Sending Good Vibes with Alexandre Saada and 'Songs For a Flying Man'


We were thrilled to be talking with Alexandre Saada about his new album Songs for a Flying Man on one of our recent Tower Instagram Livestreams, hosted by Whitney Moore.  

The composer and solo musician joined us from his home in Paris at a very late hour but was a good sport about our West Coast time zone. He joined us in the Parisian night to show us where he was hanging out at the moment, having played in an apartment concert for friends.

Quarantine has been tough, with no movement for two months, and it’s been a “strange period” for him. Now things are a little better, with parks opening this weekend, with bars and cafes opening, as well as outdoor spaces. Life is starting to “come back”.In LA, some bars and restaurants are starting to open, Moore said, and she’ll be monitoring that carefully.

Saada’s new album, Songs for a Flying Man, is coming soon, but he also participated in a short film recently with his brother. “Coronasideration” is really beautiful, Moore said, and it’s about spending time with your family. Saada provided the piano tracks for it from his new album. Basically, some directors were asked to record films about quarantine at home for a competition and Saada’s brother took part. Saada was asked to join in as composer, and he was told his song inspired the right feelings, particularly the one titled “The End of the World”.

Saada’s worked with his brother Emmanuel on videos before, and sometimes that can be “tough” but they are “very connected” and often have the “same feelings”. It’s a bit “messy” sometimes, but he loves working together. Saada did the music for his brother’s first long feature film, and it drove him to doing vocals for the first time. Which led him to compose more personal music for the first time, also. And here we are with a full album being released.

The mo-town singer from Detroit, Martha Reeves, is someone he’s worked closely with as a performer. He’s only been writing his own songs for about two years, though.

He was playing for some friends in a friend’s apartment tonight, having written a message on Facebook, saying he’d do it if people wanted it. Some friends invited him, so he came out to practice his songs, since he hasn’t been singing for a long time at this point.

“My Land is Your Soul” from the upcoming album is “psychedelic and funky”, Moore said, and asked if the new album’s other songs are similar in tone. Saada said the album is more “intimate” in tone, and that one song is probably the “funniest”. He tells stories from his own life or ones that pass through his mind on the new album. Some of the other songs are more poetic or sensitive, Saada explained.

When Saada wrote some songs for movie soundtracks in the past, some of them were not used due to editing or changes in direction. So, he kept those extra songs to one side and hoped to record them someday. He started to ask Melissa Bon, who sings on “My Land is Your Soul” and he asked if she’d like to write some lyrics with him. He wanted to talk about feelings that you often have on the smaller scale in your life, the quirky ones, ones that might, however, be universal if you were to talk about them.

Is writing music for albums different from writing music for films in Saada’s mind? He’s much more alone on his personal work, playing the piano and coming up with ideas. Even while he’s in the shower, sometimes he thinks of a melody. And if it “stays” he keeps it and starts thinking about it some more. Sometimes things just arrive as he’s playing the piano and he develops them. It’s “lonely” work. He doesn’t usually compose with other people. But for lyrics, he likes to work with other people, like on the current album.

What film directors might he like to work with? He loves many periods in French, American, Italian, and Iranian cinema, so it would be hard to choose. He would have loved to work with Claude Leloch who directed, Les Choses de la vie aka Things from Life. It’s a movie about a simple life, and a love story.

Saada loved Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar and also Cassavetes’ work like Husbands. Seeing films about fatherhood also really touch him, and of course the music plays a big part in that.

If he was to score a sci-fi movie, would Saada’s approach to composition change? He would probably try to change a bit, he admits. He would probably try synthesizers, but maybe some simple piano music could create interesting “contrast” in a science fiction movie.

The song, “The End of the World” is one that he wanted to make a music video for, but it’s a 12 minute song so that would be a challenging budget. He had some ideas about it.


Saada plays multiple instruments, particularly piano, guitar, and ukulele. He’s not very good at any instruments, he feels. Even though he started piano young. He likes them all, though. Piano is probably the most technical knowledge he has and he feels “lazy” about other instruments.

