| Any saturday off while in the army, I would go jamming at "The Ten Gallions" cabaret just next to the Olympia venue in Paris. I would be playing accoustic piano with whatever band was playing that night, as the stage was open to whoever was willing to play in between formal gigs. So I met a couple guys doing a very convincing rendering of Genesis-influenced material they wrote. I got back in touch with them when I was through with the army, and we eventually decided to make it under the name 'Pi 3.14'.
The band did not last long after its first and only commercially released single in 1978. Barclay Records was keen to let it go providing both Hubrenne (vocals) and myself remained under (solo) contract. That's how I got my first solo recording deal, under which I made my very first solo work in 1980, "Back to scales tonight", a strongly Wonder-influenced song album.
That same year, I met Genevieve Auger, then student in economics. We finally got married six years later.
The Barclay era was very enriching in a professional level, as I was to meet, befriend and sometimes work with established talents like Bernie Lyon, Daniel Balavoine, Raymond Lefèvre, Richard Bohringer, Guy Marchand, Jean-Louis Trintignant (adding some acoustic piano to his "Le Maître-Nageur" movie).
In 1979, my session-player career took on sky-rocketting levels. I was in every studio in Paris, sometimes many times a day, forging a synthesizer-arrangeurship, shaping, finishing, 'icing' everything put onto record in the ubiquitous disco wave, whatever the size of the project, simply armed with mainly Korg machines.
I would work mainly in the post-production stages, when none of the musicians nor the lead artist were around, sometimes left alone to figure out what to do, with just the tape-op in the room. A good synthesist was hardly directed. That resulted in some funny situations like being part of Myriam Makeba / Hugh Masekela "Comme une symphonie d'Amour" recording without even getting to meet them.
Manu Dibango got me on a couple of his projects. I was also given the chance to work as a producer, and one of the most interresting projects involved was a Jean-Paul Dréau's song "Je veux de la tendresse", performed by Leo Missir's girl friend Janick Prévost in 1980.
One session leading to another, I was to do some background music down in Barclay's demo studio, with english musicians for a change. Apparently Julian Scott (bass) was adamant of my piano style, enough to mention me to his brother Robin. Robin Scott had a deal with Barclay and was preparing a timed-bomb named "Pop Muzik", that further led me to the Level 42 venture.
And stemming out of the french antilles milieu I knew prior to the army, I had kept in touch with the Francfort brothers, dubbed 'The Gibson Brothers', mainly Patrick (drums) and Alex (piano). They got me touring with them (mainly in Spain where they where enjoying a huge succes with "Cuba"). They got me involved in many projects, including their own, managed and produced by Daniel (Bangalter) Vangarde.
Daniel and I rapidly built a very close relationship, and he was the one who first introduced me to the Synclavier system. He had plans for both of us, and eventually built a concept studio in that regard. But he (unconsciously) triggered the end of these projects the day he spoke to Chris Blackwell about me.