Chilly Gonzales – the classically trained pianist, comedian-cum-cabaret artist, and burgeoning sitcom writer – is currently on tour across Europe.
Since decamping to Berlin in the 90s, the Grammy-nominated Canadian has produced three albums and has cemented his reputation as a dynamic, and increasingly fearless, performer.
In his opinion, this aspect of his work is a two-way street: “In a way it’s a bit of a psychological defect to wanna get up on stage, it’s nothing dangerous but we’re all a bit like psychopaths, just need to come up here night after night and get this back from people. It’s a complex relationship to having an audience wanna share something but you also want something back and you need it so you fight very, very hard I just wish more musicians would admit that they also have ‘The Grudge’.”
Following the critical acclaim for his 2004 instrumental album ‘Solo Piano’, Gonzales has gone on to pen and produce songs for Daft Punk, Peaches and Jane Birkin.
Whilst humour often dominates his own lyrics, a morbid, melancholic undercurrent characterizes his compositions. As he explains, this is for good reason: “Major (plays) seem fake to me, always seems a bit like false optimism. So I was attracted to the minor (plays) and I think that overall when people feel they want the music to speak for them more and more it’s feelings of frustration, sadness, jealousy, a lot of what can be considered negative emotions can be very effective in music because we’re not allowed to show them.”
The self-titled ‘greatest entertainer of the year’ has gigs across Europe, throughout July.