Interview with 18h15 – Rethink music

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First, who and what is 18h15?
18h15 is an electronic project I started two years ago. I’ve been playing several instruments for years (drums, guitar, piano, ukulele…), and before 18h15, I had played in a few acoustic projects. Two years ago, I just fell in love with this “new”generation of electronic music with a lot of influences I cherished: trip-hop, abstract hip-hop, folk, post-rock, and many others. I had no band at the time, so I decided to start an electronic project by myself. That was when I discovered how many possibilities this way of composing could offer.

18h15 is something very personal, that tries to describe what’s really inside my head, with all its paradoxes. That’s the main goal of my music, I guess: putting all my paradoxes together to create something as close as possible to myself.

Cécile you present your music as download via Bandcamp. Why did you choose this way of distribution?
When I chose to release my music, Bandcamp was actually the easiest and best way of doing it, in my opinion. That’s a detail, but I love how I could customize the interface to create my own universe (you can’t do that on Soundcloud, which is a less personal way of releasing your music). Then, I wanted to present my tracks for free: because I just did it for fun, and didn’t want to make money out of it. Bandcamp is the best way to do that, and if some listeners love what they hear, they can pay what they want for my music. I kind of like this idea of supporting independent music. When I can, I love to give some money for an EP I particularly loved. You have no idea how many amazing unknown artists I discovered on Bandcamp.

Do you plan to release a CD or even vinyl?
Releasing a CD or a vinyl is not one of my priorities: for now, I just like to produce music and give it for free on the internet. 18H15 is yet a young project, and I have to improve my productions before thinking of selling a CD or a vinyl.

Apart from 18h15, I just finished my studies in the development of cultural projects and structures. Recently, I’ve been asked to work in The French Touch Connection, a label of french independent abstract hip-hop. So I just begin to work in the musical sphere, and I learn how many skills it takes and how hard it can be to put your music on the “next level”. I want to do this right, because 18h15 is very important to me. Maybe, someday, when it’ll feel right !

Your music is a blend of many different styles. From where do you get inspiration and how to you produce it?
I’m a music lover above all things. Sometimes I’m a compulsive listener, like I can spend nights wandering on the internet to find some new musical jewels. The spectrum of my influences is very large, as I love very different kinds of music. Maybe the ones you can hear in 18h15 are mostly: electronica, trip-hop, post-rock, downtempo, glitch and ambient music. But sometimes, listening to classical music, jazz, folk, or even Dubstep influences me as well. I really admire musicians who can mix electronic stuff and more “classical” sounds together: this paradox is really important in our contemporary way of producing music. That’s how new things can be created… In fact, it depends on what I listen to when I produce a track. For example, “Puz/zle” is more influenced by trip-hop than some of my recent productions, which are more “glitchy” and ambient.

My way of producing music is evolving as well as I am. At the beginning, I used a lot of samples from various artists; now, the samples are not as recurrent as before, I choose to compose more and more. I work on FL Studio, and I like to mix electronic instruments and real ones (piano, guitar for the most part). I also own a controller (MPD 32) to work on the samples (and maybe some time, to perform live?).

Instrumental music does not express itself in the same way as music with lyrics. How is it possible to transport the meaning of a song through sound?
In fact, even when I played in acoustic bands, I’ve always loved to create melodies but I’ve never been able to write lyrics. I find it easier to express myself through instrumental tracks, because sometimes, I think words aren’t enough. Beckett said “Every word is like an unnecessary stain on silence and nothingness.” Maybe this silence, this lack of words, is where instrumental music can express its power.

You can give so much through sound(s). Every little detail, every instrument, every sample can tell a whole story itself. Sometimes you’re listening to a track, and suddenly you find yourself lost, in the middle of nowhere, with so many pictures around you, so many emotions trying to get out of your brain. According to me, the most powerful musical masterpieces are instrumental. With no words to guide you, you’re free to feel every second of what you’re hearing, every hit or silence, every stratum of a piece of music, sometimes mixed all together. Through beauty or chaos.

What would you like to tell the listeners of your music, personal feelings or thoughts about current situations in the world?
As I said, maybe words aren’t enough to describe what we feel. A lot of people I met since I began 18h15 really got my personality just listening to my music. And so I think it speak for itself.

I lost faith in this world a long time ago. Art is what makes me carry on, and I truly believe Art is the only thing that can save humanity. Some people make politics, some spend their lives fighting for lost causes, and some others just write, compose, draw. We could think it’s pointless. To me, it’s the most important thing in the world. Without music, literature, cinema, paintings, our society would come to an end. So just keep listening, watching, reading every beautiful thing that has been or will be made in this pointless but graceful world.

How do you choose the voices and recordings of speeches for your songs?
I’ve been in love with music, literature and cinema my whole life. So in my songs, I like to mix them all together, to create something that refers to a lot of things, not just music. Sometimes I think about a book or a movie before I start to produce a track: in that case, the songs builds itself around a speech, or a poem, or a movie scene I loved.

In my tracks, you can find some of my favorite movies: La Maman et la Putain (Whores & Saints), Répulsion (The Drift), Psycho (Stuffed Birds), Mean Creek (It’s Just a Game), This is England (Waisted Youth). Or some of my favorite books an authors: „Crave“ and „4.48 Psychosis“ by Sarah Kane, „Waiting for Godot“ by Samuel Beckett, „Aurelia“ by Gerard de Nerval.

You have moved from France to Island. This is quite a different surrounding. Why the change?
Ahah, I actually don’t live in Iceland, but currently in La Rochelle (which is an inspiring city, by the way). But since I discovered icelandic music a few years ago, I just knew I’m going to move there someday. My first crush on icelandic music was “Festival”, by Sigur Ros, wich remains my favorite track ever. But over there, there is way more than just Björk and Sigur Ros; you have to listen to those ones: Olafur Arnalds, Seabear, Vök, M-Band, Kiasmos, For a Minor Reflection, Hugar, Kira Kira, Soley, Rökkurro, Samaris, Worm is Green.

I think there is something very special about icelandic productions, in all kinds of music. Something cold and melancholic, childish and innocent, beautiful and contemplative at the same time. My music is really influenced by this love for this country, its landscapes and musicians.

What are your plans with 18h15? Concerts, more records, world domination?
For now, I have to focus on my professional career. I’m meeting a lot of new people, discovering a whole new world and learning a lot about what I do. I’ll continue to compose and produce music for free, and later, when I’ll have some more time, maybe I’ll look for a label and think about how to bring 18h15 to the next level. For now, it’s just about pleasure, fun and passion.

More infos:
https://18h15.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/18h15/

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