Here's our the second part of our strange hour with Alan Wilder & Paul Kendall.
An interview of Paul Kendall by Bruno Ouvrein (Supreme, french Recoil blog & Myspace) , Perrine Braz (pictures) & Gilles Braz (Recoiline, Pimpf)
After letting Alan with the people of VirginMega we went to meet Paul Kendall.A nice calm gentleman, who took some time to answer our questions with his deep voice. He was quite patient with us and very kind to answer all our questions about his personal projects but also about the tour for the Recoil promotion.
BO : I know it's a question which already been asked but how do you feel on the road ? I know it's the first time you're on stage.
PK : Well it's the first time I've ever been on tour as well. It's very interesting
BO : We saw all the problems you had with travel, plane troubles, flight cancelled,etc...
PK : Obviously the main problems recently have been the travel problems.
My main observation it seems, it's a shame when you visit towns and you don't actually visit towns.
You visit a hotel.
We like wake up in the morning and we leave.
That's really frustrating but I saw enough of places like Bucharest or Budapest to be interesting.
But generally it's not been too much of a problem moving.
The concerts have been grouped in little groups of 3 or 4. So we've been able to rest off.
Also because our actual set-up is quite simple. If it was a full band it would be much more difficult.
BO : Light and easy way to travel with?
PK : Yes, it is. As long as I carry on all the equipment (laughs)!
GB : It's easier that way .
PK : It's much easier that way!
GB : Regarding all the local DJ's and artists that you work with for the promotion of the tour, for example in Paris it was easy for you to chose Olivia Louvel , were there other artists that came naturally to you for the promotion of this tour ?
PK : Yes, I played to Alan some Jérôme Soudan ,Mimetic things and as we were playing in Switzerland, and Jerome is based in Geneve and he seemed like a good choice . Even though it was in german swiss and he's a french swiss, as soon as Jerome arrived in Zurich I realized it was difficult, but the communication was in english so...
But it was good for Alan to meet Jérôme and I have lot of respect for him as a musician.
Then I've never met Architect before Daniel Myer and that was a really good experience meeting him.
BO : Architect sounds really good.
PK : Yes, it is.
BO : I listened to Architect thanks to you as you were both talking about him recently in a radio interview and it's definitely brilliant!
PK : I've never heard anything before, I've never heard Haujobb and I didn't know that Swedish project he worked with I can't remember the name of. But I think of all the projects he works on, I think Architect is the one that is really, really interesting. And he's also a good friend of Jérôme as well, so it was very simple.
GB : With this tour going on, did it bring you and Alan some new ideas and new ways to work on new tracks in the future ?
PK : I think so. For me it made me look at the music creation both in studio and in the live situation a bit more . There's so much more that we could do , I think . From my point of view. And I think it will change the way Alan will approach the music in the future .
I mean it will always be difficult to imagine Recoil music on stage because there's lot of different vocalists. You're confronted to a problem because of that .
GB : That's something he often mentionned in the past, that it was difficult to bring all the people he collaborates with, to bring them on tour for this kind of promotion.
PK : Yes, the only situation where it would have been possible, would have been if we would have played a lot of "subHuman" and touring the States , we could have perhaps used Joe Richardson's group and done it on a different way. But that would have taken a whole different organization, bringing his guys their effects and bring it all from America.
GB : With that kind of management it would have been hard.
PK : Yes, it would have been a little bit too complicated and probably too expensive to arrange something like that .
But that would have been the only possibility. And if we would have wanted to do things at run from subHuman we wouldn't be using Joe for those.
It's been an interesting challenge. We worked a lot on the preparations so it wasn't just like the record.
We reworked most of the songs and changed structures a little bit to make it work more as a new object. So the fans would have something new to listen to.
BO : Sound and bits from all songs mixed together.
PK : Yes, it was really interesting to construct it because it was like making a new album in a way.
GB : You had to re-listen to all the tracks and re think about it.
PK : Yes, how that could work in a live situation. We realized that probably more minimal was probably more interesting so that gave us some more space to do things live. So it took a long and lot of preparation. But it's been really good fun , we enjoyed it so far ...
BO : A trainspotting question : I noticed some similarities between one of your track called 'Caress' (from the album Faulty Caress) and Recoil's Shunt, specifically a loop. Can you tell us a bit more about it?
PK : It's possible (laughs). There's something in one song that I know he may have used. But if he did use it, it was before I started working with him which is really good. That makes me quite happy, pretty much because having listened to some of my music before working together.
BO : Was it for 'Unsound Methods'?
