Few names have established themselves so firmly into the world of Chillout music like Christophe Goze. A multi-talented musician, composer, and producer whose work is well-known for the unique Arabian-style fusion that has become one of his musical trademarks, while also succeeding in blending jazz, downtempo and world music with remarkable ease, creating musical worlds filled with deep emotion.
His music includes several albums and EP releases, many of them featuring tracks that have been present in no less than 400 compilations, collectively selling at least 2 million copies worldwide. His talent stretches beyond his own albums, as Christophe has also collaborated with Cirque Du Soleil, Cafe del Mar, Buddha Bar, the fashion house Yves Saint Laurent among others. He has also written music for TV networks such as BBC, Channel 4, MTV, National Geographic, France 3 and others, work that has also given him a prestigious nomination for ‘TV Advert -Best Music ’ in the United Kingdom.
Blissful Beats got to be in touch with Christophe Goze for a very interesting and insightful interview, in which the man himself shares his thoughts about his latest work, the music industry and having an unusual collaboration partner at the production studio. ;-)
Hello Christophe! First of all many thanks for this interview.
1.- Your latest release, titled “Love”, was first launched on a free basis with optional donation, prior hitting the digital marketplace. What inspired you to take this path?
Well, music is free now isn’t it? :) The funny thing is that I kind of like the idea of free music and art in general, and at the same time I think it is wrong. I like it because I think all culture forms should be free to the people. Culture and education are 2 things that will help this world grow into a better place. But at the same time, we live in a world where you need money to do things. And if we continue to take money away from music, musicians will start having serious problems, so this is a catch-22 thing.
I found a solution that works for me. I start giving it for free to the public and I sell it to the pros who use it for media, TV, etc… Basically I’m finding new sources of incomes for the music. But that works because I have a big catalogue and good contacts. The problem here is for young artists who will for sure now find it hard to live from their creations. Internet was supposed to change everything and give artists other possibilities to expose and sell their work, but in reality it has created a free marketplace where you can just find anything you want free. A few established artists have now opened the door by giving their album for free, giving a strong message that music is free. I’m not sure this is a good example they are giving doing that. They can afford to do that. They will recuperate the cash from other sources (publishing, merchandising, live concerts) but the independent or young artists don’t find it that easy.
Internet for a while had open the door to the concept of independent musicians but is now destroying its own concept and is forcing artist to go back to the old system. So I gave it for free because really, now music is free, and I’m tired fighting the system. I’m working a new way around the system. I only give it free to my fans, hoping they will pass it to their friends and more people will soon know my work. But again this is only possible because I have other source of revenues from music. So I can afford to give.
2.- As a composer, where do you draw inspiration for writing your music? What inspires you the most?
To me writing music is a therapy. To write music I have to go inside myself and find a way to express the emotion I have inside. Sometimes those emotions go back a long way. Things that have been in me for years. I never write something because I saw a sad or happy story on TV, or something happened in the street that day. I think it is hard to do that and guys who say they do it actually do it only because what they saw fits perfect with their own emotions on the moment. In the end they end up talking about their own story!
We all have a story and we all have dramas and happy moments. In that way we are equipped to one day become an artist by expressing those emotions thru art. Some do it naturally, and we call that having talent or being gifted. But other do it building houses, and have the same inspiration , the same creativity. A song is just easier to share to the world than a house. :)
3.- What’s your favorite part of the process of making music?
The very first step, when I actually don’t know yet what is going to happen. This is the stage where I just got an idea, laid down a basic rhythm track and I’m improvising ideas with the guitar. Improvisation is the basic of most of all of my tracks. I sometimes play along for hours that way just to feel the track and come up with different ideas. Then I walk away from it and come back to it later.
If later I don’t remember my melody or don’t like what I hear, then I trash the track. If I can’t remember and feel my own melodies , who else will? :) But If I still remember it and if I still like it, then I know I have a track and I can start producing something. And that moment is exiting. It is like finding a hidden treasure you did not know was there :)
A track is a good melody and good harmony. Nothing else. Production is just accessory. So finding the melodies and harmony is always the most exciting time.
4.- Your work has appeared in very prestigious compilations and you have also collaborated with some pretty great musicians. Are there any particular singers and/or musicians you still look forward to collaborate with?
I would love to work with Nitin Sawhney and Peter Gabriel. I met Gabriel years ago when I went to record in his studios and we had small chats. I loved this guy energy and of course his work that has been a big influence.
