By Nicholas Jason Lopez
Lumiere, the musical project of Greek composer/multi-instrumentalist Thanos Christodoulou, recently released “Doppler,” the first single from his upcoming LP ‘Phases,’ slated for release on Sep. 18, 2020.
The name Lumiere, which he has used since 2015, references the French city of Lyon – the hometown of the Lumiere brothers, credited as the inventors of the art of cinematography and the moving picture.
After his time as a part of Greek indie band Serpentine, he combines post-classical elements with electronic structures, minimalism and modern jazz, as the piano takes centerstage.
The Music Bugle had the chance to talk with him about ‘Phases’ and more.
Music Bugle – What are some challenges of being a composer/multi-instrumentalist that people may not see upon the surface?
Lumiere – The way I am composing is totally related to the use of software instruments during the initial stage, so the first big challenge for me is that I do not know exactly how everything I wrote will actually sound when recorded with real instruments. This is a challenge that you do not have when – for example – you have a rock band and you rehearse in real-time your tracks before you record them. The second big challenge is the live performance of this kind of music – everything should be written in the most detailed way for the session musicians, and you do not have the luxury of modifying things right before or during the concert or improvise freely.
Music Bugle – Do you feel your artist name fully suits you?
Lumiere – Totally. It combines many elements of my life – the fact that I studied physics. One of the Lumiere brothers was a physicist. I lived for some time in Lyon – home of Lumiere Brothers – and I am very much inspired by cinematic music. Lumiere Brothers were the inventors of cinema.
Music Bugle – What made you want to write “Doppler” and release it as your first single from ‘Phases’?
Lumiere – I have been playing this rhythmic loop on my piano for some time and I thought that it would be nice to experiment more on this by using intense layers of percussion and brass, creating a wave effect. I believe that this has been the main idea behind most of the tracks of the album, so I consider “Doppler” to be one of the most representative tracks of ‘Phases.’
Music Bugle – How would you describe the experience of putting together ‘Phases’?
Lumiere – It was a great experience, since for the first time in my life, I used so many musicians playing so many different instruments. Sections of strings, brass, maribas, xylophone, saxophones, clarinet, etc. added a great variety of sound to the recordings. Fortunately, I had two great collaborators in the production and orchestration processes, George Koltsiou and Alex Livitsanos, who helped me make the most out of this experience and feel totally safe instead of encountering chaos.
Music Bugle – What does the artwork for ‘Phases’ signify?
Lumiere – First of all, the phases of a body motion, practically our physical movement through time and space, through life itself. Secondly, the fact that inside our heads, we have another space-time which is totally different from the one in the “external” world.
Music Bugle – How would you compare recording under Lumiere as opposed to with Serpentine?
Lumiere – Two totally different experiences. Serpentine was a group I formed with some of the best friends I ever had. We were creating the songs together through rehearsals, even during our summers, which we usually spent together, so there was a feeling of a group of friends evolving through music, sharing the music we loved and the new – at that time – experiences of gigs and tours. Lumiere is a 100 percent solo project, where music is first created in my bedroom and then recorded with session musicians, so composing under Lumiere is a much more “strict,” but at the same time, unpredictable experience!
Music Bugle – How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Lumiere – Since summer 2019, I have been living in a village by the sea in South Greece, so the whole situation did not affect my everyday life a lot. Also, on the music side, fortunately, I had already completed the recordings, mixing and mastering, so basically during the lockdown, I used the time in order to find interesting collaborations with video artists and motion designers for the singles of the album.
Music Bugle – What was the hardest song for you to write or compose?
Lumiere – The song “F” because I wanted to “glue” two very different pieces together, without ruining the flow, but fortunately, it worked pretty well and I am very proud of this track.
Music Bugle – What’s something people should know about you as a person, away from music?
Lumiere – I even overthink my overthinking!
Music Bugle – What do you hope to accomplish before the year ends?
Lumiere – I would like to release two more singles from my upcoming album – which will be released on September 18. The first one will be “Acrophobia” and the second will be “F,” two tracks that represent very well the two different ends of the album, the more electronic-ish one and the jazzy-cinematic one.
*Photo Credit – George Tatakis*