Pensacola, Florida
Tuesday May 21st 2019

Archives

Off the Cuff with Marc Rebillet

By Sydney Robinson

Marc Rebillet’s performance is something you’ve never seen before, mostly because his 100% improvisational music show changes each time he takes the stage.

Wild-eyed behind a pair of oversized glasses, Rebillet gyrates and waves his lanky arms to the beat he creates. A natural performer, he is willing to do anything—really anything—to entertain, confuse and even piss off his audience. But mostly, his goal is to blow their minds.

For his second short tour since fall of 2018, Rebillet has big goals, and he’s to take the stage in Pensacola for the first time at Vinyl Music Hall next week.

Inweekly spoke with Rebillet in advance of that about his music style, his background and where he’s going from here.

Inweekly: You posted your first YouTube video in July of 2016. What pushed you to start your channel and focus on music that way?
Rebillet: It was a little bit of boredom and creative dissatisfaction. I was working at a call center at the time, and it was a good job, but I just wasn’t doing much creatively. I was just making music every once in a while. I had spent the last eight or nine years trying to produce music to no avail, and so I just set this camera up. The 10th or 11th time, I filmed myself with this setup I’m still using and hooked up my camcorder to direct audio and kept going and going and never stopped.

Inweekly: Do you have an educational background in music?
Rebillet: Yeah I do. I’ve played piano since I was 4 or 5. I classically trained until I was about 15 and then stopped and taught myself a bit of blues and jazz. Alongside that, what was really the experience, was acting. I’ve been acting for the same amount of time. [I] went to college for a year for acting, dropped out, and that was when I decided to try my hand at making music. Before that, I was very passionate about music. But when I was 18, I got together a home studio set-up and pounded away on that for about 10 years. Then I got this Loop session, and that sort of changed the whole way I thought about music and composing.

Inweekly: I’ve spent the last few days watching your live streams and checking out your music, and it’s entertaining, man. It’s some good stuff.
Rebillet: Thank you. It’s really fucking stupid [laughs].

Inweekly: It is. I was watching the video from last year when you were playing at a brewery where people are sitting down eating their lunch, and you’re talking about pooping and having sex. And people are looking at you in disbelief, and then, somehow, you win them over.
Rebillet: That is a really beautiful thing that I don’t get to experience much anymore. That’s something I want to do this summer, get back to that “thing” which is the conflict and the friction between myself and the audience. Of course, now I am playing shows where everyone has bought tickets and they know exactly what they are coming to see to an extent. I really miss getting up and performing in front of people who have absolutely no clue who I am and maybe don’t want to see me at all.

Inweekly: Do you have the impulse to up the ante, to shock the people who are there because they already like you?
Rebillet: Oh yeah. The shows are fully improvised, and they’re extremely high energy—with the point being to get people to sweat, get their funk on and sort of recoil a little bit.

Inweekly: Your fans call you “Loop Daddy,” at least online. What’s the deal with that?
Rebillet: That actually happened when I had 5k subscribers. I went and did an all-day live stream special and did a Q&A. One of the questions was, “Is it cool with you if we call you Loop 
addy?” And that’s where it started. And they named my subreddit that, and it just sort of stuck.

Inweekly: How would you describe your sound to someone who has no idea who you are?
Rebillet: That’s a good question. If I had to describe it dryly in terms of genre, I would say it goes from funk, soul, blues, a little bit of jazz, dance, electronica, house, that sort of wheelhouse. Basically, the idea is I want to get people bobbing their heads and shaking their asses. There’s a few genres of music that do that for me, and that’s just what comes out. It’s a one-man improvised show that can go any direction within my sound, and sometimes I’ll bust out a little improvised opera or whatever I’m feeling. It’s just crazy nonsense [laughter].

Inweekly: You have such a unique style because you collaborate so much with your audience and it’s all improvised. Do you feel that your writing is entirely solo, or do you feel you work in a collaboration?
Rebillet: In a live context, it’s 110% collaboration. The audience feeds the direction of the show, dictates what I am going to talk about and inspires me show-by-show to take it whatever direction they make me feel like taking it.

