Éric Serra is a virtuoso musician who has expanded the boundaries of music by approaching it from different, unique and avant-garde angles. He is best known for his work on films by Luc Besson; the trendsetter of French cinema who created the Cinéma du look movement. Films such as Subway (1985), The Grand Blue (1988) and Nikita (1990) defined an era.
In line with this, he has also created the soundtrack of the James Bond movie, Goldeneye (1995), which is considered to be one of the most avant-garde James Bond soundtracks to date with the recurrent use of synthesisers in its songs and the reinvention of the main theme. He has composed other major soundtracks, such as: Léon (1994), The Fifth Element (1997) and the latest production by Besson starring Scarlett Johansson, Lucy (2014), which was released to worldwide acclaim.
Fresh and new artistic projects
Films apart, Éric Serra’s professional career is about to have a turning point under the management of City Lights Entertainment. New projects are being developed at the moment. The first that we can announce is a brand new tour for the end of 2015. From October to December, Éric will perform in France, this will be followed by international dates.
Eric Serra – A life surrounded by music.
“I feel as though I have been playing music forever. My father was a composer and songwriter who played classical guitar. He bought my first guitar when I was 5 years old –it was my favourite toy. I played it so I could be like my father, but I never really had lessons. I got my first electric guitar later, when I was 11. That was when I discovered what was to be my favourite game for the next 2 years –imitating the guitar choruses I heard on records, which forced me to practice the guitar and develop my ear. It was the only musical training I had. Over the years, my teachers were Ritchie Blackmore (Deep Purple), Alvin Lee (Ten Years After), Jeff Beck (Yardbirds) and John McLaughlin (Mahavishm Orchestra). Later, while trying to learn the bass in the same manner, my teachers were Stanley Clark (Return to forever) and Jaco Pastorius (Weather Report).
At 15, I began to form my own bands; the first was FLEP. We played a bit of everything: Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Ten Years After and so on.
I became a professional musician at 16 –after earning my high-school diploma. To begin, I accompanied a singer named Michel Murty. We worked on what was known as the ‘fringe circuit’, which means that we played in company socials in the winter and holiday camps in the summer. I was thrilled, to be making a living with music –a dream come true. The downside was that I didn’t meet many real music people, since we worked outside the main circuits. I met lots of people who were so friendly, but unconnected to the profession.
One day I encountered a professional musician who introduced me to others. That’s how, I eventually started playing with Jacques Higelin.
I met him on 9th June 1981, and the next day we were on stage at the Place of Republique in Paris, playing for 70,000 people –it was one of the three or four biggest concerts we did together during the seven years I played with him. Up until then, the biggest concert I’d played had an audience of 800, and most of the time, 80 or 100. But suddenly, from one day to the next, I was catapulted into the world of rock stars (…). From then on, I met lots of people in the professional music world, and I got to play with many different people.
At the same time, I was composing music for films. I’d played on an album, by director Pierre Jolivet in 1979. Pierre Jolivet introduced me to a friend named Luc Besson, who was 18 years at the time, like me. We hit it off, and a little later, he produced his first short and asked me to write the music for it. That’s how I got into writing music for films. You could say we started out together.
Which feeling do you want to express in music?
I love ‘love’ as much as music. Both of them fascinate me. Expressing an emotion through music, it is something thrilling and it is certainly a truth challenge. It is such a challenge that I do not know how I make it. I am always surprised to get there. However, I always ask myself questions when it comes to express love, since it is extremely hard to write a beautiful love theme. I have the tendency to question me when I dive into this topic.”