Even without using words, Julien Tassin is a storyteller. He’s the kind of musician who obviously spent some time acquiring technique and skills on the guitar, but above all values the expressive power and potential of music. His music is not just mood music, but something that transports the listener. Not by technical acrobatics, but by performing compositions that create their own little universes. It’s obvious he has soaked up a wide variety of influences – as you can hear strands of blues, soul, rock and roots music in his cinematic jazz – but it all comes together in one rich identity.
Originally from Charleroi, Julien discovered music in a family of music lovers. Unconditional fans of The Beatles, his uncles offered him his first guitar at the age of eight, which led him to discover the blues a few years later. While performing with local groups, he spent his days at the local media library, where he discovered jazz.
His love for the music of John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, Charles Mingus and so many others gradually diverted him from the classical approach to guitar music. The rhythm, harmonic richness and freedom of jazz intrigued and fascinated him.
Continuously on the lookout for new inspirations, he entered the Royal Conservatory of Brussels, where he studied guitar under Paolo Radoni. Aside from obtaining his degree, he acquired a unique vocabulary that he incorporated into his own musical language.
“They played two sets of Tassin’s original compositions, of which the style can only be described as occupying the liminal space between rock, blues, punk, jazz and electronic music. The music was raw yet atmospheric, and allowed Tassin to show the true versatility his playing” – London Jazz News
An eclectic guitarist, he was first noticed playing with The Crazy Moondog Band alongside bassist Daniel Romeo and musicians like Eric Legnini, Christophe, Panzani and Rosario Giuliani. Since 2015, he has been touring with two experienced accomplices, veterans of all kinds of musical hybrids: double bassist Nicolas Thys and drummer Dré Pallemaerts. In September 2018, they released their first album together: Sweet Tension for Igloo Records. They released a second album, Moondancer, in the fall of 2020. Co-founder of the rock band Run SOFA with his cousin, Julien is also a solo performer.
In fall 2019, he premiered his first solo project, Momentum, at BOZAR in Brussels. Less than a year later, he released a ‘lockdown album’ on 28 August 2020. He wrote and recorded many solo songs during the first lockdown in Belgium, which he wanted to share in an original way. He asked different artists (film makers, photographers, illustrators…) to create images based on a tune that he sent them without giving them an explanation. They were free to interpret the music in their own way, finding their own direction. Every two weeks, a new video was released, and the music was bundled on the album Pictures From Home.
Unlike Momentum, each song on Pictures From Home is a different world. Not really a part of one story, each piece has its own story. To create different atmospheres, Julien incorporated baritone guitar, acoustic guitar and Kalimba. He experimented with different ways of recording to reflect the mood of each song. The result is an intriguing album that shows how beautiful collaborations between musicians and visual artists can be.