Grenoble is a beautiful city of southeastern France. Built under the old castle of Bastille, it is also known as “”Capital of the Alps” as few miles outside the city, rise the peaks of the French Alps with a height of over 3,000 meters.
At this beautiful city – where the Isère River flows through making the nature blossom – Bend The Future band was born.
Written by Haroula Nikolaidou
Can Yildirim: guitar/vocals
Pierre–Jean Ménabé: saxophone
Rémi Pouchain: bass
Piel Pawlowski: drums
Samy Chebre: keys/piano
Bend The Future formed in 2019. To me, the band sounds like a modern ‘Canterbury Sound” of the 60s/70s. Beautiful melodic progressive rock with jazz elements, basically instrumental, with brief singing parts, like for example in Camel’s albums; soft, simple and short.
No doubly the distinctive sound of the band comes from the saxophone player, Pierre-Jean Ménabé or just Peja, who has an education in Eastern European music. He explains:
“I’ve been playing Eastern Europe music for some years now. I learned a lot about Serbian and Romanian traditional music from French and Serbian musicians. I find my inspiration in Balkan brass band such as Boban Markovic‘s, or Ekrem Mamutovic‘s. I currently play in a Balkan brass band in Paris, as it is a kind of music, I appreciate a lot”.
Bend The Future’s melodies are being developed on complex rhythmic alternations (9/8 to 7/8 and then simple 3/8 etc.) but without making it difficult for the listener to follow. Everything flows effortlessly, with lots of melody and energy:
“When we compose a piece of music, we follow the same procedure: a “feeling” comes with a riff, and we want to go somewhere using that first idea. Our strong point is probably being able to write catchy melodies on rather complicated time signatures, but let them sound as catchy as possible in a context. We are working on creating more contrast and compactness as we evolve as a band, always try to add tension and release. We think we are on a good track in this respect.”
The oldest fellow of the companionship and the very core of the band is Can Yldirim of Turkish origin and 32 years old (the other members are between 24 to 26). Can is the one that has written the majority of the songs of the two albums. He explains:
“Up until the writing of the 3rd album, I composed the bulk of the songs including all the instruments except the solo saxophone parts. The others added their sauce to the songs in the rehearsals, which eventually became the songs in the albums. Note that in the second album, Samy wrote the main piano parts of two songs which formed a big part of them, Lost in Time and Clausa“.
I was really surprised when I realized that the musicians didn’t know each other for a long time when they got into the studio to record their first album in 2019:
“It was all fresh and new, but we rehearsed a lot in the first year, which obviously helped”.
……and it surely did more than that! The final result is very tight and well played.
Each one of the musicians is talented and highly skilled. Samy Chebre (piano) is studying in a music school in Paris and his origin is from Algeria. His contribution to the second album, as mentioned above, is crucial. Just listen to the piano intro in “Lost In Time”, first track of the album, and the solo on the keyboards that follows. In addition, the influences-loves of the musician are of interest: Boards of Canada, Tigran Hamasyan (Jazz), Kurt Ronsenwinkel (Jazz), Brad Mehldau (Jazz).
The rhythmic section of the band, Rémi Pouchain (bass) and Piel Pawlowski (drums) is impeccable, where the drummer delivers the greatest.
Remi loves Led Zeppelin, Ryo Fukui (Jazz), Daft Punk, Prodigy among others. And Piel refers to drummers such us: Richard Spaven (Trip Hop, Jazz, Post Rock), Eric Moore (Suicidal Tendencies) and to Deftones and also Slift.
Lots of influences form many different music areas, as most times happens in a band. A band though that they all like is Gösta Berlings Saga:
Actually, we all love Gösta Berlings Saga, this great band from Sweden, (shout out to them). And we were pretty close to playing with them in France which would have been really a dream come true. But the booking agencies didn’t want to take risks due to pandemic and the plan fell through. We hope we can fulfil this dream one day!
The single “Otaniemi”
“Can lived in the city Otaniemi in Finland for about 6 months in 2011. This song was written on a sunny day in May, when the pollen of the trees around the lake made it look like it was still snowing in Finland. That song remained a vagabond for a very long time, and Can thought about releasing it with his other projects. But it seems like the song was destined for Bend the Future. We are happy how it turned out”.
