Podcast 184: Crystal Geometry [HANDS, Sonic Groove] [ +Interview]


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Drawing from Post-Punk, Black Metal and Industrial, the French producer and live artist has returned to his roots, a crossover between the warehouse rave scene of the 90’s and industrial music, mixing Belgian EBM influences with post-modern, modular-engineered Techno. Alongside regularly hitting clubs, warehouses and spaces with his live and hybrid performances, he's maintained a consistent release schedule, featuring across numerous DIY labels, as well as the illustrious Sonic Groove with two EP's and most recently on revered German industrial imprint, HANDS with the new "State Of Play" EP. Soon we see the project returning to Adam X's Sonic Groove with a second, full-length album.


TF: Tell us something about you. Where did you studied and who influenced you to explore musical processes?


CG: When I was a teenager I was very much into metal, I was looking for the most violent music I could find. At university at the end of the nineties, some friends introduced me to a very old-school music software and I got instantly hooked. From there it's been a long process of self-teaching, of trial and error.


TF: When you look back to your career with all its highs and lows, can you imagine having done things differently? Is it more fate or choice?


CG: I took a ten years break from producing "hard" electronic music from 2006 to 2016. I have no regret and I don't ponder past choices but my "career" would probably be different If I had not been out of that particular game for so long.


It was my decision and I've made numerous other hard calls in my life and I just live with it.



TF: You haven’t given much interviews and you remain quite discreet despite of the recognition your productions and contribution to the techno culture. Do you think that an excessive media exposure tends to cause harm to music?


CG: I don't think "traditional" media exposure can really harm music in underground genres. Nobody in the scene is a pop star that would be recognized in the street by hordes of fans because of interviews and such. The real danger is in social-media where fame and exposure have come to be totally dissociated with music.


Artists are more and more getting booked based on social-networks metrics and not on artistic merits and that's of course really bad for the music.


Just like reality shows have created "stars" with no particular skillset, instagram has created festival headliners with no special talent for music but great at self promoting.


TF: Which aspects of sound do you examine recently? Is for you important the impression that your music produces on the audience?


CG: I think for the past 2-3 years I've been trying to focus more on the pre-mastering side of production, not so much on sound design of individual parts but on global impact of the whole mix of elements.


As I mostly play live sets it's very important to me that my music has the same level of energy as a DJ set. During a night too often live sets sound a bit weak and boring in comparison with great DJs in my opinion.


TF: Which do you think is the role of new technology in composing music? Do you rely more on digital or analog sound?


CG: Technology has enabled us all to easily start producing music. 25 years ago you needed a ton of expensive equipment to make a track no better that what can now achieve with a smartphone. I've started my musical journey with sampling and I have kept it up. I use a lot of digital sound generators (mostly in eurorack modular).


I have tons of gear and great analog equipment too but i tend to use analog mostly for processing, filtering, distorting ... When I create with my analog synths I end up them sampling it anyway. In my live rig only 25% is analog.



TF: Can you tell us more about ''Deathcare USA''? What does it bring to your work? What are the perspectives you want to explore through this?


CG: I created this particular track after playing after the Panacea at Tresor last February, He ended his set with a track accelerating and reaching a crazy high BPM. I thought maybe I could use something like that as an intro, starting my live-set with blast beats and crazy kick drum rolls. It was a way to reconnect with my most early productions that were in fact crazy speedcore at 256 bpm.


Then came the political subject and I decided that it would be a good idea to do another track about the situation of the USA. I had previously recorded "Torches in the streets" about the rise of neo-nazis in the states and for this one I was inspired by the terrible US healthcare system and its aftermath.


On the same record "enslaved" and "Totale Aliénation" denounce the way our capitalist economic system suppress individual freedom by imposing a destructive model of society.



TF: What is the first synthesizer you have ever played? Do you have your favourite instruments or devices?


CG: When I was 10 I had a Yamaha PSS-390 for christmas (http://bit.ly/33BqXQg) I have used it for my first hardcore productions until I broke it in a circuit bending attempt.


Even if I don't use it much for my Crystal geometry project. I really love the TB303. On the modular side I love the ER301 so much that I bought two, it's a sound computer, a sampler, a synth an FX, almost anything you can imagine.



TF: Our typical question ... any book or movie that you would like to recommend to the public to feed your creative side?


CG: I really love David Lynch work and I think the third season of twin peaks is a work of art and more particularly the 8th episode.



TF: What can you tell us about the mix you made for us?


CG: It's a mix of recent EBM/techno productions with some hardcore tracks from late 90s to early 2000s at a "slow" bpm. It features 2 tracks from french hardcore artist Joshua who was the first to sign me on his label and whom with I made my first record in 2000. It's the crossing of what I was doing 20 years ago and what I am doing now. 




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