Vincent Villuis the man behind excellent ambient/downtempo/psybient project AES Dana, and of course Ultimae Records. Having been active since early 00’s, Vincent has gifted us with many hours of music, full of emotions & trippy-ness! Last Day Deaf is more than honored (same with every artist!0 to host this interview with this electronica mastermind. Almost forgot 🙂 AES Dana will perform live at DOTS. Downtempo Connexions, at Black Box Methodia, on May 12th.
Hi Vincent, honored to have you here on Last Day Deaf! Let’s start the other way around then. Your latest full-length album (as AES Dana), ‘Pollen‘, was released back in 2012. Should your fans expect its successor anytime soon?
Hello Christos! Thanks for inviting me. In fact, since ‘PoIlen‘, I composed ‘Far & Off‘ released on 3 EPs and a double LP. I did several tracks for compilations and composed music for ads and sound installations. We recently reissued a new version of ‘Pollen‘ fully remastered and redesigned available in all formats (double vinyl, CD and digital from mp3 to surround)
I am currently working on a new album which should be released this year and am collaborating with SCANN-TEC for an artistic residency at Les Dominicains de Haute Alsace.
Along with Sandrine Gryson, you are a label manager/co-owner in one of the most significant ambient labels, Ultimae Records, for the past two decades. How easy/difficult is running a label like Ultimae, creating music and also having a personal life? Any tips of your success?
It’s hard to reply to this type of question, I have no real tips to give to anyone, we all do our best. Let’s just say hard work and passion.
You recently performed at Textura III, in Denmark, a great ambient event. How was this experience like?
Textura III was a beautiful music and video mapping experience at the cultural center Krudttønden in Copenhagen. It was a long immersive night where Mahiane, Christian Samsara, VBC and myself performed. The whole video works were managed by the collective Hackstage.
Back to the past now, and your debut album as AES Dana, ‘Season 5‘: I still commemorate the initial shock of the opening track ‘Natti Natti’ and of course the unfolding of 69-minute magical journey. What can you recall of these days. Was the feeling different while creating your first masterpiece, than it is today being an accomplished electronic artist?
I don’t know if ‘Natti Natti‘ is a masterpiece (laugh). It was a period of my life, the first milestone of my AES Dana career. Back then, my production studio was less powerful and nowadays technologies offer a more efficient workflow. I have been composing for 25 years and still have the same pleasure and the aim is always to give my best for each track, to learn and improve.
2011’s ‘Perimeters‘ was an album of abstract beauty, but (allow me the characterization) the least emotional among your works. Technically a masterpiece, but a bit ‘frozen’ feelings-related. Would you agree on this? Was this deliberate?
I respect your point of view, but I think ‘Perimeters‘ is full of fragilities and emotions in fact. This album was composed while I was in residency at the Dominicains of Haute-Alsace, so I was able to record real instruments to tweak them after (‘Snöflinga‘ for ex), field recordings of quiet nature (‘Antimatter‘). Perhaps the frozen feeling comes from the fact that I finalized the album during the winter season!
If you had to select one album that is most important for AES Dana’s musicianship and evolution, which one would this be and why?
Hard question… but I would say ‘Leylines‘ because it was a new departure. The initial ‘Leylines‘ album completely disappeared with a hard drive crash, I lost one year of work. It took me a few months to rebuild a new palette of sounds and I started on a new album/axis. But ‘Far & Off‘ is my favorite album so far, it merges all that I love in terms of influences and feelings.
Your most recent work was the collaborative EP ‘The Unexpected Hours‘ with Greek electronic artist MikTek. How did this collaboration, which started back in 2014 with ‘Cut.‘ emerge then? Are you working on something else at the moment?
I released other music since, remixes and tracks on compilations. With MikTek, yes, we will continue to team-up as it is a big pleasure to create and spend time together. Otherwise, I work on several projects at the same time: 3 albums in parallel, remixes and a sound installation.
Always wanted to ask this one. Your music is among the most cinematic ones. Why do you think that visuals are necessary for a live set? Isn’t the music powerful enough for the audience to ‘build’ its own visuals? Or is it 100% a matter of an audiovisual experience?
Good visuals can give an interesting added value to a live show. But they are not always necessary. And people are free to watch or close their eyes and have their own interior movie.
What are you going to present at the Downtempo event on May 12th, in Athens? Should we expect a retrospective set from all your album? Hopefully any new tracks?
I will present both, retrospective, unreleased tracks and a big part of my next album ‘Inks‘.
What holds the future for AES Dana project & Ultimae Records?
As I said, new releases and sound installations for me and as for Ultimae, we have albums in finalization process by Hidetoshi Koizumi and Master Margherita and reprints of highly acclaimed albums such as 9980 by Connect.Ohm, a move to new premises …
Last words belong to you. Would you like to add anything you haven’t been asked?