Words and mu­sic

César Chouraqui in close–up. The 22–year–old ac­tor and mu­si­cian comes out of his shell Olivier Gra­noux

VOGUE Hommes International (English) - - CONTENTS - PHO­TO­GRAPHS Max Farago

— As the first swel­ter­ing heat of sum­mer de­scended on Paris, César Chouraqui shut him­self away in the cool of a Left Bank stu­dio. If this was a hol­i­day, it was a work­ing one: César was in the mid­dle of record­ing his first al­bum. Af­ter a mem­o­rable act­ing de­but in The Ori­gin

of Vi­o­lence, di­rected by his fa­ther, Élie Chouraqui, it seemed César had his ca­reer all mapped out. Or not, as the 22–year–old now re­veals his tal­ent be­hind a mi­cro­phone. This isn’t some pass­ing fad, ei­ther. “My en­tire fam­ily is in­volved in film. My dad’s a di­rec­tor. My mum’s a screen­writer. I got into mu­sic from an early age. It was my thing, it be­longed to me. No­body at home played an in­stru­ment. It was like be­ing in a bub­ble, where I could ex­press who I was.” He grins, a brown–eyed hand­some man.

His model good looks didn’t take him far on the run­way. “I did one cast­ing call. They asked me to dance. Don’t get me wrong, I love danc­ing. I used to do barre work, and I’ve done a fair bit of hip – hop, but I re­ally couldn’t see the con­nec­tion. So I turned round and left. That was the ex­tent of my mod­el­ling ca­reer! ”

César was 11, at home watch­ing TV, flick­ing through the chan­nels when he hap­pened upon a Queen concert. He was knocked for six, stunned by Freddy Mer­cury’s in­cred­i­ble stage pres­ence. “I knew there and then that was who I wanted to be.” He was 13 when he started a band, The Crowns, and be­came close friends with the drum­mer, Aghiad Ghanem, who in­tro­duced him to Joy Divi­sion. This was yet an­other reve­la­tion for César, who has been an un­con­di­tional fan of Ian Cur­tis and his group ever since. The Crowns were just start­ing to make a name for them­selves when they split. The bril­liant Aghiad was too busy with his stud­ies in in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions at the elite Sciences Po school in Paris; César, mean­while, was tak­ing the first steps in his act­ing ca­reer. Their mu­si­cal ad­ven­ture was put on hold.

In sum­mer 2016, the two friends hooked up again, both still ea­ger to make some noise. César had writ­ten lyrics for melodies he’d com­posed ; he let Aghiad tweak the ar­range­ments. The songs came to life. They de­cided to call them­selves Idem Colony, “af­ter Colony by Joy Divi­sion. But also be­cause it’s kind of a po­etic way of say­ing “from the same place ”. For a band made up of a Syr­ian and a French Jew, it made sense.”

The pair were more mo­ti­vated than ever. The next step was to find the right peo­ple to help them make the move from en­thu­si­as­tic am­a­teurs to se­ri­ous band. Barn­abé Nuyt­ten, Is­abelle Ad­jani’s son and a friend from way back, was also a mu­si­cian. The émi­nence grise be­hind his group, The Aikiu, were a cou­ple of up–and–com­ing pro­duc­ers. In­tro­duc­tions were made, ev­ery­one clicked. They laid down the tracks and shaped the Idem Colony sound, a ro­man­tic dove­tail­ing of new wave and elec­tric folk with hints of Bon Iver as well as Depeche Mode, Ar­chive and MGMT. César’s deep, sen­sual vo­cals run through­out, clutch­ing at the heart and de­vour­ing space. “I got my sis­ter, an an­thro­pol­o­gist, to sing on one track. I can’t help it, I love work­ing with my fam­ily!” True to his word, he’s just fin­ished his first screen­play, co – writ­ten with his mother.

This au­tumn, César Chouraqui is film­ing the screen adap­ta­tion of L’Homme Qui Ment, Marc Lavoine’s au­to­bi­o­graph­i­cal novel, in which he plays Marc. He’s also in­tent on fin­ish­ing this first al­bum to then take it on tour. “It’s an al­bum that’s meant to be played live. Con­certs are very much a part of the con­cept. Maybe it’s down to my ex­pe­ri­ence as an ac­tor, but I’m not in the least bit in­tim­i­dated by the idea of play­ing in front of an au­di­ence. On the con­trary. We re­ally hope to per­form at a few fes­ti­vals next year.” Be­tween Aghiad, who re­cently pub­lished his first book on the Turk­ish Alaw­ites, and César’s film projects, both can ex­pect a busy sched­ule in the com­ing months. “Hav­ing to jug­gle the things you love, it’s not ex­actly what you’d call a hard life.”

Nubuck lamb­skin jacket with ribbed edg­ing HERMÈS Own jeans and T–shirt

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from France

© PressReader. All rights reserved.