PK : No, only in the remixes., 'Drifting' and 'Stalker' I think, I did a version of 'Stalker' with Alan.
BO : A few months ago, I listened to 'Faulty Caress' and I said to myself "That rings a bell"!
PK : That must have been a very boring night for you.
BO : No, I quite enjoyed it! Unfortunately for the moment, that's the only record from you I've been able to listen to.
PK : I did an album with Olivia, which is quite interesting, the Digital Interventions thing which we released on the French label. It's a weird record, it's nearly really good. It's almost accessible but it's not accessible and it's not experimental enough for the really experimental people. But it was a really good process of working because Olivia never really done any technological stuff before. So she learnt a lot and she learnt enough to be able to basically work on her own. It was important for her to have the confidence to use the technology herself. It was good, it was an interesting project. We did collaboration again...
GB : On some tracks of her new album ?
PK : Not really, her album is her own album, I just did a little bit of mixing and stuff
We did a Digital interventions concert in Strasbourg on a boat which was the only thing we've done since we did the Digital Interventions stuff.
That was quite interesting as well and much more more experimental than what we did on the album. So that was good.
I mean her label in France is excellent "Optical sounds", They really bring a lot of support to their artists. They work outside of music and that's really interesting.
GB : Regarding that aspect , you used too live in France few years ago you worked for example with Olivia. At that time did you get interested to work with some other artists from the french electro scene ?
PK : Yes, there was a lot of people, I worked with an engineer / producer called David Husser. And David was in a really interesting group called "Y Front".
And i just think he's the best engineer in the world, this guy.
BO : I heard what you did with "Speed Caravan" ?
PK : I didn't do anything with "Speed Caravan"
BO : I read you were actually simply watching him working!
PK : I wasn't supposed to work on that album but he got me to talk on their version of The Chemical Brothers track. So I spoke on it but that was all I did. I did a little bit of voice editing. I was in the studio with him quite a bit of time but it's his and he made this project completely. It's really interesting working with him. I worked with David quite a lot and with some people of Ici D'Ailleurs, which wasn't really electro. One of the reasons I was happy to work in France is because the voice is much more important in French music than is in English music. You always put the voice so loud, it must be important to you. I'm not saying it's relevant necessarily but I saw that as a challenge because I didn't really want the voice to be that loud because the music becomes quite small. So I tried to make the voice completely understandable because that's really what they want. I want to be able to understand the words but not having it so loud in the mix. So that was always an interesting challenge and I really like French voices. I like the idea the voice is important. It was always good fun. I did an album with Jeanne Balibar, her last album which was released on Naïve, David and I did that. That was interesting as well. She's a great actress and she's an interesting singer. I did the very first album of Valérie Lemercier, with Bertrand Burgalat.
GB : Yes Bertrand Burgalat, he's quite an interesting character.
PK : Yes, it was part of the reason I met Bertrand, because he was part of Laibach. Obviously I was working for Mute at that time . And Bertrand was in London at the same time Laibach was in London so I met Bertrand. I quite got along with him and he invited to Paris a lot of times so...
And I nearly did quite a really good album with him. I didn't do it at the end.. Jad Wio's album. And I was really upset I didn't mix that album. It's a really great album. So yeah I had a really good time in Paris. That was really important in the stage that I was in my life. I did Lo'Jo that was hilarious.
BO : Yes that was good also
PK : Yes we had a great time.
BO : I remember you said Lo'Jo live is a different beast and I heard the album, it's actually quite good, not what I usually listen to.
PK : That's not what they expected either. We really, sort of, destroyed Lo'Jo and then reconstructed it. David was really instrumental in doing that. He really just said "we're going to this like this, and like this".
BO : You wanted to show them what was possible to do in a studio.
PK : Yes, because what they did before was to take their live performance in a studio. And if you want to make an object, it's good to maybe do something different. You can always do the songs in a live context but try to make a different object, that maybe appeals to other people. That's what we tried to do for the CD and it was really a really wonderful experience working them. They really are lovely people, I had some marvelous food in Angers. They're living like a commune and there was a guy there who cooks. I had rabbit for the first time in my life and I enjoyed it.
GB : Do you come back often to Paris nowadays ?
PK : Yes, I come back occasionaly.The last time I was here was in December , with the group LaFille with David again. And I was here just before to work with a group with Jerome,that just had an album released.
Because I quite like the "Chansons française". So with people in "chanson française" do things different with their instrumentation.The colours of instrumentation are quite different from what I'm used to work with and what I would do with it would be quite interesting.
