Bass Distortion Zine has moved to its own domain bassdistortion.net! As the first article here we are proud to present you the interview of Neurocore!
Hi Christophe! How are you? First, please give a short introduction about yourself to people who haven’t gotten exposed to your music yet.
Dzien Dobry, Bonjour Tuomas! Well, I build musical electronic architectures under the name Neurocore since 1999. I’ve released 2 vinyls on Hangars Liquides and Underground Perversions, and some apparitions on compilations/albums/mix. As a DJ, I have released 2 webmixes: La Divine Comédie / L’Enfer and Alice In Wonderland both for the Destruction Records label. As a Live act, I play some Cybersonic core deflagrations in Europe. Please check Discogs for more information.
In some flyers it is mentioned you are from Poland, but now you live in France. One of your tracks “Dlaczego Tak Daleko?” is also titled in Polish. Are you originally from Poland? This also raises a follow-up question: how and where did you get into electronic core music?
In fact I have the dual Polish-French nationality, but to be honest I feel more Polish than French, even if it’s been 22 years that I live in France I still have vodka in my veins… I was born in Poland (Kolobrzeg) in 1984, and grew up there until my 4th year, then I moved to France, Saint-Malo, where I did all my studies before moving to Paris.
“Dlaczego tak daleko?” means “Why so far away?” and it tells about my trip by train (around 9 hours! which corresponds to the 9 minutes of the track, from Kolobrzeg to Kielce), to meet I:gor, the famous Polish producer.
If I remember well, my first contact with electronic music was at 8 years old when I discovered strange vinyl records from my dad’s collection: Dark Side Of The Moon, Chronologie… Around 11 or 12 year old, I started to listen to techno/acid auditions on radio, there were really interesting programs at that time! Then after a while I was looking for something harder, something faster, and quickly discovered Gabber thanks to Thunderdome compilations. That was my first contact with the Hardcore before I got seduced by Speedcore.
Which came first for you: hardcore or experimental music? How did your music develop into what it is now?
I started my first compositions at 16 years old, on Fruity Loops 3.5, I was clearly devoted to Hardcores. I think I’ve tried every kind of core, but the one that clearly blew my mind and inspired me, was discovered through the Hangars Liquides label. This was a new way to perceive Hardcores and experiments with sounds, without any rules or dance floor specifications, this idea lead me to explore the abstract side of Speedcore, and thanks to that, I naturally opened myself to different kinds of experimental musics.
Your favorite core artists? How about for other type of music that inspires you?
A few musicians, I particularly appreciate: Zbigniew Karkowski, Laurent Mialon, Bernard Parmegiani, Krzysztof Penderecki, Duncan Avoid, Pink Floyd… Musically I’m opened to all kind of acoustic vibrations, from thunderstorms to peaceful nature, from piano to brutal noise. To quote A. Tomatis: “Everything is sound”! Music isn’t my only source of inspiration, I’m inspired a lot by books, movies, high-technologies and of course my own life experience.
The Hangars Liquides label promotes this genre “flashcore” and many people also use it when referring to your music. Do you also use this term for your music, some other terms, or do you think terms and genres are a waste of time?
Nowadays, the term Speedcore means nothing to me, if I hear this term it reminds me of old DOA stuff, fast beats, dirty guitars, obscene language and rock’n’roll attitude… this was 10 or 15 years ago… Flashcore is the HD Speedcore and was introduced to separate ways that producers were taking through years. The idea behind HL is not to go straight foolishly but to change directions, in a way you’re not expecting it. Fasten your seatbelt and take this exit. !!! Some people think it’s stupid to put tags on every kind of music, but music evolves, music changes, this is much healthier and more exciting! Flashcore is a color, a vision, La Peste put into his music, I think people associate me to Flashcore just because I released my first vinyl on Hangars Liquides. In fact I came from that “school” and I share the idea behind the “Flashcore Manifesto”. Personally, I would describe it as Cybercore simply because I love cyberkicks, sci-fi soundscapes, and cyberpunk.
Flashcore is pushing music forward to new extremes. Do you have some kind of special vision about the future of harder electronic music (or music in general) and the possibilities that new technology can create?
