Monsieur Shwill takes the magic of orchestral arrangements and blends them with electronic soundscapes to create his own authentic brand of trip-hop. Louis Raveton, the man behind Monsieur Shwill, was heavily inspired while living outside of his native Paris. Monsieur Shwill was previously part of a hip-hop collective based in Warsaw, Poland in 2005 before relocating to Barcelona in 2009. Continuing his music career and honing his craft, Monsieur Shwill released a debut EP in 2017 titled “Hangover in C Minor”.
Monsieur Shwill’s latest release “Fuga” comes months before his full-length album release in 2020, with a date yet to be announced. “Fuga” is a fine fusion of reflective, entrancing melodies, and a calming, ambient beat. Along with a refreshingly thoughtful concept and an honest approach, it all helps make “Fuga” an absolute stand out for the year so far. It’s a beautiful, late-night anthem for trip-hop fans. There’s a smooth aura to the whole thing and a clean finish, one that still lets the dreamlike aura of the backdrop wash over you in a hypnotic way. The lyrics and the vocal deliveries are of as high a quality as the music. The whole thing hits with impact and leaves you feeling uplifted and ready for more. “Fuga” takes its time to build itself around you. The intro sees a partly organic ambiance pour through, then you get that central melody, then you get that vocal that’s easy to connect with. This use of poetry and openness works beautifully, every line captivates while the entire piece just reaches out for you. A single listen to “Fuga” is not enough.
Listen to "Fuga" here.
Welcome to BuzzMusic Monsieur Shwill! What has it been like for you moving around so often? How has cultural diversity influenced your approach as an artist?
I’ve lived in a few European cities since I started making music in 2001, something that had a tangible impact on my music trajectory: in Madrid, where I co-arranged folk songs and played gigs in local “tapas” bars with a songwriter friend. In Warsaw, where I became a beat-maker and did home recording sessions for a hip-hop collective. South-East Asia, where I carried a $10 nylon-string guitar on my shoulder for 6 months and had seemingly limitless musical encounters. In France, where I started recording my first demos. And of course, in Barcelona where Monsieur Shwill was born. But Paris, where I was born, is probably where my yet-to-become music really started. I remember in my early 20s the so-called “French Touch” started to emerge with artists like St Germain, Air, Modjo, Phoenix and of course Daft Punk: to me, they were putting something different on the table than the mainstream electro at the time -- techno, house, trance, dance were rather dominant. We were hearing those tracks on the radio over and over again and I could never get enough… what struck me as a young musician, was the level of detail with which those tracks were produced. The quality and variety of production styles really opened my eyes to the possibilities of sound design, vocal processing, beat programming, synth voicing, and layering... much like orchestral arrangements really. I started experimenting with short compositions on a 4-track cassette recorder, then later samplers and groove boxes. I started seeing those not only as just tools but actual musical instruments. This is probably the biggest print of Paris in my musical DNA.
“Fuga” has a strong lyrical presence from Monica Mussungo. Can you dive into the meaning of this track? What was the writing process like?
“Fuga” is an introspective journey and a reflection on self-transformation through emotional “corrosion”. When we started collaborating on the track, both Monica Mussungo and myself were inspired by the fact that we’re all exposed at some point in our lives to varied forms of inner corrosion, something very intimate that most often leads to sadness, anger, insecurity, melancholia and taking us down. What the song aims to transmit is the idea that corrosion is a transformation process rather than the apparent destruction that it induces. This track is about embracing the insoluble emotional "corrosion" ("Insolúvel corrosão" in the text), to let go and accept transformation as an organic process. It is an inner "runaway" towards a peaceful elsewhere, with your deepest self.
Since you’ve been making music for several years, how would you compare some of the earlier material you’ve written to your newest release “Fuga”?
The 3 EP series “Hangover In C Minor” was developed around a “beat-making” aesthetic that was reliant on samples, including movie dialogs from the 1930s and jazz vocal chops.
“Fuga” is still rooted in beat-making but evolves more around trip-hop, world music and “songwriting”, with an orchestral and cinematic twist. Unlike my previous EPs, it’s very much focused on the narrative of the track as well as Monica Mussungo's interpretation, her culture, her art, her sensitivity … a protagonist that I had at heart to highlight with orchestral arrangements.
You mentioned that you’ll be releasing a full-length album in 2020! Can you talk more about that? What will that look like for your listeners?
Just like Fuga, the new album has a strong emphasis on featured artists, not only in terms of personality and the stories they deliver but also in terms of language (French, Portuguese, Spanish and English) and genres (trip-hop, electro-pop, future bass, glitch hop, and rap). And as always with an orchestral and cinematic vibe!