You are trained as a graphic designer. I find
that back in your approach on music, you are
not a musician, rather a composer of sounds.
Yes, I can imagine that. I make recordings, inspired by a film, or something similar. I do that on the spot. Afterwards I flesh out the recordings and arrange them. For my latest release, on Germaine Dulac,
I had to record a part 50 times before it was good, although I don’t like that. Furthermore, as a designer I like to work with unexpected elements, errors, ser- endipity. This is the same for my music, that’s why I use a lot of tape recorders. Their nature renders them both unreliable and unpredictable. Different record- ings can not be compared. That somehow is a basis for both my music and design.
What music do you feel affiliated to right now? Ennio Morricone, for one. The soundtrack for Once Upon a Time in the West is magnificent. Not only the composition but also how they got mastered, mixed, the texture on the records. I do think it’s characteris- tic for that time, rather than that he aimed for it. Also John Carpenter, The fog!
For your record, a certain personage, Germaine Dulac, was the starting point. How much can you say that person, her images, were really in your head at the moment of recording?
The record started from a live soundtrack for one of her films that I did, so at that point I was completely focused on the film. Afterwards, I retook that stuff and rearranged it, creating its own identity. I wondered, what does it take to make it a self-sustaining record?
Stepwise I unconsciously drifted away from the film although I tried to stay somehow connected. The atmosphere is undeniably in the record.
I like the musique concrète pieces in your record. You haven’t played these a lot live.
Yeah, I want to do that more often. There was for instance some piano in recent live shows, but in rerecording through different reels, it got quite unrecognisable. I like how I can record something, very thin and basic, and then mix it up and grow in with the rest.
You like to do Alpinism, I can recognise that somehow in there.
I think they truly are connected. I seek a similar sphere with both. I believe the mystery and romance one finds in the mountains is merely created by the human connotation given to this set of rocks. It’s very interesting, a bit like with music. The attraction grows.
The B.A.A.D.M. site states that you believe in ‘music as a medium’ How do you see that exactly?
Music should not necessarily stand on itself. On the one hand it could be derived from an image, a physical object, thoughts. Music allows to express feelings about certain objects. After that, people might look into that connection, but the larger part won’t. For them it’s something new, moving people, providing new offspring. In that way music passes stuff, and maybe someday someone might make a film about it.
You provide the starting point for the musicians?
Yes, that’s true. When we approach a person, we’re familiar with his or her methods and atmosphere. Then we look for a subject that forms an interesting confrontation, responding to his aura. Or vice versa, we have a subject, and we think of an artist that fits perfectly with it. By doing this, we force the artist to make new music, instead of compiling stuff from his archives. It also provides a certain coherence between the releases.
You and Joris Verdoodt (co-igniter) try to build an extended framework around each record, a lot of attention and space goes to its origin, its design. Doesn’t providing so much context minimise the role of the music?
I don’t think so. A cover is a cover, and even a blank one says something. And with the design we try to approach the music, not the other way around. In that sense, I feel it becomes an extension to the music.
Doesn’t it eliminate the suggestion of the listener? He no longer is virgin to the music. You provide a context and give as such the listener a very defined narrative.
That’s personal taste. I think it makes the B.A.A.D.M releases more interesting. We put a lot of effort in figuring out the right connections between artist and image, it’s the core of our releases.