The Right Time by Chris Rigaud
In this article, we continue to make you discover the riddim project we initiated. After we had Jeff Ray, Omar Perry, Fyah P, Mister Vince and RV put their voices on the Official Staff riddims, here’s now the lead singer of The High Reeds : Chris Rigaud on a track full of hope entitled " The Right Time ".
A glimmer of hope in which he imagines a party, celebrating live concerts allowed again and taking place all over after the end of this lockdown period.
So we exchanged with Chris on this title,
his different projects
and we can say that the crooner is quite busy.
A little info by the way. Some artists obviously need more time.
The deadline is therefore postponed to June 15th.
LGR: Hi Chris. I hope you're doing well. Thanks for taking this interview, I'm glad to have you here. As you know, I heard " The Right Time " in its final version. Wow, you just uplifted the riddim.
Chris: Hi. Thanks to you too. I'm very happy too. Well, listen, I'm glad you like it. Indeed, everything just went straight with Official Staff , and starting with Doc, we exchanged ideas and it didn’t take long to agree on the musical direction. That's pretty cool.
LGR: Definitely. And I had the whole group, they were unanimous. One of the first reactions I got was: Who's that crooner? (this tells me it’s not gonna be a one shot)
Chris: (Laughs). That's cool, that's good news. It's nice to realize that it also allows you to connect. You know, my little reggae experience already taught me a lot, and it’s when you think you’ve reached something important that you realize you’ve got things ahead of you and new people that you still don’t know yet.
LGR: From this point of view, this project is rather interesting : it involves and connects good people to onenaother, including side projects. I really like it.
Let's talk about your song title. Can you please tell us about the message of " The Right Time "?
Chris: Like I said last time, the riddim inspired me to do something fresh, unifying and positive, really. Most of the time, I’m dealing with more political topics in which I denounce more. Here, the idea was: Maybe we're at the end of the tunnel, I figued out that we're at the bus stop, everyone goes to a sound-system party. Lockdown is over and people want to meet again, to share spiritually together. This track’s really about the positive aspect of getting together. So it’s " The Right Time " to have fun, especially after that difficult period we’ve all been through.
LGR: To talk about Doc Bandol's work and to put it forward a little bit. What was it like working with him?
Chris: It was very tight and organized. He sent me a first mix, then I sent him back and asked for a few changes.
LGR: To give the instrumental structure a little more air ?
Chris: Yeah, I mean, I actually laid down my vocal tracks on the original riddim structure and I decided to sing an additional verse but it was stepping over a guitar chorus a little bit; as I wanted to lower the guitar sound on this part (and as I had seen in previous articles we could make this kind of arrangements), I asked Doc if he could mix it correctly for me in order to make a good balance between voice & instrument, just to get rid of the mess ; well, he just did it, he made it quickly sound organized, so I was happy with the track. Doc’s a great listener and did a great job with it. Mixing is really more than just adjusting sounds and volumes and textures, there is also an artistic approach. The way he made cuts, drum and bass, then riddim style…In the end, I could hear that in all different adjustments he did, he took my voicing in consideration, so that music would support my lyrics. I found the approach cool artistically efficient. Same thing and same attitude concerning the copyright procedure : as soon as we agreed on the structure, it was done within 48 hours.
LGR: Being responsive to everyone is important while being professional and tight.
Chris: Yes, it's important. Beyond that after the qualitative side which may or may not be subjective. When the associations of people make people all ok for something to be good and go in the right direction. I started in 2009 in the professional field, even if I've been doing reggae since 1999 and listening to it since 1995. So, I didn't start yesterday but in 2009-2010, I've been working hard and my vision is to be professional. When people ask me to be reactive on something, I expect the same from them, I appreciate when it works back and forth. This is one of the keys for me, it's a rough environment and we are so « off -road » that beyond written contracts,it’s complicated to find people who really do what they say, seriousness in commitments is such an important value to me. For instance, first of all, we all know things don’t come easy : we all went thru situations where you need your music to be mixed within three days, because otherwise it might cancel the next step of your work. When somebody tells you « I’ll call tomorrow », it has to be tomorrow, not in a week. These are basic things for me because it defines who you can trust and on which person you can rely on. Meeting Official Staff has been a great discovery so it's great.
LGR: You got them warmed up. I'm sure Doc Bandol stayed up all night when he got your tracks.
Chris: (laughs) That's cool, it feels good. I would also like to salute the quality of the riddim and the musical production. Because like I said, from my position. It's been more than ten years that I've been in reggae. First recognition started around 2012 with an EP that I released under my name, Christophe Rigaud. I went up to Paris with my acoustic guitar, I managed to go to Party Time to made them listen to the EP, they liked it. They put me in the revelations of the year, I was on the air. Party Time was the radio where everyone wanted to go. If I tell you this, it's because after all these years, when I listen to a riddim, I know what’s in there and I think I know how to talk about it. Reggae is a discipline, you know? and members of Official Staff are doing a good job. Let me also take the opportunity to make a big up to the sound engineer, Laurent Poussineau and his studio Homely Records. It is a reference in Lyon. When you listen to a riddim in his powerful sound equipment, if it mashes up your face, then you know it’s a great riddim. So…Congratulations to Official Staff and Laurent.
Artwork by Parker Morain
LGR: Let's talk about it your personnal projects. You are the lead vocalist of The High Reeds. Can you tell us about that?
Chris: Well, The High Reeds are actually huge high woods. The name came to me first of all because on my mother's side, I'm from Corsica and when I was a kid, next to my house, there were a lot of reeds where I liked to play. The second reason is that you know, there is the fable of La Fontaine - The Oak and the Reed. You know the oak tree, it breaks under the storm but the reed bends but does not give in. Greetings to the members of The High Reeds team, to the three musicians who are with me. They are old reggae warriors. Sometimes we bend, we go through hard times like right now but we never go soft. That’s why the title of our album is Stand Firm. I'll tell you that we didn't think about the release in February 2020 with this title and people with blindfolds that we could have put on our mouths, we didn't think that it would be so evocative of what was going to happen. The High Reeds are a quartet from Lyon who play roots reggae with soul and blues influences.
Chris: Before we end, I'd also like to talk about a project. It's newer but it's going to put them on the map as well. I'm part of another reggae project called Sherwood Brothers. Basically, it's the bass-drums combo of Maxxo who set up this collective together. There are also former members of Broussaï, we are eight on stage and we are based in Macon. We released an EP a year and a half ago and I think it's really heavy. It's made of guys who have experience in reggae. Keep an eye on this because brand new heavy stuff coming out soon.
And my last wink will be for Steep Bank Project, a reggae dub project at the initiative of the « Red Cross » (suburbs of Lyon). It's a dub trio and they call me to do songs sometimes and you can see some stuff on You Tube or Facebook, to discover.
LGR: Ok ! Everything good, thank you so much for all these discoveries Chris. Really big thanks for everything. I'll get back to you soon.
Chris: Thank you so much to you and La Grosse Radio. You’re always there for us every time we need you.
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About The High Reeds