Music is as large as our universe, and as for future styles in music, you can compare them to far galaxies, some and most of, haven’t been yet discovered, reached and explored! In a world of constant technological innovations, music can’t stay at its current level. Today we have tools which allow us to go in every direction we want, some will stay on earth, others will join the spatial conquest…
What is important to notice, is the evolution of formats, the vinyl support is clearly dead or is at its end of career. The CD format is dying also, both let the place to digital formats, mp3, Ogg etc…We are currently going into dematerialization of all AV supports: Dj’s will not play with turntables in the future, but with iPads ! Or computers will play and do the mixing work for the dj, which is actually true ! Every one is a dj, every one is a producer or a musician. Electronic music became a game! If I had a wish, it would be to play on a multi-phonic sound system, but for now it’s only available for serious Acoustic Art performances or in high quality cinemas. It would be awesome to experience it at parties. I love to be lost in frequencies, disconnected from reality by sounds, images, and lights. Sound is something magical and I really believe in it’s power. Scientists use it as weapons: “the sonic canons”. It’s a gate to communicate with another dimension by the EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomenon), and who knows maybe one day, we will transcribe/understand the dolphin’s language ?
Do you think your music can contribute to such things as spiritual growth? It is known that different frequencies have different effects on the mind. Do you think drugs are necessary to go into a trance-like state or can this be achieved with the right soundsystem, lightning etc.?
As I mentioned before, I really believe into “Power” and possibilities of the Sound. It’s a natural phenomenon that you just need to control. As you said, frequencies have effects on the mind and particularly on our body. Hardcore is a physical thing, some frequencies can even kill you! And for this type of music it’s important to play it loud on a big sound system! Le Dépeupleur plays the most powerful Hardcore I ever heard in my life, it’s like the wall of sound push you back from the speakers, there’s such energy, where glasses, walls, ground all materials enter into vibrations as our body, this is the effect I appreciate the most. Then you have the “spiritual effect” or mind stimulation, when you’re get catch by the complexity of the musical equation, the interpretation of every sound at high speed could possibly turn your brain into overdose…Combine both elements allows you to reach a state of trance.
I don’t use any drugs, music is a drug in itself and as a listener, I’ve experienced that only few rare times, but it took me quite a while to comeback to reality. It comes a moment when you’re into music; you clearly forget where you are, for instance, in subway, everyone use digital players to escape from reality, forget about troubles and construct their own bubble, same at parties, people want to experience something mind-blowing, loud, physical, magical, they can’t achieve at home.
Several people report me how massive and awesome effects they got using drugs during core experimentations, and I truly believe drugs could help, but if you don’t have a good sound system, nice lights, strobe, and interesting music adapted for those sensations you’ll never reach that state.
On the other side, you have all sort of music that lulls you; I personally fall asleep every night with my headphones. Entity net label is the best solution for a comfortable sleep and beautiful dreams.
What is your opinion about the core scene in France?
Musically, it’s been a while that I haven’t been surprised, I think the last amazing release and that really touched me was “Le Chaos Ordinaire” from La Foudre/No Tek. As for entertainment, compared to Holland, France is an empty desert, sometimes an oasis could appear but it’s so rare… The problems in this country are mainly the costs to organize a nice event in a proper location, then the audience, which isn’t always receptive as European coreheads. But like Eddy aka Helius Zhamiq says, if we don’t go to the people with our music, they will not come to us! In France we have arrived at one point that producers and dj’s play only for themselves during small private parties!
Public parties for flashcore or the more abstract side of hardcore/speedcore in general seem to be very rare. Even in France. Are there perhaps some smaller insider gatherings in France for which you just have to know some people if you want to get exposed to this music?
I don’t go very often to Hardcore parties, most of the time I’m bored musically, hopefully there are always some nice people or friends to see there… I’m much more excited by noise expositions and art installations. Paris is an artistic city, every month there are nice experimental events, the Salle Olivier Messiaen at Radio France gives you multi-phonics diffusion concerts. The George Pompidou museum offers great sound/video installations, by the way, Ryoji Ikeda will expose his works there in April, I advise everyone to go see/hear it! It’s fabulous! Last week I’ve been to an unexpected concert gathering noise producers and professionals of contemporary music. They played from Stochastic music to distorted Breakcore, there were only 20 people at this event. So yes there are very interesting parties, after all you just need to pay attention and move your ass. Most of the time people prefer to stay at home waiting for the upload of the recordings…
At what type of events do you usually play? Are these usually core parties or something else too? What is your preferred type of event?
Unfortunately, I play only at Hardcore/Speedcore parties, but I had opportunity to play at some Breakcore events and it worked very well! I think people from Breakcore are more open-minded than Hardcore lovers, When I was young I played in my college in front of 2000 students and teachers, they were shocked!!! I love create this feeling, I’ve had also the opportunity to play at paint expositions, where I built my music in a real-time observation. I personally don’t like too much the acoustic of old factories or bunkers which provoke an undirect echo/reverb on music, ok, it does have its charm but I like it clear, deep, and strong and it’s perfect in clubs or concert hall. I also appreciate a versatile line up, when sound pressure is growing up all night long.
