COLDGEIST: SHIT IS COLD
Happy Winter, northern hemisphere! Welcome to a frostfest of nights that start at 3pm and smoking in the snow. Luckily, some frère from rural France has given us something to do inbetween eating until we repulse ourselves and drinking hot, spicy wine. No, it’s not decoupage. It’s a one-man scene – and it answers to Coldgeist. JUKE tracked down Coldgeist himself and wangled an exclusive mix out of his icy grasp.
COLDGEIST is French techno’s great white hope. Forget French touch, we’re talking Gigolo, Gerald Donald and Rennes City with the man who’s somewhere between a robot and a human.
J & A: COLDGEIST
By Rod Glacial
Where do you come from and what are you doing? I live in Rennes, Brittany, where I’m studying for a Master of Computing.
How long have you been making music ? Tell us about your musical evolution?
I started in 2008 with a sequencer and a master keyboard, usual story. At this time I was experiencing many things, different styles, above all, I was learning to build a track. Beside, I took piano lessons to get a few bases, I had never play any instrument before. Otherwise, I learned everything by myself, there was no musicians nor DJs in my circle of friends. So I started with composition, and DJing came after. At one point, I wanted to quit my room to play in front of an audience, to try the live. The sound of that time was the “turbine” style and bitchy electro, I tried to fit in under some nicknames as “Kogura” or “Kogura Mustache” and I played in several Rennes’ bars. My productions were poor, without any universe, a meaningless project. I felt that I could not express myself, I was not making what I wanted. So I stopped Kogura. I started from scratch, drawing in my influences – books I’ve read, movies I’ve seen – to create my world and my sound. I finally found in techno enough power and space to express myself.
What gear are you using ? Where do you compose ?
I like the contact you can have with a machine: you can act on it, modulate the sound. So I use analogue synthesizers, which provide a richer and warmer touch. But I use also some VST (virtual instruments) emulating synthesizers like the Minimoog or the Arp 2600, stuff I could not buy ! With the lure of recent years for vintage synthesizers, their value continues to rise. I compose in my flat, I fitted out a corner to squeeze my machines.
Why the name, Coldgeist? ‘Zeitgeist’ …. ‘Cold Wave’?
I wanted a stage name that linked between Germany and England: two places where techno and new wave are iconic, but also a name that reflect the image of my dark and cold world. “Coldgeist” came. In France and elsewhere, a lot of cold wave and synth pop bands have emerged recently, but I don’t really subscribe to this revival, so it’s nothing to do with that.
In this era of home technology, do you think it’s still important to be attached to a city to produce this style of music? What inspires you now?
The MySpace adventure showed that we could live deep in the countryside, but compose, produce and upload tracks without any problem. Whether mixing or mastering, you can do everything at home. I feed with the news, with literature, like HP Lovecraft or Edgar Allan Poe – their powerful writings inspire me with atmospheres, sounds. The atmosphere of some science-fiction and animation movies too: Jodorowsky, Jean Giraud… And my imagination too.
Do you like to make people dance, or is it the least of your worries? Does ‘funny and jumping electro’ bore you ?
I like to see an emotion on people’s faces, whether good or bad – to provoke something. Techno is music to dance by essence, so people are at least receptive. If your question is to know if I build my set to make people dance, the answer is no. I try not to play the same set two times. What I find interesting is to get people to dance who are not coming from the techno world, and it happens quite often! Otherwise yes, I hate teasing and boring “clubbing” techno, without atmosphere, that’s why I put a lot of time in choosing the songs I will play. I’m always looking for a compromise between cerebral and physical techno.
You had some different influences since the beginning of Coldgeist. Give me the three most significant ones. Gerald Donald and all of his work (whether Dopplereffekt or Drexciya) is a huge influence. For each of his projects, there was a field of research, whether in occult sciences, of in so-called hard sciences… The new wave is also one, I could not say in what measure it influences my music but the connection is quick to make. Finally, I would say John Carpenter, moreover I used the title of one of his movies for a song, “Cigarette Burns”.
It must be difficult to find a place in the saturated electronic music market. True. All the more now anyone can act as a dj/producer/remixer. You just need to have good relations, an internet connection, and to download some samples and loops and let’s go. However, there’s not many who last. The “turnover” is very high. For myself, I am on a particular niche, cold and dark techno doesn’t appeal to everyone and its audience is quite small. But I do what I love, what inspires me and for the moment it suits me very fine.
I you had to save 3 French DJ’s, who would they be? And you, how would you manage to be saved! Since I’m not very into ‘Filter House’, I would keep The Hacker, Vitalic and David Carretta: 3 emblematic artists of an era that I loved (Gigolo, Goodlife, etc.). To hope to be saved, I would continue to do what I’m doing, with of course more technique and sound research, whether it is authentic, unique.
What’s the next wave for you ?
I’m still trying to solicit record labels for other EPs, but no date scheduled at time. I’m also working on a live project with an audio/video interface. In addition, I run a totally different side-project, “Corps Exquis”, with which I will release an EP on a French label soon. This project allows me to express something different, anything that is not yet dark in my imagination – I define it as a kind of escape.
1 Danton Eeprom – Unmistakably you
2 Der Zyklus – Roche Limit (V2)
3 Tomas More – Transformed
4 The Eyes In The Heat – Blood (Daniel Avery Remix)
5 Coldgeist – Transmachine
6 Franck Kartell – Xena
7 The Hacker – Satori
8 Jimmy Edgar – This ones for the children
9 David Carretta & Workerpoor – Crash 1