GB : It feels like some interesting new experience for you
PK : Yes, it's not guitar bass and drums , it's some sequenced base, it's good to get yourself into unusual situation. And I think one album I did in France that was really good was with a guy named "Le professeur inlassable" which was really amazing.
BO + GB : We'll try to keep that one in mind and check it later.
PK : Look on myspace on my profile, he's there and he's a guy who does a lot of music for publicité (commercials) and he uses lot of unusual sources for his music. And that is really impressive stuff, he's quite a successfull composer of adverts. He's made this record that is incredible , with John Greaves, he's a good friend of John Greaves and Henry Cow
Henry Cow was a really important group for me when i was young. John Greaves is a bass player, he lives in paris since 20 years and he was involved in that album so it's really an interesting record.
You should check it out. He's got a fantastic studio near le pont neuf.
The genre of professeur is... he's got a real aesthethic, his studio got a aesthetic and his music has got an aesthetic. It's really worth investigating.
BO : Talking a bit about the French scene, as far as you know, as you've been working with Alan since 'Liquid', have any French collaborators considered? Maybe Olivia?
PK : We had David doing a remix of 'Prey', he did the Shotgun mix and another friend of mine, Guy, who goes under the name of… Olivia, do you remember Guy's stage name?
OL : TG Parker, he did the remix for Alan, for 'Allelujah' for 'Selected'.
BO : He should be good as 'Allelujah' is my current favourite from the remix album.
PK : He did the Noisy Church remix. He's a French guy and I work a bit with him on his own music. He's a really good sort of electronic guy. He makes the loudest music I've ever heard. When you do mix of Guy's things, he sends you the elements and all the elements look like black boxes, there is no sort of wave forms and it's just so loud! And we had real problems mastering Guy's remix because he masters things as well, he works for EMI. So he knows about mastering and we really had to turn his mix down because we couldn't get everything, that level was just crazy. So yes, there's a few. I wanted Alan to meet some of the musicians that I've met over here. Somebody like Medhi, who's an electric oud player, he's the Speed Caravan guy, because that's a really interesting texture. And there's the drummer that we used for Lo'Jo, a really amazing drummer called Franck Vaillant, one of the most impressive drummer I've ever heard. He's not just a beat person, it's a whole sound that he creates.
GB : Some kind of atmospheric drumming ?
PK : Yes, he's just from the background of the electro-acoustic music but he's a good solid beat drummer.
BO : Do you think he could be an asset you could bring to the Recoil project?
PK : Well normally, when Alan's starting, he's looking for interesting sounds and loops and things to sort of give inspiration to move on. And I know Franck really would be able to do that. It's just a question if it's practical to get Franck involved. I'm sure Medhi would be really happy to come over to England and record some oud because the electric oud is really quite a remarkable sounding instrument, and he's a great musician.
BO : Maybe the last question, can we expect something coming from you in the coming future?
PK : My own music? I sort of… I nearly finished a record.
GB + BO : A scoop!
PK : I nearly did and I then listened to it again and I thought no.
BO : Don't scrap it!
PK : It won't be scrapped. I wanted to do a guitar album and there are a couple of tracks on my MySpace are sort of guitar based even though they didn't originally started with guitars. But some of them do start with guitars. So I had this idea of grouping all these guitar based compositions together. But I'm now listening to it again and I just thought… Once again, it's a problem I have, I think it's not accessible enough and it's not inaccessible enough. It falls in-between two areas and I think it needs to be more extreme in one direction or in the other direction. But some of the tracks I quite like, there's seven pieces altogether.
BO : So it will be released one day?
BO & GB : We hope so ! we're stuck in the 20th Century and we think lot of us still are...
PK : It's not that I have a problem releasing things it's just that I think people have a problem buying albums. So should it have been as seven tracks or as a CD of 7 tracks , I don't know. It's enough for me to know that I almost finished it.
So right now I'm in the way and able to work on something else. Because I've got lot of stuff to finish so eventually I will all finish it.
This is not important, you know, I mean what's important is that I'm still working with other creative people that's much more important anyway to what I do.
BO : Do you have any plans after the events tour and the World Cup?
GB : Maybe closer to Alan to be able to work with him?
PK : Yes, closer, anyway, a whole new place on the sea side and i've got sort of a loft area which is going to be a studio.
So this summer will just be setting all this up. And have a good place to work. So it should be fun.
So no plans or collaborations coming soon...
BO & GB : Thanks a lot for the interview and we'll see you tomorrow at the concert