The incredible film composer creates a unique EDM experience inspired by his love of Extreme Sports
Interview by Dan Prince
Andy a huge welcome to DMCWORLD, where on the planet are you right now?
Hey Dan, thanks for having me on DMCWORLD! I am currently in sunny Los Angeles, California.
What was the first piece of music you heard this morning after rolling out of bed?
Actually, I was still in bed when I blasted “Potara Earrings”, a new instrumental track by my friend Orion. I’ve been obsessed with this song for a couple of weeks (although I don’t think it has been released yet) but Orion is one of the most talented producer I know, I highly recommend listening to his other tracks.
A really exciting start to 2016 for you, all sorts of ingenious projects on the go. Let’s kick off with your new music video Leap Of Faith which sees you performing live with a custom rig made of unique electronic and midi instruments. It’s amazing. It is directed by Spanish director German Izquierdo, what were you two hoping to achieve with the video, you are both bringing two very different areas of expertise to it…
Checkit here : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vbQgUrCM8pw
The idea for the Leap of Faith video came from the inability to explain my live concept to clubs, venues, booking agents and even my own listeners. I wanted to showcase all of my instruments without the distractions that a live show implies (lights, projections, LEDs, smoke, crowd, stage design). At that time, my friend and director German Izquierdo came in: his acute sense of design and visual storytelling helped shape this short visual piece into it’s final form. For example, the video is shot against a white background: not only it helps getting rid of those “distractions”, but it also connotes the look of a product pack-shot, like the ones at the end commercials. It is reference to the state of electronic music, the people who perform it and how audiences and media “consume” it.
Tell us about the instruments you used…
The heart of my rig is a laptop running Ableton Live which can loop, sample and sequence other instruments. I trigger and mix the different part of the set with an Aakai APC 40 and a pressure-sensitive pedal when my hands are busy. I use a Roland synthetizer and V-accordion as well as drums and pitched percussions on a midi drumkit that I designed myself from scrapped parts.
“I want to encourage the EDM scene to keep expanding towards new horizons with live settings and studio experimentation.” The EDM scene has come in for a lot of criticism over the last 12 months, indeed many are saying the bubble has in burst in the US. What is your opinion on this?
I believe the criticism is justified. People who talk about an “EDM bubble” usually treat it like a business or a market, without understanding the music itself. Back in Europe, I don’t recall using this term to describe any music genre. I think it’s American invention resulting from the “festival-effect” and the popularization of dance music and its sub-genres. That’s why, within this umbrella we can throw both, techno and trap, house and trance, drum-and-bass and dubstep, I think there are still so much room and a LOT of unexplored areas ! Music is like genetics. Sounds are like genes. Our role as music producers, is to create new “breeds” and put them out into the world. Natural selection will do the rest and good music will survive!
Leap Of Faith is released ahead of The Lines EP, a piece of music inspired by your background as a big mountain skier and consists of 5 songs that were made for ski, extreme sports videos and documentaries featuring some of the best riders on the planet. Please talk us through the 5 tracks…
All 5 tracks feature my signature “symphonic” sound. All declined into different styles:
I merged acoustic guitar, accordion and melodic dubstep in this epic track.
Freeski is a joyful and childlike track: an ode to the freestyle way of life. It was created for Julien Lange’s video featuring Leo Taillefer (gopro line of the winter 2015 winner)
The Klimb pays homage to the big beat sounds of the late 90’s popularized in movies like The Matrix.
4.We Are Found
This track has an earthy feel. I recorded native American drums and electric guitar creating a very cinematic feel.
Hyperion uses metallic and industrial sounds. It was written for the trailer of “Find the Line” featuring World Tour freerider Richard Amacker. The movie will come out later this year and feature music by Alpine Universe.
The recording of Lines was unusually long. Why?
Most of the tracks on the Lines EP are the result of experimentations made when writing music for videos and documentaries. I was looking for a “human touch” and decided to add many layers of acoustic instruments along with the electronic production, which was an incredible amount of work and kept me up for several nights during the mixing process as well. I played and recorded real instruments such as guitars, ancient drums, accordion and strings and they are integrated into a vast palette of musical genres that in the end represented a body of work: unintentionally, an EP was born.
