1 – First of all please introduce yourself to the readers, a little bit about yourself, where you’re from, what you get up to in your spare time (other than making music), how long you have been producing?
Well this is a long story, but i’m gonna try to take the short cut 😉
I’m 39, from South of France and it seems that all my life I have been close to music. As a child I had the chance to discover cool music with nice parents. My mother played to us (with my brother) Ennio Morricone music all the time, Beatles and Georges Brassens and my father enjoyed classical such as Verdi, Prokofiev, Stravinsky, Wagner and soul music like Otis Redding or more funky stuff such as the great James Brown. So as far as I remember, I always heard good stuff at home or in the car.
One day he introduced me to Autechre/Aphex Twin and The Orb and it was a big slap…it was then that the Pulse Code Modulation project was born!
When I grew up, around age of 9/10, we (with my brother) discovered Nice Radio in Marseille and we started to record on tape various music that we liked/heard…most of it was funk, disco, and Italo disco…because Marseille it’s not far from Italy. My favourite hits from the time were Fun Fun – Happy Station, Pineapples Come on Closer, and Den Harrow Mad Desire…so the next step was to buy records. My 1st purchase was M.Jackson’s Thriller like everybody at that time and my 1st record was Wangchung Dance Hall Days 12inch. My father’s reaction was surprising …a 12inch was something unknown to him ! And I was so in love with extended versions…
Looking back it’s kinda my ‘Encounter of the third kind’ :D…I still have these records and I own more than 6000 records now ! And that’s not counting the LP’s…hahahah
We then started to make some megamix’s with a tape recorder or edit of records we had…like a Duran Duran Reflex of more than 15 minutes…and it was really clean in the tempo !
At our teen years our parents offered to buy a synth for my brother and we started a kind of EBM/industrial band, inspired by Front 242, Manufacture, Skinny Puppy and made 1 tape…it was in 87-88 and the new-beat wave came from Belgium, my brother was really into it in the beginning of the movement…I was more into industrial stuff like Current 93, Non, Death in June, Coil. In the early 90’s we split the band (hahaha), and he set up a Techno-Trance label called Mesclum records (the 1st Techno label in the South of France). I continued to make industrial stuff over the next 2 years.
One day he introduced me to Autechre/Aphex Twin and The Orb and it was a big slap…it was then that the Pulse Code Modulation project was born! I had the chance to meet Disturbance/Minus Habens in Italy whom took one of my tracks for a compilation in 1995-96.
Then I moved to Paris and I met Jean-Marie K at Fairway records. We became close friends and he licensed some tracks for various compilation projects…when he left the label, he came to me to release my first CD on his new label Megaphone…it was now 2000…And the CD came out on 2001. We had some great feedback in French press but we had some issues with our distributor…because i was working for the company at the same time and decided to leave them (it left a little bad blood I guess).
I forgot to mention that I had the chance to work for labels during the same time…and sign labels like Chain Reaction, Tresor, Forced Track, for french market via EFA (a big german distributor).
After that bad story, I set up my own label Pong Music for my 1st 12inch “Discodrome” in 2002 with the help of friends at Topplers distribution. But I felt tired about the music business as we were still in this French-touch-disco-filtered period… I decided to stop for a while and came back to my home town in Marseille.
In 2004-2005, I was introduced to Ableton and I decided it was time to compose some new tracks. Then in 2009 I went to Berlin to master more than 13 tracks in the legendary Dubplates & Mastering and in 2011 my 1st release “Himmel Strasse” was out via my friends at Topplers !
Apart from that I own a vintage shop in the Marseille flea market where you can buy second hand records (techno of course, jazz, soundtrack, 60 and 70’s pop and cosmic sound and indies), retro gaming stuff like atari, nintendo, sega and keyboards and of course decks and vintage hifi.
2 – How is it running a vintage record shop in this digital age, have you noticed a decline or resurgence in recent years for vinyl sales?
I never thought digital was a good thing…but I respect the buyers decision. When you buy a record or even a CD, you buy something special…As I sell second hands, my customers are more collectors or passionates and nostalgics. But I have to say it’s different for electronic music. I only sell classic old school house or collector items like hard to find Detroit or Techno. I think the Digital market is really different…people whom buy digital don’t care about sound quality or the physical product. They just want the track/hit of the moment…ephemeral tracks or ugly club hits like LMFAO or David Guetta. I recently discussed this with Gez Varley (ex-LFO) who told me that the LFO back catalogue sales on digital were far less than LFO vinyls sales…that’s a good news in a way.
Maybe it’s snobbish but everyday on Facebook or forums you can see how people laugh at digital DJ’s and applause vinyl DJ’s…I’ll always consider a vinyl DJ as a performer and digital as a hobbyist and lazybones. Now with software you don’t have to do nothing to mix at tempo, its not really a skill.
