journey". Can you tell me more about that?
Mikelangelo: Yes, I have a rubric. There will be more, in fact I'll meet artists and try to have them talk about themselves, all within a story of a journey. That is, the journey is an excuse. Because you know, we all have a place we have seen in life, where we felt special... It's true, we all have contact with a journey that we've made. It's a lovely way to make the artist talk about things that they wouldn't otherwise. So the series is called "A star, a journey", and I did one with Mélissa Mars, and I'll be back soon. I'm very particular about choosing people, it's nothing to do with who they really are, it's people chosen with the website "inside all".
So, what is "your" journey?
Mikelangelo: There have been a few. I was really moved by the journey that I made in Odessa. One town that really spoke to me was Venice. And I was really shocked by the trip I took to Brazil, I have great memories from it, I did some concerts there and it was incredible.
Florent: For me it was Toronto, where I lived the Bohemian life all artists dream about! But at that time I had a lot of friends, I was always partying... I worked hard, and finally I said "now I have to stop, I have to do nothing but music, it doesn't matter if it's successful or not". So I quit working for six months, I wrote all day, I made music, and at night I partied, that was the Bohemian life. And Toronto is a great city.
What are you dreams as you go forward? Mikelangelo, you're a bit of a jack-of-all-trades, would you like to do theater or cinema?
Mikelangelo: Theater or cinema, yes. But it's complicated for me, because I'm a guy who has a lot of trouble coming out of character, so I would need a very particular kind of role. And plus I have an accent, so I couldn't play every role in France. But I'm a trained actor. But I would have to find an agency to get started, but my training is there.
A final word for our readers and your fans?
Florent: Thank you for your support, because the fans of MOR have been very important for the success of the show. All the way back to the beginning. As for me, in my solo career, again fans have been very important. It's very important to know that there are people behind you. The public is the reason we do this, because without them no one will listen to us, so yes, thank you to the fans, and I hope that they'll like MORLC and my second album, and everything that will come afterward.
Mikelangelo: It's true it's great, people like us as if we were something from their dreams. And you can't put a price on that, I know that there is real love coming from the audience, and it's a pretty foreign audience, today, that's not just Russian or Ukrainian. There are fans in Korea, Japan, a few people in Brazil, Chili, Mexico, the US...
Florent: England, Canada...
Mikelangelo: It's very interesting, all of that. Sometimes I get the impression that I was created from all of this, like I came from these peoples' dreams. It's very strange, we have a great audience, from those who are just curious, to people who love the genre, to people who specifically love us, to the people who are truly fans. And I hope there are groupies as well! (laughs)