Hello Laurent and welcome to Brutal Resonance! I always enjoy starting with this question: What are three of your favorite albums of all time and why?
Laurent Colson: Hello and thank you. My choices of albums will perhaps seem surprising because they are quite far from my own sound universe. The first album that touched me was "Ainsi soi je" by Mylene Farmer. This album especially appealed to me for its lyrics, dark, melancholy, and its infinite sadness. The first track of this album is a poem by Charles Baudelaire, "L'horloge", referring to the time that inevitably sucks us in, time being a theme that I particularly like. Second, I will talk about the album "MCMXC a.D." of Enigma for its mystical side, an album built without any pause between tracks, taking us on an emotional journey. Here, few texts, but a harmony and an inspiring musical atmosphere to an inner adventure. Note the originality of the video which follows the same construction as the album by covering all the tracks without interruption, which makes it a long clip of 40 minutes. Finally, the album "Birds Of Passage" by Bel Canto, mixing electronic sounds, triturated acoustic instruments, sumptuous texts, and the magical voice of Anneli Drecker. The song "Picnic On The Moon" is the one I listened to the most on this album, both poetic and sad, narrating the life of a dreamy being lost in deep solitude.
Tell me the origin of your music project. What got you started?
Laurent Colson: A computer, a synthesizer, that's where it all started for me at the end of the 80s. I learned computers on my own as well as music in parallel with my studies. I immediately saw music as a combination of numbers, which helped me greatly to simplify all musical theories by reducing them to a kind of simplistic equation in my mind. After having composed a first instrumental album in 1991, I embarked on a more important adventure under the name of "Lost Memories" with the collaboration of the main singer Naoline, as well as the author Lin Anglard who joined the project. Then was born the album "The Edge Of Eternity" released by a Belgian label in the late 90s.
While you currently dabble in witch-house / chill music, I can’t imagine that’s where you started. What was your initial idea for the project and how have you evolved?
Laurent Colson: I never really managed to put a musical style to what I was doing, and I don't really like to put myself in a box. I use a lot of different influences, mixing modern elements with more retro things, whether it's sound, inspiration, influences from 80s and 90s electronic music, new wave, from dark wave, pop, to world music from the early 90s, ambient, alternative music, trying not to spread myself too thinly and to maintain a common guideline for all these influences.
You were a video game developer from 1992 to 2000. What games did you work on and how, if anything, did it influence your career?
Laurent Colson: At that time, I was developing for the company "Interactive Pictures" in Paris, mainly video adventure games on CD-ROM. The main game we developed was "The Morlov Affair", a police investigation that took place in Paris. It had no direct influence on my musical projects, it was a work carried out in parallel. However, this allowed me to work in collaboration with recording studios for the sound design of the games, as well as film directors like the Poiraud brothers for the shooting of the video scenes.
You also develop music apps for iOS and macOS. Which ones, and how do you use your personal experience developing music to help with these apps?
Laurent Colson: I developed a music utility called "musicMath", and 3 music apps, "StepPolyArp" which is an arpeggiator/ step sequencer, "ChordPolyPad" and "QuantiChord" which are chord helpers. These are apps that I also use for my own musical creations.
You did a couple of remixes in the 2000s. It was also around this time you met Anneli Drecker of Bel Canto. What were these remixes and why did you want to meet Drecker so bad?
Laurent Colson: During the 2000s, I had less time to devote to personal musical projects. That pushed me to make remixes, which were less time-consuming than creating full albums. It allowed me to create remixes among others for Deep Forest, Röyksopp, Radiohead, Kylie Minogue. I was a huge fan of the band Bel Canto in the 90s, whose singer was Anneli Drecker. At the time I caressed the sweet hope of being able to meet this group one day. The group having separated, I had however the pleasure of making this dream come true after having made the remix of the song "My Emily" for Anneli and meeting her in person in Paris during her tour with the band Röyksopp.
In your music you use artificially created voices instead of vocals. I am not a fan of this approach, others are. It’s polarizing, to say the very least. Why do you choose this method?
Laurent Colson: Yes, I do weird things (laughs)! I must admit that my musical projects are inspired by very personal emotions, and I come to a point where I leave little room to work with other people. It's a real choice to work alone on my projects in order to enter my own universe and fully express my emotions. Moreover, I use the voice as an instrument, I also consider that my music is instrumental and not vocal, with the difference that instead of choosing the sound of an instrument for the melody, I use vocal sounds. I work without problems in collaboration with other artists, last year I had the pleasure of collaborating with Humanfobia on a musical project, as well as with Jym Box 303 as a mastering engineer, but these are projects parallel to mine.
You also state that you like to let the listener experience their own emotional story through your music, instead of your own. If someone were to argue that your story is still in there, considering you made the music, how would you respond to that?
Laurent Colson: I would answer then that I have a little failed in my mission! I try as much as possible to convey emotions outside of a specific story so that it is as universal as possible, and that the listener can identify his own story through my music. So, yes, my story will always be the origin of the emotions that I try to express, but I hope that the listener will appropriate these emotions through their own story, their own life and not mine. Besides, if a person could read my story through my albums, they would access my deepest secrets (damn!!!).
You don’t use hardware, and very little software and plug-ins. Do you find this limiting in your artistic vision?
Laurent Colson: In fact, I can use anything. I have a certain quantity phobia; I don't know if this phobia has a name? In addition, I realized that the limitation developed my creativity much more. So over time I uninstalled more and more plug-ins, and I also kept the hardware to a bare minimum. I prefer to master and use a few things to the maximum of their possibilities, rather than scattering myself in a quantity of things that I will just skim over. Besides, this approach is also valid in my day-to-day life. Before encumbering myself with various things, I always wonder if these things will be really useful.
What comes next? Do you have any other albums, remixes, EPs, singles, etc. on the way?
Laurent Colson: The next album is already in the beginning of reflection. But I never know where I'm going, where I'll arrive, or when. I can spend whole months doing nothing but musical and sound research, preparing sounds, atmospheres, tinkering with ideas that will inspire me later. Each album is like the new season of a series of which I must constantly write the sequel, hoping never to disappoint the people who follow me.
Lastly, I’d like to thank you for your time. I leave the space below for you to mention anything I may have missed. Cheers!
Laurent Colson: It is I who thank you for the time granted.
I've been writing for Brutal Resonance since November of 2012 and now serve as the editor-in-chief. I love the dark electronic underground and usually have too much to listen to at once but I love it. I am also an editor at Aggressive Deprivation, a digital/physical magazine since March of 2016. I support the scene as much as I can from my humble laptop.
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