A// from Invasion Planète Rec.

Invasion Planète Funprox has been paying attention to the releases of the French minimal analogue electro-nics label Invasion Planète Rec. for quite a while now. Also for some time we wanted to do an interview with A//, founder of the label and also known as the musician behind acts like It & My Computer, Le Syndicat Electronique and Eva VIII. Very soon a new album by him will be released under the name of La Séduction Des Innocents on the new founded label Le Syndicat Electronique Rec. So, a good moment for us to ask him a few questions on the past, the present and possibly the future?

Who are you? Please introduce yourself to the readers of Funprox.

A// I am A//. I like anonimity. This letter is also a symbol at the same time, a symbol that also means a lot to me. A is the Beginning, A is the first letter of my name and the symbol is tattooed on my right arm for ever. I bleed for it like I bleed everyday for my independent labels dedicated to minimal analogue electro-nics: Invasion Planète rec. which started at the end of 1997 and Le Syndicat Electronique rec. which was created in 2004.

When did you start making music and under which names?

I really started music around 1986 or 1987. I played minimalistic songs on a classical piano, it was like some small pieces for some weird soundtracks of horror b-movies. I was a teenager then. After that, in 1990 I bought some little cheap keyboards like casio and yamaha and one rhythm box, called ?Realistic?. I made some shity recordings for myself. Around 1995, I created a weird minimal electro-pop project called ‘Plexxy’. I explored the anguish universe of childhood. The sounds told several small stories inspired by cartoons, movies and illustrated books, like with werewolves, sorceries, robots, animals, etc. I still have several tapes of the recordings.

At the end of my student period, in 1997, I decided to make music more seriously and intensly.  ‘Plexxy’ became ‘It & My Computer’ (one of the first projects at this period using cheap 8 bit sounds, amiga, etc… I didn’t know that way of creation would become a kind of musical fashion 3 or 4 years later…anyway I had no choice because I had no money, so I composed mu music with an amiga 500, a dx7, one little casio keyboard and my rhythm box Realistic. Later I got my first tr 808.

Some months after that, I created a new colder project that represented my true personality and what I always had in the depth of my soul. ‘Dark ideas for the enlightened mind’ you could say: ‘Le Syndicat Electronique’ was born. About one year later at the end of 1998 the first Invasion Planète Rec. was released. It was paid for this with my own money coming from my assurance company after a carcrash accident…instead of buying a new car, I founded the label.

When and how (why) did you start the Invasion Planète Rec. label?

Like I said the label officially started at the end of 1998 (I mean officially on paper, the creation of the enterprise, etc.) I decided with my girlfriend Rollinka to do it seriously and professionally. I guess we are crazy in that musical world of motherfuckers but we are proud to be probably the only one (and first one) professional independent label dedicated to this specific kind of music in Europe. We wanted to release and distribute what we loved. Nothing comparable really existed at this period (excepted one or two labels or collectives) We do it with passion. If one day, the passion goes away, we will stop it with no hesitation. We will never sell our soul to the devil.

Which artists are currently on your label, besides your own projects It & My Computer and Eva VIII?

We (Rollinka and me) exclusively sign artists who perfectly fit to our musical landscape and mind, and who have the same vision of the world as us. We release the German Silent Signals (also known under the alias?s Echo West and Intensive Care unit) we are those who released the first vinyl LP piece of Tobias, Der Kunstliche Dilettant (also known now under the alias Bastards of Love). We also have the band P.F.F.R. from U.S. (Brooklyn / nyc) we also released their first vinyl record, etc, etc. And, of course, I am proud to support in exclusivity for a longtime the French Decadent musician Porn.Darsteller (who started in 1986, composing electronics music for underground pornographic movies made by some of his closest friends). New comers are on the road. All these artists are independent when they arrive on IP rec, and they are absolutely unknown. After that, we try to continue the adventure all together hand in hand.

A question of my personal interest. I really enjoyed the incidental tracks by Eva VIII. Can we expect a release by this act somewhere in the near future?

Eva 8 is one of my discreet projects. Under this alias, I composed about 5 or 6 electro (new) wave influenced tracks. One track I like very very much is ” Tout le monde danse” with the voice of Rollinka on it. I think this track will be released on one of our next various artists. Hope you will be glad…

IP stands for the third wave of electronics. Where does the name come from / refers to? What are the first and second wave for you?

A// Yes, it sounds a little bit pretentious, I know but we are not the ones responsible for it! It comes from when we toured in the U.S.A. in 2001. A journalist wrote an interview about me for a cultural magazine in San Francisco. He compared my music and my label to “La nouvelle vague? of Godard because of the radical independent attitude, the french origins of most of our artists, and our production that was very particular for people at this period. So, the two words “third wave” came from this. We decided to keep it to define our style in a general way. In fact, when you listen to our discography, you easily can hear, we are not only electro, we are not only new wave, we don’t produce exclusively cold pop, noise, minimal 80’s or i.d.m. It’s a mixture of all of that with our specific touch to it. It’s a new way of music and we certainly are the first label to create this kind of sound posing some rules and still be alive (with about 30 collector records from 1998 to now). A lot of imitators came after us (Germany, U.K., America.) trying to using the same way than us, same machines, etc.