Inweekly: You sometimes do live streams on YouTube where you improvise songs based off of calls from fans. How did you come up with that style of content?
Rebillet: I was inspired by Frasier. I had the idea to do a straight call-in show, and I did that for a couple of episodes. For two or three hours, I would just let people call in. I’m not sure how it happened, but I found a way to hook my phone into my looper, and it gave me the idea of talking to people while I was making music. I play; I take a call; I play; I take a call. It’s a great way to connect with my audience.

Inweekly: You’re originally from Dallas, Texas. Why did you leave?
Rebillet: I was born there. I spent part of my childhood in Englewood, N.J., and I moved back to Dallas. I moved when I was 22 to Paris. I’m half French, and I have dual citizenship there. From Paris, I moved to New York for a couple years and had an amazing time. And then because of family, I moved back to Dallas to help take care of my dad, and that’s sort of when I started experimenting with this setup and then lost a job and started playing professionally, hustling for gigs, got gigs, [started] growing my audience and at a certain point decided it was the right time to take the leap. Within a couple months, the internet started sharing my videos like crazy, and I signed with a booking agent and started touring. It picked up very aggressively.

Inweekly: How has touring impacted your creative process?
Rebillet: It certainly has impacted the live show a lot because all of a sudden, I’m playing to a room of hundreds of people who are interested in seeing me, so that’s very different from what I had been doing for the past eight months. It has forced me to turn the show into less of an experimental, confrontational experience and more into a big piece of entertainment. So from the moment I walk out, there’s people clapping, and I have to mirror that energy. It has basically made the music bigger, louder, more dance-centric. Whereas when I was just fucking around in a restaurant for three hours, I could just do whatever the hell I wanted and not really worry if things were working all the time. I could take detours. Now, I have really focused my energy on making this a package, a really intense beginning-to-end high-octane package.

Inweekly: It seems like you’re very much at a transitional point now. Your fans online agree and have said that this tour may be their last chance to see you up close in a more intimate way before you blow up.
Rebillet: Well, that may be true. In the fall and winter, I’m going to be playing much larger venues, and in the summer, I’m doing festivals with big stages and crowds.

Inweekly: Is that exciting for you? Do you have concerns about scaling the show if you end up with bigger crowds?
Rebillet: I wouldn’t say I’m concerned, but I do worry about sacrificing intimacy for spectacle, you know? I know I can do that. It’s not a question of whether or not I can pull it off. In Bristol, I played for 1,300 people, which was insane, and I was really worried about it. But it was an absolute blast. The collective energy of the audience gives you a reason to make it that much bigger and louder. I need the audience there. I can say there’s something really special about playing to a crowd of 90 to 150 people and really feeding off of that intimate energy. It’s something that I really love. I definitely will be making a point to give people that experience every once in a while. But if the market wants me to play bigger rooms and there’s people to fill those rooms, I have to do that. There’s always time in the future to play really hot, tight little shows.

Inweekly: Whether it’s in your videos or at a show, you really seem to have no limit. You’re playing your keyboard in your underwear on a YouTube video or ripping your clothes off in front of an audience; you commit completely. That sort of thing takes bravery, How are you able to put yourself out there so completely?
Rebillet: Well, bravery is very flattering, I don’t know if it’s that. It’s a sweet thing to say, but I would not say I’m being brave up there. Really, I think it has an enormous amount to do with my long, long history of performing. Since I was 5 years old, I have been on stages entertaining people. Being on stage where I am elevated against a body of people has never felt uncomfortable for me. It has always felt good and natural and somewhat easy, and so I think that has served me hugely in terms of getting this show up and running. It’s just something I’m used to. I guess taking it to that place and bringing that big energy is the result of my personality combined with the energetic response from audiences. It also works in the opposite direction. When there’s conflict, when audiences don’t want to see me or disapprove of something, I have this impulse to stretch it that much further to try to get them to come to my side.

Marc Rebillet
WHAT: Marc Rebillet with Nick Flagster and his Dirty Mangy Dogs
WHEN: 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 8
WHERE: Vinyl Music Hall, 2 S. Palafox
COST: $12-$15
INFO: marcrebillet.com