Les Animaux sentimentaux by Cédric Duroux

Today we want to introduce you a book trailer to the novel “Les Animaux sentimentaux”, by Cédric Duroux – éditions Buchet/Chastel, 11 May 2016 / “Qui vive” // www.lesanimauxsentimentaux.com
The video is shot by Kaz PS, with help from Dan Safer and the music score is  “Where the Wolves are Kind”  (lyrics : Cédric Duroux / Music and vocals : Scott Matthew)

We have asked to Cedric Duroux something about this book and this collaboration with Scott Matthew

Hello Cedric welcome to the pink snout community. We have seen the video trailer about your first book “Les animaux sentimentaux” with the soundtrack by Scott Matthew. In the video a young internet sex addicted man wear a mask of a lamb when he is outside, fearing the meeting with other wolf-masked men. First of all we want to know something about you and your background and the plot of your book that it’s inspired by Armistead Maupins’ Tales of the City

The video you mention is half trailer / half extension of the book.  It was done by the amazing Kaz PS, with help from Dan Safer, who plays the wolf guy.  It’s a sort of free variation of the book: the video is set in NYC for instance, but the book is set in Lyon and London. And the video only focuses on one part of the plot.

But some things are very faithful to the book. The atmosphere and the slightly magical realism is very close to the impression you may have when you read the book. The main character in the video, Olivier (played by Sean Donovan), is also very close to the original, if I may say so! He is an Internet sex addict, afraid to get out of his house and interacting with other people whom he perceives as a threat. Specially men that he is attracted to. In the book, you will see that he also has an irrational fear of AIDS; which is probably why he only has cyber sex.  The other faithful thing is the group of friends that the main character meets in a karaoke bar. The book is very much about loneliness, but it is also very much about friendship, support, and the kind of chosen family you make for yourself.

Music and karaoke singing, or cover songs, are important in the book as well. It is this idea that you sometimes need to use somebody else’s voice before you can use yours. Pop songs are perfect for that.

The book is very much about coming out, and sometimes having to use somebody else’s voice/words/music to handle it.

The song in the video, is the official soundtrack to the novel. It is performed by the amazing Scott Matthew (who wrote the music as well). The lyrics were actually written by one of the main characters of the book (that is not featured in the video). He writes the lyrics of a song on the train to London, and later on in the book, Scott Matthew (who is featured as a character) is seen practicing the song on his ukulele. I like the idea that some things that were imagined in the book actually finally exist in real life. In a way, the book is about the co-existence of your “imagined life” and your “real life”. And coming out is very much the moment when these two different worlds have to co-exist and interact. This is why there are lots of “real people” in the book, and an ambiguity on reality and fiction, and this is also why we’re trying to make these side projects around the book, when we make some characters or other parts of the book come to life for real. For instance, the book launch party in Lyon was a “Slide Show”, which is a regular show in the book, in a place called “The Slide”, that does not exist in Lyon, where the book is set. We recreated this venue for one night in Lyon. It was the opportunity for us to bring some characters to life, and to actually bring Scott to France to perform.

Maupin was of course a huge inspiration, on so many levels. But the biggest resemblances might be the way the book reads as a series, a comedy with short chapters, lots of love and sex stories all intermingled etc.

How did you get in touch with Scott Matthew for this project?

I met Scott in NYC in 2012 (I think!), when I was in charge of programming a festival there called “Walls and Bridges”, which got thinkers and artists together for a series of events all around the city. We were a very small team and as we really wanted every event to be packed, we e-mailed everybody we knew in NYC at the time to invite them to see what we were doing. I had never met Scott at the time, but we had been facebook friends for a little while. I probably has asked him as a facebook friend after seeing Shortbus, and I was a fan of his music. To my surprise, he answered my request and came to see an event. As I was very often in NYC at the time, I invited him for lunch with a colleague a few months later, and we invited to perform in the next season of the festival. And to my surprise, he said yes! That’s how we got to know each other little by little, we hung out a few times in NYC, and we became good friends. As his music was such an inspiration, when I had the idea of a soundtrack for the book, I naturally asked him. I tried to explain the plot over a plate of Japanese food, and why I’d love him to make some music for it, and he accepted.

I had never written a song before, so I was a little terrified when he accepted. And then it all happened. My character had already written parts of the song, I had to write the rest, but still stay in character. I sent Scott a very long song, he edited it a little, and made this beautiful, beautiful thing out of it. I was in tears when I got the demo by e-mail, just a few days after sending the lyrics. I was amazed. I’m ever so grateful for this song, which is acting as a lucky charm so far for the book. After this came the video, made by the amazing Kaz PS in NYC, featuring Sean Donovan, Dan Safer, and basically most of my NYC friends. This was a great opportunity, and I do hope there will be more!

Follow Cédric on Facebook