“Lalu got the sense of fine-tuned technicality and majestic flair.”
“Meticulous progressive craftmanship, all finished with a virtuoso panache.”
“God, those grooves!”
“Endlessly imaginative keyboard arrangements”
“Mature songwriter with a focus on what’s important in his music and the knowledge of how to bring it out in unique ways.”
“Mind-boggling progressive tendencies as one would expect from Lalu”
“Lalu has a character of its own that’s very respectable”
Vivien Lalu is a French composer, keyboard player, songwriter, and record producer. The son of Noelle and Michel Lalu, musicians from the ‘70s French progressive act Polène, he had a musical upbringing with his parents. However, he also studied shortly with Emmanuel David, a former student of jazz pianist and composer Thelonius Monk.
Lalu has released numerous recordings through an array of different bands and projects since 1997. He first became known for being the keyboard player and songwriter for Hubi Meisel from 2002 to 2005. He is better known for producing progressive metal records, in particular his own band LALU. Among his honors are an Album of the Month title in Rock Hard Magazine, and a mention in Roadrunner Records’ Top Ten Albums of 2013 by Jordan Rudess (from Dream Theater) himself.
In 2008, Lalu scored his first film, Warner Bros’ Seuls Two, directed by French comedy artists Éric & Ramzy. This accomplishment helped him to secure more soundtrack work such as the show Science 2 made in association with Lucasfilm Ltd. Additionally, he joined the production team behind Laszlo Jones in order to assist in the recording and production of ‘Banana Nation’ for Universal.
Lalu has since composed many soundtracks for French television, as well as music and sound effects for Ubisoft, and Neko Entertainment games on Nintendo DS, 3DS and Wii U. He endorses Roland keyboards and currently appears on more than 20 albums released through Universal, Sony, Frontiers, InsideOut, AFM Records etc. as composer and/or keyboardist.
Progressive Metal Recordings
Born of Noelle and Michel Lalu, musicians from the ‘70s French progressive act Polene, Vivien Lalu has released a surplus of progressive rock/metal recordings through an array of different bands and projects since 1997. At the turn of the millennium Lalu played keys for two underground progressive metal bands from Paris, Sad Warden and then Mind’s Orchard. In 2002, he was hired by Hubi Meisel (ex-Dreamscape) to compose and record keyboards for his solo album EmOcean. The following year he did the same for Meisel’s sophomore album Kailash. Both of these albums were released by Lion Music.
ONIRIC METAL (2005)
By this time Lalu began recruiting his own associates from major prog and metal bands – some of whom he shared time composing music in progressive metal act Shadrane – and formed his own solo project: LALU. The first full-length album ‘Oniric Metal’ amongst others featured guitarist Joop Wolters, Ryan Van Poederooyen (Devin Townsend Band) on drums, bassist Russel Bergquist (ex-Annihilator) and Martin LeMar (Mekong Delta, Nachtgeschrei) on vocals. The album was released on Lion Music in 2005 and marked a new chapter for this composer and his insatiable need to create mind-expanding, cinematic music.
These accomplishments helped Lalu to secure score and soundtrack work for film and television. Over the last few years he has written many cues for the orchestral soundtrack for the Warner Bros movie Seuls Two and for the show Science X made in association with Lucasfilm Ltd. Additionally he joined the production team behind Laszlo Jones in order to assist the recording and production of Banana Nation (Universal Music Group). Lalu has composed many soundtracks for French television, music and sound effects for Neko Entertainment, besides working as a sound designer for Ubisoft Entertainment and much more.
ATOMIC ARK (2013)
After collaborating with Shadow Gallery for a song on their ‘Digital Ghosts’ album, and working with Canadian drummer Chris Nalbandian for his ‘Paralysis of Analysis’ solo album – recording all keys and sharing solos with Derek Sherinian and Alex Argento – Vivien finally settled in and began work on the second LALU opus. Handling all composition and songwriting duties, as well as all keyboards, Vivien weaved the cloth of the new album together with vocalist Martin LeMar, bassist Mike LePond (Symphony X), guitarist Simone Mularoni (DGM), and renowned drummer Virgil Donati (Planet X, Allan Holdsworth).
The recordings took place in several countries including the United States (Los Angeles and New York), Germany and Italy. The album was produced by Lalu in his own studio, and mixed at Boumbox Studio in Paris by Yan Memmi (Dio’s ‘Lock Up The Wolves’, Marcus Miller’s ‘The Sun Don’t Lie’, etc.). Additional contributions came from Jens Johansson (Stratovarius), Joop Wolters (Shadrane), Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater), Marco Sfogli (James LaBrie), Mike Andersson (Cloudscape) and Peter Wildoer (James LaBrie). The final product, boasting over fifty minutes of exceptional, massive cinematic, atmospheric metal was dubbed ‘Atomic Ark’. Signed by Sensory Records immediately upon hearing the opus, the album was released worldwide in 2013.
LIVE AT P60
The best songs of both ‘Oniric Metal’ and ‘Atomic Ark’ have now been captured alive. Spring 2014 saw Vivien Lalu venturing out on a unique live tour, hosting only a few select shows featuring the all-star Atomic Ark line-up of Martin LeMar, Mike LePond, Simone Mularoni and Virgil Donati, adding Joop Wolters as a second guitarist on stage. After a few weeks’ practice, the short tour culminated in the live recording during the final evening at P60. Produced by Lalu himself, mixed and mastered by Simone Mularoni at Domination Studio, the digital only ‘Live at P60’ was officially released 29 June 2015 through Bandcamp, iTunes, Google Play and Amazon.
PAINT THE SKY (TBR)
Enter, ‘Paint The Sky’! Being the son of two musicians from the 70’s, and growing up surrounded by progressive music, Lalu always wanted to craft a true-to-its-roots progressive rock album. He spent a lot of time writing out what he thinks this new effort should entail, and truly believes that the end result is as sincere as it gets. He just couldn’t see himself making anything else right now. Along with this new album came a change in vocalist specifically for this lighter, more progressive version of LALU”. In May 2020,Lalu released the following statement on his Official Facebook page:
“I am so proud to announce Damian Wilson as the lead vocalist on ´Paint The Sky’. I have been a fan of Damian since forever, and his friend for quite a long time. During the MySpace years, we discussed writing an album together about fairy tales and stuff, but it never happened. It means a lot to me that today Damian and I found the right project, and time and setting, to finally work together. His voice is truly unique, instantly recognisable, and very well suited for progressive rock. Damian is such a versatile and emotional singer. I am thrilled about our partnership.”
“And don’t worry – I’ve still got a few surprises up my sleeve for this new record from names you all know and love!”