did Arrakeen find itself doing the opening act for Marillion's Season's
Our manager decided to organize a Marillion concert at Vitrolles
in October 1989. In so doing he was able to get Marillion's tour
manager to have us play the opener. That day, during the soundcheck,
we gave a tape to the members of Marillion and asked them to
come and see our set. That's what they did and apparently they liked
it because two months later they called us back, asking us to do the
opening act for the Season's end tour in March - April of 1990
sort of contact was there between Arrakeen et Marillion during the tour?
The contact was excellent, as Marillion is one of
the bands that had influenced Arrakeen the most. So we were really
happy to do the opening act. Communication wasn't always easy for those
of us who don't speak English. But the atmosphere was very friendly,
with a lot of great parties after the concerts.
did you have the best contact with?
With Steve Rothery who's become my friend. With
do you remember about Folle Marie on stage with Steve Rothery
in Lille? Did you know what was going on?
Yes I did. We'd planned it beforehand. We were all real proud and
for me it was really one of the best moments of the tour, with the Zenith
in Paris. I remember we had the big sound on stage, and the public who
were already into it went even more crazy when Steve came on
stage. Pure euphoria!
did you abandon Arrakeen for the second album?
That's not exactly what happened. Actually, Arrakeen had
separated, or broken apart: Maiko first left the group. Then,
as we had a hard time finding a new singer, Eric thought it would be
better to look for a job. That was a big step backwards for us all,
as we had been working full time with Arrakeen. Once he'd left
the whole group broke up, Gauthier left for Paris and Yves
stopped. As for me, I was really bothered by it all, and just then Mark
offered to let me stay in his apartment in London for a month or two.
So I left and stayed in England... A few months later, Eric took
up music again with Maiko and they started a new band as amateurs,
with Gauthier in Paris, etc. However it didn't interest me to
work as an amateur after all we'd been through together. It didn't have
anything to do with our aims and our commitments with each other. And
I was in England where musically there's a lot more happening than in
France... For me Arrakeen was finished after Patchwork...
did you get into the Racket club and write your album with Ian and Pete
beginning of 1995 the members of Marillion all had free time
and Ian said he thought we should try to make an album together. At
first there was a time of uncertainty when we didn't know if we would
use pieces I already wrote, or if
we would try to create new ones from jams we'd done together. It quickly
became quite clear anyway that we wanted to do an instrumental album
which represented a challenge, an interesting approach; in addition,
I had a lot of instrumentals tracks written that I wanted to record
and this concept pleased Ian cause it reminded him of the time
when he played with Steve Hackett. A little later, just as the
project was shaping up, Pete said he'd like to participate.
Most of the time, Ian and Pete kept the parts I'd written
because they were close to their own sensibilities. Sometimes, they
personalized them and that always added to the song. On Memory of
Eagle, Pete didn't play the fretless bass, which was done
on a synthesizer. On Train de Vie and Crossing the Desert,
which originated from jam sessions between Ian and myself, they
entirely created their parts as we were recording. In general it was
always impressive to see how those two are used to play together: Pete guessed Ian's breaks in advance and joined him exactly where
he should right away. It was like magic. In addition, Ian and Pete were in an enthusiastic and fresh state of mind because
it was the first project they'd done outside of Marillion for
a long time. This album benefited from the strength and finesse of Marillion's
rhythm section at its best.
does IRIS mean, why did you choose this name?
When we had to find a name for this project, Ian suggested
we call it 'Sylvain Gouvernaire', as I composed all the songs.
But personally I was more interested in the idea of presenting my music
under the name of a project. I finally decided on Iris. Iris
is the name of the winged messenger of the ancient gods in Greek mythology.
I liked the symbols attached to the name and the fact that it has many
meanings: the flower, the iris of the eye, it's a feminine first name
in English, and also the name of a destructive cyclone... Danny,
the artist who drew the cover was enthusiastic about the name Iris
because it inspired him for the logo, which was very well done in my
the Desert, why did you choose this
Crossing the desert, that's what we're all doing,
isn't it? It symbolizes modern humanity, which I think is crossing
the desert. The figure on the cover is in the middle of the desert and
his burden is a television that's switched on. It's the symbol of our
almost total enslavement by the media and the consumer society which
determines our behavior, what we are or what we "should" be. The figure
is following the road which he'd drawn from the pack of cards (an ace
of hearts is lying near the fire; he's put everything he's got into
his journey). He's going toward his goal: the mountains, symbols of
attainable equilibrium and plenitude but he's carrying with him the
reason of his unhappiness which slows him down considerably in his journey.
It's also a personal allusion to the difficulties encountered during
my career after Arrakeen.
who watches him go out into the desert, is that the view Arrakeen had
of you when you left?
Yes, you can interpret it like that, it's a second meaning of the cover;
I wanted to make a little allusion to the past, there are also the Arrakeen monks wandering in the desert (We used to come on stage dressed
in monk's capes).
"Le Foureux" is the animal with blue fur which is on the cover, as well
as being on the covers of Arrakeen's albums.
you still in contact with Marillion and will they be present on your
next album? (why not do a solo duet with Steve R.)?
Yes, I'm still in contact with Ian and Steve Rothery,
less often with the others. As for the presence of members of Marillion
on my next album, it's quite possible. Maybe Pete will play the
bass guitar. We'll see, it depends on the possibilities of each person.
As for a solo duet I don't think so (we already did that on Arrakeen).
But, well, you never know!
will your new album be ready?
I wish I knew, I hope it will be ready very soon and there should be,
besides instrumental tracks, others with singing in English.
the line up for IRIS Live?
Stephane Bechet on drums, Christian Betaille on bass guitar, Hervé Cosentino on keyboard and Jean Michel Bernard on
has influenced you musically in the past and present?
Many different influences. I began with classical
music, I played a lot of piano, so this has really influenced
me as far as composition goes. I often compose on a piano. My favorite
composers are Beethoven; Schubert, Mozart, Debussy,
Ravel, Satie, etc. Concerning my rock music influences, in
the beginning there were the Beatles, Pink Floyd and Bob
Dylan. I learned how to play the guitar by myself by redoing
David Gilmour's solos. Then other guitarists like Van Halen, Ian Chrighton (Saga), Steve Lukather (Toto),
and others I'm forgetting. Oh yes, there was Police also. Then
of course "progressive" rock groups like Marillion, Genesis,
some albums from Yes.
equipment do you use?
I use two Mesa/Boogie amps (MKII and MkIII). My effects
are DEP5 Roland, SDE3000 Roland + volumes pedals and many others.
you tell us who the three members of the Gouvernaire family mentioned
on Iris are (Iseult, Aymon and Claudine)?
The people mentioned on the album are Aymon, my father
(deceased), Yseult, my sister and Claudine, my mother.
the Freaklist, the general idea at the time was that you were the only
guitarist capable of replacing Steve R. if he quit Marillion. What do
Why, Steve was going to quit Marillion? I'm
very flattered to be thought of as the only one capable of replacing
him. However, I think our styles are very different.
by Jay, Christian Orsatti and some French Engineers from Marillion-The
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