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JUMEAUX Q&A SERIES PART 1 – LIBBY LAVELLA on CARRY MY VOICE

In the first of our series of Q&A’s, LIBBY LAVELLA discusses the song where it all began: “CARRY MY VOICE” – Perenelle’s theme.  We’ve gathered up and summarized the most popular questions that have been asked about this song since its release, so Libby could answer everybody in a kind of virtual interview.  Hope you enjoy it!

SPOILER ALERT:  THERE ARE REFERENCES TO EVENTS IN THE BOOK SERIES IN THE TEXT BELOW, SO IF YOU’VE NOT READ THE BOOKS YET AND HATE SPOILERS, BEST GO OFF AND SORT THAT OUT BEFORE GOING ANY FURTHER.

Q: CARRY MY VOICE is the first song that you wrote for Michael Scott’s Flamel series.  Can you tell us a bit about your relationship with Michael Scott and how the idea of writing theme songs for his books came about?

LL: I met Michael Scott in Los Angeles, and I’ve known him now for years.  He really is one of the most intelligent and hardest working people I’ve ever met.  When book one was released, “The Alchemyst”, Michael actually asked me to write a song for the website.  I’d read the book, and of course I am a huge fan, and I thought, ok, well why not?  The original idea was to write one song to help promote their book, but its popularity propelled the idea into a full fledged musical endeavor that is JUMEAUX. It’s crazy to think that a year before the series came out, Antonio, he and I had dinner together at Nicholas Flamel’s house! (But more on that story later….)

Q: Tell us a bit about the song.  What made you decide to write a theme song for Perenelle, and what were your musical influences in writing this song?

LL: I always tend to gravitate to the dark, complex characters and the Perenelle character resonated with me a great deal.  Michael Scott writes about some splendid female characters.  So, for this song, Perenelle’s theme, I knew it had to have a more electronic but classical feel to it.  So, I channeled Annie Lennox, in particular the song she wrote and sang for the first Lord of the Rings film, which was poetic, beautiful and very minimal.  In addition, I was influenced by the work of Dead Can Dance.  Lisa Gerard and Brendan Perry’s work is astonishingly lush and is supremely executed, and they are both so educated.  I have a great deal of respect for their work. So to realize this, I didn’t have to look far!  For years, my cousin Antonio (the other half the the JUMEAUX duo) and I had been looking for an excuse to work together and this seemed like the perfect opportunity.  I was fairly certain he would love the book too, and once he was on board it was a sure thing.  As our music has evolved, I think we’ve married our two main strengths quite beautifully. Now, I should also mention Goldfrapp, Blonde Redhead, Empire Of The Sun and The xx as influences, each of those acts have helped inspire what Jumeaux has become.

What are your personal thoughts about Perenelle?  How do you feel about her character in the way Michael Scott has depicted her?  And what are your thoughts on the real Perenelle as an historical figure?  Did you know anything about her at all before reading the books?

I’d like to know her better!  I find her soooo intriguing.  She’s pretty much the woman that I want to be when I grow up, and by grow up I mean, when I’m 509 years old ;-).  She’s a strong, wise, talented, unassuming woman and yet she’s a quiet storm.  You would not want to be on the wrong side of her, but you’d love to have her as your aunty.  I think there could be a whole spin off series just about Perenelle.  Then there was the devastating separation, her being trapped on Alcatraz, away from everything she loved and yet, you, as the reader, know full well she will get off that damned island and level every enemy in her path.  I knew a little about Perenelle and Flamel before we began writing CARRY MY VOICE, mostly because Antonio used to live near their historic house in Paris and we discussed it whilst passing by on a regular basis.  I did a little research, but did more after reading the book.  I love that she was (or so they say) a Robin Hood type character, in that she helped build hospitals and schools with her wealth.  Like I said, she was (or maybe still is?) a bad ass.

In listening to the lyrics of CARRY MY VOICE, it feels like there are references to the book series on many levels, as well as it being a song about the character Perenelle herself.  Can you tell us a bit about the lyrics?  What inspired you to write them the way you did, and what do the lyrics mean to you in terms of how they reference the book series?

