25 years of career and more than ten albums later, the rapper Disiz returned in force last spring with the album “L’Amour”. An amazing comeback, now a gold record, filling concert halls this fall. An even more remarkable return if the artist does not hide the need to slow down in the face of the turmoil after the divorce that he had to face in his personal life, as evidenced by his title. Heavy weights : “It’s a mess in my life, in my head, I want to change my picture”. In a cafe in the east of Paris, 20 minutes met Disiz to discuss his vision of love, but also his relationship with rap.
The tour of the latest album “L’Amour” continues this autumn. How were the first dates?
It’s going really well, I’m really happy with it. It was a kind of spring in my career where success blossomed again. It moved rooms full of people singing songs from A to Z, even those not released as singles. It’s great to live like this. I’ve already had this moment in my career, but it’s special because I have all this experience behind me and I appreciate it even more because I know it’s hard to get.
Is this a new audience in the room or are there still some who are faithful even after a 25-year career?
Impressed because there is a part of the public that has been following me for a long time, another one that discovered me in the album “Pacific”. But the majority of the public, maybe about two-thirds, come because they like the last album and they don’t know that I have a whole career behind it.
A few weeks ago, the ticket office for Salle Pleyel was opened in Paris. A crazy event, the first two dates filled up in just a few minutes. A third date is added at the end. Did you expect this success or in the beginning or did you tell yourself that one date is enough?
At first, we thought we would fill in the first date and set the option for the second. We hope to complete it in a month or two, at least. And then the second left faster than the first, so we decided to add a third. It was never planned and I had no idea there was much interest.
The success is also that of the album “ love », now a gold record. The public discovered the new Disiz, more sensitive, more sincere. What do you want to show in this album?
I’m always sensitive, but this time the mask was removed. Before, I was sincere, but not totally sincere. In some subjects, I still have a modesty that partly comes from my life. I am married and I know that discussing certain themes has certain effects in my personal life. First of all, I have to accept and stop avoiding the reality of my own life to address certain topics in my music and my lyrics.
You devoted the whole album to love – which is rare in rap – but also to other unique topics in this style of music: divorce, breakup, or even mental health. This album, is it a form of therapy or a way to raise awareness about these topics through music?
In the beginning, I really wanted to make the most beautiful record and the most beautiful music that I could with my level, with my skills, with my experience. In music, what I love more than anything is the soul of artists like Marvin Gaye or Nina Simone, or even Prince even though it’s not soul. These are the artists that touch me the most because they are the best everywhere: in interpretation, in emotion, in writing, in music. Except that I have many obstacles that prevent me from trying my hand at that register, because I am my age, because I come from rap, with complex details to respect. I have to overcome everything to finally get there, this is my only goal. But I do not claim to position myself as the great master of love.
What’s interesting about this album is that it’s not just a vision of love, it’s not just “the beautiful, the sublime”. There are devastating breaks in the Love Can Killbut also more passive relationships with Valentine’s weekend, success meetings with Damso. Has this album made you grow your perspective on love?
I’m still in my thesis on love, in a kind of research period. There are things that despair, others that are more strengthened. I keep analyzing, searching, trying to understand. We are quite educated in an idealized vision of love, in search of a part that completes us. It is in the collective unconscious, a form of social pressure. I try to understand things, to see what they represent for me. I was too young, too tempting choices. But what’s certain is that I don’t want to be an old bitter love, so I’m careful.
There’s also the relationship with rap that changes on this album, with more sung music than previous albums. If rap is one of your relationships, is it more of an ex or more of an old friend that we don’t hang out with much anymore?
He was an ex, but an ex with so much love that we didn’t want to hurt each other. We always meet again to discuss, make a small piece, no problem. But I’m not the same age anymore. I feel funny at 44 trying to rap and have a young lexical field, talking in the ghetto. I can do it well, I know it and I grew up there. But I personally, I have the impression to be funny.
The new Disiz is free from codes, it is now more than rap and pop. How did you get this job after all these years?
From now on, I will do what I want according to what I have heard. Through the work I do, I was able to find my own sonic texture, my way of making sound, borrowed from many things. There’s a lot of funk, soul, 80s music, a lot of experimental music. I found my trademark… and I’ve been looking for it for a long time. This mixture is the same work that a painter or a sculptor would give in a workshop. This is just a test. You try, you try, you try… then you put it in the trash and you do it again. It’s three, even four years of work.
From this album, the label “Sublime” was also born. What is the desire to make this mark, a kind of freedom?
I always have freedom, but I want to create the label I want to be in at 20 to use my experience for good. The first reason is to protect the psychological environment of a young artist. Me, it affected me a lot and it’s good that I have this mentality and that I was educated by my mother with a psychological arsenal and an amazing will. But I’ve seen a lot of people in my career come into the record industry, take a lead and a year later be gone. Some even commit suicide. That’s why I created a label where good things are put in the center: the art and the mental health of the artists. Currently, there are two Rounhaa and Luther and they are very strong. Two more were to come.