Byebyefish, the band of Francois Maillard is an interesting one just as its leader. Gentle harmonies combined with breathy pace, stories of simple times and complex emotions. We had an interesting conversation and a good time. Enjoy your time by getting to know this interesting artist and his thoughts!
And while you are at it, listen to his “Lullaby” from an early album!
Music Authentic: Welcome to our site! There is this question, kind of traditional to begin with here at the interviews: How did you sleep last night?
Francois Maillard (Byebyefish): I’ve slept well! Usually when I go to bed I’m so tired that I can fall asleep in 30 seconds… 😊
Music Authentic: How is life at yours, in the everyday life? Can people around you hold on, can you still hold on?
Francois Maillard (Byebyefish): Not a single day without laughing and joking, often with a cynical sense of humour. But some days there is too much pressure. Pressure on me, then anxious feelings. And pressure on my relatives too. I try to improve myself on that.
Music Authentic: The world has been changing and most of these changes haven’t been done by us but to us. Has this affected your art and view on life?
Francois Maillard (Byebyefish): It totally changes my view on life. Staying home helps me so much to reconcile my work, family and artistic life. The time has come for big artistic opportunities that I can explore, leaving my self-depreciation tendencies behind.
Music Authentic: Artists are insecure by nature and they are one the most heavily affected by the new – and hopefully just temporary – way of life. What makes you happy and joyful, what little or big things?
Francois Maillard (Byebyefish): I feel happy when I achieve a project with hard labour. This spirit is leading me since my ‘De pénombres en lumières’ LP album release a few months ago. The fact that I’ve been self-promoting it as well quite successfully, putting a lot of efforts in the process, is an excellent motivation to continue. But I can feel joyful about many little or big things: walking in the mountains, listening to a great demanding song by an indie artist or watch the small everyday victories of my 9-year-old daughter.
Music Authentic: Where do you usually gain strength during these changing and challenging times?
Francois Maillard (Byebyefish): One daily rule: follow and achieve multiple goals! During lockdown I was going hectic, doing a lot of tasks at the same time with ambitious objectives. And this was a good thing! No time to feel bad or complain.
Music Authentic: Where do you see yourself in a few years from now on?
Francois Maillard (Byebyefish): Little by little, I would love switching from being a financial consultant to become a musical entrepreneur. I can feel there are much more opportunities due to streaming development than over the last 20 years. A much more ambitious goal would be to get a broader audience so that I could live from my music and savings. Still a dream so far but not as crazy as it was a few years ago.
Music Authentic: You started out as a classical pianist. This requires extreme amount of self-discipline and seemingly endless extra miles. This era has so many wannabe artists who try to skip this part with money and technology letting them to live a life of fame and success very quickly. Doesn’t it bother you?
Francois Maillard (Byebyefish): As a young pianist, I was not disciplined enough to perform in the classical style. 😉 When I started to compose, I then tried to develop my sensible approach of music, like many autodidact musicians: improvisations, no sheet music writing. And then learning guitar and bass without taking any lesson, composing right away for these instruments instead of playing covers, avoiding every useless technical difficulty. I love this approach that still requires long hours of labour.
Therefore I welcome everyone who wants to have fun with music & be successful, even if not classically trained. Everyone should have a chance to live a personal positive experience with music.
Music Authentic: Have you ever needed to compromise in order to sell yourself as an artist?
Francois Maillard (Byebyefish): Promoting myself as an artist is something quite new for me. For years I’ve had some difficulties admitting that my musical work deserved some promotion and I was lacking time to do it anyway. When I overtook this limit, I knew what I wanted to do: be sincere. This is what I am striving for. I have become a much more positive and supportive person than I was when I was younger. This is truer to myself.
Music Authentic: Here is a lighter tone question, which is quite real by now: Would you rather live in the Earth in 20 years or be the part of the first Mars colony?
Francois Maillard (Byebyefish): I love my home (I’ve even entitled one of my songs like this) and apart from holiday trips, I have some difficulties seeing myself living in a different house, city or country… So a different planet… 😊 that’s too extreme.
(the interview continues below the phots, so be brave and keep reading on!)
Music Authentic: Byebyefish, your recent musical adventure is deep, noir, melodic, with some sanzons – definitely not the typical TOP 40 songs. Have you ever dreamed of being a chart-topper?
Francois Maillard (Byebyefish): It’s complicated. I love indie and low-key artists, plus a part of me always dreamt of being an estimated confidential artist. Being deeply understood by a few people means more to me than being famous. But somehow there is a catch if you wallow in this mindset: it’s an excuse not to do music promotion at all. I finally understood that. On the other hand, I love nicely done pop singles too. When I released ‘Aux étoiles’ and noticed it was a song that many people liked, I felt great. Releasing both accessible and demanding songs: I am ok with that. If one of my ‘easy’ song someday becomes a hit, that’s cool. And if not, no worries.
