Pierre-Marie Maulini has served as one of the most authentic and intriguing producers on the dance music circuit in recent years under his STAL moniker, working alongside some of the most influential figures in the pop, dance and cinematic music spaces. Having teased a new sound profile in Kasztan last month with ‘Number Thirteen’, the French musician now continues his efforts in the post-rock/techno realm with his debut extended-player contribution to the scene. Presented in Dolby Atmos on both TIDAL and Apple Music, for a fully immersive sonic experience, the ‘Rare Earth Elements’ EP is available now across all streaming platforms. DMCWORLD dives in…
Photo by Agathe Lehoux
Hey Pierre-Marie, thanks for chatting with us today – first of all, for those of our readers who are not yet familiar with you, could you tell us a bit about your musical background and previous endeavours before you launched this new moniker Kasztan?
Thanks for inviting me guys. I’ve been in the music game for around 15 years. I started my first band, A Red Season Shade when I was 19 and we toured Europe for a few years. It led me to meet Anthony from M83. After a few years playing my post-rock music from DIY squats to some pretty decent festivals, I joined M83 for 2 years of touring worldwide. It was more electronic than what I was used to and led me to launch another band called STAL, which kept me busy until around 2019/2020. Kasztan is my new moniker and even more electronic, although I can’t get rid of guitar sounds.
Did you imagine starting a band at such a young age would lead to a long-term career in music?
To be honest, I had no expectations when I started music. Like all my friends, we wanted to learn an instrument, guitar for me, and to launch a college band. Step by step, through this instrument, I’ve discovered different music styles. From a hobby, it evolved into a real passion. But I remember watching a VHS of the Swedish punk band Millencolin and feeling the desire to play in a band and tour. I knew it’d happen somehow.
You have just released your debut EP ‘Rare Earth Elements’ with this new sound profile, what was the main inspiration and concept behind the EP?
I produced many tracks before feeling satisfied with the new formula. The three tracks in this EP are the first 3 ones for which I felt the balance between electronic and guitars worked the way I wanted. It’s a bit darker than what I used to compose before, more instrumental and synthetic too. The artwork by French 3D artist Berenice Golmann enhances this feeling. It’s night-time and you’re outside, nature feels reassuring and frightening at the same time. It’s a question of balance.
How did you come to the decision to start this new alias and how do you think it allows you to be more creative?
I was working on new STAL material when I felt the need to go further, find new horizons. I felt blocked sticking to the old rock/pop/shoegaze codes. Also, it was a time when you couldn’t really hang out in music studios with friends anyway. So I’ve decided to start again from scratch and create something new with a light set up.
Where does the name Kasztan come from?
I wanted to choose a polish word as I have a special relationship with Poland. My wife is Polish and I’ve been spending quite a lot of time there for the past 15 years or so. Kasztan (pronounce Cashtan) is the polish for chestnut tree, it’s a nod to a tree that has been dear to my wife since her childhood.
You previously toured with M38 and were very active on the live music scene, is performing something you’d like to continue with under the Kasztan name?
Of course! It’s always been very important for me to travel and tour. I think I like it even better than being in the studio.
How do you think your past experience in the post-rock realm has influenced your production style now?
I came to techno for the same reason I liked post-rock in the first place, it’s the landscape-y, cinematic quality of these two genres that touches me. I guess that’s what could define my sound. The sound textures in post-rock music matter a lot and I always try to spend time crafting these particular sounds, created by guitar pedals in my production. In the end, it’s all about tweaking buttons until you finding the right sound.
Tell us a bit about your day-to-day life?
I work on my music almost every day, not all day long though. I like having my moments walking my dog out, having a coffee with my wife and friends. I love football too, that’s my other passion.
What are some of your future plans?
Keep writing music, keep playing live and keep loving my entourage.
Do you have any tips for some of our readers who might be just starting out on their musical journey?
Challenging yourself is the key. Don’t be afraid to cross genres, push your boundaries. Everything is worth trying without thinking ‘will it be good?’ ‘will it be bad?’. Try to be as personal as possible.