Gelinaz goes musical with NAH BGM: 3 questions for David Chalmin

The next Galinaz NAH BGM performance is happening in Biarritz. The musical genius David Chalmin will collaborate with the culinary genius Mathieu Rostaing Tayard and we are very much looking forward to this.

(Maybe listen to a bit of David Chalmin while reading this?)

For those who don’t know who is David Chalmin (shame on you! 🙂 ): As a composer, musician, and producer David Chalmin, blessed with limitless sensitivity, ventures into the realm of dreamy, modern folk music against a backdrop of sumptuous electronic arrangements. The five songs on his Innocence EP imbued with a soft wistfulness, evoke elements of Radiohead and Nick Drake. Over the past ten years, David Chalmin has assumed an increasing number of roles: as a producer, arranger and sound engineer alongside some of the most respected indie figures worldwide (The National, Shannon Wright); as a contemporary music composer, having founded the Dream House Quartet with pianists Katia and Marielle Labèque (who hosted Thom Yorke on stage in 2019); and as a mastermind of dense, heady electronica with his album La terre invisible in 2019. As he put it, “singing came as something of a surprise in his musical development”. During the work sessions for this album at his studio in the Basque Country some tracks came out sounding more like songs than electronic instrumental pieces. More about him you can find here

David Chalmin. Photo: Benjamin Juhel

What does music mean to you and how would you describe your music?

Music is the main language I use to express my deepest emotions, things I have trouble explaining but need to go out in some way.

Music is sound, vibrations in the air that end up touching me in very different ways. It can be the sound of a piano, a voice, a guitar,  an organ or the purely electronic sound of a sine wave, it doesn’t really matter.

To me there is no such thing as genre, there’s music I like and music I don’t like, music that touches me and music that doesn’t.

Dream House Quartet with Thom Yorke – vocals, David Chalmin & Bryce Dessner – guitars. Katia & Marielle Labèque – pianos


This is why I love working with people from very different backgrounds or mixing acoustic and electronic instruments or sounds from nature in the same project.

My music is the result of all these influences and all of these sounds. The unity is in my way of using the sounds, remaining simple, minimal, warm and melodic.

What does food mean to you?

Food is a central experience in everyone’s life, it’s something shared by all. 

Apart from being vital (!), it’s a moment of a break in daily life, a necessary parenthesis that forces you to get out of work for example.

It is also a moment of conviviality, shared with friends.

With other musicians, the break will always be around food and wine and this is sometimes when the most important things happen – connections, ideas…

David Chalmin. Photo: Benjamin Juhel 

How do you see Mathieu’s food and how does it communicate with your music?

I love the apparent simplicity in Mathieu’s food. You’re in his restaurant to enjoy the product he’s offering and not to admire the virtuosity of his work.

Not to say that he’s not a virtuoso, because he is, but he doesn’t need to show off or be too impressive. He wants to give a fish or piece of meat its best possible taste, remaining faithful to its nature.

In a way, that’s what I’m aiming at in my music, trying to touch people with the most simple form or sound, take them on a journey with me, transport them to some dreamy place of theirs, but without being the centre of the experience.

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