Lately, all around us we find people characterized by the things they like and not by who they really are. But esthetics is an important aspect of our lives. The things that we appreciate, the things that are stacked in our personal library, record/ film collection, are telling more about us than a diary. Orgasmo Sonore is a project including almost everything an avant garde lover would collect frantically. It’s not only about music, it is about pictures, moving images, lines and esthetics. And reaching their last LP, ‘Themes International’, is like a very interesting child is entering adulthood.
First thing I thought when I heard your music was “What a band!”. Later I realized that there was only one person behind the music. How do you cope with this and why have you chosen to work as a loner?
Hi! I played drums in different bands for some years. But I’ve always been interested in guitar, bass, keyboards… When I was 12 years old, in the 80s, my parents bought me a Roland SH-101 synthesizer. I did a lot of noise with it, and suddenly one day, I went to a music store and traded it against an acoustic guitar! So bad, because today the SH-101 is highly collectible and sought after. But at least I still have my acoustic guitar… 🙂
But anyway, later I chose drums and concentrated on this instrument for many years. Then, in the 2000s, I started composing my own music with the advance of computer music technology. For me, it was a revelation. I could do everything myself without having to deal with guitarists and singers egos! I rapidly became passionate for every aspect of music production: composing, recording, mixing, publishing, etc… I read enormously, learnt new skills, followed courses in a studio, on the internet. But above all, I got the idea of a project that would allow me to learn directly from the masters, the masters of film music and this is how Orgasmo Sonore was born – Revisiting Obscure Film Music.
What is inspiring you? I believe it is apparent, but please tell us more about the things that trigger you and your music.
I’m particularly fond of instrumental music. I like music with lyrics, but most of the time, the music I listen to is instrumental. I’m fascinated by the inner chemistry of a composition: harmony, progression, instruments, rhythm…Every time I listen to a song, it passes through my mental filter and I need to decorticate everything, to understand the texture, the style. My last project, ‘Themes International’, was all about that. For instance, when you pick a theme like “Spaghetti Western”, you don’t want it to sound like a cheasy country piece of music. So, you have to analyze how Morricone uses both D minor and dorian mode scales, with a pinch of mariachi percussions and archaic flute, and the right amount of surf rock influences, etc. That’s why I’m a lot inspired by film music because it’s all about creating different atmospheres, creating different moods using appropriate textures and instrumentation with the objective to trigger something specific in the brain of the listener.
Many could say that your sound is more appealing to people that feel nostalgic. How do you feel about it?
I don’t totally agree with this idea. Do we listen to classical music because we are nostalgic of the Romantic or Baroque period? I think it’s clear now that the sound and the music of the 60s and 70s have become a landmark in the history of music. Secondly, a lot of people that are listening to Orgasmo Sonore haven’t grown up in the 60s or 70s, so it can’t be real nostalgia. Maybe we think there is more interest toward the past than the future now. In the 70s or the 80s, artists were much more looking ahead with inspirations, and even with a little naivety. There was this mysterious year 2000 to come when we would be traveling by spaceships and living in spatial stations. Then, the year 2000 arrived, and nothing of that happened. So now what? The future seems less exotic and inspiring suddenly.. On the other hand, there is now a very rich past before us to explore. The 20th century is fascinating in the history of music, so many things happened since the end of the classical romantic: the atonal school, the birth of jazz and rock music, the invention of electricity and electronics and consequently the apparition of synthesizers, electric guitars and effects. And more recently, the digital revolution. Everything went so fast. We did not really have the time to understand all of it. Being inspired by the past is not necessarily nostalgia, it is also a desire for explorations and discoveries. And I like to think that people are appealed by Orgasmo Sonore with the interest of exploring obscure film music and forgotten library music, to discover new musical horizons.
Last May ‘Themes International’, your last LP, was released. I believe that in there you included all of your loves. Tell us more about this album.
After my “explorations” of film music and library music, I thought it was the appropriate time to use what I had learnt so I had this idea to challenge myself with different thematics and to compose original material inspired from it. ‘Themes International’ started as a challenge when every two weeks, I picked a new theme and composed, recorded and produced a song on this theme. I published it on the internet and people were able to follow the challenge. Many people seemed to enjoy the moment when I revealed a new theme and expected the resulting song. It was a lot of fun. But it was also a real challenge which I carried on during one year. I did 21 songs and Cineploit accepted to release a 12 song album out of it. And more recently, label Spun Out Of Control released on cassette some of the remaining themes.
What is library music and why we should take a closer listen to it?
