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► Atanaz “Live without pretending”

Live but not only half, this is one of the important values ​​of Atanaz who launched his third project in December 2021. The Parisian of Guadeloupean origin returns to a rap-song register that he masters better and better with the key to a true way of reorienting his existence. During a charity gathering, the rapper told us about his approach to music and also enlightened us on his still relatively unknown path.

What do you remember of your experience in New York, the city where you lived for several years?

I ended up there as part of my studies, although I stayed out a bit. I looked for work when I got there and struggled to find accommodation until I found a roommate after an incessant search. I came across as Cesar’s roommate, a guy who was setting up a clothing brand and making a lot of sound at the time. Since I had been there a long time, he put me in touch with various guys from Harlem and I got to meet beautiful people. I really learned to structure myself in music there because I saw how to produce your own merchandise and I became more professional.

Who did you meet there?

Some of the A $ AP Mob members were close to guys I was in contact with, so I was able to hang out with them. I have also run into events where I have come across Travis Scott. This all happened because my friend Cesar’s brand hit the spot when I got there.

Did your friendship with Caesar lead you to want to dedicate yourself to fashion one day as well?

Frankly, this is an area that I appreciate but one that is truly independent. It would take more for me to associate with someone to convey my ideas and produce creations. At the moment I don’t have the presumption of knowing myself a lot there, although I bathed in this New York environment. But it could be done one day, anything is possible.

Since you were young, who are the personalities that have led you to music?

When I was younger, we will say that my parents made me listen to a lot of Soul and Caribbean music. Afterwards, I got hooked on rap and dancehall very quickly thanks to my sister. I have no reference artist, I have always been inspired more by particular musical vibes.

Are you following rap scenes in the West Indies now?

Obviously I have an ear in what is being done there. The particularity of this scene is that its geographical location brings it naturally closer to American rap. Gucci Mane has long been a strong figure in Guadeloupe, for example. The lifestyle he leads is more in line with what the people live there than with the metropolitan people.

You were absent for almost 3 years after your last project (insights), did you want to find a new lease of life?

First of all, I think the covid thwarted most of my plans because Vivre’s goal is to pass a course for me. And to overcome this milestone it is essential to be able to defend the project live, something that was not possible at the time. We already had the start of the project at the end of 2020 but we preferred to wait for the health situation to stabilize before starting up. So I further developed the framework that I co-created which is called DMG and we also released a program called OVF. But we are really unfortunate as concerts are again impossible. Therefore, we had to postpone the tour that was scheduled for February.

How and where did you make this beautiful cover?

The idea for this cover came from my desire to represent a reflection. I spoke to David Delaplace, who was immediately excited. We didn’t want to do this through Photoshop, we wanted to render this reflection with a real shot. Therefore, David had the idea to go to Mont-Saint-Michel because when the sea recedes, a very thin film of water forms. This is how we represent my reflection thanks to this very fine sea.

Credit: David Delaplace
Your music is interesting because you master a duality between singing and rap. Did you have these vocations at the same time?

We will say that I have always felt more comfortable singing. But it was first through rapping that I was trained, particularly on open mics. With my boys we were really great kickers and it was difficult at this point in my life to put the call first. It was very recently that I started to focus on singing and found a balance. I find singing to be a much broader style and much more accessible in terms of emotions.

Is it important to you to be versatile in rap today?

Not necessarily because today you have people who only rap or sing who are doing very well. I think versatility is more important to me. Although I do not propose much alone, it is something that is essential for my music because it allows me to transcribe a maximum of vibrations. But I’m not pushing to exercise both.

During the introduction of the project, he quotes “live but not just half a word.” What is this notion of living in half a word for you?

For me, living with half words is living pretending. When you are on the machine, when you get into a rut, you can quickly fall into this lifestyle. You take little perspective of what you do in the end. The Covid finally got something good because it allowed many people to question themselves about it and many stopped their work. For me, you have to truly live, live by your passion and find your balance. It is really this idea that I wanted to convey within the project.

This notion of freedom is also found in the song “Keys” where you talk about coming out of a cloud of smoke. Since when did you know that you come out of the fog?

For more than a year ago. In fact, living is a continuation of my previous projects. About the aporia I addressed the idea of ​​doubt a lot, then within perceptions I also spoke a lot about the future. Living is the conclusion of this trilogy and it is now that I come out of this period of doubt.

Did you foresee this psychological evolution?

Not at all. I see music as the result of my moods. All the questions I ask about all my projects are parallel to my life, but I could never predict what was really going to happen. In any case for the moment it is a very positive continuity.

In the song “Elsewhere” he quotes “When love is dead is when you win and are reborn.” So is it important to live to the end of a story?

I think it’s when you’re up against the wall that you find your courage. This is where you go beyond yourself and find the energy you never thought you had. I think you have to go through these moments to be reborn in life from time to time and move on.

How did you come to collaborate with jok’air on the song “Angel”?

We didn’t know each other before the collaboration. It really is a musical connection. When I heard the production of Skywalkers Beats, I directly imagined Joker posing in it. I got in touch with him and he really stuck with my aesthetic. It’s really heavy to have these purely artistic connections without having the commercial side around.

Another collaboration, that of Njo. What is your relationship with him and can you tell us about this song?

We met in the time of Aporia. After the project, he put rap on hold to devote more time to art direction. And it is he who helped me a lot to carry out the Living project. For this song I really wanted to highlight the drill because it is a genre that marked me a lot when I was in New York in 2020. When I got there it was crazy, pop smoke everywhere. New York is truly a city marked by music. This exercise spoke to me more than the one in England because it has more pronounced ballroom influences. I had basically made this song for delirium but my friends quickly made me understand that I had to release it.

How was your launch party? Will you be doing concerts soon?

It was very cool but it was very fair to organize because at the last moment we had to change rooms. The concert sold out and it was really when I found the stage a year and a half after leaving it. It is a real challenge and it made me happy to meet the audience again. Having incorporated many more voices into my project also allowed me to see that it brings new energy to the concert. Currently, we are on hold for the next tour. But I think we will be operational in April.

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