INTERVIEW DRC + F0X3r, "NEON RAIN"

Classified in : News Tags : interview
On the event of one of the year's best & most long-awaited Dreampunk album (DRC's been enjoying this for months!), we can now share our discussion on everything from the influence of BOAND, recommended artists, & of course F0X3r's amazing new album!
 
 f0x3r
What are some of the early influences that got you into making music? Do you also create in other ways, like art, photography, or writing?
 
I didn't really listen to music before high school. When I discovered electronic music it changed me and gave me a goal. Although my first influences where bands like Pendulum and Skrillex, I quickly started to listen to much deeper stuff. I think my first influence to make music was Blackmill, then Phaeleh and it was finally Burial who got me into Future Garage. Other arts never really attracted me as much as music did. Sometimes I draw or take photos, but they were never as stimulating as music. Recently, I started making clips for my music by recording my own footage, I really enjoy mixing music and video together.
 
Foxes are famous for being sly and cunning tricksters. Your facebook page is 100% images of foxes, and your name references the animal. Tell us about your interest in foxes and why you chose to name yourself after them. Do foxes inspire you musically or is it for some other reason?
 
Foxes don't really inspires me to make music, but they're part of my identity. I’ve loved foxes for a very long time and I can't really describe why I love them so much. And the fact that I created an anthropomorphic fennec that I created some time ago and used on the cover of my album really strengthens the bond I have with them.
 
You have referred to 2814’s BOAND as your “bible.” Describe the impact BOAND had on you as a musician, and tell us why it’s so important to you.
 
I guess it changed my experience of listening to music. In general, I don't listen to that album track by track, but more like a big composition. The whole album is a piece of art and to understand it completely you need to listen to it in order from the first to the last track. I don't really use their techniques of composing, but it really helped me to understand how music can be transcendant.
 
What gear do you have in your studio, and what do you use the most?
 
I have a Home Studio I made myself for 10 years now. I have a soundcard with a midi keyboard, a Microphone, a guitar and an OP-1. I use mostly My Midi keyboard with VST directly on my software. But I can also use my OP-1 a lot to make great pads and leads.
 
What is your creative process like, and when do you typically find yourself deep in creative mode?
 
I generally start with a sample that I chop in different ways 'til I have something that really vibes with me. Then I start adding things to it, a bass, some drums sometimes, or maybe a lead and some effects. For example on this album I used a sample from the game Hyper Light Drifter I took from the vinyl directly and just messed with it till I got a great pad. Once I have filled the sample with enough sounds I try to make the intro and the outro.
It may sound like I'm stuck with this creative process but not at all. I do this really naturally because it just works for me. But sometimes I change a bit, for example by starting with the beat, or the intro. It's really hard for me to tell when the moment is good to make music, I just feel it and I know sometimes that if I start to create now I'm gonna make something that I'm proud of. But there can be a long wait before finding this special moment. Sometime it's 5 days and sometimes it's 2 months.
 
You’ve stated your work has been sampled by other artists. I’m wondering how you feel about having your own work sampled, and what your thoughts are on sampling in general?
 
To me, sampling an artist you like is the best compliment you can give to them. That mean you dig their music so much, you wanna make something over it. I like sampling in a creative way; not just copy/paste the sounds and it's done but more like you take it and you make something totally different from it, like what Burial is doing for example. I don't really appreciate a sample except when it adds a special texture to the music. It needs to make sense in your composition somehow.
 
You have compared the modern consumption of art to people buying tasteless fast food and that you don’t want to live “in a world where Art gets tasteless.” Why do you think millions of people eat cheap, tasteless food and buy poorly-made, mass-market products? Secondly, how would you define ‘tasteless Art’?
 
You can't really be someone with good taste in every area, and that's normal because we are human and are not made to understand everything perfectly. But, Art and Science are the two areas where everyone should understand at least a little. It's the two domains that are important for our society and a lot of people don't get that. Art isn't just entertainment because it's a way for artists to give their opinion or to express themselves. That's why I don't really consider the music I listen to on the radio or on the trending tab of YouTube as Art. It's more like a product that we consume to be happy for a minute and then get back to our shitty lives. We should eat less and be smarter about our choices.
 
What is your number one, favourite kind of fast food that you can’t live without?
 
I don't really have an example of fast food I consume, except maybe real fast food sometimes. But I could definitely live without it. I'm not saying I'm perfect, I just like to consume as little as possible to better enjoy the few things I do consume.
 
It’s time to clean your apartment. What music are you listening to? Are you a tidy person, or can you easily survive in a messy environment?
 
