Lately, Benjamin Siksou climbed the steps of the 75th Cannes film festival in the company of Marion Cotillard, incendiary on the red carpet, and Melvil Poupaud to defend Brother and sistera family tragedy by Arnaud Desplechin then in the running for the Palme d’Or. The story does not say if he met Virginie Efira, mistress of ceremonies who presented New star when he reached the season 6 finale. He is also in the cast of What’s wrong with my family?, inspired by the book-testimonial by Marc-Olivier Fogiel (very moved by this adaptation), where he embodies a young homosexual who has had recourse to surrogacy (surrogacy). A year before the broadcast in February 2022 of the telefilm on France 2, he had revealed his homosexuality in Coming out, a podcast by Elise Goldfarb and Julia Layani on Spotify. He evoked his love for his longtime companion. This gives Song for a Julienone of the key titles of his second album baptized saxophonia. Thanks to this opus which comes out this Friday, June 17 and famous, as his name suggests, the saxophone, Joyce Jonathan’s friend takes off his acting hat for a while to better return to the stage.
Benjamin Siksou on his album saxophonia : “We do not write the same after the attacks, the Covid“
Tele-Leisure : Where does this love for the brass band and the saxophone come from, which shines through in the album?
Benjamin Siksou: Each country has its own fanfare and it’s quite fascinating. I really like the Marching Bands, Louis Armstrong and New Orleans. It’s jazz in motion. If I alternate genres in the album, it’s to highlight the voice and the lyrics. I wanted neither machines nor keyboards, only absolute acoustics to be able to play everywhere. With a fairly light formation (drums, sax, guitar, voice), I will be able to reinvent the pieces and improvise. The album speaks of lack and frustration but there too it is due to the writing and the creation. Writing must come to fill something.
In Nowhereyou give us an appointment at the next virus and, in Underground storiesyou invent the city of “Chernobyl-Mezieres“: Is this your way of looking at the world?
We do not write the same after the attacks, the Covid. When I say “See you at the next virus”, I am ironic of course but, at the same time, I am terrified of what awaits us. We would have entered a viral era that should not stop! Same feeling of anguish when I mention Chernobyl, like a constant fear of a catastrophe that could befall us. I evoke a radioactive poet: I found the character heroic enough to fight this fear. It speaks of me and at the same time not at all.
Benjamin Siksou on Alain Souchon: “It’is of the accessible variety but which ventures“
Alain Souchonwhose reference is obvious with the title Hello mom, I’m a bobo, is he a poet?
In his songs, which have become classics, he goes for rich rhyme. There is an almost academic side to it, but it was very new at the time. And then, it makes me think of Michel Jonasz and Jean-Claude Vannier: it’s accessible variety but which ventures, during the 1970s that I love!
There are also two homages to Chet Baker on the album: why is this jazz giant important to you?
Like Souchon, he too is at a crossroads, the popular and the cutting-edge. Some only know him as a singer, others as a trumpeter. He has a very soft voice but which is never sugary. Like all interesting people, he is on edge, but he never falls on the wrong side, that of insipidity.
Benjamin Siksou on his homosexuality: “I prefer affirmation because it’s more personal, an inner path, less focused on fear of others“
In February 2021, in a podcast where you share your homosexuality, you say that The Song for a Julien received a different reception…
I had made a version of the song on Instagram during confinement. I got great feedback from people. I can’t wait to hear new ones when they listen to the album. I had reactions internally, those of relatives, collaborators and it was more cautious. They were more worried.
So much so that you were asked to perform this song with a woman..
It stunned me but at the same time I was not surprised. I didn’t ask myself any questions while writing it, but for a while, which wasn’t long, I wondered how I was going to interpret it.
You also say it’s a love song…
It’s not a song about homosexuality or claiming anything. My way of doing it is to impose it. It’s not even talking about it. Not to mention it because that’s how it is. I don’t like words”to assume” neither “coming out“: these words are a little violent. I prefer affirmation because it’s more personal, an inner path, less turned towards the fear of others. It’s a way to find oneself. I only had positive reactions after the broadcast of the podcast so I absolutely do not regret having participated in it.
In What’s wrong with my family ?, you play a young homosexual having recourse to surrogacy. How was this TV movie important to you?
Personally, not that much. It was a very nice project, with an exciting role to play. I loved working with Hélène Angel (Meeting with the dragon) who is a wonderful director. Even in a TV economy, we were really on a movie set. Despite a pedagogical necessity, the actors were not there in the campaign or to defend anything. Regardless of what we think on the subject, we wanted a film that enlightens.
Benjamin Siksou on New star : “It allowed me to make myself known, to open up and at the same time, it also slowed me down“
As a season 6 runner-up New starwould you like to work with Virginie Efira, presenter of the famous tele-hook and now an actress?
Yes of course ! I love her so much. New star, that was almost 15 years ago and I have no regrets. There’s no point in having any. I was very young. It went very well. It allowed me to make myself known, to open up and at the same time, it was very violent and also slowed me down. I closed myself off a bit. There was a pressure of result, a big expectation and it is not a driving force for me.
Was this show frustrating artistically?
No way. We were really making music. I was quite free to come up with lots of things, sometimes even arrangements. There was the excitement of participating in a live broadcast. I already knew the scene for having done concerts but there was a real excitement during those three months. It was very popular: it’s quite rare and magical for a show to reach all levels of society.
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Benjamin Siksou, interpreter of a song about his companion, confides: “I don’t like the words ‘assume’ or ‘coming-out’: these words are a bit violent”