In writing CARRY MY VOICE, I had to contemplate loss.  I truly believe that you do not know how much you love someone until you either lose them or are faced with the prospect of losing them.  In Perenelle and Flamel’s case, it’s hundreds of years of being with the same person…I don’t think that that is easy to comprehend, it isn’t for me, so I had to go with myself.  Antonio and I wrote the lyrics and we were both talking about great love, great loss and the idea of being with someone who “writes my words”.  The idea of our lives being like pages in a book felt like a powerful image with the Flamels being booksellers, not to mention the central drama of the whole story being about guarding the most important book ever written.  So this simple metaphor of someone “writing my words” took on broader dimensions that resonate with grander overall themes in the books, while also remaining just a beautiful, simple sentiment between two people.  That there is someone in your life who is writing your future just because they exist. C’est formidable! Of course many of the lyrics we’ve written could apply to several of the characters, but there are only so many songs and there are an inordinate amount of characters in this series.  Michael is a freak!

What role did Michael Scott play in making this song?  Did he help you write the lyrics or give you any kind of guidance?

No.  In true genius fashion, he just created the thing that inspired the song.  All he said was (insert Irish accent here), “My dear, write a song for the Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel”, and so we did.

Michael Scott used CARRY MY VOICE as the official theme song for Perenelle on his site for the book series, and he tells us it was downloaded over 120,000 times by fans.  There have been fan videos made on YouTube that used the song, and feedback from all over the world saying how much they love the song.  That must have felt great!

It’s so interesting how things unfold.  Antonio and I have been working separately on numerous projects for year, and it’s always when you least expect it that one little spark becomes a forest fire.  It feels great that the work we’ve been doing has been so well received and appreciated.

You’ve recently made a new remix of CARRY MY VOICE.  What made you decide to remix the song and how did that all come together?

Well actually Antonio remixed the song.  After we’d recorded THIS WAY FOREVER, FIND THE WORDS and some other titles that we haven’t released yet, we found that our “sound” had started to come into its stride.  So Antonio pretty much felt that CARRY MY VOICE deserved a refresh, to bring it more into the fold.  Me, I just oo and ahh, and slap out some bass notes or chug on a guitar every once in a while when I happen to be in his arrondissement!  That said, I am so pleased with the remix… I hope the fans dig it.

CARRY MY VOICE is a very emotive, visual song.   One of the fan comments on YouTube mentioned that the song really painted a mental picture of Perenelle when she’s being kept prisoner on Alcatraz.  Do you have any plans for a music video for this song?

Yes.  I really want to see CARRY MY VOICE put to film… there is more to come on that.  For now, our videos for THIS WAY FOREVER and the teaser for BURY ME DEEP will have to suffice.  But yes, there is definitely something in the works, and we may put up a teaser of it some time soon. 🙂

Thanks for taking the time to answer all these questions, Libby.  One last question:  Can you give us an idea of which character or characters you’re thinking of writing the next songs about?  And would you be open to suggestions about what other songs could be about too?

Well, BURY ME DEEP is a new song that is coming soon, which is inspired by the Paris Catacombs and the character of Mars Ultor.  Then there is FOLLOW, which will see us collaborate with an outside writer for the first time, the fabulous singer/songwriter Raelux.  She is pretty much a warrior rock pop princess, so it should come as no surprise whatsoever that the song FOLLOW is going to be our theme for Scatach!  It’s time.  I’ve wanted to write a song for Scatach since the beginning, but it truly broke my heart when Aoife, her sister went flying into that leygate.  I tell you what, if Michael Scott doesn’t reunite Scatty and Aoife, there’ll be some hell to pay!  The Morrigan has a song coming her way too… it will probably be sans lyrics though, just Lisa Gerard-esque nonsensical cries and crow-like crooning.  Hmm, maybe that description doesn’t really do it justice?  Think dark, richly layered textural and cinematic music, with Sigur Ros channeling the spirit of a celtic crow goddess, topped with haunting vocals, not necessarily with words.  OK maybe no description can really do it justice.  Stay tuned for when we finish recording it and unleash it on you all!



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JUMEAUX is on VIMEO & YOUTUBE!

Well hello there again, dear fans of Flamel.

In case you haven’t been over there yet, we just wanted to let you know… JUMEAUX is now on VIMEO & YouTube!

