Producer Saavane Machete talks making platinum albums with high school friends
When Gabriel Cabanal-Duvillard was growing up in Rennes, France, he was heavily influenced by his musically inclined family. His father played the saxophone, his mother played the flute, and his grandfather played the organ at church. He spent his earliest years immersed in music, playing with his grandfather’s African djembe when he was just a baby, the drums at just five years old, and guitar at 13. He knew for his entire life that he was destined to make music, and has never lost sight of that vision.
Now, the world knows Cabanal-Duvillard as Saavane Machete, the internationally sought-after music producer, known for his distinguished ear, and his ability to transform a song into a hit. Millions have heard Saavane Machete’s work, whether on his hit YouTube channel, the “Nissan x BET Awards Internet Commercial” that features a rapper rapping on a beat that he produced, or any one of his songs on various platinum albums.
“I can be recognized for having contributed to bringing a fresh sound in French rap music while working with my high school friends collective Columbine, Lorenzo, Kekra and Laylow, and an interesting take on French pop music with Joanna,” said Saavane Machete.
Throughout his esteemed career, Saavane Machete has produced several songs on three albums that have made their way to platinum. Working with his friends Columbine, he produced the first single and title track on their album Enfants Terribles, as well as three songs on Adieu Bientôt. Columbine is a French rap group that was formed in Rennes. Most of the members are Saavane Machete’s friends from high school. Lujipeka was in his cinema class, and he went to New York City with Foda C for a school exchange. After high school, Saavane Machete moved to Paris and the band stayed in Rennes, but they kept in touch. He would send them new beats every week and they would send him back demos.
“Columbine's music was original and unheard of in France. Their lyrics talk about what it feels like to be a high school student and the transition to adulthood. The first albums were independent and didn't sound very professional, but that is what made them sound so legitimate, special and relatable for their fans. I have never seen a fanbase like Columbine's. It is more like a big family. The fans really made the music their own, embracing the fact that it was not perfect. I learned a lot about what makes a good song, and that one song can change people's lives,” said Saavane Machete.
Saavane Machete also knew the prominent French musician Lorenzo from high school, which is how he ended up producing a song on his platinum album Rien à Branler. The song "OVNI", (meaning UFO) was the intro song on Lorenzo's album. He used it as the intro song for his shows and kept the alien theme throughout his album.
“Lorenzo is probably the best entertainer I have ever met. I love how he is able to convey a strong message about what is wrong with today's youth with funny and lighthearted songs,” he said. “Working on these projects was always really cool, the collective was really organized and allowed them to stay independent for a long time. That meant total creative freedom. It wasn't hard to come up with something original, we just had to be ourselves.”
Working on these albums was a once in a lifetime experience for Saavane Machete. Not only did he really see that making it in music requires persistence, discipline, patience and a lot of hard work, but he was able to help some of his oldest friends.
“I'm proud of my city and my high school and happy they represent it! I went to see their shows and seeing all the fans react and identify to the music I was making in my bedroom felt incredible,” he said.
Saavane Machete began his career with the goal of bringing a fresh sound to the music scene in France, and he has achieved that already
at the young age of 24. We can undoubtedly expect even more from this renowned producer and can’t wait for what he releases next.