French-Canadian composer and pianist Jean-Michel Blais will release the soundtrack to Canadian director Xavier Dolan’s upcoming film release, ‘Matthias & Maxime’, on Mercury KX, 25th October.
The Montreal-based composer was chosen by the acclaimed actor and film-maker to write the music for the film, which received its world premiere in May at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival.
The music for the ‘Matthias & Maxime’ Official Soundtrack was developed in close collaboration between Blais and Dolan in the studio, using techniques derived from improvisation, with the music of Franz Schubert serving as a point of inspiration.
Unusually for a feature film, certain tracks were developed first, the scene was then shot to the music and edited to fit, rather than the other way around.
Blais was eager to take on the project: “I was touched, moved, incredulous… without reading the script, I accepted right away. Growing up with every single movie [Dolan] has made, it was a simple choice for me cancel my vacations and get to work. Following a fairly unorthodox process, we ended up keeping the demos, improvised in the studio – variations on a Schubert theme – creating a cohesive musical soundscape that Xavier used during the shoot and the editing period.”
Blais, who grew up in a rural French town in Quebec, began tinkering on his family’s organ aged 9. By 11, he was writing original compositions and taking piano lessons. After training as a classical pianist at Trois-Rivieres Music Conservatory, Blais started to gravitate towards experimentation and improvisation.
Blais’ debut album, Il, was written and recorded in his apartment over two years of daily improvisations. Released in April 2016 it amassed over 50 million streams worldwide, reaching #1 on Billboard’s Classical chart in Canada 14 times. The following year, Blais performed at the prestigious Red Bull Music Academy in collaboration with Grammy-nominated producer CFCF, spurring a partnership between the two musicians which yielded ‘Cascades‘, a collaborative EP released in 2017.
His second album released in May 2018, ‘Dans ma main‘, an expansive album of post-classical piano music with strands of electronic detail. Recorded at night in a Steinway & Sons piano shop, Blais blends his classical skill and precise pop sensibility with synthetic accompaniment, which creates unique environments where the piano’s intimacy can be subtly disrupted at any time.
Xavier Dolan was born in Montréal, Canada, and is known for his work as actor, screenwriter and director. He won the Jury Prize at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival for his film ‘Mommy’ and went on to direct the music video for Adele’s chart-topping single ‘Hello’. In ‘Matthias & Maxime’, Dolan stars as Max alongside Harris Dickinson and Anne Dorval.