Music Authentic: Your music being it “November” or “Night” requires an active presence from the listener. That would mean precious, dedicated time. However, this is now not the vinyl era. Lately there has been a debate whether to create singles frequently over a concept album. In which side are you on?
Francois Maillard (Byebyefish): I love concept albums. Some are in my favourites: “The Wall” by the Pink Floyds, “Kid A” by Radiohead, etc. And I love LP albums: +1000 CDs in my musical library! I’ve always wanted to create mine and “De pénombres en lumières” LP is a conceptual story about couple crises. But I can see that times have changed: we need to create singles frequently for some algorithmic reasons so I’m going to release some new piano tracks as singles in the next months. And why not release some other LP albums in the future, especially if I have something important to express?
Music Authentic: Why don’t we smile a bit more again with the next question: If you had a chance to play a superhero character in a movie or a series, whom would you choose?
Francois Maillard (Byebyefish): I would definitely be Obi-Wan Kenobi from Star Wars IV “A new hope”. I’m a big fan of the old trilogy and I must admit I would love to be that kind of mysterious and discrete Jedi Knight!
Music Authentic: France, your country, is also changing, it’s hard to say for the better or for worse if we think of “traditional values”. What is your take on it?
Francois Maillard (Byebyefish): It’s really hard to see some major change in France… 😊 I feel my fellow citizens are always protesting for everything. And I can feel this individualism, denial of any change, conservative and intolerant mindset grow each day more and more. But I guess it’s the same in other countries too. I feel sad about that and see nothing useful to do to make it change. So I’m slowly losing interest about some public society considerations.
Music Authentic: “Personne d’autre” or “Home”?
Francois Maillard (Byebyefish): What an impossible choice you’re asking me to make! 😊 Both are about the regrets I’ve had some years ago when I spent too much time at work. But “Personne d’autre” is dedicated to my daughter and wife (one verse for each one) so I’d choose this track!
Music Authentic: You now seem to have a full circle as a composer and performer. What things would be the greatest achievements for you through your art?
Francois Maillard (Byebyefish): The greatest achievement would be to continue creating new interesting tunes for years and develop a fan audience. If at some point 200 people really love my music and are ready to follow me on any new musical journey, that would be fantastic.
Music Authentic: I know you like Debussy. What about today, which artist do you recommend to listen to from the past or the contemporary era and why?
Francois Maillard (Byebyefish): This is obviously a very difficult question to me: I could recommend listening to everything, from classical music to rock, pop or electro famous bands or emerging artists from various periods (from the 60’s to nowadays)! Therefore I will mention only a few actual indie rock artists: DIIV (shoegazing), Fleet Foxes (folk), Alela Diane (folk), Grizzly Bear (pop & folk), Kurt Vile (rock songwriter), Ty Segall (garage rock) or Alex G (lo-fi). These artists have impressed me so much over the last 5 years.
Music Authentic: You live in a fantastic place with a lot of troubles carried and unsolved from the past and the present. If you were offered would you take the chance and become the President? What would you start the change with?
Francois Maillard (Byebyefish): I think being the French President is really an impossible job! 😊 10 days after presidential election, voters are already disappointed and 1 month after they protest in the streets against some laws that were detailed in the campaign program. So sorry, I’ll pass!
Music Authentic: Nowadays computers, algorithms are replacing mostly everything. Pop music is written by them. Machine Learning and actual Artificial Intelligence are at our doors. Do you think artists and musicians will be replaced deemed to be obsolete?
Francois Maillard (Byebyefish): For many years, some successful genres have not been driven by real musicians (hip-hop, techno & dance, etc.). This is why I think that a part of the musical industry is doomed to be trusted by people that you can ‘call’ artists, but I don’t understand their art. As a consequence, it will probably remain the same: 80% of mass market music (some of it done by machines). And the remaining 20% done by real musicians and gifted artists.
Music Authentic: In your opinion, what are the hardest challenges in society these days?
Francois Maillard (Byebyefish): I think there is one big challenge: live for yourself and be ready to give to others at the same time. When I say “give”, it can be paying attention to them or accept to lose some individual advantages for the common good. This is complicated and I’m not sure our society can deal with that.
Music Authentic: What is your favourite pastime activity?
Francois Maillard (Byebyefish): Music is the obvious answer but this would be a bit boring. 😊 I do enjoy many activities like running or travelling. I love to play games in general but beware, I am a sore loser!
Music Authentic: Well, it seems we’ve got to the end of our talk. Thank you for taking the time. What is your message to encourage others with?
Francois Maillard (Byebyefish): Each day more and more I believe that time has come for emerging indie artists to better live their passion for music and find their audience, without being dependant from intermediaries that could harm them. My fellow indie artists, please let us continue supporting each other! This is our path to meaningful success.