Atone - August 2006 English Version
CM>>>Your new Album is called "Un An" (A year), the EP you've released in Spring 2004 was called "Un Jour" (A Day). Is it right to call the Album "Un An" a result of the EP?
Atone>>> Yes, we can consider this, ‘un jour’ was an attempt to relate an entire day, from dawn to twilight, for the lp i wanted to work the same way but on a year. You don’t have to look for seasons, it focuses on the differnt moments I lived.
CM>>>Your tracks are kind of a diary which describe a day during a year. When did you have the idea for this project? What was the impulsion for this concept?
Atone>>> It was not a concept at first, I did the tracks without any link idea, but when Stephane from autres directions asked me for an lp release, I listened to the tracks I have done over the past year and the link and order of the tracks became obvious. That’s the way, the ‘year concept’ came to my mind. I don’t think about concepts when I create music, I first do it and afterwards something appears.
CM>>>Are you a person who loves diaries? Or do you organise your life in an agenda or something like this?
Atone>>>I try to live from day to day, but I remember very well the things I’ve lived and the links between events, encounters… The only diary I write is in my music.
CM>>>You also dedicated two three to classic instruments. One is called "Piano" and the others "Accordeon" and "Melodicas". What was the reason for these tracks? Do you have a special relationship to these instruments?
Atone>>> These are important instruments for me, because they were recorded in special conditions. They have all something in common : the basis of the songs I made with them has always been recorded in one day. Considering ‘piano’ and ‘accordeon’ they are important because they were the instruments my father used to play when I was a child. Considering ‘melodica’, it is the instrument that helps me find a lot of melodies and moreover I often used it on acoustic jams with friends.
CM>>>I know I can't ask you about the background of each track of the twelve "Un An" tracks. But I also would like to know what's behind the title called "Kaboul"? Is this title connected to the actual situation in Kabul?
Atone>>> The choice is obviously not hazardous, first of all it’s linked to the Eric Aldea’s lp called ‘Kaboul’ which I find wonderful. I tried to find synthetic sounds that could give the same hypnotic feeling. I also have a mythic vision of Kabul and Afghanistan, when I think of this place, I see the road of silk more than Talibans. This track is more about dreaming than politic.
CM>>>Twelve months, twelve tracks... But did you produce more tracks than twelve in the year you worked for "Un An"? And how have you selected the tracks finally? Does the arrangement of the titles follow the calendar? I mean for example Introdution was produced in January..... Melodicas in December.
Atone>>> The tracks are not ordered considering their date of creation, but according to the events they remember me. When I first gathered the tracks, I selected 13 ones, but keeping only 12 became rapidly obvious.
CM>>>Some tracks of "Un An" have a special melancholic ambient. Do each track reflects your personal moods and feelings you had when you produced them?
Atone>>> The tracks are a way for me to share my feelings, mostly melancholic as you noticed ! In fact, I am strongly inspired by the events, from birth to death, or the feelings of my friends, and i’ve never foud a better way to express myself than through my music.
CM>>>You also work in different music projects, you are also known as the second half of ADS[R]. what was the reason to start a your solo project "Atone"? Ws one reason the artistically freedom ?
Atone>>> Working alone is not really a way to find freedom, I know very well the people I work with, which makes it intersting, it is a way to show different colours and sounds. Working in solo is a way for me to show only one of these colours and to decide everything.
CM>>> "Atone" seems to me like word games as a result of your real name a note or the tone?
Atone>>> Yes, in fact the name is related to my first name : Antoine, it is also a wink to music (the tone, the atonal music) and the medical definition : somebody who is ‘atone’ is amorphous, without tonicity, as I act most of the time the other way, I found it funny.
CM>>>You are an activist in the French music scene for ten years, can you tell me something about your musical projects you worked with in the last ten years and how you get in touch with electronic music?
Atone>>> ‘activist’ is a bit too strong, I took part in different projects these last years, I’ve worked on movies, danse and video.
I work in a hip hop electronica duo called W.A. and a post rock electronica duo called ads(r), I also work with a dancer on a project called ‘confluence’. I also took part in a collective with four other musicians in Angers. At first, electronic music was a way to do everything on my own, I then started to love these sounds and tried to discover as many I could.
