France is a place where great art is created, the city of Poitiers is no exception when is comes to its music. A group that originated in Poitiers, Carpenter Brut, is booked at the upcoming 2018 Coachella Festival where new and cutting edge artists are showcased. Dividuals fits perfectly into the range of a new artist that makes an impressive ear catching noise. Dark Beauty met with project member Thibault during his tour with Perturbator on their new tour bus after their show. During our conversation he told us that he’s not only the tour audio engineer for Perturbator, he’s also the counterpart for Dividuals. We’re excited to share this discovery with our readers…
Interview Meikee Magnetic
Where were you born and where are you now?
Alex and I (Thibault) are both from France. I was born in Poitiers, and Alex in Niort. These cities are close to each other in the center West part of France, not far from the Atlantic coast. For a few years I went away for studies but eventually came back to settle in my hometown. Alex moved to Poitiers as well, about 3 years ago. A lot a people often bitch about their hometown as they dream about bigger and more attractive places, but seriously, I don’t complain. I had the chance to travel a lot around the world, so I know Poitiers might not be the sweetest spot but there is something special about it. The music scene is incredible, and artists all know each other. It helps to create a sort of emulation between people: it’s easy to share points of views, tips about music or even deeper thoughts. You are not anonymous here, like you might be in Paris or New-York, as all the other new comers seeking success in those hotspots. Carpenter Brut is from Poitiers as well, and his quote “not from Paris” is actually a pretty good summary of this state of mind.
How was this project created?
(Thibault) I’m a producer and audio mastering engineer. I met Alex in my studio for the mastering of his other project “Colours in the Street”. Straight after hearing his voice, I asked him if he would be interested to work on electronic music. Alex didn’t know much about it at this time, coming from the Brit Pop culture but he was totally interested in new musical experiences.
Who are you as an artist?
My daily job is actually pretty much the same as what I do as a musician, except that I do it for others. As a producer, arranger and mixer, I guess I was just tired of not doing it for myself. I learned a lot in the past 10 years, working for different bands, from metal to electronic music, from total indie artists to major company signed artists. It was a way to express myself. Alex already had his own band, but digging for a new aesthetic was a blast for him as well. The musical roots of Dividuals are extremely vast, and attempt to create their own language, as a link between all the music I listen to. From James Blake to Nine Inch Nails, from Lorn to Moderat, from Flume to Bones, from Trap music to Witch House… Don’t expect to find an obvious reference if you listen to Dividuals. Maybe it’s gonna sound weird, but to me, relating to all these artists make sense. It might come from different cultures but with a common spirit. I love Health too – this is the kind of UFO who creates a good synthesis, a very personal vision. Of course, as I mentioned before, Lorn, for all those reasons, is one of my favorite musician. I’m not trying to sound like him, but I wish I could do something as singular as he does. He definitely creates his own language.
Is ‘You’re Falling’ your very 1st single?
No, we released a first 4 track EP last year named « Chemical ». This first experience was a good way to discover what we wanted to do with Dividuals. The result is softer than the upcoming songs. After working on « You’re Falling » and other tracks for the future EP, we just said « Ok, let’s go darker. » Alex wasn’t totally comfortable at first about making some kind of dark and gritty atmospheres. After hearing some early demos I made, he realized we could make it dark and beautiful at the same time. « You’re Falling » is a turning point, and the music video is a good representation of what we want for Dividuals in the near future. The opposition between the softness of the vocals and the heaviness of instrumentation. Today, this association makes more sense to us. We’re not trying to find a compromise as we merge the universes. We just put these 2 aspects face to face, to see what happens.
We are loving your new music video right now! How much time and production went into the creation of it?
Thibault: This video is more than just an assignment meant to fit a song. The Deka Brothers had a free hand to make something personal, they took some inspiration from the lyrics, but no guidelines from us. To answer the question properly, I’d rather let them (Ben and Julien) talk about it.
The Deka Brothers: Thanks, Thibault, for letting us jump in. A good number of hours went into the production of “You’re falling”, from writing to finishing. As it is often the case with new upcoming bands, the budget was not amazing so you need to trade money for time. It took us a few months to deliver the video, working on it over weekends, aside from our regular gigs. It can only work if you approach it as a passion project, and the motivation to make something great was definitely there. We really fell in love with the track and that was the starting point of everything. We shot over the course of 3 days, spread apart, in Detroit, our home base in the US. The city offers tons of amazing locations and resources due to its very dynamic art scene. People are super easy to work with and are usually really supportive if you know how to communicate your passion to them. We had a small crew, but they were rock solid people. The writing was an organic process as we let the music and the lyrics guide us toward the main themes of the video. We wanted to create something very arty and abstract at its core, as opposed to develop a storyline. It is thematic more than it is narrative. We definitely wanted to work on allegoric figures and archetypal icons placed in different, very frontal “tableaux”, where the audience would accept to feel more and intellectualize less. Emotions over meaning. In that sense, the video has a poetical approach. It doesn’t tell the audience what to understand but rather invite people to project their own personal psyche and emotions onto it. For some it will be a cathartic experience, for others a meaningless visual feast. And that’s okay. Everyone is different and this video was not designed to please everyone. We believe that’s what makes it authentic.
Tell us about some behind the scenes highlights onset of the video production:
The Deka Brothers: It went pretty smooth for most of the production, as it wasn’t our first rodeo. We had a surreal moment while filming the set of the tattooed VR girl. We used quite a bit of haze in each scene, but this specific night, the fire alarm went on in the entire building. Someone turned it off, so we kept shooting. We were in the middle of a take when 3 imposing firefighters entered the loft apartment we were filming in. Julien was operating camera and Ben was watching the monitor. Our producer was not on set at this time, so no one stopped the scene: our talent, Alloy, was standing up on the leather coach, moving around in her virtual world, wearing this weird huge helmet on her face. The scene was unreal. The firefighters were just watching her with a “WTF” expression on their faces. After we cut, they came at us pretty strong and we apologized for not letting them know what was going on as soon as they showed up. I guess they were relieved that nothing was on fire (as it is often the case in Detroit) but we could have handled this a bit better on our end. So, lesson learned for next time!
I know about your other musical gig, can you share with our readers what major Synthwave artist you work with?
(Thibault) Haha, well I’m pretty lucky to work as a technician for great artists! I’m sure you’re talking about Perturbator. I used to be the tour audio engineer for James. I had a blast on the last US tour actually! I learned a lot being on tour with him for the past year. Not about pure technical musical aspects, but rather about the authenticity of his music. This talented guy is a source of inspiration for me for the reason that he makes music in the most natural way, just by expressing his true self and not trying to copy/paste elements to fit in a specific genre. His new EP « New Model » is proof of that. It’s not Synth Wave anymore. But Pertubator ? Not a doubt…
We are working on the next EP, it’s actually 90 % ready, but as always the last 10 % takes an eternity to complete, haha! We are probably going to release a new single in the next few months, then a 5 or 6 track EP before June. It actually depends a lot of the reaction of the crowd. We are at the early stage of the project and no one heard about our music before. We count on a lot of people to share the music they like. This is the only way to make it happen and push us to create some more. To me there is no point in making music if no one knows about it. It’s like talking a dead language alone in your bunker. The wish would be to continue making music videos with the same directors, as a real long term collaboration. The video helps the music make sense and vice versa. It’s so much more fun to create a complete media package than just a song.