photography by Pastel
We sat down with 26 year-old French-Polynesian self-taught multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and producer Pastel to talk about his new song Daylight, teaming up with vocalist Ben Kessler and the very first moment when he felt he wanted to be a musician.
I read the song was made really fast, and on the day when you and Ben met. Do you always write songs that fast?
We actually met through a mutual friend from Nashville who said we should meet because we both did music; the funny thing is that we didn’t actually meet for about two months after this, I was either on tour or away and Ben was travelling around Europe or studying. I only found out after when we did meet that he’d actually come to one of my shows in London to try and catch each other but was too humble to ask for guest list and figured we’d just cross paths at some point over the night. When he got to the door his card was declined and he ended up going home, he didn’t text or anything. We finally met and made ‘Daylight’ 4 days before he was leaving the UK for good if you can believe that. We always laugh about it.
What is the main message song?
The main message of the song is about getting to know someone for more than how they appear to people; a lot of the time relationships can be based around ‘outer’ things, the things we wear, the way we socialise or how people perceive someone to be. ‘Daylight’ represents really seeing someone for who they are, all the details, in the Daylight.
“I guess it all started in that little bedroom in Izeste.”
With the video, the direction was clear from the beginning. I’m a big fan of 60s and 70s music, also the style of those eras. Making ‘Daylight’ brought me the same feeling I had when I was listening to those old songs in my bedroom growing up, fun and vibey. So for the video that’s the feeling I wanted to capture. Falling in love with a song and dancing round the living room or up and down the street.
What do you admire most about Ben?
Something I admire about Ben is his way of writing music. He’s very creative and experimental but also very efficient when coming up with ideas. That’s why I love collaborating with people, they have another way of seeing the world and working together lets you blend, sometimes completely different, sounds or outlooks.
The very first moment when you decided/ felt you wanted to be a musician?
It came very early. I was living in a small town where music wasn’t really something people saw as an option for a career. One day my step dad bought a piano, I saw him playing in the house and fell in love with the sound and the feeling it gave me. Next it was CD’s, I used to listen to them so loud in my bedroom all the genres; I was so interested in how they make things sound the way they do, I used to try and make similar sounds with things from around the house with a tape recorder my grandfather gave me. I would hum to songs and find other melodies or voicing that I liked. I guess it all started in that little bedroom in Izeste.
“I think my biggest strength will always be learning.”
What would you say is your biggest strength?
I think my biggest strength will always be learning. Music can move very quickly and the music industry is always changing; to me one of the most important things has been to learn as much as I can and continue to learn so that I can do things myself. Whether it’s learning to play an instrument, learning to produce, making a video clip or animation edit, if you need something done and you know how to do it you only have to rely on yourself. This is something that has always kept me motivated and kept my projects moving.
Favourite thing to do besides making music?
I love spending quality time with the people around me that I’m closest to. Eating good food, having good laughs, the cliche things. Also exploring old cinema, finding timeless, classic movies and realising how they were made.
Favourite series or movie?
I would say for the very classic ones Breaking Bad and Forest Gump
Or Fargo and A Clockwork Orange
What is the first thing you will do when the lockdown is over?
I’ll definitely take a trip away somewhere. The lockdown has given me so much time to focus solely on music and get a lot of work done, but it’s also taken away the imposition of taking the time for yourself that you might normally; seeing friends, going away. Being in one house for two months straight isn’t the most inspiring thing!