| Band: OIL 10|
Interviewer: Shaun Hamilton
OIL 10 Interview by Shaun Hamilton
One of the premier and cutting edge experimental techno groups in Europe, this one man project defies what many have come to think of as IDM. Forma Tadre and Future Sound Of London-esque soundscapes eminate over a sharp and controlled techno pattern to form one of the most enjoyable releases of the year so far. Straight from the mouth of it's matermind, Gilles Rossire, about the lowdown on this nifty little journey. Enjoy!
(1). Bonjour (I’m hoping I spelled that right, my French is the worst you’ll ever see in your life haha)! How are you and how is everything in lovely France?
Gilles: Hello ! Well, your French is as good as my English! I’m fine, thank you. In France as all over the world it’s harder and harder to be a musician and to make CDs here. But you’re right, it’s lovely. I’ve lived in Paris for 15 years and I still discover new marvelous things.
(2). How has the reaction in France and around the world been for the release of “Arena” so far? There’s been this idiotic anti-French/anti-American thing going on in America and France (mostly over Iraq), which I’m hoping will not curtail people over here in America finding out about such great music.
Gilles: Hm, I think Iraq is just a pretext. In fact, everybody knows France and the USA have had a love/hate relationship for a long time. Each country sees the other one with lots of “clichés” probably without any ground. And it’s absurd to limit an entire country to one single identity. I don’t really feel concerned about strong positions taken by one or the other. Only politicians know about them, people don’t. However it’s hard to believe that these events caused a boycott of French cultural products, especially in the underground area.
(3). For those who have not gotten to hear the great music of Oil 10 and your projects, tell us a bit about your music and projects, plus what drives and influences you in each one.
Gilles: Thanks!! Since the birth of Oil 10, it’s the only important project I have released. I didn’t really have time to begin another one - but this could change in the future. I prefer to concentrate on Oil 10 rather than to take up several side projects. So far the changing concept of this project has allowed me to do many different things with the same name. Another important aspect of this project is to try to make a "timeless" music so that it can be difficult to guess when it was composed. I began listening to electronic music in the middle of the 70ies, so I saw the emergence of disco music, new wave, techno and its multiple variations. And I think all these styles are more or less consciously present in my music. I've always been influenced by both pure experimental and light electropop, weird noises, melodies and beat. From very spacey tracks like soundtrack in Forbidden Planet or Tangerine Dream’s first albums to the powerful dancefloor techno or electropop like OMD, Depeche Mode or Ladytron, I love electronic music and I would like to compose tracks in these styles. The first album “in/out” was a rather experimental CD and Arena today is lighter and more rhythmic, but I think all the stages make up a coherent project.
(4). Where were much of the soundbites found on “Arena” taken from, and what format (.Wav., Midi, etc.) format were a lot of the soundbites based on?
Gilles: Actually most sounds I use are SH101, even for the rhythms. One of the bases to the Oil 10 project is trying not to use samples, which were already released or trendy beat box sounds. I think I just used a few samples in the 4 albums. But the rest is made of original sounds. I use computer to sequence midi and audio Waves files and for the mastering.
(5). I also notice that much of the CD sounds like it is based very much on digital technology, as opposed to things like analog keyboards. Was there any usage of analog elements, such as MIDI sequencers or analog synth used on any of the songs?
Gilles: This question is a bit strange. As I said, I compose on an old analogic synthe and all sounds are very analogic.
(6). Also, is each sound and piece played by hand as the song is happening, or do you use things like sequencers to keep one layer of music going while you add a synth or keyboard line to it?
Gilles: I begin to play sounds, sequences or melodies by hand. My old SH101 is monophonic so I can’t play all tracks with it. Then one by one, I use tracks of sequencer to fix them and later to transform them into audio files.
(7). A lot of people within the techno and electronica scene often did or do DJ work. Have you ever done DJ work or still do DJ work, or is Oil 10 your full time thing?
Gilles: Oil 10 is my full-time music business at present. I’ve done DJ work but when I was much younger. Since 2001 I have played live in festivals and it’s great. Concerts must be successful and captivate the public from the very start. A DJ has the same goal. But I like to compose all the parts of my tracks, to choose every sound.
