Music: The art of “doing differently”, or the 25 years of the label early or late

(AFP) – “It is the confirmation that we can do otherwise”, summarizes Vincent Frèrebeau, boss of early or late: this independent label has been in vogue for 25 years with singular voices, from Thomas Fersen to Yael Naim, via Shaka Ponk or Vianney.

. “You play your life”

“When you are independent, you play your life, at the beginning in any case, less now because our shop is 25 years old, but we built our pillars by imposing artists whom the others did not want”, tells AFP Vincent Frèrebeau, founder met in his Parisian offices.

The game, the fifty-something knows. Was a time when he wasted his time, all his friends and more money than he had in slot machines. “And one evening, I won, enough to have a contribution for a house in Paris; I was very friends with Jean-Yves Lafesse, who also had this quirk. We said to each other + we stop +, he passed a phone call to the Ministry of the Interior and we were banned from the casino, it was in 1999 “.

Winning shots, there were some sooner or later, as evidenced by his crazy casting anniversary album. The name of the label, found by Jacques Higelin (a friend of the boss), sticks to Frèrebeau’s vision of the profession: “This pugnacious side, obstinacy, relentlessness, that we must put at the service of the artists that we develop”.

. “Delerm gave us the wings”

Thomas Fersen (of which Frèrebeau was touring guitarist) or the Têtes Raides are there at the beginning of Early Or Later, a division of Warner then a semi-independent structure before independence (4 people at the start, 33 today with the production of shows ).

Vincent Delerm, “is a key moment when you become independent, it is a success with 500,000 sales in 2002. He gave us wings and resources, at the start of the recorded music crisis”.

Frèrebeau still remembers the discovery of the words of “Fanny Ardant and me” on the first date. “When you look for original texts, you don’t miss him”.

. “We stand where we could have died”

And then comes Yael Naim and the track “New Soul” (2007). “We send this record everywhere; the programmer of KCRW (influential American radio in the independent circuit) has a crush,” begins Frèrebeau. “And the guy who advertises Apple hears it in his car: he’s working on a campaign for the brand’s new soul (+ new soul), he takes it and it’s number one in the USA in a few weeks without a classic development that takes weeks and millions “.

“With Yael, we stand where we could have died”, because at that time the music industry no longer knows where it lives. “The physical medium (CD, vinyl) is breaking its mouth, the digital model is not yet there and we are being told that the music should be free …”, remembers the creator of Sooner or Later.

. Shaka Ponk, “we open up to something else”

Vianney – and “his hit battalions” – is the label’s current showcase, but Shaka Ponk is indicative of another milestone. If we put aside the late Lhasa, sooner or later had ended up rhyming with HQ of the new French song (Fersen, Mathieu Boogaerts, Delerm, etc.).

To stop being “obsessed with an exclusive style” and moreover seduced by “an animal thing, a rock thing”, Frèrebeau brought Shaka Ponk on board at the end of the 2000s.

The group, stage animal with an extraordinary show, then filled XXL rooms “with shows that we finally produce ourselves”. “Because when the recorded music industry is in a state of stagnation, you have to go to a place where you create value”, that is to say the stage. “Thanks to Shaka Ponk, we open up to something else and I created Zouave”. It is the structure of shows that he lacked to accompany an artist from A to Z, from music to the public. Everything happens, sooner or later.