During quarantine, Saada has watched two TV series, Homeland (all seasons!) and Handmaid’s Tale. He doesn’t get too much into watching full series because he gets addicted too quickly to watching them and lets everything else in life slide. He’s watched many movies about Detroit, lately, too, like White Boy Rich. Yes, American shows and films are very popular!

Saada is a vinyl record collector, and loves Space Oddity by David Bowie. Also, Still Crazy after All These Years from Paul Simon. He’s a classical listener and also loves albums by Granddaddy.

Moore recommended Cosmic Machine, a French compilation of electronica from the 70’s. Saada says that he worked with a guy who worked as a soundtrack composer alongside Pink Floyd. Saada does like synth music, even though he’s not very good at that himself.

A lot of musicians have found interesting ways to connect with fans right now. What’s Saada up to? He spends “hours” on social media, he admits, but it’s so much information that it can make him a “bit crazy”. At first, he played the ukulele every day in a disciplined way. After a month he got lazy about it, though.

Up until now, Saada feels like he was not really being “fed” in his life through seeing friends and playing music with people. He feels like his energy has been waning since a lot of time has gone by in isolation. Watching TV and movies is all he’s good for, but that’s how you continue to “survive” at least.

Lots of tours have been cancelled, including his own, but Saada has toured a lot in the past, too. About ten years ago, he started to play with Martha Reeves. He was on the BBC Radio in the UK, and the two of them were playing “Dancing in the Street”.

It usually has backing vocals, horns, drum, and stuff, but he found himself in a situation where it was just him doing an arrangement alone with the piano. When the BBC questioned him doing it this way, Martha insisted they should go ahead and said it would be “great”. She believed in him. She said not to let anyone tell him what he could or couldn’t do. It touched him, and helped him greatly, Saada explained.

Where does he hope to tour when the time is right? Saada loves to travel and play music, so anywhere works. He’s done some improvised concerts in the past, playing with Inuit in Canada and Pygmies in Africa. He would go anywhere.

What brings him joy each day, Moore asked. Saada’s answer was easy to find: His daughters. At first, when he woke up each day, at that moment he’d remember about being in lock up, having forgotten that during the night. Then he’d see his daughters playing and smiling, despite quarantine, and it would bring him “love and joy”. He’s trying not to be cliché, but it’s true.  

Saada’s bad habits picked up during quarantine include drinking and smoking cigarettes a lot. Also, sleeping too late. He tried sports once, but it was “too hard”, he laughed.  

Does he think quarantine will produce better or worse art? Saada doesn’t know. He hasn’t produced much music yet, and many of his friends say they are not feeling creative. He’s generally an “optimistic guy” but right now he feels pessimistic. He’s worried things will stay the same and the world will “go crazy”. He would love things to get better.

Moore pointed out that his music sounds hopeful, almost like an escape, and is comforting in “uncertain times”. As for Songs for a Flying Man from Labrador, they are producing the vinyl release, and he’s very happy it’s coming to vinyl.

Does he have any advice for new musicians? Saada says to stay “closest to their own souls” in what they want to express. When he was younger, he tried to make music that he thought people might be waiting for. That didn’t work. So, he says, “Be yourself instead”.

He read Herman Hesse’s Siddhartha, and found that inspirational. In the book, all the people follow a guru, and people call him the next Buddha. But Siddharta is the only one who says, “I won’t follow this guy. If he is so good, it’s because he’s being himself. If I have to be myself, too, I have to find him my own way.” He loved the guru, but that’s why he needed to go and find his own way like the guru. That’s the message that Saada would like to send to young musicians, since it’s helped him a lot.

What about our Tower motto, No Music/No Life? It’s exactly Saada’s own life, he said. He told us a story about how he was once in Tower Records in New York City, as a teenager, and was amazed by this giant store. It was “crazy” to him. He has an amazing memory of this place, so it’s an “honor” to be interviewed by Tower, he said.

Does Saada have any final advice for surviving quarantine? “Let’s hope we make a better world, because we need it.”, he said. We all want a better world, but it’s more important than we think to build it. “Let’s be happy and strong and give good vibes to people we love.”, he added.

“Listen to good music, too!”, Moore added.

Songs for a Flying Man arrives in our shop on June 5th, 2020, and is available for pre-order now!

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