For me, we could resume like this: – the first wave essentially came from Europe at the middle of the 70’s through essentially three countries: Germany, France and U.K. with such bands as Can, Kraftwerk, Perrey, Pierre Henry, TG, Butzmann, Monte Cazaza, etc. – the second wave was the recuperation of the first one by the black people from the U..SA. who decided to make music more dance floor using samples from the first wave. The best known example is Afrika bambaata with the samples of Kraftwerk. The top of the evolution of that wave was at the beginning of the 90’s with the underground artists from Detroit. -the third wave came through us, I guess… releasing a bunch of weird artists around the world who came from the two first waves with all that culture in their background. I voluntairy don’t speak about 10 years of shit (1990 – 2000). I keep nothing from this period. It was so techno, so industrial, so e.b.m., so trance, so numeric, so house, so breakbeat, so electronica, so clean and without soul! Everybody profited by the revolution of midi and electronic gears to copy his neighbours sound in each specific style. I hate most music of this period.

Do you discover most new artists for IP yourself or do they come to you and ask to be added to your artists roster?

Both, sometimes during our tour we discover acts, sometimes artists send their music to us, sometimes some people tell me ?you know… listen to this cd, it’s from a friend of mine? I guess, you will like it”. At IP rec. noone of us were friends before, we became intimate only after. I think it’s stupid to release a record just because the guy is your friend. What is the thing behind that ? Where is the concept ?

There is something as an IP code, isn?t there? Can you tell us more about this code?

The IP code, is the global mind around the label. I mean listeners and artists. It’s like a brotherhood… don’t speak but understand what each and others have to tell… in mute. It’ a feeling leading the wave.

You once used the term retro-garde for the music released on IP. I thought this was a very good definition. Why do you not use it anymore? In my opinion it is still suitable for your releases and that of a few other labels/artists.

Retro-garde was the perfect term with that kind of 2nd degree… also in reference to avant garde…but I become older. More and more I loose my 2nd degree…so…we produce avant-garde music with analogue machines… that’s all.

How do you feel about the hype around elektro fueled by the media attention on electroclash?

I hate this shit. I saw it when that electroclash arrived, and I saw everyone jumping on it (U.S.A., Germany, Italy, followed by The Netherlands). Electroclash is a big mess between electro, italo disco and ebm with some stupid voices. They make money with it and a lot of (so called) ‘underground’ people give their name for that.

Are you working against mainstream music and its instutions or simply don?t care and just do you own thing?

Before it was an honour to work against mainstream music but now I really don’t care, because I know we will never be of the same as them. They are simply bitches and their artists are suckers. That’s all. I don’t belong to their world but sometimes I like ?to shake the shit? and look at their Judas’ face. My game. My pleasure. If you don’t do it, they think they are masters or gods…jesus…they are pathetic. By the way, recently I saw a lot of ?underground? labels or artists who belong to that mainstream and play with it…funny. I can say now, the underground doesn’t really exist. Because the values have dissapeared. Nobody is perfect, anyway…and that’s the problem!

What contemporary labels and artists do you respect? Do they belong to the third wave or is that exclusive for the IP acts?

First, I respect all the contemporary artists who released on my label. Second, I don’t like to name the other contemporary artists I respect. It’ s like that. I never do ‘playlists’. And, to reply to your second question: these other ?outsider? artists belong to the Third Wave? I guess. IP rec. started to build the future of electronic wave music placing the first stone with our blood… but the others can also join us… I couldn’t release all the future minimal electro-nics artists anyway. I just hope to continue and to get the most real of them!

The artwork of your label is very important for the look and feeling for your releases/label isn?t it? Who is responsible for the concepts of the releases and the actual artwork?

Rollinka and me work hard on it. We both studied at the ?Beaux-arts? school. Before music, we always have that primary passion; the painting, the architecture, the graphic arts, the photography… a good label is a label with good music but also with a good visual side and universe of ideas.

How would you describe the IP image? How do you think others view you, or do you simply don’t care about that at all?

A// I often use violence or dark codes in a radical aesthetic way. But, I always keep a poetical feeling to make a particular minimal visual with a maximum effect. There is always an idea, a goal behind that. You can be sure, art of propaganda is also art of being. It fits perfect to what I am, what my art is and my music is. The others (the public) have nothing to do with the process of creation. They will see the result later on the cover of the record , in a gallery, etc. They can accept it or not…I don’t care. Noone is forced to buy my releases or pay to come at my concerts or listen my bullshits. Everybody is free…but as I am independent and free too, I will do what I want. Always.

