He sings: "Who are we and why are you dancing?" Koudlam evokes a penchant for lust and risk that shakes you.
He is both with us and for us. His music is definitely something to rally around.
Lisa Rovner : Brian Wilson said: "It was a childhood dream of mine to make music
that made people feel loved." What about you? What kind of a child were you, where are you from? And what do you want people to feel when they hear your songs?
Koulam : I was a good kid, always looking out of the windows. Making and listening to music helps me live, order the world, my emotions, see my dreams, remember who I am, what is true, where the fight is. Without that I’m lost, and can’t get my head out of the chaos. Music is harmony, sister of Love. So if you feel the same while you’re listening to my music, that’s good, it means I’m on the right track and that you’re alive.
Your ep is called Live at Teotihuacan. Teotihuacan is the place where men become gods.
You were recently in Mexico, what were you doing there?
Did you visit Teotihuacan? Did you see the pyramids? The sun pyramid? Are you a mystic?
What were your impressions?
Do you remember memories as details or in abstract fashion?
I travelled to Teotihuacan 2 times. Almost ten years ago, I was living in one of the ghettos next to the City of God with good people, poor people, always drinking Kawama and Clamatos. I made my first concert at this time, nothing official, just a small illegal party with a few fellows, on the pyramid of the sun. That’s why I called my last EP "Live at Teotihuacan", in memory of the good old burning days. A few months ago I returned there, for business essentially, and also to make a music movie. But I don’t remember much. Just the name of the hotel in Mexico : Bonampak. Adult channels for free. Tacos in the bathrooms. Black Palms in the patio. Heaven or hell I’m not sure, but I remember sex screams resonating all day long, everywhere, and never knowing if they were real or not.
If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
Moving objects from a distance. Something from a Stephen King movie.
Telekinesis, the ability to move object with the mind, makes me thing of Uri Geller and a picture I have in my mind of his car, with all the bent spoons... Your music has "a crystalline, sun-light-through-windowpane quality," Lester Bangs said that about Brian Eno. Who are your heros?
Brian Eno is one of them. John Lennon too, oh there’s a long list of men who became gods…
What about women?
What is it about Emily Dickinson ? I read online, "Dickinson's poems can easily be set to music because of the frequent use of rhyme and free verse. Written for the most part in common meter or ballad-meter, they can also be set to songs that use the same alternating lines of iambic tetrameter and iambic trimeter. (Familiar examples of such songs are O Little Town of Bethlehem, and Amazing Grace)." Is it her work or her life story that inspires you most?
Both poems and life.
Are you inspired more by the myths of the past or of the future?
Both. Depends on the story…
Do you know about Michael Heizer's City?
Looks like a remake of Teotihuacan, very strange. Waiting for the opening to see it.
That may be years from now... Your new LP, Goodbye, is coming out on November 18th. Is
this the end? The end of what?
I won’t explain the real meaning of the title, but let’s just say that it's large enough that everyone can understand it, identify. I like to be opaque, so that imagination can fly. Music becomes more powerful.
What do you say in your liner notes?
In the liner notes I say that when all looks transparent and fake then there’s no need to focus on it, and that on the frontiers of this dead world you’ll always find good spots to start great adventures.
It's been said, "Un vocabulaire qui tente de cerner quelque chose de souterrain, de mystérieux" ( A vocabulary that evokes something underground, something mysterious). How would you describe your music?
Who says that? I don’t know, ask a poet, or you tell me.
I just did. How do you translate Koudlam? It's a very dramatic name.
How did the name come into being?
Koudlam is a name some friends gave me when I was a teenager, in bad French it means a knife stab. It contains the word “lame” which means “soul”.
Did you feel the need to invent a character?
No need. I’m completely double.
How would you describe your relationship to performance art? Opera?
It’s pure cold sex.
I've seen you perform several times but I've never seen your eyes. You hide behind dark glasses. When you perform are your eyes open or closed? I can tell you, the girls are all wondering if you are watching them...
That’s good news. My eyes are closed but I can see you all.