With the arrival of digital 6 or 7 years ago with Beatport you had good productions, but now there is too much music everywhere, you don’t have time to listen to it all. But at the same time the remaining vinyl labels don’t have the choice, they need to produce quality music! And like in the mid 90’s you have more good quality vinyl than ever. It needed a musical earthquake like digital to clean up all the bad techno/boring tracks on vinyl. So I’m positive because everyday I can see teens buying vinyls, even if it’s rock, pop or progressive rock…they buy records ! But maybe it’s just a fad, but I doubt it…
3 – It’s nice to see an independent label releasing dub techno on vinyl, do you plan on releasing other artists on vinyl or is it simply your own work?
At 1st Pong Music was a label for my production, but now I have decided to open the label to other acts due to the fact I had such a good reaction and good sales. I will start to plan some signings for the future…
4 – At what age did you start getting into Dub/Deep Techno, how did it happen ?
Hmm let me think…my 1st contact with that scene was when I saw the Orb during Orbus Terrarum tour in 1994-95. I was really impressed about the feedback and heavy bass during the performance. And my 2nd slap was when I heard Maurizio, Burial and Basic Channel in 96 ! Once again that was my brother who told me to listen to it and to send them some tracks. Without knowing it, my productions were near to the typical dub techno sound…even though I was more into Deep-ambient and Detroit.
5 – What artists, be it old or new inspire you today.
I must admit that I don’t listen new artist except the ones with which I’m in contact via social network like the ones on Deep in Dub label etc. Internet is a good way to discover new artists, but I don’t have enough time… My inspirations are more from movies, books or life. I’m a great fan of Science fiction and I can go days or weeks without listening to music so I’m not being influenced by others. And with my shop I listen to a lot of records, but it’s quiet funny because it’s rare that I listen to techno…maybe because I worked too long in the Techno music industry ? So the only musical influenced were and still are Coil (for almost 25 years), Autechre, Lustmord and Maurizio/Basic Channel !
But I could or prefer to cite : Stanley Kubrick, John Carpenter, David Cronenberg, David Lynch, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C.Clarke, Philip K.Dick, Hammer movies, HR Giger, Atari, Yukio Mishima, Edgar P.Jacobs, Sergio Leone, Morricone, Lovecraft, Dexter, Twin Peaks series, William Gibson, Gustave Doré, Aleister Crowley, Ray Bradbury, William Burroughs, Ryuchi Sakamoto…
6 – What’s your current setup for producing?
After all these years, I kept all the keyboards I bought from a while back and it’s quiet easy to find some with my job…so the setup moved from time to time. Actually we started to (re)build a new studio with my brother…did I mention we were close ahaha ? So it will be a mix between analog and digital. So for my 1st period I used a good Atari 1040 with 2mb ram (the max at that time ahaha) and my favorite ASR-10 and I did a 12inch and a CD with that. Actually it’s more a computer installation with Ableton and various synth and pluggin of my own.
But when we’ll finish the studio I hope to play more with my keyboards : to name a few : JX-3P, SH 101, Poly 800, Korg M1, DX 7, TR 606, ASR-10…and various midi controllers and electronic toys ! Like an Atari with synth cart or something else
7 – Why did you call the tracks Hakuro & Sakura Serrulata, any specific reason, and why did you choose the overall Japanese theme?
When I started to compose Sakura Serrulata it was the beginning of spring time and as the track is more melodic and Techno and less cold than others I usually do, I thought about the cherry blossoms and gave the name to the track. So that’s one of the reasons why the title is in Japanese. And for Hakuro I needed to stay in the concept. But it’s a tribute to Japan too…as I was really sad about what happened there 1 year ago as I would like to go there at this horrible period to help…and also my best records sales and feedback are from Japanese. I’ve always been attracted by Japan, their traditions, culture, hagakure, the bushido, and more recently Ghibli studio, Katsuhiro Otomo, Takashi Murakami and their video games market !
8 – What are your plans for the future for Pulse Code Modulation and Pong Music?
Well the new 10inch “Hakuro” is on the way and I still would like to make 2/3 10 inch’s a year. You can find also an unreleased track free on the Deep in Dub compilation “In dub we trust”. Then after I hope to release my next full length this year too, as everything is done: sleeve, mastering etc etc…and there will be a limited edition done with the great talented team designer at EM Design in France which will include unreleased tracks and a special art toy edition with Unkl company in the US. But I’m not sure about format…CD/LP..as CD is quiet dead…I’m not sure !
There should be 2 remixes of P.C.M in few weeks too on the brilliant new label Evasion Room records in Italy.
For Pong Music the next step is to sign new talented acts…I still have serious discussion with a few and it could be huge! Even though I dislike digital, I plan to make some special digital series to be available also. A limited CDR for a mix or podcast is also a plan this year.. But of course i’ll keep you informed !
Thanks so much for your blog and for your interest in my music, and I’m happy to be part of your blog !
“Hakuro” EP will be released 25th June 2012 on limited 10″ vinyl (we will update with links to buy closer to the date). But you can win a copy for free below!