IP acts don’t really play that often live. Especially your own project Le Syndicat Electronique suffered some rejections because of the image and prejudices around that act. Is this still the case, or are things getting better?

It’s still the case, I guess…rumours…and I know why. Organizers prefer some little nice artists just enough underground, but not too. There is no money in it for them. There are just a bunch of wannabes, a stupid mafia… they copy themselves and book always the same artists who suck hard to be booked… they are all ridiculous! A lot of my acts in the past have been really misinterpreted. There are many jealous guys in the shade who tried to fuck me, phoning or e-mailing directly to the organizers of festivals… and after that they take your place in some festivals like some smelly cats. Some Belgians are good for this (I have the names) some Germans too! Fuck off. I just have a question: Do ?being popular? mean ?being good?? Certainly not…and to be honnest , it’s often the contrary ! I let them their stages, their friends, their shit and their god: Judas. By the way we still have about one date every two months with real persons around Europe. It’s good enough!

In the past you did some record series like Citizens Paralleles and the N.E.S.S. obscur trilogy. Why did you start these next to the IP imprint?

N.E.S.S. obscur is a trilogy, it were our first 7″ releases. I wanted a series with only this format. About Citizens Paralleles, we wanted to registered the brand but it was not possible because of the word ?citizens?. So, as I was nervous I stopped that series. The name, by the way, came from our first international various artists compilation. I wanted a kind of ?fran-glais? (mixture english-french ) term.

Recently you started the Grahn Geen -Yol’ Rec ! label. What can we expect on this label in the future?

It is pronounced as ‘grand guignol’ records. A lot of good and surprising stuff will come out on this. I co-run that label with the sinister mr. De-frontanel. It’s the first electronic label in the world exclusively and entirely dedicated to the sub-culture of B- X- Z movies, underground comics, weird universe, Art Decadent from the 50’s till now.

Le Syndicat Electronique (L.S.E.) is no more, is that correct? You now have started a record label called Le Syndicat Electronique Rec. and you have a new project called La Seduction Des Innocents (L.S.D.I.). Why did you decide to start this new project on this specific label?

Yes, I stopped with Le Syndicat Electronique. I needed to do a different thing now after about 7 years. But, as a lot of people (and myself) respect this cult project and as the term is officially registered I decided to open with that alias a new label exclusively dedicated to my new musical project: La Séduction Des Innocents.

Le Syndicat Electronique Rec. is strictly for La Seduction Des Innocents, isn?t it? Why did you decide on this?

To separate what I do with the other works of the artists on Invasion Planète Rec. I don’t want them suffer from the controverse, rumours and blabla… they have their own universe. I have mine. We are all different.

I heard the previews of L.S.D.I. They sound very promising. I heard many different ?roots? influences throughout the record. In the past you worked more from one clear direction like elektro-wave, minimal or industrial on each L.S.E. record. Will all your roots come together in this project?

Of course, always…but it’s not so easy to speak about my roots. When I lock myself with my keyboards, rhythm boxes and micro I am totally closed in my universe when I am composing. I have no contact with the real world during that time, just my ideas are important. I really don’t think about any roots…it’s something natural…it’s assimilated for a longtime… I totally forget them when I create my own sound. Each track or song I build belongs to a big and same whole. The most important is the record as a whole, not the separated tracks. At least, on this first record of La Seduction Des Innocents, titled ?chapitre 1?, this is the case.

I saw some live photos from your first performance as L.S.D.I. Do you live still play L.S.E. tracks in a L.S.D.I. set or is that completely in the past? Does L.S.D.I. has a different image from L.S.E. (both live and the releases) and how is this worked out?

I don’t play L.S.E. tracks in a L.S.D.I. concert. I like that risk (it would be so easy to play some classics for the audience). The both projects are totally different. At present, I just played L.S.D.I. one time. The audience was very curious and at the end, they liked it! During the show, I play electronic percussion, keyboard and I sing. It’s a mixture between a concert and a performance. I am working to bring some surprising visual stuff during the show. It will be ritual or something else. I am also working on a movie for this.

How do you see the future for IP, L.S.D.I. and your other labels/project? Any news you want to share with us already?

I don’t see the future, I just often feel the things coming… in substance. About L.S.D.I., I don’t know. I do what I have in my heart. That’s all. I will see what the passion brings to my life. I am curious what it will bring in yours too. About news, I am working on a soundtrack for the Dutch filmmaker Edwin Brienen. The film is called ?lebenspornography?. Maybe I will release this official soundtrack on vinyl on I.P. rec. If we do it, it will be the last appearing of Le Syndicat Electronique (this soundtrack started two or three years ago and stayed in stand by during several years).

No more questions. Anything I forget / you want to say?

No. Thanks for your interest, your support and thanks to the readers of funprox. Keep it real. Stay yourself.