Interview for the launch of F#555

2012-01-07 13:04:52

This is the translation of the interview I did for the launch of my collaborative databending project F#555 on "La contrebande" a progressive music radio show on "La grosse radio rock".
This interview was originaly published at 

Exomène... what does that mean?

Exomène is the shortcut to mental exodus: a way to let go through music.

According to your bio, you have not enjoyed the music theory during your studies in music school. Is the system poorly made for people like you?

It's not really music theory that I did not like but a whole pedagogy that evacuated the pleasure of music making. I can't say the system is wrong. It still got results. What is certain is that I was not adapted to the system. Other people may have felt the same.

Is it necessary to follow a traditionnal course to get into music? And in particular experimental music?

In a normal course, you'll have to learn things when you want to do something else, whereas if you're self-taught, you'll have to learn something you wish you'd already know at the time you should do something else.
Then, it all depends on what you mean by experimental music. If music is the subject of experience, you'll need to learn some music, sound engineering, etc... If music is a means to illustrate what you experience, academic knowledge of music is perhaps less necessary.

Do you consider yourself as a musician or a digital artist?

I'm not an artist. I do things. I compose songs but I do not feel I'm a composer. I created sounds to participate in the creation of environments, but I do not feel sound designer. I leave the labels for those who have a compulsive need to stick them all around.

Your first project "Dusk to Dawn" tells the story of a man faced with injustice. He finds his apartment destroyed, he is pursued by an army ... His family has disappeared. All instrumental tracks trying to make us live the emotions of this man through your sounds.
Then, if I understand the title "Shopgirl" extract your second project "Bedtime Stories", a girl's dreaming about her wedding (A "Here comes the bride" saturated and destroyed).
I have the feelling that, you want your listener to feel what the characters feel? Is your goal is to create moods, feelings, emotions, rather than "music"?

Causing feelings, that's the point. This is closely related to the mental exodus that I mentioned earlier. But I never tell myself: "I will make the listener sad" or "I'm going to make him feel angst". I want to make music that allows to enter a state of mind proper to feel emotions instead.

Then a radical change with "Spoken worms"? There are even words? How did this happen?

I consider "Spoken worms" as a side project, not because it is secondary but because it is a collaboration with Dorianne and Marianne. And as you rightly pointed out, there are lyrics, something I preferred to avoid until now.
I had the opportunity to see Marianne on stage several times and she is one of the few authors I totally enjoyed. But I never considered working with her. It is rather Dorianne who initiated the project by organizing a photo shoot with Marianne. Then, each enjoying the world of two others five pieces of music are born and the next one is on its way.

Can you tell us about the synaesizer? After characters, you want to make things talk now? Images? Computer files? What can they tell us?

The synaesizer (or le Synesthèseur in french) is born of many ideas that have come by hearing people talk about the use of digital tools in art often with the assumption that this was a fundamental change (and not necessarily a good one).
However, is a symphony a piece of electronic music if it was composed and recorded on a computer? A techno song is it classic if it was played by a symphony orchestra?
There are "real" digital works but they have not yet affected the greatest number.
For now, the switchover was mostly to transpose the practices of the physical world so they can be processed by the processors. A photo is a photo anyhow it was taken: digital or analog. Ditto for a piece of music. And if we think in terms of practice, it's the same thing. My music software reproduces the racks with machines you might find in a studio. In a photo editing software, you use brushes and layers. The logic also applies to hardware. Many synthesizers are based on the metaphor of the piano and the computer until very recently on that of the typewriter.
I wanted to question the breaks and continuities introduced by the digital, hence the use of technical and databending as synesthesia as a mode of expression.

You have offered to the smugglers [the listener of the show] to participate in the project F#555. What will happen?

The smugglers sent me floppy disks through you. I picked one and put it into the machine which combines databending, an audio generation system and a video generation system. What will we hear is the sound of the data on the diskette. And I do not mean just the data that are currently playable. Everything that was written on this disk has left a trace that will be read and transformed into music.

Why F#555?

F#555 is more focused on the data than the synaesizer. Today, the slightest gesture generates the data. Turning on the TV, validate your bus ticket, do your shopping...
Although you are the creator of this data and they affect you, you are rarely conscious you are making it and you do not really have access to these data.
Even worse, you often have no more access to the data you willingly created. Who can even read the floppy disk he still has? And when it is technically possible, the file are rarely readable because of obsolete file formats and encodings...
F#555 is a reference to the command "chmod 555", which toggles the files to "read and execute only" for all users.
F is for floppy-disk.
F#555: I would like to collect and process 555 diskettes to make an album and distribute it.

How was your meeting with the photographer Dorianne Wotton? What are your future plans?

That was an intellectual encounter above all. We share our worldview and we have the ability to feel things the same way
It was also an aesthetic encounter. Our tastes are in perfect harmony. That's why we developed the whole aesthetic of desolation
Concerning our projects, we fill a lot of files at this time to be able to present our work. There are also plans to continue to develop our digital project. And then there will be new spoken worms pretty soon.

Do you have references in the classics of Rock?

Of course, rock and its derivatives constitute the major part of what I listen. I do not know if these are really "classics" but Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin are references for me.

In other genres?

What goes through my head at the moment: Slayer, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Ligeti, Xenakis, SPK ...

What is the disk lying around your house that you most ashamed of?

Every time there is a flea market, I do all the stalls in search of 7" disks of French pop of 70s and 80s, so it makes a lovely package of discs to be ashame of.

The album you're listening right now?

"Dead men tell no tales" Monarch alternated with "The Downward Spiral" by NIN.

What is best compliment you have sent on your music?

A deaf person once told me she liked the disturbing feeling that gave him the bass and treble in my tracks. It left me with a sweet feeling of accomplishment.

The worst?

People who do not like my music had the politeness to ignore me until now. Anyway I think criticism is good to take as long as it concerns the work.

If Sarkozy wins the next election, you will play the support act with the synaesizer?

You saw the scene of the dove in Mars Attacks?

Something more to say?


If you didn't listen to the show, here is the "enhanced" recording ;)

Sorry HTML purist, I didn't use the dialog tag since it is not implemented in all browser the day I wrote this article.