Subterranean Voices is the natural extension of our page that every month picks up the most interesting exits of Italian and European underground. For this first issue we have chosen Autist, Grabiel and Julie, a duo from Marseille which have moved to Berlin to be able him to entirely devote to the music. Electronic and punks, mix different sons-in-law and cultural background to create original and innovative situations. In September the LP Constance has gone out, that has struck us for an innumerable quantity of good reasons.
I want to start from the beginning of your history. You come from France but now you live in Berlin. Listening to your music I found a lot of recalls between the two musical traditions. I’ve tried to define, in the review, your style as post-chansonnisme, thinking about the exchanges of voices (f.e in Burglars) in the same way of Birkin and Gainsbourg’s ones, but with the uses of deep electronic musical instrument. I’d like to know how the change of surround (from Paris to Berlin) has influenced your rapport with the music, and what still remains on your former culture. In reference, especially, to your use of different languages in Constance‘s lyrics.
We came to Berlin for shows and played in very different conditions than in Paris. We were introduced to the Berlin electronic and techno scene and could perform a lot in free parties, electro clubs and punk parties. We also had the chance to do many residencies in a very good environment here, spending our days and nights shaping our sound and vision. This had a direct impact on the dimension we would give to our sound and on our way of playing live. We also discovered Berlin’s nightlife in clubs and more or less obscure concert venues. It was very dense and very diverse. More than rediscovering the electronic music scene, it was the experience of a great musical freedom, by the performances and the conditions offered by Berlin at that time. The stages and venues were opened to improbable acts and performers, this unexpected witnessing was a very intense experience. This dense, chaotic and extreme atmosphere opened for us a wide field of what was possible to do or mix together. The rehearsals we could do in a music and artist studio in Lichtenberg broke with our Paris routine, we could work 24 hours a day as loud as needed, the physical dimension of electronic sound reached us and it was obvious we should mix both of our french chanson and rock music background with electronic wall of sounds. This has always been a guideline and a deep feeling in what we do: to mix musical horizons, states of mind and none musical influences. Digging for the freedom of an artistic expression beyond a genre or a particular scene, to find what resonates within us and how it resonates in us.
French is a language worldwide considered douce for the sound and the impression which makes on foreign listeners, deeply against German’s strength or English’s linearity. These elements, mixed together, contribute to the creation of a sense of melancholy and loneliness, supported by the music which alternates moments of calmness with obsessive drums and reverbs. I mean, is something like feeling lost in an hostile land with different languages (played and spoken), but where still remains a chance for hope or escape. Something like the sweetness of a metropolitan perdition.
Well this must have to do with a general feeling in what is life supposed to be like. Somehow lost in Paris and Berlin, not in the same way and not with the same color, but probably for the same reasons, those of seeking for individuality and freedom among groups, going back and forth expecting to belong to a community and feeling social by being a part of, and on the other hand, deeply knowing that things can’t be just one thing at a time to us, but more of all and its opposite. Not saying we achieve the form but artistic expression is not for achieving a mainstream for itself, rather « failing » naively in beauty, trying to find your own way without being pleasant. Our relationship to languages is intense from living in a foreign city and especially in Berlin. There are many languages here we deal with, in the music and artistic scene and in daily life. This multi-language surrounding has a direct impact on our way of expressing and feeling, for the richness of it and for the « confusion » it caries. The particularity of each language contributes to widen the possibilities. The french we share between us comes from our history, from our childhood, from the popular music we listened or heard on the radio since very young. The French songs have a great resonance in us through artists like Alain Bashung, Gainsbourg, Barbara, Brel, Miossec, Christophe … The mix came naturally from this life experience. We liked french colliding with raw electronic sounds and the use of english as if french was used instead, and vice versa.