I can definitely live in a messy environment, I try to clean as much as I can but sometimes I just don't have the power to do it. I would listen to David Lynch's album "The Big Dream" because that’s what I’m listening to right now.
 
Like many, you have said social media is predominantly negative. Are humans unhappy by nature, or could there be something causing such large-scale negativity online?
 
I don't think social media is evil, it's just a tool like a hammer. But clearly people are using this hammer to smash the heads of others. We see a minority of loud and disgusting people online. Fortunately the large majority is not like that. However, this minority gets unhappy and starts trash talking. It could happen to anyone, but those people should settle their own problems before coming online and being assholes.
 
What usually puts you in a good mood, and how do you escape the cycle of negative thinking? How do you express your own positivity?
 
Learning things, playing sports, or making music really put me in a good mood. I didn't get to university for a year so I'm really happy to finally get back to it. I don't really have a way to escape the negativity circle so I just wait 'til it fades by doing the things that makes me happy. I think I express my positivity by making music even if my music on F0x3r isn't that happy.
 
Who are you paying attention to in the electronic music scene? Are there any artists out there you think people should be listening to that you’d like to mention?
 
I haven’t really discovered any new artists that I like recently, but I'm really enjoying the new Galimatias Album "Gapless". There is one artist I'd like to mention: SolusMind, who started making Dreampunk. His last release is really amazing here's a link: https://soundcloud.com/solus-mind/black-glow
 
Also someone who gave me positivity and inspiration recently is Flup go check his music on his second account Fluxton, the music there is more oriented Deep Electronic : https://soundcloud.com/fluxton
 
Tell us about the collaboration work you’ve done with others. Where can we find more of your music?
 
I've worked in the past on an EP with 4linetic. That's one of the first producers I talked to and we still get to chat together. We’ve evolved in different directions now so it's really hard to make music together. I’ve also done some collabs with SolusMind, НебоScrub, Cash, Ayush and Neo Geo. All my work under Blackbird and F0x3r is on soundcloud. But if you wanna suffer and listen to my old stuff, everything is on my YouTube channel. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNSmJ9790NzoIOoRCNcvjzg
 
Although at first you didn’t like them, you’ve since called Boards of Canada’s music “genius.” What changed your mind about Boards of Canada, and why do you now like them so much?
 
I guess when I first heard them I was like ‘It sounds really cheap and it's weird’. But I continued and after several times listening to them I finally got it. It's good becauseit's weird: the dissonance, the blend between eerie, sad and/or happy chords. What I like the most is probably that they're not afraid to make something really odd. They just follow their feelings.
 
Your latest release is an excellent Dreampunk album, but Dreampunk is kind of a new thing for you. Was it a conscious choice to experiment with the genre, or has it been a very natural progression?
 
After my second album of Future Garage "To Another Place," I knew I had to change direction because I had this impression that I was creating boundaries by remaining in the same style. So I decided to base my new style on one of my favorite albums, "Birth Of A New Day" by 2814. I had no knowledge of the community behind this album, and seeing that I was not alone in this genre really encouraged me to create in that style.
 
Dreampunk albums commonly act as a soundtrack to a very personal narrative of the producers that create them. What was your approach to making this album? Does it contain a story you’d like to tell us about?
 
It's hard for me to put into words the difficulty I had making this album, In a nutshell, I had just finished "To Another Place" and at this moment I was still "Blackbird". One day I spontaneously created the music "Neon Rain". From there I decided to create an album that described my deepest feelings. Every sound, every note needed to match my feelings perfectly. After "Neon Rain" it took me a lot of time to create music as deep as that track. The lockdown and the large time between the compositions helped me to make something different for every track. I changed the compositional method several times to get this result, and even if it broke me I'm happy for all the time I spent on this album. I’ve dumped about 10 tracks in the process of making this album. Thanks to my friends, SolusMind who made a track with me; Noémie who made the cover and my ex-boyfriend who spent an entire night on the colorimetry. This is the closest version I had in mind for an ambient album. For the story I guess you just have to look at the cover, which totally describes the emotions I went through. It’s your turn to find what feelings this music was born from.
 
What does the future look like for you? Any upcoming releases or projects we should know about?
 
My future right now is uncertain, I'm getting a Masters Degree to follow my artistic path. Right now I'm making an album for a label you know well. All I can say is that it will be big.
 
Any thoughts or words of wisdom before wrapping this up?
 
I've seen things you people wouldn't believe... Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion... I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate... All those moments will be lost in time, like... tears in rain. Time to die.
 
Thanks for making this interview happen!
The pleasure was mine.