Can you tell me about some of the highlights of your collaborations with Cyprien Gaillard?
I met Cyprien a few years ago in Vietnam. We immediately started working together. I composed 2 epic songs that serve as soundtracks to Cyprien's films « Desniansky Raion », " See you all » and for his « The Great Empire », I wrote a hypnotic, maybe aztecan, 20 minute ballad. These songs, along with a few others were released on the « Live At Teotihuacan » album with Pan European Recording in July 2008.
« Desniansky Raion » quickly found an echo in the art world. Since then we are regularly invited to perform (screening of the film and live concert), all over the world. Each time it's in an incredible place: on the rooftop of a building, in an italian theater, on a forgotten pyramid, in museums etc. I made the soundtrack for his film "Crazy Horse" which we recently presented at the Berlin Bienalle. I played in a derelict land on a crane. It was raining cats and dogs. It was perfect.
You will be performing with him at the kitchen on November 20th. What's that all about?
It will be amazing new songs and new videos!
Have you ever seen this french television series called cinema cinema?
There is a moment when Peter Falk is being interviewed about his relationship with his two close collaborators, Ben Gazzara and John Cassavetes.
The interviewer asks...
Who is the most scared? He says: "Me".
The most stobburn? "John"
The most corrageous? "John"
The most vain? "Ben, but it's a photo finish between all three."
The most handsome? "Me."
The most charming? "Me."
Now its your turn.
Between you and Cyprien...
Who is the most scared? Me.
The most stobburn? Me.
The most corageous? Me.
The most vain? Me.
The most handsome? Me.
The most charming? Me.
Your song, See you all was used in Jacque Audiard's film, The prophet. It' s an incredible film. How did that come about?
I don’t know. You'd have to ask Audiard. The production contacted me. I’m very happy they did!
I'll never forget my mother's love for the Beach Boys. It makes up one of my first memories, I remember vividly dancing to it. What was the first song you recall hearing?
Don’t know. Simon and Garfunkel or the Beatles, something like that. Or maybe it was “Le trou noir” (The Black Hole), a soundtrack from a Walt Disney film. Yeah…
Where do you start when you write a song? Do you sit down to work?
Do you have a recipe for making music?
Sometimes I hear a music, a music I want to turn my way or that makes me hear another music in my head that I need to materialize. Sometimes when researching sounds, I hear a sound and automatically the sound calls a melody. It's quite difficult to explain.
Where do you record your music?
Do you have a studio? What instruments do you use?
I have a little studio (it’s a big word), and a few instruments around a laptop. Most of the machines I use are softwares, but sometimes I'll record a flute, a xylo, a dog in a real studio.
Your music is almost exclusively electronic. Was there ever a time
when you were interested in acoustic music?
When I was 13 years old I used to play in some rock bands. I still enjoy playing the guitar, a lot of my inspiration comes from it. It’s easy to find a song on a guitar. And I'm learning the piano too.
Where do you see yourself going with your ideas?
What's next? And there after?
I don’t know, there are so many musics I need to produce. The problem is not music or inspiration, it’s all the business around that tries to fuck you up. It's always when, from the outside, things seem to look better and better, that things are in actuality the most difficult. The question is: is it possible to survive doing music if you don’t take part in its promotion?
True or false:
You were trained classically? True.
You went to art school? Wrong. I studied art history, which is completely different than art school. There’s no practice involved. It’s quite boring sometimes.
You worked in a bank? True. In toxic factories too.
If you were a slogan what would you say?
“ONE BLOOD ONE MISSION”
If you could go anywhere right now where would you go?
I visit opodo (online travel website) and google earth everyday looking for a place calling my name. Somewhere different. Where I would be a stranger. Landscapes where one could still see some fog, experience adventures. It’s vain. There’s Mars to explore, but people don’t care, they prefer restoring ruins. Perhaps West Africa's still virgin. I’ll finish there for sure.
Do you believe everything is going to be ok?
Yeah, don’t worry it’s going to be incredible. There will be mass suicide, it's gonna be fun. No, no, the future is full of scavengers, wake up!