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Blues in my bones: An interview with Swiss Mauritian blues duo The Two

We catch up with Mauritius born Yannick who shares his inspiring philosophy on life and making music. The Two’s sound is embellished with a mysterious and magical energy and as they treat every day as an exciting gift he explains how the future for The Two is now.

Written by Gemma Dietrich

the two record cover
Every now and then you stumble across something really special. A music project that seems to capture more than a pleasing melody, some nice lyrics and good PR shots. Something that holds a certain magic you can’t explain. Yannick Nanette and Thierry Jaccard are the master minds behind the music project that is The Two. Based in Switzerland they hold an enthusiasm for music and life which is undeniably recognisable in their sound. Having won the Swiss Blues Challenge in 2014, reached the semi finals of the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, USA in January 2015 and releasing their first album ‘Sweet Dirty Blues’ in November 2014, this duo are taking their world by storm.

The Two – Sky

Let’s start from the beginning. How did you guys meet and begin making this beautiful noise?
We met in a small city called Sierre. This is where I lived for the first five years when I landed in Switzerland for my studies. I was walking by a concert hall and heard some nice funky groove. The band, Brainless, was sound checking and believe me it was amazing sound. Nothing really happens in this town apart from bull fights, wine drinking and cheese making. So I sat there outside listening for a while until one guy from the band came out for a cigarette. I told him my appreciation, told him I played harmonica and asked if I could join for a jam at the end of the gig. He was stoned enough to accept! He knew nothing about me, never heard me play, but he said yes. I ran home, got dressed nicely, took my harmonica and raced to the venue. At the end of their gig they called me on stage and that is how things started. After that, I toured with the band as a guest during the whole summer. Thierry was one the guitarists of the band. This is how we met and how our friendship started. Thierry and I knew that we had something to work out together and then one day I was sitting on my balcony playing my guitar when a guy passing asked me if I played in a band and if I could play as an opening band. I said yes of course. We had no band, no song, but three months to build things up. I called Thierry and told him that we had a gig, and on the 5th may 2012 we played for the first time.

Interview at the Montreux Jazz Festival

Have you always been involved in music? Was there a pre music ‘safe’ job?
In a way Thierry and I we have always been involved in Music. Thierry started at ten, played in many bands and I started at fifteen and played in hotels for tourists, in Mauritius. We never really earned our living out of music, since Thierry had a 50% part time job as a social educator and I was working as a teacher, in Mauritius. Now, even though we are playing more and more, music is not really feeding our purse. Anyway if we wanted to make money we would have been Bank officers. Right now I am a studying for a Masters in Education and Pedagogy and Thierry just quit is job to resume his studies in Social Education Management.

The Two Yannick And Thierry
For two guys who are supposed to be playing ‘The Blues’ you both look like you’re glowing. What’s your secret?
The Blues in the beginning before being an aesthetic, before being taken by the capitalist music system, before turning it into some kind of entertainment Chicago soulless shit with a 1-4-5 music structure, was a cry from one’s soul. It was a cry from a community, a prayer for survival, a holy hymn, to have the strength to carry on, to have the force to support all the atrocities one was facing in these days. Black people were nothing but furniture, they had nothing and singing was the only way to expel their emotions. It was a cry for freedom, crying their right to exist and be treated as human beings. The Blues was the crude expression of their feelings. Singing to survive, singing to carry on smiling, singing to transform pain into joy though being enslaved.

Do we play the blues? I don’t know. The world works by categorising everything. So call it how you want to call it but the only thing we do in our music is to put all our soul and emotion in what we do. We try to be sincere. Slavery, the kind of slavery when white masters owned black guys, whipping them like hell to pick the cotton, is over. This form of slavery is over but slavery is still around in a way. Money is the new cotton. We are in some form of enslavement in a way. We are our own masters, we own the whip, we willingly whip ourselves. We whip others psychologically, for the sake of capitalism and consumption. We cannot fight back because the thing is really sneaky. Anyway! I might sound pessimistic but this is where our “Blues” feed itself somehow. It is a long story which we try to bring forward through our music. So the “glowing thing”! Our music can be sad, joyful and as I told you we try to put our faith and soul in what, we do, but have fun too. This is maybe what brings the glowing thing. Maybe it is the light engineer.

The Two on the road
Do you write the melodies and lyrics together?
We both write the melodies and I bring the lyrics, which is based on daily narratives.

You recently released ‘Blues In My Bones’, your first 45 record, via Rocafort Records. Have you got any future releases lined up?
We released our CD ‘Sweet, Dirty, Blues’ and the 45 record ‘Blues In My Bones’ in November 2014. The future is now and everyday. We try to enjoy every moment of it. As long as life will give us strength and faith to express ourselves through music and singing, allows us to feel free and at peace with ourselves, we’ll sing and play. This is the only release we can line-up.

The Two laughing
What are you most excited about this year?
We have dreamt of playing in nice venues and this year this dream is somehow coming true. Meeting people, taking them on our music trip, seeing their eyes glitter, hearing them sing with us, feeling this bond between the people and us. It is really an incredible feeling. Believe me everyday brings loads of excitement.

The Two International Blues Challenge
Yannick – You’re from Mauritius. How are you coping with the Swiss climate?!
You have no choice than to cope. When the music is on you have to dance, when winter freezes your ass off you wear two pairs of gloves, and leggings under your two pairs of jeans. It was exciting in the beginning to discover the snow, the country but the climate is not really the issue. Some people can be cold sometimes and having dreadlocks and being of a different colour can be problematic. Sometimes if you smile to someone he might think that, ‘What does this guy want from me?’ I am an open kind of guy who likes to talk and meet people, but believe me it was tough in the beginning to be a foreigner, until I met Brainless. These guys warmed things up. Music really helped to pull down these barriers of fear for the other and made the Swiss experience an incredible one.

TJ Sessions ‘On and On’

When can we anticipate your arrival onto British shores? Where will you be touring?
We would love to come up there, but we need to meet the right people who would want us. Any help would be appreciated.

The Two currently have no UK dates set but are playing a series of dates across Europe you can find via their website. You can also check out and buy their incredible music via Rocafort’s bandcamp page and keep up to date with them via Facebook.


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