(8). When playing and forming an Oil 10 song, what are some of the visuals you get in your head when making a song like “Wide Knowledge”?
Gilles: I don’t really get visuals in my head when I’m composing, except maybe for ambient tracks. From the beginning I have a general idea of what I’d like to obtain. New sensations often appear in the making. And technical problems are important too because composing music is a long, uneasy work hahaha!
(9). When composing the drum sections, do you use drum machines or are you more into the old fashioned method of drum pads?
Gilles: Most of my drum sections are original synthetic sounds created on my analogic machines. From time to time, I use a few drum machine sounds -like clap or snare- but it’s very rare. After Arena, I think I’ll change this and use more drum machines. It’s already done in my recent remixes for English band Seize and the French Zonk’t.
(10). With your love of film adding to the already complex and beautiful mix, could we see your music as sort of a soundtrack to an imaginary film?
Gilles: “Links” my previous album was particularly conceived as a kind of soundtrack. I wanted the listener to travel in different and fantastic landscapes. Arena is more conceived as a pop album with separate titles, as I preserve a global sound identity. On the other hand, it’s true that I listen to a lot of soundtracks while I composing a new album so it must be perceptible in the final result.
(11). Have you been approached for any soundtrack work?
Gilles: Yes, I composed a track for the overture scene of the movie “Brocéliande”. It’s not really a soundtrack because the action takes place in a bar that plays music. The director wanted a very dynamic track but not too much “techno”. So I composed the track called “Le Bar” which appears on Arena. The film version is little bit different, because it had to be synchronized with edition effects. It was a great experience! Now I’d like to compose a real soundtrack for a film.
(12). Would you say the sound comes more from a pre-planned vision of what it should be or from working and reworking an original composition?
Gilles: The first vision is to explore something which wasn’t explored before in the project. Of course I want to preserve the sound and the spirit of the beginning but I want to avoid a boring repetition of the previous albums. With Arena I intended to compose shorter, lighter and more electro pop titles. Then the harder has come: compose new tracks hahaha! Then I try to finalize two or three tracks following the basic idea. When it’s done, I know if the direction is ok and these tracks give me the flavor of the entire album.
(13). Why no vocals on any of the songs?
Gilles: Because I’m not a singer! Seriously I’ve composed songs for many years before Oil 10 but I have never really found a good singer to work with, nor have I really looked for one anyway! So I began to make instrumental music to be self sufficient and obtain finished tracks.
(14). Any plans to incorporate and vocals into the mix in the future?
Gilles: Voices appeared on Links album and few tracks on Arena contain words. It’s a computer voice of course. It’s very frustrating for me to have no real singer. But I don’t think it would be a good idea with the Oil 10 project. That’s why I’ll probably make another project as soon as I find a singer.
(15). I’m curious, too, is that Stephen Hawkings’ voice featured on “Wide Knowledge”. Sounds a lot his ummmmmmmm........ computer. Haha. I think I’ve heard that sample from his autobiographical movie.
Gilles: Well it might be a coincidence because I type each word on my own voice generator.
(16). Where did the Oil 10 name come from exactly?
Gilles: Sorry, it’s classified ;o)
(17). Hmmmmmmmmmm, trying to think of funny questions for you here before we go to give you a sense of fun from this interview rather than “Oh man not another interview”...... Do women really think Geraur Duepardu is really that sexy over there in France? My assistant has a huge crush on him and she tells me that a lot of women there drool over him.
Gilles: Depardieu is a great star in France but I don’t think he’s a sex symbol here. Maybe he was when he was young but now it’s different. In fact I’ve never met a woman who finds him sexy (except maybe his wife Carole Bouquet hahaha)...
(18). Which would you rather have, a million dollars or millions of amplifiers hooked up to the Eiffel Tower while you play your music everyday? Bet the neighbors would love that haha!
Gilles: Well, I choose the million dollars with no hesitation! Times are hard for musicians and I’d like to be cooler to compose in the future. And a million of amplifiers would be ugly on the Eiffel Tower!!
(19). Anything else you’d like to add before we go?
Gilles: Thanks for your interest and your unusual questions ;o)))
(20). Merci beaucoup! I’m hoping I spelled that right. :-p
Gilles: C’est parfait ! :o))
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