You are also currently working on a single we hear with the Musyca Children’s Choir in Los Angeles. Can you tell us about the project…
Two years ago, we recorded “I Am Alpine” with soloist Natalie, who at the time was only a 9 years old. Now we are bringing the whole chorus for an epic project. On top of their a prestigious record of performances (Notre Dame de Paris, Disneyland) the Musyca Children’s Choir is a very humble and passionate group. They are all about creating beautiful music and that’s the reason I wanted to team up with them for my next project.
And if that wasn’t enough young man, we hear whispers of a new bass/trap/hip hop label you are involved with…?
Dan, how do you know about this?
Haha! You know me…
Well, this label is straight from the future! Spacegang Records started as an artist collective producing hip hop, r&b and electronic bass music, and throwing secret warehouse parties in downtown Los Angeles. Some of the best music and art I’ve seen recently came from this collective and they are true trendsetters in my opinion.
Okay let’s find out something about the man behind the music and technology. You were born and raised in France but now live in Los Angeles. How did that journey happen?
I first came to Hollywood to study film production in college. Music was a (very persistent) hobby and I started making music for my friend’s films, as well as my own. By the time I graduated, I was doing music fully and I ended up staying in LA.
What is your earliest memory of music growing up?
I remember vividly this guy playing electronic music, surrounded by racks of synthesizers, while footage of the space shuttle was being projected behind him. It was 1992, I was 5 years old and my city was the home of the winter Olympics that year. Every night was filled with all kinds of live entertainment and this concert was celebrating the peek of human achievement: from winning gold medals to achieving space travel, this vision keeps inspiring me to this day!
Who were the early musical influences?
There are so many. But from age 7 to 10 I was only interested in instrumental music and my favorite artists were Ennio Morricone, Eric Serra, and Jean-Michel Jarre.
What was the dream as a teenager career wise?
I wanted to become an astrophysicist. I studied 2 years of physics in college before realizing that it involved too much computer simulations and not enough space travel, so I dropped out. Gravitational waves had my brain, but sound waves won my heart.
Tell us about your favourite live show to date in the US…
The favorite show that I played was opening for Dada Life at Dadaland: The Voyage. These guys have so much energy. They played a secret set in the campground silent disco after the main stage and I got to warm up the crowd for them. Subpack provided vibrating backpack to the audience in order to feel the sub-bass. It was 4 in the morning, only with the die-hard fans, the party went on until sunrise, it was magical!
Your songs have been heard on national and international TV such as FOX TV, E! and Keeping Up With The Kardashians. How important to you is this part of your working life?
I produced background music for these shows but this kind of work is not very challenging creatively. It is another source of income and good practice to streamline my production; it also forces me to let go of my artistic ego but I do not consider it “good” music you know. Although I like working on commercials, where the music plays a more important role.
One piece of your background we love is as a big-mountain skier. Just how big are we talking about?
So I guess size really does matter in that case? Ah ha! Well, my grandfather was a mountain guide, both my parents are ski instructors and as soon as I could walk (16mo) they put me on skis! By age 9 I was racing and heli-skiing between Italy and France and kept competing throughout my teenage years. That’s as big as it got. Nowadays, still I teach ski and catch some steep lines with my family and friends but I’ve toned down on the cliff-dropping and reckless freeriding.
Worst accident you have ever had?
It was a beautiful powder day, like skiing on fluffy clouds; I never thought I could get hurt. I jumped off a small cliff but messed up the landing and broke my orbit (the bone around the eye). It was pretty messy as you can imagine.
Anything alpine you still want to conquer?
My dream project is to perform with a symphonic orchestra one day.
3 albums you still play from way back…
The Prodigy – Fat Of The Land
Fatboy Slim – You’ve Come A Long Way Baby
The Offspring – Americana
And finally…what is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
I don’t know who I heard that from at first, but I love this anonymous quote: “leap and the net will appear”. As you can see it clearly inspired the title of the single.