Luxus Varta has become one of the most sought after names in the Electro scene over the last few years. With releases on international labels such as TRUST, brokntoys, or Shipwrec to name a few, Emeric Di Paolo's refined yet elusive Electro project is easily one of the most refreshing to come in a long time. Dreamy, melancholic, and profound, his music transcends time and space in a way that leaves you spellbound, reflecting on some of your deeper and perhaps least understood feelings as you drift away into his mystifying and brooding atmospheres.
In this interview, we take some time to speak to this amazing French artist, who tells us about his early beginnings in music and life, his approach in studio, and how he came about meeting his most trusted ally, the one and only Paris The Black Fu of Detroit Grand Pubahs, with whom he shares a rather profound musical journey and passion with, as witnessed in the most recent works by their duo Techmarine Bottom Feeders. Let's begin!
Welcome Emeric! We really appreciate you taking the time for this interview, I absolutely love your music! Let's talk about where that all began for you...what was the catalyst for you starting your path in music? Who would be your main influences?
Thanks for your interest, it’s always a pleasure to talk about music! It was just a good feeling, music was the most suitable artform to satisfy my brain, and it came at the right moment: I’d been invited by a Punk-Rock band in the early 90’s to be the drum machine guy. Then a friend of mine bought a drum set and started playing with them. Unfortunately, he had a serious accident and was not able to play drums anymore, so he asked me to replace him. I became a musician by a cruel hazard!
At the beginning, I was really into Punk-Rock and hardcore stuff. The Dead Kennedys and Nomeansno were my favorite bands at this time, but the Pixies came to my ears a bit later, and I must say that it was one of the most pleasant slaps in my face ever!
So when did your passion for Electro begin?
In '99, when I bought my first gear (MC-303). I thought that this groovebox should be useful to record my own ideas. It was not exactly a passion for Electro, it was more something funny to complement the works with my band.
I remember when the Grooveboxes came out! Great times, that was the height of the Rave scene for me. Were you a part of that culture at all in Europe back in the 90's, maybe early 2000's by the way?
Not really, I found Electronic Music interesting to experiment with drugs, that’s all. It was like a recreation after an intensive punk week. As a drummer, I remember that Jungle was one of the best surprises of the 90’s!
What do you see as the main differences between the European Electro scene, and the American?
Hard to say since I don’t listen to Electro so much…to not listen to the style you are playing is the best way to keep your own signature IMO.
I absolutely agree! Haven't met too many other artists that seem to feel that way, usually scenes tend to be rather purist. So what's the state of Electro these days in your view? Does it really seem to be on the rise?
I guess that Electro is still in a constant state, strongly supported by a community of passioned people. It’s such an “open genre” to bring a renewal around there. But nothing is really on the rise today (apart from human stupidity). We are experiencing a period of stagnation where we try to reproduce all the things that have been already made in the last century. It’s quite depressing but exciting as well, because we must reset what we know and start again from scratch.
You have a close musical relationship with Paris The Black Fu of Detroit Grand Pubahs, how did that come about? Where did you guys meet?
I met Paris in 2005, I was working in a records shop where he used to come often. He was looking for a drummer for the next DGP album, so we went in the studio, and we found that our vision of music was close. I learned a lot from him about Detroit and Electro, it was a very inspiring time. I remember when he gave me a CD of Dopplereffekt, and I thought after the first listening: "OK fine, I don’t need to have more Electro background than this!". Then I finally joined DGP, and we started to work on TBF in parallel.
Speaking of Techmarine Bottom Feeders, I am really enjoying this new collaboration with you and Paris. I know for Paris this has been a long time in the making, and a milestone in his own personal musical evolution. How did this personally come about for you, and do feel as if this is also an evolution for you as an artist?
Of course it’s an evolution, because it’s the first time I collaborate with an electronic artist on a whole album. I like to think of TBF as a complement of Luxus Varta. I mean, I couldn’t get this specific atmosphere alone, and the two projects are sounding very different. TBF brings me some fresh air when needed.
...we try to reproduce all the things that have been already made in the last century. It’s quite depressing but exciting as well, because we must reset what we know and start again from scratch.
Let's talk studio techniques. Are you more software oriented, or perhaps hardware? Tell us about your process in-studio and how a track begins in your personal process.
Definitely hardware! I feel like a sterile grain with softwares…I never heard one sounding as deep as my analog gears. I only use EQ plugins, and sometimes a few FX as post-recording adjustments.
I usually begin with drum and bass, it’s a classic way to do it from the time I was practicing with my bassist friend. Any subsequent inspiration will depend on the drum sounds. I could spend a week working on them. It’s a long process because I’m never satisfied at 100% obviously. Then comes the bassline which is often revisited later after having found the right melody.
Your music to me has this gloomy, often dreamy atmosphere that is in many ways, a common undercurrent in your songs. Where do you draw inspiration from to write the way you do?
It’s all around me, around us. There’s no reason to be happy when you look at the world today! Music helps me to live in a daydream state to fight reality, trying to find the right balance between joy and sadness. It’s a natural temperament for me, I was born melancholic.
Who are your favorite Electro artists at the moment?
Gerald Donald, Maelstrom, Djedjotronic, The Exaltics, Umwelt, Morah, Privacy, SC-164, Lost SoundBytes…
What about your favorite non-Electro artists?
Pixies, Sonic Youth, Yo La Tengo, Ween, The Stranglers, Talk Talk, Giacinto Scelsi, Morton Feldman, Arvo Pärt…Well I know, they are all old or dead ☺
What's in store for the future? What releases do you have planned?
I just launched my own label, "In Abstracto", to release my most personal works. The first EP "Born Sad" is out now. Then I have two vinyls on the way for June and October.
Sounds wonderful, can;t wait to hear those. Thanks for your time, and best of luck with your projects.
Listen to Luxus Varta's newest release, "Born Sad", out now on In Abstracto and available for preview below: