The French pianist, composer and arranger Christophe Chassol discussed his work on Frank Ocean's forthcoming album with Gilles Peterson on BBC over the weekend. Chassol isn’t well-known in America, though he has collaborated with other French groups that have had some success on this side of the Atlantic, like Phoenix and Sebastien Tellier. Diplo introduced Ocean to Chassol’s 2013 album Indiamore, which Ocean liked enough to invite the pianist to the studio. You can listen to Chassol talk here, starting around 2:12:30, or read what he says about the R&B wunderkind below.
“Ocean invited me to Abbey Road to record on his album. I asked him when I came, 'how he heard about me?' He told me his friend Diplo was listening a lot to Indiamore, and they started to listen to it, and they were wondering how I was doing the speech harmonization, so he called me. He asked me to do some speech harmonization on a song with him. After a while, it was cool and he was like, ‘yeah, but we have to find another way because you already did it.’ The guy is smart. He’s really smart. The way he works in the studio is really cool. He has a printer, he has a lot of pictures of architecture, contemporary art, a lot of pictures of different kinds of things. So we start to work on a track and he says, this track is this—that car that you can see. He makes me work on a song, and I’m like, ‘oh this sounds like Pino Donaggio’s score for 'Blow Out', by Brian Depalma. I start to work on a song and five minutes later on the pro-tools screen you have the movie, the score, stretched to fit the song—just to try. I’ve never worked with that much money in music. It's good sometimes to have money, because you can try things...At some point, a guy came into the studio, a guy with a long beard. We start talking and then he leaves and they tell me it’s Rick Rubin! I didn’t know the guy! Sometimes I’m the only one who doesn’t know the things."