Altitudes - interview


A few questions to Fredziak about Altitudes:

  • How would you define this album, ALTITUDES?
  • For me ALTITUDES is a journey into different landscapes of emotions and moods. It is like a 'synthetic symphony'. This propably seems pretentious compared to great classical masterpieces and ALTITUDES would not survive such a comparison, but what I mean is that it is a long suite of evocative, abstract and ambitious music. The idea is to provide some electronic music that differs from nightclub hits and simple commercial jingles. I wanted it not to be ambient, electro or dance music. This music may appear classical in some respects but is also full of unusual subtleties. It is indeed made of complexity and requires comprehensive listening, far from the 'fast listening', like 'fast food', we are used to.
  • Is there a special link between the mounts in the titles and the corresponding music?
  • That would be great to say I composed each track on top of these mounts but this would not be credible! No, it is just a good way to identify them. I am fascinated by mountains and I suppose I share this fascination with many people.
  • What about your musical curriculum?
  • Music production is quite new to me. I am passionate about music since I was a little child but some barriers prevented me from having proper musical studies and practice. For years, I expressed myself in other creative activities such as litterature or painting but had to admit I was a frustrated musician! I took piano lessons for a while. They helped me to master some basics but were also a reminder it was a bit late for me to be a musician... The whole story could have ended there but five years ago, I decided to go back to music by myself and find a way that would be suitable for my skills and dreams. I bought some synthesizers and started to produce some stuff. I had a lot to learn but the results were good enough to go on seriously...
  • How was born the ALTITUDES project?
  • After a few bad tracks, I started to gather some interesting pieces of music and since then I had the idea to build a whole suite. As an exercise, I first wanted to produce variations on a famous theme by Paganini. I finally prefered to compose my own melodies, even though Paganini still appears in ALTITUDES! All this led me to the 9 tracks you can now listen to. I spent almost 5 years to produce the whole album which is quite long but not much if I consider I was a complete beginner when I started. I am quite satisfied with the result for a first attempt even though I would probably do it differently if I had to start it again today.
  • Which artists influenced you for this work?
  • Jean Michel Jarre has been a central influence, even a reference. ALTITUDES shares many aspects with his music, as an 'instrumental synthetic suite'. But the influence is surely more intimate, in the choice of sounds, in the way they are intricated. Since the beginning I had Jarre's work in mind but I tried to keep enough distance to build my own style, except maybe in the last track for which I thought I should not refrain myself!
    Besides this reference, I am also very influenced by classical music which I love and the electronic music scene in general but this is surely more subtle. I have also worked from the soundtracks of some old cartoon series - the study of the fabulous music from "The Mysterious Cities of Gold" has been the starting point for two tracks in ALTITUDES.
  • How do you stand in relation to the electro movement and the 'French touch' in particular?
  • I have no desire to occupy a specific position, especially because I am still a beginner. Anyway I believe that few artists have this approach, they only make the music they want and afterwards, people, labels and medias give them a particular place.
    I have no reason to feel apart from the electro movement that is full of ideas and artists influencing me. At the same time, my music does not follow the most popular choices, which I do not agree necessarily. If I really belong to the family, I feel more like a distant cousin.
  • What kind of instruments did you use?
  • This music has mostly been created with synthesizers from the last three decades. I didn't use much new software instruments, not because of preconceived ideas about them, but I had the feeling that the contact with old hardware was more inspiring.
  • With a preference for analogue sounds?
  • I share the attraction towards vintage machines and especially old analogue synthesizers. Therefore I kept a good place for their sounds in ALTITUDES, but this was far from being a strict rule as I found more interesting the idea to make them face the sound of digital machines. Both techniques seem to be complementary and useful to widen my sound pallet. Today analogue sounds and instruments take part into a sort of fashion attitude, I am convinced this will not last forever and that focusing on analogue is not the greatest way to go further, even if analogue sound is wonderful and will always be.
  • So which place did you keep for the computer?
  • Computer and software tools seemed essential to me to organize and finalize the production. It is always possible to work without them but the facilities they provide today have really no equivalent. They enable the artist to have a leading role on all steps of the production and this was really important for a project such as ALTITUDES that I completely created by myself.
  • Why did you choose a free distribution of the album?
  • First I thought that charging for my music would be an impediment to its distribution, it was like shooting myself in the foot. Which financial income could I have expected? If my goal was to make a fortune, I would have chosen the wrong business!
    Many things have happened in the music industry since 15 years that cannot be ignored. I think copying my music does not rob me anything as soon as my quality of author is respected. Give it away freely is a way to tell "this is a creation with unestimated value, this is not merchandise". Of course, artists still need money to live and be creative, but it is another question. Thousands of artists distribute their work freely nowadays, it is time to recognize it as a fact so that cultural policies support creation instead of business! Meanwhile, I don't want to be seen as an extremist: paying for music is not dirty and would even be a noble act today...
  • But don't you think this revolution penalises the artists?
  • This is certainly true for those who benefited from the old system but not for those who had great difficulties to access it. One might argue that this system was a mean to sort between good and bad but in reality, profit have often taken precedence over talent and quality.
    We are living an interesting period in which a balanced model must be found. This is a bit stressful for artists but is mostly scary for people that indirectly benefited from their work. Contrary to the official discourse that is just pathetically relaying lobbies, the abundance of what can be found on the Internet shows that creation has never been so active. From an artistic point of view, it is great to get out of this period that was ossified by marketing.
  • Do you plan any concert?
  • I am not sure to be ready for that! I feel more like a composer or producer rather than a live musician. On the other hand, I am attracted by live shows and would probably not refuse an occasion to perform my music in front of an audience, especially if great visual artefacts are involved at the same time.
  • Is your music rather a soundtrack for cinema?
  • It was not conceived specifically as a soundtrack but it could be great, depending of the movie of course...
  • What are your next musical projects?
  • First I'd like to work on a set of remixes of ALTITUDES tracks. There are many musical genres and sounds that did not fit into the album that I would be pleased to explore, hopefully with more fun and diversity. After that, maybe a second album but it is too early to talk about it, especially if I also need 5 years to produce it!


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