Do you often play gigs in Poland, and if yes, how would you compare it to French parties? Are there any interesting features that come to your mind when you think about the scenes in these countries?
In Poland, I only played twice, one time in Kielce, 10 years ago, which was kind of small party in a bar, and second in Warsaw, a bigger one, with 3 stages, it’s sad to say but although Poles produce fantastic music (Teoplitz, Slepcy, Raczynski….) the audience isn’t ready (during Hardcore parties) to hear something other than 180BPM4/4 kick drums, After only 5 minutes I completely emptied the dance floor, so I decided to play even more abstract and experimental during the next 2 hours ! At the end, few asked me how they should have dance on this? Well, music isn’t only make to dance, but firstly to listen or to feel. After this solo “concert” a dj took the turntables and started with an old Radium record, then the dance floor got back full in 5 minutes ! My conclusion is that the audience in Poland is behind and not ready for experimental sounds or simply I had the worst live set of my life…. ?
In which other countries have you played live? How has the reception been for this type of music?
I’ve been lucky to play through Europe: Belgium, Austria, Scotland, England, Holland, Germany… I love to travel, this provides such rich experiences, and thanks to music, I discovered new cultures, beautiful cities, places, nice people… Today, I play more in foreign countries than in France. Most of the time, people have difficulties to enter in those spheres, but when they’re in, they become crazy! At least, there are the feedbacks I get after my performances. Someone In Vienna told me “this is like an orgasm” another person in Belgium compared it to space travel. Reactions are different, and that’s fantastic, because everyone has his/her own perception, vision. You can’t really generalize audiences. But after a few years, I’ve noticed this works pretty well in Holland (maybe because some were bored by the terror wave?) and in Scotland, where people are so, SO crazy and enjoy it so much , I’ve played in Glasgow in front of 10/15 people, and the atmosphere was simply electric, huge energy, smiles on every face! Much more fun than in front of 300 dead people in France at rave parties… Can’t wait until July, to go back there for the HL Night ! I’m also very curious how it could work in Finland…?
What kind of setup do you use for producing and for live performance?
Live Performance is really important to me, and has nothing to do with the process of traditional tracks composition, I’m having so much fun on stage and I love the impact of my music produced on a big sound system. I use Ableton Live 8, which is the best solution adapted to my live requirements. By live I’m trying to open doors to an immersion and exploration of the cyberspace, building in real-time combos and sound-blocks from a large puzzle which can grow from 300 to 1000 loops for the long trips =) Everything runs on the last MACBook Pro which I boosted to maximum. It’s controlled by the AKAi APC 40 which is a nice controller especially designed and adapted for Ableton, the problem is that I very often destroy them, by pushing the faders to much. My live acts are real punishments for machines! Audio is delivered by the RME Fireface 400, recently I took the resolution to work in HD, in a 48Khz 32 Bits configuration, this really changed the creation/perception, I use Native Instruments, a large panel for every kind of sound I want to create. I particularly like the “chewing-gum” effect on sound, so you can make every shape you want in real-time (bubbles, explosions, stretchings etc). To render that I use plugins such as Live Cut, The Finger, Sugar Byte’s Effectrix…
You don’t release tracks very often. Are there any plans for future releases at the moment?
That’s true and there is a simple reason to that: I’m never plenty satisfied of my work, I erased hundreds of mega bits of unreleased tracks ! I don’t understand why certain people release empty tracks, already heard or simply that haven’t anything to say; After the cancellation of the Destruction -4 Fashion TV Ep, due to technical problems I drastically changed my perception on the music, and decided to diffuse it by Live Performances only. Now with the increase of digital platforms and players, it could be interesting to put this project out…
I had the intention to mix the three parts of the Dante’s Devine Comedy, Hell was already out, partition mix for The Purgatory was written and recorded for personal usage, and finally Heaven, is still in my mind. I was also working on two mix/stories based on movies: one called Vibroboy from Jan Kounen, and Irreversible from Gaspard Noé, but once again, the result never surpassed the expectations I wanted…
I’m currently working simultaneously on two new projects : a space electronic core opera called “Espace/Temps” where you’ll travelled thanks to music beyond our universe! And “Cube” sort of futuristic/cyberpunk Rubik’s version… Recently, I get in touch with one of the oldest French Underground Hardcore Label, so maybe new materials could see the light…
Thanks for the interview! Anything else you’d like to add?
Open your minds, be curious, and try to perceive music differently than a dance mechanism, it’s much more than that!
Thanks for giving me the opportunity to talk about my passion and to those who have read this interview!
Upcoming Neurocore gigs:
23/07/11 – Hangars Liquides Label Night – Glasgow