The nostalgic and sad song “Muş” from ‘Without Notice
“The main guitar theme was written by Can’s cousin Alper Yıldırım, when he was in his military duty at the Turkish city of Muş a couple of years ago, looking down to vast snowy fields reaching up to the horizon. It matched well with the feeling of Without Notice. We thought that it was a perfect match with Peja’s Easter European style of saxophone playing, and Alper kindly let us use the riff. We are pretty happy with how it sounds”.
The two albums
“Concept is a result of music in these two albums. In fact, both Pendellösung and Without Notice’ s concepts, were clear from the beginning but both of them shaped after having completed the composition of the music. We generally add the lyrics once the music has been written. Maybe the concept was clearer for Without Notice because most of the songs were written during the first pandemic lockdown in France. So, the overall feeling of the album was like things can happen without notice! The very air you breath can become a luxury, you know. So, it’s up to us as human beings to understand and appreciate the things we have and have a personal and sociological perspective of isolation and deprivation.
Pendellösung has a more personal concept. It tells the story of a hermit in a secluded forest who is actually a pilgrim in his own memories. Memories which are recorded in his writings addressed to an unnamed loved one. The album explores the concepts of isolation, yearning, confrontation and awakening.
In terms of production, both albums were mixed by Can, except the track titled “Lost in Time” (Without Notice). But the difference between the two albums is really the recording environment. We stepped up in Without Notice by using better mics and better recording environment. Also, we had a better idea of how to record specific parts from the experience we had gained from Pendellösung”.
“So far, we have only performed in Grenoble and Lyon. Due to the pandemic, we had some gigs canceled in Turkey and in Bordeaux. Unfortunately, pandemic just broke when things were taking off for us in terms of live shows but we nevertheless used our energy for creating more music and albums. We definitely want to have more shows in Europe and Greece is one of the special places that we want to come and play”.
“It’s interesting you’re asking about the type of our audience, because when we check on Spotify for Artists for example, we see that only old men listen to us:) In live shows, the demographic is rather younger. But people trying to dance on odd time signatures are not as easy for the Western Europeans (laughs). But all in all, the reception of our music at the shows is generally pretty positive. The crowd sang along our tunes in one of our last shows which was a definitely unique and amazing feeling for us”.
Goals for the future
“We want to produce good quality music as much as we can. We know that we can deliver more and the spark is still there. We are also evolving as a unit and we try to step out our comfort zone for we think that that’s the only way for moving forward. On a more practical level, we are working on our live sound because we think that there is clearly room for improvement there. We’d like to play in as many different places as possible and share our music with people who have been ordering our stuff from all around the world. By answering this question, we take the opportunity to thank all these beautiful people who support us from Brazil to Japan”.
The third album
“We don’t have a specific date yet, unfortunately. We try to release it this year (2022) and it’s all recorded. Mixing should finish within a couple of weeks and then off to mastering, plus album design and pressing and distribution. The last aspects will probably take time due to delays but we are optimistic. Nevertheless, you can expect a couple of singles from the upcoming album in the coming months. It seems like there is no real concept, or a specific concept that we thought of. But what we get from the music is kind of different from our previous works. We explore different sounds, different approaches and in doing so, we take confidence from our already-established core fanbase. We like what we heard so far with the new material, we hope that there will be reciprocity in this with the listener”.
About the cover art of Without Notice
On this picture, Stephanie Erickson (the brune) and her younger sister Heather Garcia were captured by their father Stephen Schnirch in their backyard in North Central Phoenix, Arizona, 1994. They don’t know who originally shared the photo online but it sure spread like wildfire, unbeknownst to them for years. After we’d seen this photo by chance on the internet and searched for the author for days around the globe, Stephanie stumbled on one of our posts and kindly allowed us to use it as our album cover. We’re grateful as Bend the Future.
Without Notice 2021
Lost in Time (Live) 2021
Dare to Stay 2022
Follow Bend The Future
Written by: New Generation Radio