If you don’t know VIMEO, it’s a fantastic site.  Similar idea to YouTube, but only contains original content and the focus is on quality.  The picture (and sound) quality is worlds apart from YouTube so it’s a great place to showcase video work in beautiful HD. We’ve created our own JUMEAUX channel on Vimeo where we’ll be putting all our own original content – music videos, making of’s and more.  There are already 5 original videos up, including the official music video for THIS WAY FOREVER, so go check it out.  We’ll be blogging in depth about these videos, so you’ll be able to learn a lot more about what they’re about, how they were made and the inspiration behind it all.

You can even subscribe to our VIMEO channel if you like our work.  That’d be just lovely.  But while you’re over on Vimeo, take a look around because it’s really a great site full of fantastic video work from people all over the world.  It might even give you the bug to try making stuff of your own (like what happened to us), and it’s a great resource for learning how to make better videos with loads of tutorials and fantastic discussion communities to help you out.

We also have a JUMEAUX channel on YouTube. Just like on Vimeo, we’re putting up all of our own original video creations.  But we’re also curating the very best material we can find from all over the internet related to the world of THE SECRETS OF THE IMMORTAL NICHOLAS FLAMEL.  For example, we found a fantastic interview video with an expert historian on the 3rd arrondissement of Paris (the neighbourhood where Nicholas and Perenelle’s house is still standing), where they discuss the history of the house and the ancient inscriptions on the façade.  Great video, but unless you can speak french, that information is out of reach.  Luckily, ANTONIO speaks french, so he kindly subtitled the video into english to make the information accessible to many more people.  You can see it here: http://youtu.be/bkedjtU4-lY.

So that’s an example of what our JUMEAUX YouTube channel is about.  We’re going to continue to find as much interesting information for Flamel fans as we can, so we encourage you to subscribe, join in, link videos and make it a great resource for everyone!

Stay tuned for more original videos coming soon.. including an official music video for Perenelle’s theme song, CARRY MY VOICE.  We’ll let you know when it’s ready!

Introducing the JUMEAUX Q&A series

Since we started writing and recording music for THE SECRETS OF THE IMMORTAL NICHOLAS FLAMEL, we’ve had lots of questions sent to us from fans of the books from all around the world. People have wanted to know about our inspiration behind the lyrics, which characters or themes the songs are about, what our musical influences are, our relationship with MICHAEL SCOTT.  All kinds of things.

So we thought a great way to share information with you all would be to run a continuing series of Q&A’s on this blog.  I mean, what better way to answer a bunch of Q’s than with a bunch of A’s?  We’ll be doing many of these, covering all the songs we’ve written so far, our video work, and more of what’s to come.

To kick things off, we’re starting with a Q&A with LIBBY LAVELLA about the song that started it all: Perenelle’s theme, CARRY MY VOICE.  For this Q&A, we’ve rounded up a selection of the most popular questions we’ve received in feedback from fans about this song.  We’ll be posting it real soon! Here it is!

Then, stay tuned for more Q&A’s about our other songs and videos. LIBBY and ANTONIO will both chime in to answer the questions and ruminate philosophically about the lyrics and the connection between the music and the books.  There’s so much to talk about, it should make for interesting reading.

But wait.. there’s more!  We’re thrilled to announce that MICHAEL SCOTT himself is going to be interviewing us about our work, and we’ll present it as part of this Q&A series.  We might even turn the tables and interview him right back!  So it should be a fun series to follow, with lots Flamel-soaked juicy informational nuggets to sink your teeth into.  Yeah!

Last but not least, in fact probably the most important of all:  We’d LOVE to answer your questions about the music we’re writing.  This is a fan-based collaborative project after all.  We’re fans, you’re fans… so let’s be fans together and discuss this thing sideways.  Which characters do YOU think deserve theme songs, and why?  What kind of music does reading the books inspire YOU to think about?  Give us your Q’s and we shall magically transform them into A’s. Like alchemists transform lead into gold.  See what we did there?  🙂

OK, see you over in the Q&A’s as they start coming online!

Photos online now!

Photos.  We haz dem.

If you haven’t had a look yet, go and check out our photo page.

We’ve got a whole bunch of exclusive photos of particular interest to Flamel Fans that you won’t see anywhere else on the internets. OK, exclusive is just a fancy way of putting the fact that we took them ourselves.  But they’re cool!

There’s a gallery of photos from the recording sessions in Paris.  If you’ve ever wondered about what it’s like in the studio, or if you are a music tech geek (closeted or otherwise), then you might really get a kick out of seeing all the cool vintage gear we got to use to make our music.

