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Our portraits: Nicolas Veroncastel

Nicolas Veroncastel is the first to board the adventure of the Royal Mer ambassadors. Originally from Rennes, Nicolas is a singer, musician and composer, within the rock group “LYS” which...

Nicolas Veroncastel is the first to board the adventure of the Royal Mer ambassadors. Originally from Rennes, Nicolas is a singer, musician and composer, within the rock group “LYS” which he founded in 2007. We We met in December 2022 and are sharing our discussions with you today .

Hello Nicolas ! For those who don't know you, who are you?

I am Nicolas Veroncastel, singer, musician & composer from Rennes, founder of “LYS”, a rock group born at the end of 2007. Today I am going solo with the release of my first EP “Waste”.

How did you start music?

I have always been surrounded by a musical environment.

My father listened to a lot of classical, jazz, rock. I was always immersed in his vinyl collection, captivated by the beautiful album covers (of Led Zeppelin, Neil Young, Beatles etc...). This shaped my musical culture, in particular. At home there was a piano, guitars, a synthesizer, recording equipment. I heard my father or my big sister play them regularly, I was attracted to these instruments very early on.

One of the artists who had a profound impact on me during my childhood was the famous Jazz singer & trumpeter, Chet Baker, with his velvet voice, which I thought was a woman's voice, which intrigued me .

Photo credit: @matthieumunoz

Can you tell us a little more about your first EP “Waste”?

“Waste” was born in a post-tour context with “LYS” in 2017, after around 10 years of concerts with the group, I felt this need to reinvent myself. I was looking for an atypical and isolated place to record my solo project, and I moved in with a friend in the Basque Country, a region that I love and where I have played regularly for several years. In a week I had written almost everything.

It's a fairly tormented and nostalgic EP where I wanted to rediscover my first loves, like piano, jazz, and also electronic music, without setting limits. His world is quite marked by the feeling of loss, of waste that we can feel during romantic or friendly relationships.

You live in Rennes, does the marine world have an influence on your work?

Totally, moreover this solo project was conceived very close to the sea as said previously, between two takes I was going to wander on the Basque coast in Biarritz, daydreaming facing the immensity of the ocean, the mountains visible in the far, it surely contributes to this form of gentle melancholy, of dark romanticism in my music. The Mediterranean Sea is also very important to me, it has been with me since my early childhood and many of my songs were composed on the guitar in front of this rough, foam-whitened sea or just from a café terrace with a good glass of Catalan red wine, contemplating these magnificent colors and lights specific to certain corners of the Mediterranean. This is a major source of inspiration for me, it allows me to focus on my work and also escape from my daily life and its demands, which are sometimes futile.

Photo credit: @matthieumunoz

What is your relationship to the sea?

I have a very special relationship, I have always been near the sea and always had this visceral need to be near the sea, it is vital for me. The strength of the elements is something, we feel very small, and that feels good, and allows us to put a lot of things into perspective, pseudo life problems. I am very attached to the protection of the coastline, in Brittany obviously, but everywhere in France or even in Spain where I often go, I cannot bear to see waste at sea, there is colossal work to be done, already education.

What is your favorite destination on the Breton coast?

For what ?

Difficult to say, but I would say Saint-Malo where I spent all my summers when I was a kid, I have a lot of family memories there, I have a weakness for Val beach in Rothéneuf. What makes Brittany strong is its variety of landscapes, Dinard, St Briac, Perros-Guirec, each place has its specificity, its splendor, I also enjoy walking in Vannes, Sarzeau, and there remains Finistère, its wild coast, also magnificent, which I continue to discover particularly during my tours, for example in Tréflez after my concert at the Nuit Des Etoiles festival this summer.

At Royal Mer, we are driven by material and color. If you were a color, which color represents you the most? What if you were a material?

I have always preferred sobriety to exuberance when it comes to clothing, I would say black or khaki. Material? I would say wool, for its “warm”, warm side.

As a Royal Mer ambassador, do you have a favorite piece? If yes, why this one?

I love the cypress-colored Adrian sailor sweater, for its elegance, its longevity too, and it's winter, it's the perfect sweater when it's cold!

As a French brand, can you give us your definition of “the French art of living”?

My definition of the French art of living is good food, good wine, a relaxed atmosphere with friends in front of a Blier film with Depardieu, Jean Pierre Marielle and music by Serge Gainsbourg.

Before leaving you, can you tell us more about your current affairs?

I'm promoting and touring to defend “Waste”. I have just returned from a date in Paris at Point Ephémère with Gaspard Royant, and other dates will be announced in France in 2023. I am working on the album too, notably with Leron Thomas, Iggy Pop's trumpeter, the release is planned for the end of 2023 with a few singles before. Finally, a 3rd LYS album is being prepared slowly but surely, as well as a new tour soon. In short, the year 2023 promises to be busy!


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