Nitin Sawhney because in a way we do the same sort of music. We walk on the same side of the road mixing world and lounge/ pop. I think he his one of today’s best composers and producers.
5.- Your work is well-known for the “Arabian” fusion that is often found in your music. Are there any other world music influences that you are interested in exploring?
I have done a lot of Indian and Asian fusion tracks. I write a lot of media (TV, films) and this is something I do a lot for them. And actually some of my most known tracks such as ‘Mañana’ or ‘About’ us are Indian and Chinese fusion tracks.
6.- There’s been a lot of fuss lately about the financial viability of music-streaming as a source of revenue for artists. Do you think this channel can develop into a more profitable source of income for musicians?
Honestly no. As much as this is a great way for young or unsigned artists to get known or at least expose their music to the world, you need to get so many views or clicks to start generating incomes that very few can make a living from it. I don’t, and I have a lot of tracks out there.
Once again the artist got used, and I’m actually angry at those YouTube and others who make a lot of cash and completely forgot to give it back. Do you realize that the first 100.000 clicks on YouTube will not generate any incomes! Imagine how hard it is to get 100.000 views!
I think you should consider streaming as a promo tool and nothing more. promote on streaming platform the same way I have just given out my album for free. The idea is the same. You give something for free or almost free to let people discover the music and eventually they will go buy more on the iTunes store. People buy what they know , not what they like. Streaming helps you that way.
7.- If you could change something about the music industry, what would it be?
Oh … A lot. I would start by giving the people within the music industry a musical education. Many of them have never studied music , have a music culture that doesn’t go further than the Beatles or even the 80’s and actually don’t have a clue what they are talking about, but still pretend they do. It is annoying!!! This is the kind of guy who once told me that my music was too “musician”. This leads to wrong production choices, signing the wrong artists, putting the wrong team together, wrong choice of song for an album, and even marketing it the wrong way.
Then I would change the way money is split between artists and labels. Why should I get 16% or 18% of the selling price when I’m actually the one who creates the product. Selling the product is as important, I agree, so maybe a 50/50 split would be fair. Making an album does not cost what it used to cost anymore, so the labels investment is not that high anymore. Pressing a CD cost nothing, so keeping so much more than the artist does not make sense anymore.
I would also change the ridiculous amount of money record stores keep for themselves. Imagine that my albums were selling at 19 € in store. The label was selling it 6€ to distribution (from those 6€ I was getting 18% – That’s 1,08 € !! The 13 € left were for distributors and mainly to the store ! Stores make more money from my album than I do! And the digital distribution works along the same lines. A bit better, but still not right.
These are the first things I would change. Well actually, I did in my world… These are the reasons that made me create my own company and work solo. But not every one can do that and certainly not the young artists.
8.- Are you looking up to any interesting projects and/or performances anytime soon?
I always have ideas :) I’m still writing for media, and there are some interesting things coming that way. I’m thinking also to turn the ‘Love’ EP into a full-album and release it online, but also physically via my distribution and partners around the world.
Working with pop and jazz artists is also something I want to do now. Pop is changing these days and I think lounge and pop work well together . I’m trying to develop that and work more with vocalists like I did on ‘She Said‘. Guitar and jazz will always be my first love, and I’m also trying to invite more jazz musician in my music. And I’ll keep practicing guitar every day.
Also maybe some more collaborations with Vargo. We just did a track together “Souvenir of Love” and I really enjoy working with them. And we’ve been talking about doing something with Afterlife. That would be really good too.
9.- Last but not least… the album credits for ‘Love’ show that your kitty called ‘Jazz’ collaborated in the recording process by pushing faders. Was it hard teaching your cat how to execute this action and keeping the tempo of the pieces as well? ;-)
He is so talented at pushing faders . He loves playing with them :)
But I tell you a funny story that happen during the mixing of ‘Love’. I was playing the track ‘Love’ and Jazz jumped on the desk pushing one of the drums track solo button. But, I don’t know how he did that, he pushed it twice so it created a very short 1-second break in the music. And it sounded great! I remember shouting … YEAHHH! Nice Jazz! :)
I reproduced the idea he “gave” me, and now one of the drums breaks in the track “Love” is actually an idea from Jazz. So he is not only pushing faders, he is also arranging the music. Pretty good for a 2-months old cat, no ? :)
Christophe, thank you SO much for this interview! Very best wishes in your upcoming projects!
Blissful Beats is hugely grateful to Christophe Goze for granting this interview, and sharing his valuable insights with music fans.
Get to know more about Christophe Goze’s amazing work at: