Hey Louis, nice to have you back with a full release on Turbo since your remix of Thee Mike B in 2015. What have you been up to since then?
I have been busy finishing my 5 year-grade studies in my lovely but boring Normandy. I released some stuff on BNR as well as going more independent last year with 3 releases on my Bandcamp. I have felt the need to be able to release whatever I want, whenever I want. There will be more releases on there in 2020 because right now the label cycle feels too slow to me, as I’ve been often frustrated in the past with some tracks of mine getting a whole year to be released, giving me a lot of time to be inspired by a completely different sonic world. Right now I feel like sharing more and more music to the world, as I feel I’ve been too conservative and introverted with my tracks in the past. I’m casually uploading stuff to my Soundcloud now and setting it to public instead of private.
The tracks on your new EP have a certain sonic atmosphere or texture to them, they seem to be very well mixed with a lot of attention placed on the details of each element. Can you tell us how you achieved these results?
This EP is a good representation of my actual workflow, I’m selecting samples from various sources, some Discogs finds, my own field recordings or even from some youtube videos, and I’m building an atmosphere from this point. Each sound makes us feel a different thing, or a certain vibe. I’m just flowing through it and it makes me think about a place, a precise moment, a person. I will gather all the emotions I feel and build a track around it. For instance, in my track Manifesto, you can hear a field recording of a taxi ride I did under the Berlin rain with Deapmash, the last time we went last June. There was this strange music playing and it sounded very blurry and melancholic on the recording, which led me to this emotive and more personal vibe. I really enjoy giving texture and life to all my sounds. I try to give a lot of structure and definition to my sound , because it’s really important to me how each element will be designed. I’m using a lot of atmospheres as well, I’m really into ambient and I feel like each of my production belongs somewhere, in a certain atmosphere, place and time – I’m not writing music just to have some musical output. Also, there are mostly lo-fi designed percussions because neither my ears nor I enjoy high frequencies.
When working on music, do you monitor super loud or moderately? Do you mostly use monitors or headphones & which model(s)?
It depends, I need to get excited with what I’m working on which means it’s relatively loud when I’m writing the track, but more moderate when I will mix it. I will check the sound at every volume to make sure of what I’m doing. I have learned through the 8 years since I started to produce with my KRK Rokit 8’s and I say that because I believe it’s important to find and stick to what you feel the best. There are no better monitors, it’s just up to what you are used to and how well you know how they will sound. Some of my friends will stick to their headphones only when it comes to the mixing phase. I personally use the HD25 still to check the final mix and the masters of my tracks, but I will work on 80% of the song using my monitors. It has also helped me a lot to hear my tracks on big rigs, because first, you can hear what sounds good and whatnot, and secondly I definitely make music devoted to the clubs and not to Spotify easy-listening home chill.
The last track is a collaboration with Deapmash. What is you relationship with him like?
I met Deapmash like 10 years ago in high school, we had shared interest in electronic music back then and we became good friends. We were both into Bloghouse stuff like Justice, Crookers, Soulwax… We were simply wondering how it was made and it got both of us later into music production and Ableton. Funny thing few people know is that we started making music together under the terrific name « SpaceBangers ». Please don’t steal this gem of a name. Later, we developed different music tastes and we focused on our solo projects. It never really separated us and I had Julien (Deapmash) as a friend for all these years.
What was your inspiration for this EP?
This EP has been inspired by each of the samples I chose to build the tracks around. I have been naming each of the tracks after the samples I used. ‘Falling Phase’ is my interpretation of ‘Delia Derbyshire & Barry Bermange – Falling’ from 1964. I came across Delia in my sonic explorations and I’m really impressed with the sounds she achieved back in time, with the old hardware she had. I wanted to use her song and by this mean, giving her a tribute. Another example is ‘Vela Pulsar’, I was looking for all sort of extraordinary, non-human generated sounds, and I found this NASA recording on YouTube about the Vela Pulsar, which is a neutron star producing magnetic fields one trillion times stronger than Earth’s, and also makes a complete rotation in 89 milliseconds, which is faster than a helicopter rotor. I was amazed I had this sound and I could just use it how I want, then I thought why not make a banger out of it? At the moment, I find more inspiration with this process. I’m not really sitting here, waiting for the inspiration to come – I’m digging everyday to find inspiration and I recycle my way. Every track name of the EP are related to the samples I used. Except with ‘Acquiesce The Front’ though, where I got inspired with Luke Shadbolt photographies and a series of ocean photographies with this name.
Apparently you’re a bit of a foodie. I’ve often compared the resemblance between DJ’ing and cooking myself; gathering the best ingredients (tracks) & mixing them to present a digestible experience to your audience. There’s so many levels to it – would you like to expand on that?
Gathering good food and good people is what makes me happy. I’m not good at enjoying myself alone. I will never be happier than seeing smiling faces from my friends because of the food I made for them. It’s the same for a djset, I will gather a selection of music like I gather quality ingredients, which is the most important part to me if you wanna cook good food. Then, I will deliver my djset, and if there is only good ingredients and the combination is well thought, nothing can go wrong. At least if people seem happy. If you can mix a good amount of spices, texture and tastes, you will most likely achieve something good. Same goes for a djset, and as I would, people will get bored if you play a whole hour of 4/4 hi-produced bangers.
I’ve heard you talk about respecting the “slow food” principle. Is that something we could apply to the DJ world as well?
It is really important to get away from all this industrial shit they will try to make us eat. We should come back to the land where we from. It goes both for cooking and music. If you are into cooking, it’s very important to honour ‘Slow Food’ principles, such as respect of biodiversity, environment preservation and fair remuneration of your local food producers. Whenever and wherever you are when you cook, you should try and respect the season you are into, buy local products as much as you can and recycle anything you can. And i think it applies quite well to my vision of music.
Just looking at Beatport, Discogs, Bandcamp every week takes 3 or 4 hours of my time, because producers like me have to release at least one EP per month if you wanna stay hot and get bookings. It’s just too much. It forces some people into abusive productivity and it’s definitely not the best output you will get. I have always refused to enter this mould, either now or in earlier stages of my life. It surely cost me a lot of opportunities and gigs but I believe you don’t get anything valuable by forcing yourself into it. People must think I’m lazy or up to something else, but I don’t really care, I’m sitting here digging deeper and deeper into my craft. I’m always trying to push forward and be able to present a unique sound someday.
About music production, my process is really similar to the one I follow for Djing. I will research and select a variety of samples. If they directly goes well together, like a basic balsamic vinegar and olive oil combination, I will let them untouched. If they need to be assembled better, I will find a recipe to make them sounds/tastes good together.
Madame’s “Falling Phase” EP is available now on all platforms. Click here for more info