Q1: When did you start writing and whom influenced you the most & influences you currently?
Sylvia: I started writing lyrics and poems as a teen, but I wasn’t in a band or anything. I didn’t get the opportunity, and also I didn’t know I could (form a band, go solo.) I also started several diaries. I
wanted to express myself but I just didn’t know how, or couldn’t. We didn’t have student newspaper or anything like this in schools in France in early 90s, unfortunately. I would have liked
to be involved in such a project.
Pre-teen I had started learning English by myself as I was reading, memorizing, translating pop
songs so I could sing along better to them! Looking back, it really was a formative activity, I
probably internalized a few things regarding songwriting, for the better or worst!
I think Martin Gore of Depeche Mode has been a big influence, the way stories unfold, the flow, how to use rhymes and patterns. I really like Emilíana Torrini’s songwriting, as well, she has a very poetic and mundane way of telling about melancholy and hope.
That being said, I think the way I write is quite instinctive, I don’t try to follow any rule.
Q2: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?
Sylvia: At the age of five years old I was saying I wanted to be a star, which made adults laugh a lot, and no one taking it seriously. But I think what I really meant already was that I wanted to create and
share with the world. And I’ve always liked words, so here we are.
I sometimes think I also have a book in me, but it hasn’t come out yet.
Q3: Who has helped you most with writing and career?
Sylvia: Meeting Michael, my bandmate and partner, totally changed my artistic path – allowing me to have one. His trust and support in my writings have been essential. Like I said earlier, I didn’t
know I could be in a band, for real, and that I was allowed to make art. It was never even suggested to me growing up, even though I was craving for it.
It’s not ideal that it took me to meet a man to get into writing and singing, but that’s what happened.
Q4: Where did you grow up and how did that influence you? Have any travels influenced your work?
Sylvia: I was born in Toulouse and grew up in Marseille, while also spending holidays in the French Basque region (where I would move to, while still in high school) so I’m from the whole South of
Growing up in Marseille influenced me in the sense that I didn’t feel I fit there and I spent a lot of time alone listening to music or watching tv. It gives you a lot of time to dream of something else.
Now that I travel back and forth between France and the USA, it obviously gives me new perspectives and food for thought.
Q5: What do you consider your most meaningful work creatively to you?
Sylvia: That would be our second album with Tremosphere, Memoirs of a French Garden. It was my first time writing music on my own, with my bass, and I wanted more than tell little stories, it was
about personal healing and emerging somewhat different. I wanted to feel and be changed
Q6: Favorite activities to relax?
Sylvia: I have a hard time really relaxing, whether physically or intellectually. But for fun, or to clear my mind, I like to cook and bake, even though they now feel more like chores rather than pleasant
activities. I also listen to music a lot, whether radio shows or albums, and I watch tv, not as much as I use to but still quite a lot. I go to the movies by myself, especially when there’s a new MCU or
DC movie, blockbusters can make you forget about your daily worries so I appreciate that. I’ve started gardening a few years ago, and spend more time just being with nature. I watch the birds,
When I’m in Paris or New York, I like to wander, look up and down, and go to art museums.
I love when I’m in New York and we can practice live in the same room with Michael, it can be really fun and fulfilling.
I also like to have sex, it can sometimes take a while to get in the zone but hey, that’s relaxing!
Q7: What is a favorite line/stanza/lyric from your writings?
”I got so scared I forgot to be young” from Close to the Sun, on Memoirs of a French Garden. It
means so much to me, because that’s what happened and acknowledging it is a big step for my wellbeing.
Q8: What kind of music inspires you the most? What is a song that always comes back to you as an inspiration?
Sylvia: I listen to folk, pop, R&B, ambient, drone, hip hop, pop rock…
Any kind can inspire me, as long as it does something to me when hearing it.
One song as a recurring inspiration? that’s hard to say, but right now I’m obsessed with Apples by Sun’s Signature, I think it’s so perfect and it comes at the right time for me, as a songwriter-in-progress.
Q9: Do you have any recent upcoming projects that you’d like to promote?
Sylvia: Well, our bands released albums a few months ago: with Bipolar Explorer we released the band’s 10th album, ”Forests, Voices, Coastlines, Dreams: Recordings for The Dark Outside” and with
Tremosphere, last March we released ”Memoirs of a French Garden.”
We’re already working on new ones as well, for release maybe later this year and in 2023.
It’s so weird, because I still haven’t fully processed the work we’ve done with the albums before these, especially ”Deux Anges” in 2020. Even though with Bipolar Explorer I am not the main
songwriter nor singer – I do spoken word, and produce along with Michael – it was a double album
and a lot was going on (and still is!). I do the work on our websites, also.
Aside from personal promo, I’d like to encourage people to support this upcoming book:
“Bloody Hell! And Other Stories”
Adventures in Menopause from Across the Personal and Political Spectrum By Mona Eltahawy
make your pledge at https://unbound.com/books/bloody-hell-and-other-stories/
Bonus Question: Any funny memory or strange occurrence you’d like to share during your creative journey?
Sylvia: It’s been an odd journey, I think, from French little girl in a non-artistic environment to adult woman putting herself out and making songs with her New Yorker partner, and being played on
Also, just the way we met with Michael and what happened right after, it’s all so unexpected, to say the least. (short version: we met online, I came to NY twice in a few months, and the second
time, two days after I left, he got hit by a car. I flew back, he remained hospitalized longer than expected and two weeks later, on release day, as we were walking to get a cab, he collapsed into
my arms. He was having a pulmonary embolism. We were rushed into the ER, his heart stopped for 10 minutes. And he came back. That’s not how relationships usually start, do they?
Sylvia Solanas is a French-born singer, songwriter, photographer and visual artist. She’s a member of experimental dream pop trio Bipolar Explorer and co-founder of dream pop duo Tremosphere.
She’s 44 and started her artistic career in her late thirties. She’s neurodivergent and has fibromyalgia. She’s also a feminist, a mother, a carer.
Sylvia published a pocket book of poems in 2019 as a companion to her first album with Tremosphere, ‘Interiors.’
‘Memoirs of a French Garden’ by Tremosphere and ‘Forests, Voices, Coastlines, Dreams: Recordings For The Dark Outside’ by Bipolar Explorer, as well as their previous albums, singles, books, are available on Slugg Records.
For Audio interview. (not my voice in interview) Thanks to everyone for recording this for the site and for Sylvia Solanas, Tremosphere & Bipolar Explorer & Slugg Records.