Entering the world of library music is entering a parallel world. The world of music specifically composed for film, documentary, TV and publicity, never intended for public distribution. It was a special time (again, the 60s, 70s and early 80s) when the media industry had an ‘openess’ for sonic explorations and experimentations, when the composer had carte-blanche, and could use creativity on different thematics and record in studio with top session musicians or on his own laboratory full of synthesizers. Remember that interlude with strange synthesizers? Or that documentary with experimental electronics, or that short cartoon with some funky jazz groove all over? It was probably coming from one of the many labels who offered pre-recorded catalog of library music, pressed in limited quantities on LP for the studio and media, that created this recent new wave of archeological crate digging and collecting passion. If you listen and explore 60s/70s pop and rock music, you will be studying the popular cultural movements of that time, but if you explore the world of library music, you will enter the subconscious of these cultural movements, through another level of influence and creativity, free of social expectations and trends. Obviously, not everything is interesting, and it’s part of the fun to look for the rare gems. Like gold diggin, you have to filter out a lot of dirt to find a rare nugget.
Most of your video uploads feature images from related movies like a live collage. Your live shows also, from what I may assume, are accompanied by vivid images from past movies. Isn’t that kind of obvious? Have you ever made your own filming for the project?
When I started the project, YouTube for example was slowly starting to emerge and it was not that obvious to find videos and music from these old movies online or in the real world. When I did my interpretation of Stelvio Cipriani’s “Incubo Sulla Città Contaminata” or Fabio Frizzi‘s “Zombi 2” for my first album, it was not because I had seen some videos on YouTube, or had heard the song from a reissued LP. There was still none of that out there yet. It was because I had seen these movies and heard these soundtracks in the 80s when I was young and they were kind of forgotten and unknown. I met David Fromlille who had a channel on YouTube and was amongst the first to curate this kind of stuff (also special mention to MorriconeRocks channel). So the initial idea with the music and the videos was a humble wish to curate and promote these old soundtracks (read the liner notes of my first album). Today, it’s kind of ‘obvious’ because we have assisted to a very important revival of genre film and music for the last 5 years, now it’s everywhere. Stelvio music is reissued on many labels, Fabio is doing world tour playing his music again, a lot of these films are on DVD and Blu Ray so it’s a little less obscure today in 2016. Well, is it really?
For the live show, we try to be more creative with the visual and I work with my VJ collaborator N.code who is using the films as a source of creative deconstruction and reconstruction, like a DJ would do by sampling and remixing.
I did a few amateur videos myself, I invite you to look to the one I did already 6 years ago now, an interpretation of Goblin‘s ‘Contamination’ on YouTube. Very funny!
What is the thing that you wouldn’t like to do yourself regarding Orgasmo Sonore? Who would you ask to contribute instead and why?
For the videos, the visual and the artwork, I worked with David Fromlille in many occasions and more recently Eric Adrian Lee. It’s a great feeling to see artists bringing visual ideas to your project. And for the live, it was a revelation to work with a VJ, bringing another level of creativity, not just looping the videos on a screen.
For the audio part of production, I always ask for professional help when it’s time to do the mastering.
Which is the last movie you saw and on what are you working lately?
I recently revisited a classic of the 80s with my two daughters,” Poltergeist”. I have the chance to have two young daughters that are already film fanatics, they dig everything, drama, horror, sci-fi, fantasy… It allows me to watch my favorite classics again! 🙂
Recently, I’ve been working on a project for the 5 years of Cineploit that will happen next year. Unfortunately, I can say no more for the moment… I’m also rehearsing my next live performance coming in December.
What about original compositions? When will we again be able to enjoy an album completely composed and performed by you?
Well, my last project ‘Themes International’ was all original compositions and it’s clear I will continue in that direction for future projects. I want to record my own music now and I should be diving into a new project very soon!
Last question: I have the feeling that you began this project only moved by your personal fulfillment. 5 years later your work is appreciated by hundreds of people worldwide. Is that something that changed your original aspects? How do you keep your coolness and how you manage to stay authentic to your original need?
Oh you know, I’ve been building a very niche audience and it’s practically being part of a little sub-culture where people are very aware and with whom I’m sharing my passion for this kind of stuff. I try to keep doing what I like, to follow my motivations and inspirations and I also try to come up with new propositions, new influences and I trust people will keep following me on the ride. For example, on my last album, I introduced my love for Turkish psych music, and it seems people that are following me since the horror soundtracks interpretations also enjoyed that sound and it’s one of the most popular songs of my new album. But you know, since I did a video for that song with the Turkish Star Wars rip off, it all makes sense in the Orgasmo Sonore universe! Ciao, Frank.
Photo credits: J-L Riendeau (1st one), Manon Blackburn (2nd one)