Soil Records has managed to bring together four big names in its third volume of Valley of Tears, the series of releases from various artists using vinyl as a format. Russian producer Kovyazin D is now an acclaimed and sought-after artist, a fine example of the talent of the new generation. Arnaud Rebotini, David Carretta and Terence Fixmer are undoubtedly three of the leading names on the French scene, to see them together on the same EP is admirable, and even more so on a label like Soil, which evidences the evolution of their head towards a sound that oscillates between industrial and EBM.
We spoke with Arnaud Rebotini about the album and his current situation.
First of all we must ask you how you are facing this complex situation.
I’m working a lot… during the first lockdown i release a series of EP, each week i realeased a track and asking some remixes to producers i like. it was called This is a quarantine. For me it was like a survival reflex, in this way I was able to keep in touch with the audience, but also with the other producers with the remixes. It was a really nice way to cross the first lockdown. It was like creating a kind of virtual festival. The series is finished. I think 8 ep is enough. And now i’m still producing a lot, you we see during 2021 i have some release all ready planned.
If there’s one good thing about the quarantine, it’s that through the streamings we’ve seen how some artists work from their studios. We really enjoyed your session for Greenroom x Bandsintown, we could see how you work with your machines, although you are one of those who usually deploy part of your synth collection on stage, should we see more of this kind of live performances in the clubs?
For my using synth without laptop on stage is a great pleasure, i have a lot of fun to play with the sounds, beat and melody live with all my vintage gear. I love to see other artists do it. but i think we are not so many to do it this way.
Many good producers are also good djs, but this is not always the case. There are also very good djs who are not producers, but nowadays clubs seem to be obliged to hire famous producers rather than good djs, wouldn’t it be better to separate these two concepts?
I think club hire big names, they hire people who will fill the club, it’s a business. And if you separe the 2 concept that means the dj’s will take all money in the business, cause now you can’t make money when you are only a producer.
We are seeing more and more electronic music artists working in films and TV series. We have the example of Ben Frost in the series Dark and of course, your soundtracks for different films. Given the current state of the club scene, do you think that the figure of the electronic music producer is valued outside its natural sphere?
I thinks the electronic music is more and more valued, in cinema there’s now a lot of score done by electronic music producer, and in charts it’s really hard find a hit with drums and guitar now !
What did winning the Cesar award mean to you? I imagine that apart from being a great personal satisfaction it is also a great vindication for electronic music artists, as there is often a tendency to link this sector only to the excesses of festivals and clubs.
You’re right my Cesar was a great a vindication for electronic music, especially because the movie is about act-up and the music was a kind of hommage to all electronics producer who died by AIDS. It was also hommage to what early house music means for the LGDBTQI+.
In your performances we see that there is always a part of improvisation, does the same thing happen when you record tracks for a release?
Yes sure i’love to improvised in studio too, and sometime some track came for an live improvisation a do on stage.
For many of us who started listening to you in the early years of this decade, we always remember you with an electro-techno oriented sound, although we know you have worked with many other genres. This sound has evolved and lately we see influences from styles like EBM, as it happens with Shiny Black Leather. Do you think EBM is living a good moment nowadays?
Yes EBM scene is living a good moment nowadays, but a always do some EBM track in the past event if i do some electro-techno tracks… remember with Black strobe I’ve done a remix for Nitzer Ebb by exemple.
Soil Records is a label that usually works with an industrial sound or other genres derived from post-punk. Listening to the first bars of 303 For Freedom anyone would categorize this track as acid techno but, everything changes when we start listening to your voice and the minor key of the melody, this takes us back to another scene and possibly reminds us of bands like Front Line Assembly. Does the style of the label influence you to create your music?
The label does influence my style directly i try to choose the labels because i’ve track that could fit with there’s sound. They may have an influence on my style because i like their music, and i listening to their release so that’s influence me in a way.
There are three other big names on this release: Russia’s Kovyazin D and your compatriots David Carretta and Terence Fixmer. What would you highlight about these three artists?
They all three really good David and Terence they have a lot knowledge in electronic music and the confirmed producer, and Kovyazin is really talented too, and his younger then us, so that main highlight
Have you considered a return of Black Strobe or a new alliance with Ivan Smagghe?
I don’t thinks that’s will be possible and black strobe is now more a rock band than a duo.
France has always been a country with its own very particular scene, how is it nowadays?
Yes i thinks it’s bigger and bigger, i thing french scene was mainly house music artist or electro and now have a huge techno and Hard Techno scene, with label like RAW or Possession and that’s pretty new.
We add the podcast recorded by Rebotini for Soil Records showcase.