Reading your bio there’s something that I don’t understand perfectly but increase the mystery around your projects. I read ‘Autist is Aniaetleprogrammeur‘ but, at the same time, it isn’t. I mean, there are obviously references and similarities between your two projects but listening to the tracks from your past works, and placing them one ( (Die Kir(s)che auf dem Kopf) in front of the other (Autist Ep#1), Constance appears as the perfect balance of this two different souls. I’d like to know how this separation has born and to which kind of necessities answer and, especially, which directions could take after your last release.
Yes, Constance is somehow a crossing point of different music horizons we want to explore, though not the only ones. Naming things are challenging for us, further than what are supposed to be marketing rules, and as a matter of dealing with our feelings and freedom, we feel like it is our history. It is a story of individual freedom and those names belong to us and are part of our history. The same constellation runs through the two projects. Autist and Aniaetleprogrammeur are a continuation. As where a director would entitle his movies. The second album of Aniaetleprogrammeur The Friendly expectations of the stars” released before the first Autist Ep, makes a musical connection to Constance. Aniaetleprogrammeur and Autist as like identities or multiple personalities … This also comes from our difficulty to stick to one name. Talking about a multiple, about a spectrum of things that we are, like said above, in all and its opposite. Kaleidoscopic. We have plenty of other names that we use to define the characteristics of what we could do. It is almost code names for ourselves to understand our own perspectives.
Somehow lost in Paris and Berlin, not in the same way and not with the same color, but probably for the same reasons, those of seeking for individuality and freedom among groups, going back and forth expecting to belong to a community and feeling social by being a part of, and on the other hand, deeply knowing that things can’t be just one thing at a time to us, but more of all and its opposite.
Music is vital for understanding Constance, which is only a part of a story, that will be completed by Misbehave. There are a lot of different genres mixed together, which extend the sonic structure to infinite oscillations over the known limits. Electropunk crushes against a sort of no wave in Friends, dance meets dark electronic in Chien, without forgetting post-chansonnisme we mentioned before. These different elements build a solid base for Constance’s project, a melange where every track recalls another one, in a coherent way of performing. But it still remains unusual, getting a result like yours, where every part is impossible to isolate from another. Everything to ask how everything has born, and your way to work with music and instruments, especially in his live dimension.
In our music, with more or less success and failures we seek to embrace a more comprehensive understanding of the inner and outer world as we perceive it without limitation. It is a state of mind, a complex perception and a complex approach for exploring what is the field of possible, and in where we can get lost sometimes. To confront the opposites, and to play with the dissonance of the world.
The musical and artistic exploration make sense for us in this way because, beyond all rules of musical or artistic creation, it’s an anomaly to believe that we must tend to a normality. This is certainly a profound sense of what should be even if we are aware that this is an endless path and that’s what makes us going on. In this sense the Aniaetleprogrammeur and Autist names are programming this search mode. As if they were formulas of understanding and mysterious methods of this research.
For the live we explore different configurations and set up, the constant remains a wall of sound and the physical dimension of it. it is very important to us. Gabriel composes primarily with layers of sounds and synthesizers. We record voices as it would be instruments, more than as lead vocals. As things stay opened and are here for serving a purpose, we then record live synths, drums, guitars as audio material which is reworked, sampled and effected afterwards. It’s a constant work of going back and forth, with no linearity. The voice is mainly the one of Gabriel except on Constance there are a bit of Julie vocals.
Electronic music is gaining a lot of respect in these last years. Lots of new band and musicians try different approaches and experiments in this genre. We are living an authentic Renaissance and now it’s nearly impossible to think that ten years ago it was the real essence of darkest underground. I’d like to think that, like other genres as rock’n’roll in the 60’s, it speaks directly to people, answering to their necessity of being represented. But it hasn’t express itself totally, yet.
We believe that the explosion is beneficial and interesting and always necessary in general. We believe that the profound attention bear to things, people, music, art, is also very important. And even more important to focus on what we do, the fact of doing things with care and with meaning for oneself. Because explosion can also have a perverse effect of dissolution, reproduction, saturation, and finally conformity.