Dear readers, we have the opportunity to interview a leading artist of the French Prog scene of recent years, with high-level record releases and a new album coming in March 2022, Jean Pierre Louveton.
> Hello how are you first of all?
I’m a bit like everyone else, dejected by the news, whether it’s about the war in Ukraine or about environmental issues like global warming. Apart from that, I’m still happy to be able to continue to offer my music to the whole world!
> You are one of the main exponents of modern French Prog, where does your passion for this genre come from?
Since I was ten or eleven years old, I have been passionate about music, Rock in particular. In 1981 I discovered Iron Maiden and their album “Killers” and I still haven’t recovered! My first love was therefore Hard Rock, but I quickly realized that what I liked above all in the groups that I followed at the time, were the longest songs, those that contained several themes and made me travel longer! In 1987 I discovered Yes and their album “Big generator”, which for me was the perfect mix between the energy of Rock, the melody of 80s pop and the complexity of Progressive Rock. Since then, I had only one idea in mind: to do Progressive Rock, which materialized in 2000 when Nemo started.
> Over the years you have released high-level albums with various projects including Nemo, Wolfspring and now JPL, what musical differences are there?
Nemo was the main vehicle for my compositions for a long time, but I always had more than was needed for the band, so I started releasing albums under my name (JPL) to include all those songs that I liked but which had no place in Nemo. When Nemo went on hiatus in 2014 / 2015, I refocused my priorities on JPL which then became my main project, and sucked up my most “progressive” ideas. WolfSpring was born from the advice I was often told at the time: you should sing in English and make more “Metal” music, it will work better. So I tried, with a singer because I would not have been very good at singing in English. The band was not as successful as was predicted, but it was a good experience and I still find the two albums interesting.
> We recently reviewed the third chapter of the “Sapiens” saga due out at the end of March 2022, what can you tell us about this new work?
This is the last part of a trilogy on the history of man started in 2020. When I started writing, in 2019, I was coming out of a complicated period that lasted more than two years where I hadn’t written a single note of music. From the first weeks, I realised that I would have to spread out all these new ideas, which came to me in waves, over several albums. I then thought about a rather vast theme and that man was an infinite subject…
> Within the new album there are numerous collaborating artists. What have they brought to the sound of the album?
I take care of most of the instruments on my albums, but I don’t know how to play everything! For example, I entrust the drums to my friend Jean Baptiste, drummer of Nemo. We know each other well musically, and I know that he will be able to play all the twisted parts that I will have invented. He brings his very personal touch to my music and that makes it unique. Guillaume, keyboardist of Nemo, intervenes on the few pieces that we composed together, the rest of the synthesizers are programmed. Stéphanie, my companion, is a trained pianist and brings life to the piano scores that I write. On this third part, there is also a hurdy-gurdy and a soprano saxophone, two instruments that are quite rare in this style of music, which give even more originality to the whole.
> Many of the Prog fans and our readers are wondering if there will be the possibility to listen to your music live, do you have any plans in this regard?
It’s been a few years since I put together a team to play my music in concert. We did a few festivals in France between 2016 and 2018, then we got back on stage in 2021 with a new repertoire containing a lot of excerpts from the first two chapters of Sapiens. Unfortunately it’s very difficult to get a place on festival and concert bills as there are a lot of bands better known than us who also want to play. Maybe one day we will also be interested in playing foreign festivals?
> You also collaborated on the Grandval album, released in February, what can you tell us about this experience and the album?
I have known Henri de Grandval for a few years, and I had great pleasure in participating in this project. Henri needed guitar parts, but also someone who could mix the album and have an objective external vision, a producer in a way. I think we did a good job together, Grandval’s songs are original and endearing.
> Yours has been a career with numerous releases. How has the sound evolved over the years for you and in general in prog according to your point of view?
Progressive music is in my opinion timeless, and even if it is inspired by contemporary styles over the periods it crosses, it does not have to follow fashions. For me, it’s music that respects the sound of instruments, and mixes them according to new things. It is not a genre, but a musical movement that is made of what surrounds it, so it is normal and healthy for the sound to evolve. In recent years the movement has incorporated the big guitars of Metal, Electro sounds… that’s also what I try to do, to mix what is not natural, and thus create new atmospheres, new emotions.
> The JPL project has concluded “Sapiens” Do you have any other releases or collaborations planned for the future?
Yes, some must remain secret for now, but I can already say that 2022 is the 20th anniversary of Nemo’s debut album! So something is going to happen there!!
> The last question as usual I leave you free to deal with any topic not mentioned in the previous questions.
I would like to thank once again those who have followed me, sometimes for twenty years! I really value their support. I would also like to say to those who think that the new ways of listening to music are right: it is wrong! Artists are the big losers in this big heist. The only way to support an artist is to buy his physical productions and go see him in concert! Thank you for this interview!
I thank Jean Pierre for the interview, the opportunity to review his albums, wishing him the best for the continuation of his career.
You can read our Review of the new JPL album “Sapiens – Chapitre 3/3 Actum” here: https://progrockjournal.com/review-jpl-sapiens-chapitre-3-3-actum/