Sunday, October 11, 2009

Bubu Bass - Bass Magazine No. 10 1997

Another set of scans from our friend Akoustikus.....

Interview Philippe Bussonnet

The recent tour of Magma has uncovered little-known musicians, but passionate and dedicated to the music of Christian Vander. Among them, one who succeeds, among others, Francis Moze, Jannick Top, Paganotti Bernard, Dominique Bertram, Mark Eliard in the role of bassist Philippe Bussonnet. The opportunity of making Kohntark ... ! !

What was your musical background before Magma?
I am completely self taught, it is about 10 years I played, and I have long been in Province, in Belfast, where I played in various bands, rock, jazz, a cover band Magma (!). There are about 3 years ago I started working with Patrick Gauthier (excellent pianist and keyboardist, Ed), with whom I have done many concerts and an album. It is less than 2 years I have lived in Paris.

How did you know Christian Vander?
In the cover band Magma, I played with a drummer named Mark Delouya, who knew Christian, who had also played in Offering. For my part, I had already played with Christian last year for 25 years with Magma "The Voice" and in 1991 for the concert Mekanïk.

What are your musical influences and "bass"?
I love James Brown, Bootsy Collins, Motown, James Jamerson. I really listened to King Crimson, all periods, Magma course, a lot of jazz, but this is not music that I practice a lot, if only because I do not play bass at all. Among the bassists who made me want to work the instrument, there is also Bernard Paganotti and Jannick Top, which should make school so it is original. It is one reason why I am bassist. I like also the "Earth Wind and Fire" in the 70s.

Being a fan of Magma, then become a musician, plus a drummer as a Christian, that's what effect?
Good! It's a big job of listening, learning songs, because there are many things to remember, is music that repeats itself. After it is a work of his, listening, movement, to be always together in the same movement tempo. It puts the pressure and it stimulates both because it is a music that was so well done by others before, we must follow a certain path that has been drawn for years.

Successor of legendary bass players in a group of legend, it is a challenge?
I do not think too much, especially not when playing, I try to do it my way, I could never repeat certain things the same way, try to do better!

Do you have other musical activities outside of Magma?
Let's say that at this moment, I flatly "nose in it, if I worked in a quintet with Jean-Claude Buire, a drummer with whom we get on very well musically and humanly, and with whom I often played. The group of Patrick Gauthier is a little "standby" yet, and I participate in a group of compounds, but is still undeveloped.

What equipment do you use?
An old Ampeg SVT tube, and a bass DNG, Nicolas Petitbon, very simple, passive, tuned Do Sol Re La. In the beginning I tried the 5 string with a low B, but I did not speak at all, so I tried the 4 strings tuned in fifths, and I prefer the sound of the instrument like that. Outside of Magma, I often use effects like the Fuzz, the Wah-Wah.

The future?
Always Magma, with a future larger tour in spring 1997, and the groups I mentioned.

Interview by Thierry MENU
Bass Magazine - January 1997


  1. was this translated with babelfish?

  2. Marc, don't know how to contact you, so I try it here, 'cause it's concerning to Bubu also:

    Is it possible to get any information about Philippe's bass setup?
    I'm especially interested what sorts of strings and which string gauges he uses for his tuning in C,G,d,a.

    Thanks for your blog!

  3. Sorry, Kai. I don't know. You might want to ask on the French Magma forum at

    There are several bass players on that forum who might know. Looks for the user named 'Maahnt'.

  4. Ok, thank you, Marc.

    1. I've got information on Bubu's setup, in case you're still wondering.

  5. In case someone interested in Bubu's setup ends up at this page and gets midly upset about how barely informative this interview is, fear not for here's some interesting info for your delight: Bussonnet uses D'Addario XL strings (nickel roundwounds), with gauges being 145-90-60-40; remember, he tunes the bass CGDA instead of EADG, just like Jannick does, and this unorthodox tuning requires appropriate string gauges or else the unbalanced tension will damage your instrument's neck. The D'Addario website can sell you each string separately, which ends up cheaper than assembling your set out of several different sets. They also list other webstores that sell individual strings.