And next up, we’ve posted a gallery of shots from our visit to the catacombs of Paris and the real-life house of Nicholas and Perenelle Flamel.  If you are a card-carrying fanatical fan of the SECRETS OF THE IMMORTAL NICHOLAS FLAMEL, then nobody needs to tell you the Paris Catacombs are among the most spine-chilling and downright spooky settings in the book series.  Haven’t booked your flight to Paris yet to see it for yourself?  Never fear, we photo-documented the place for you, so you can see it up close from the safety of your computerized internet unit.  And then we take you to the mother of all ground zeros in the Flamel universe – the actual house of Nicholas and Perenelle Flamel.  The Codex of Abraham, the secrets of the philosopher’s stone, the central nexus of alchemy.. you’ll have to take our word for it that it’s quite something to stand right in front of the house that holds all these secrets from the past.  Sure, the line between history and mythology may be a blurry one, but if you know Michael Scott’s books, you know how enthralling this blurred line can be!  But what really excites us is that unlike, say, Hogwarts, this house is real. There’s nothing quite like taking it in with your own eyes.  Anyway, a picture is worth a thousand words and all that, so check out the gallery!

Last but not least, we’ve also added a huge gallery of photos from our first music video for THIS WAY FOREVER.  It includes screen caps from the official video (cos they’re pretty), and also a whole host of out-take shots, special effects experiments and shots from the set (cos they’re pretty too).  We’ve had lots of people asking about THIS WAY FOREVER – about what the song means, what the video is about etc.  We’ll be blogging about all of that soon, so stay tuned for those updates!

Greetings Flamel fans. So, who’s the other half of the duo JUMEAUX then?

Well that’s a great question.

Hey there you guys! I figured it was time for a post about me and the part I play in the JUMEAUX story.  I’m Antonio, the other half of the music duo, along with the wonderful singer/singwriter LIBBY LAVELLA.  And like Libby, I also call MICHAEL SCOTT (our favorite author!) a friend.

 

How about we kick off with a few fun facts?  Who doesn’t love fun facts?

FUN FACT #1

LIBBY LAVELLA and I are cousins.  But… we never knew each other existed until we were in our 20s.  How did this happen?  Long story short, Libby’s father died young and in tragic circumstances.  Our family didn’t know that he had a child when he passed, so Libby grew up without knowing her biological family on her dad’s side.  But when she came of age, she decided to reach out to our family and she and I personally met for the first time.  It freaked me out how many things we had in common, including uncannily similar tastes in music, and just taste in stuff in general.  Actually, this weird connection is part of what made us choose the name JUMEAUX for the music we write together.  Hint: if you need to google translate the word “jumeaux”, use french oh ok I’ll do it for you, it means “twins”.

FUN FACT #2

Libby was already a talented and accomplished musician before we knew she even existed, and vice-versa.  So imagine her surprise when she discovered that many people in her biological family were also professional musicians!  She’d spent her teens studying the guitar technique of one of the world’s greatest guitarists FRANK GAMBALE, only to discover later in life that he was her uncle.  You couldn’t make this stuff up!

FUN FACT #3

Libby was the one who introduced me to the world of THE SECRETS OF THE IMMORTAL NICHOLAS FLAMEL. Actually it was all part of a series of weird yet cool coincidences, which you could even call destiny if you’re into that kind of thing.  She visited me in Paris years ago, when I was living literally a couple of streets away from the house of Nicholas and Perenelle Flamel.  I took her to see it, as you do when you’re taking a visiting friend around your neighbourhood to see the sights.   Fast-forward a couple of years, I’m in LA visiting Libby and I meet Michael Scott himself.  Of course I did not miss the opportunity to embarrass myself like a blubbering fan telling him how much I adored “The Alchemyst”.  You’d do the same, admit it.

FUN FACT #4

I have very strong and controversial opinions about pandas.  It’s generally best not to get into a conversation about them with me.

There you go, who knew facts could be so fun?