CM>>>You are also working as a sound engineer. Is this the technical half of Antoine, I mean on one hand we have Antoine the artist and musical poet Antoine and on the other hand we have the scientist and technical "Antoine".
Atone>>> I am very intersted in technology and new tools of musical creation, but I am not found of purely technical shows, I try to reduce the tools I use to the strict minimum. I don’t feel like I am devided in two parts, I believe we must know and understand technology to use it as an artistic tool.
CM>>>Did you went to a sound engineer school or do you taught your knowledge by yourself?
Atone>>> I’ve learned the basis in a private school I went in during a year, but I mostly learned in doing. I am in charge of mastering the releases on autres directions in music since ‘noise and the city’, I’ve learned in practicing.
CM>>>You play a lot of instruments . Which kind of instruments do you play exactly? Have you been raised in a musicians family? At which age have you started to play instruments?
Atone>>> My father is a musician, but he stopped live shows since I was born, there have always been a guitar, a piano and an accordion at home. When I was 15, I started playing rock music with a guitar, then I discovered I could make arrangements with my computer, I early droped the guitar to focus on electronics. I play the drums and keyboard, but I don’t feel like a pro using them.
CM>>>It's hard to classify the musical direction of "Antone" and I know that an artist normally doesn’t like this question but how would you describe your music?
Atone>>> My music is mostly a way to evoke feelings. The sounds and melodies have to make me feel things, and I hope it does for people listening to it. I want my music to lead to dreams, to open doors to alerate worlds and realities.
CM>>>Which kind of artists, musicians and also authors influence your work?
Atone>>> Phonem and Aphex Twin inspired me considering the rythmic and melodic mix, now a days I’m very intersted in Tortoise, mostly because of the way they mix and arrange their songs. I listen to many different things, but not everything influence my work, even bands I am found of.
CM>>>Let's talk about the production process. Which kind of gear do you use for your music? Do you use more software or hardware? Where have you recorded the album? and did you played all instruments by yourself?
Atone>>> I played everything on ‘Un an’, at home. I use Ableton Live and my dear Jomox Airbase99, the keyboard sounds come from my Nord Modular and plug-ins. My music is a mix between hardware and software, but the final process is done in my computer, so we can say that it is mostly digital.
CM>>>I also remarked a special computer monitor/screen on one of your presshots. Is it an Apple iMac?
Atone>>> It isn’t. It is a low price screen linked to my MacMini.
CM>>>For your live shows you work with a "real" drummer. What was the reason for this and do you need a lot of rehearsals to combine the drums with your music?
Atone>>> I like to find different ways to play live. For the tracks of ‘Un an’ I didn’t want to sit down behind my computer, if people want to listen to it quietly they can do it at home. For live shows, the volume is higher, and I asked Wilfried to play the drums with the most acoustic sound possible. This way, I don’t send rythmical sounds. The fact he moves a lot as I don’t, creates a contrast I like. I also like the sound contrast between the warm sound of the drums and the cold digital sound.
CM>>>How much space is left for improvisations during your live shows?
Atone>>> In each track, moments are left for improvisation, we just keep key moments not to be lost. There are also fully improvised tracks, but as in jazz we know the theme.
CM>>>You also work with visuals when you perform live. Who created the video sequences and what's the concept behind the videos?
Atone>>> Wilfried (the dummer and also second half of ads(r)) did the vidéo. It is a shot done in a car, along a road, the sun rises in slow motion. These are very slow pictures like paintings. I wanted a video that looks more like light and screenset more than something that tells anything and moves a lot, I don’t want to impress, TV does it well!
CM>>>And how do you manage to synchronize the music with the videos?
Atone>>> There is no synch, the video is divided in two : the main part and the end part. When we come to the last track, a computer is used to play the last part. As I consider the live as a long and lone song, the video had to be the same.
CM>>>What comes next? A new ADS[R] project, a new Atone project.....?
Atone>>> We are working on a new ads(r), we hope we will be able to make it more visible than our past projects. I also have ideas for the next atone lp, I have recorded tracks with W.A. and I’m working on a ep with a bass player.
An ‘Un an’ remix lp is to be released on autres directions, which makes me happy because remixes are really good, the artists who accpeted to cope with it gave an interesting personnal vision of my work.
CM>>>What do you need for a perfect day?
Interview Michael Mück
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