Anyway, I suppose I should also point out that I’m a musician as well.  I mean otherwise what would I be doing here?  I’ve had a career in electronic music and remixing, advertising music, video games and many things in between.  But for the past few years I’ve been most involved in music for cinema.  I’ve worked on the score for a bunch of french feature films that you are pretty unlikely to have heard of (unless you are french).  But I’ve also worked on some films that you might have seen.  I’ve had the great fortune of working with the extraordinary film composer Nathaniel Méchaly on films like TAKEN (the one with Liam Neeson being all badass) and more recently, COLOMBIANA (that other one with Zoe Saldana being all badass).  Actually there’s a lot more to say on all of this -for example we got to record JUMEAUX tracks in Nathaniel’s amazing studio in Paris.  But I’ll save this up for another post.

So, back to JUMEAUX.  Here’s the skinny:  Libby told me that MICHAEL SCOTT was interested in having original music written for his series THE SECRETS OF THE IMMORTAL NICHOLAS FLAMEL.  When I received the first book, I literally read it from cover to cover in one sitting.  Well, there were no actual physical covers because it was a PDF manuscript from the author himself (ah the perks!), but you get the idea.  I was instantly hooked. So much so that I think I’ll write some posts here about my thoughts and feelings on this amazing series.  But I digress…

Libby said, so, let’s write a theme song for Perenelle, yeah?  I was like, yes, let’s.  So we did.  Michael loved the song, called CARRY MY VOICE, so he launched it on his official website.  Many of Michael’s readers liked the song too, because it was downloaded over 120,000 times.  In old-fashioned music sales speak, that’s platinum, right?  Also, people made fan videos on YouTube using the song as a soundtrack, and we got lots of fabulous comments on how the song really painted a richer picture of the character Perenelle.  Michael was like, hey guys this is great.  I love the idea of having music written about my characters and the themes in my books, and all this cross-mixing of ideas and art between fans is really cool.  You should write more songs!  So, here we are.

Libby came over to Paris to record some songs in the studio with me, and we had a blast working together.  We’ll be telling you the story of how SONGS FOR FLAMEL all came together as we go along on this blog.  But there’s also more new music (and new videos) to come, so we hope you’re going to enjoy it!

There you have it.  I’m really excited to be a part of this project.  I think Michael Scott’s idea of creating music inspired by his books is genius, and I’m totally humbled that he invited us to be a part of it!

I’ll be back with more later, but in the meantime take a look around our blog and let us know what you think!

Hello fans of Flamel! Libby here…

Hello fans of The Immortal Nicholas Flamel series and Jumeaux! I am thrilled to be a part of the duo Jumeaux and am most grateful that you have taken the time to visit our little blog. You may or may not know me from my solo work, if not and if you feel inclined, you can visit me here (www.libbylavella.com) and read a little more about my music, but if you are already familiar then allow me to bring up you up to speed and share with you how Jumeaux came about.

When Michael Scott was about to launch the series with his stunning first book, The Alchemyst, he casually mentioned that it would be cool to have a song for the website. He allowed me to read a proof and without hesitation I contacted my cousin Antonio Gambale in Paris. We’d been talking on and off for years about working together and I knew that this was the going to be the perfect pairing. I knew without a doubt that Antonio would “get” the book and the series and that the mood of the book would benefit from his composition and programming sensibilities.

Coincidentally, when I was in Paris in 2005, Antonio was living in an apartment in the Marais literally around the corner from historic house of Nicholas Flamel, as a consequence we must have walked past the house over 20 times. We talked about it casually, a little about the myths surrounding the story of Flamel, the fact that it is now a restaurant and has been for awhile, we even photographed some of the carvings around the façade. Incredible! Little did we know what was to come.

I’ll be posting some stories about the music, my trips to Paris to write and record with Antonio, my thoughts on the book series and so on. No doubt, my comrade in arms, Antonio will post too from time to time. Who knows, we may even be able to nail down Michael Scott of an interview…stranger things have happened. Stay tuned and thanks so much for listening. More to come!

An introduction to Jumeaux

Hi everybody.  If you’re here visiting our blog (thanks for stopping by) we very likely have something and someone in common…

You can read more about who we are and what we’re about on our (duh) about page.  But to cut to the chase – we are friends and huge fans of the wonderful author, Michael Scott.  In particular, of his thrilling series: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel.

On this blog, we’re going to be telling you the story about the music we’ve written and recorded, inspired by themes and characters in this epic book series.  Stay tuned for updates where we’ll share with how we came up with the ideas for the songs and how they relate to ideas in the books.  We’ll take you with us to Paris, when Libby flew over to visit the very same locations in the books to draw inspiration and record songs about them.