Q + A : KAELAN
Alongside his remarkable contribution to the series, we sat down with Kaelan to talk about his remarquable projects, imprints and his several collaborations with ZIPPO, Zadig, CLFT militia, Drafted, Unthone and more...
Alae RAMDANI | 7th April 2017
Hi Nico, we are very glad to host you on Paradox. How is it going for you at the moment?
Hi guys! Everything is fine here. I’m involved in several projects as artist at the moment, for which I’m really excited. I’m also looking forward to future releases on Subosc and Ranges.
Is there any particular moment that made you think “Producing music is what I really want to do”?
I think there has never been a specific moment. I have always been interested and involved in production for years, much before my first release. Of course, it took time to acquire the skills I needed to shape the sound I wanted to achieve. I still learn new things every day, and this stimulates me a lot. Music production is still what I like to do mostly.
What were your first production setup and what is it looking like right now?
I started like most of people with a computer and a pair of monitors, then I started to buy some synths, like the Roland D-50 and the Juno 106. I had the opportunity to try many hardware instruments during the last few years, but the most reliable and versatile setup for production is still represented by my computer and my VSTs. I don’t see that as a limit. Although I am a big fan of the sound of the 90s, which was based mostly on analog gear, I can still shape the sound to obtain the result I want with any kind of equipment.
What a pleasure it was to listen to the Subosc catalogue! What is special with this label is that the release are pretty different yet with a very cohesive artistic line. How would you describe this artistic line by the way?
I’m glad for this question! At fact, when the label started, the focus was mainly on classic Detroit and dub influenced techno. When my friends Hydergine and Oyvind joined the label management we had clear that the best choice for the label development would be to allow for diverse contributions. But I would say that the following releases are still coherent with the core message I wanted to transmit with the label: everything is still about techno with refined aesthetics, aimed for the dancefloor, but also suitable for intimate listening.
Only few artists have found their specific sound and we really think you’ve found your own. It’s a bit hypnotic, for sure complex and often tension-generating... How would you describe your sound with your own words?
I find hard to describe my sound in detail. I’m influenced by so many things. For sure I like to differentiate my outputs. At fact, Kaelan became my main alias for techno, and I started some side projects like 2030, with which I propose electro inspired music, and Ixm, which is focused strictly for dub techno music.
“I think it’s important to keep the dub tradition alive”
Let’s talk about your collaboration with ZIPPO. You’ve got a duo under the name of 3KZ. How has this collaboration started?
I’ve been a big friend of ZIPPO for many years. One day we had a session in my studio, we let ourselves go and our flow was just perfect. The feedbacks and the support we had so far was incredible… We are currently looking forward to our forthcoming release.
Do you think 3KZ is the combination of your two own sounds or has it its own proper musical identity?
I think that our project sound is much different than just the combination of what we do separately. The result is quite unique. I would say that without any planning we ended up doing some emotional and dancefloor oriented techno that we are really proud of.
This is not your only collaboration with other artists, as another trio including yourself came to birth lately as Fragment dimension. What’s the story behind this new venture?
Me, Giuseppe and Antonio were friend before the collaboration, and also part of the same local organization, Sowhul District. There was no big planning actually, but we noticed that even doing very different styles, there was a particular synergy doing our thing together in studio. The focus of the project is on live performance and I think that the result was a really interesting hybrid of styles.
What is the most attractive thing for you in artistic collaborations?
It is really stimulating to collaborate with close friends. It helps me to be dynamic and be constantly developing new ideas, instead of being stuck in my own comfort zone.
You’ve started producing music under 2030 moniker in 2014 with this stunning release on the French label CLFT. Can you tell us what have motivated this new artistic story and what’s the difference with Kaelan’s own universe?
Everything happened so naturally. I always been a fan of electro music and I decided to differentiate that kind of productions with the 2030 alias. The outcome was really amazing. People really appreciated that release and someone still contact me asking if it will be repressed. I hope to be able to keep working on this project, because it generates a lot of emotions for me and for other people.
The same year appeared another alias, Ixm, with whom you’ve released on your own imprint, Ranges. This label was founded with Hydergine and seems a bit more dedicated to dub-techno in the strict meaning of the term. What have motivated the creation of this other entity?
When I got to know Roberto personally, we both noticed that our addiction for dub techno was huge. We were really enthusiast about keeping the dub techno tradition alive on vinyl and this is why we thought about opening Ranges. Our goal is primarily cultural then, and we don’t mind about big sales, but we need people’s support to guarantee that the minimum number of units pressed can be sold. So we hope that this project can last during the years!
Nowadays, lot of attention is focused on fast-paced and industrial-oriented Techno. Do you think there is enough space for other subgenres such as dubtechno ?
For sure, I always believed that music with soul is immortal. Such kind of music is timeless and will always be recognised and supported by collectors and connoisseurs, which doesn’t always happen for hyped and fashioned stuff. I also liked fast paced techno, but it has to be convincing.
Do you think the fact that dub/deep Techno genre is not as popular as other genres, if I may say so, makes the genre more qualitative in terms of productions?
Well, the fact that dub techno is a niche genre, makes it surely less speculative for people who want to get in for money and popularity. I think it’s important to keep the dub tradition alive and this is the aim of the Ranges project. Anyways, it doesn’t mean that all the production are qualitative, and it’s also hard to be distinctive.
What are your connexions with the french Techno scene?
I think that the French techno scene in general is really interesting. My first release on vinyl as Kaelan was on CLFT, a Lyon based label. I am also a friend of Zadig, who released a remix on my own release on Subosc. I think he’s a great artist and it was great to play with him recently in my hometown. I also recently played in Lyon for Tapage Nocturne. I really enjoyed that! Lyon was amazing, as well as the club and the crowd!
How did you came out with this mix for Paradox?
I was really happy for the podcast request. I tried to transmit my current mood with a dedicated selection. I hope you’ll like it!
What kind of non electronic music do you listen to usually?
So, usually I really like listening to the early prog stuff like : Hawkind, Emerson, Lake & Palmer , Genesis or to some ethereal/shoegaze bands as Cocteau Twins, Slowdive, Curve and more.
·What new artists/labels would you recommend to check out at the moment?
I think there are some really interesting artists and labels at the moment, proposing inspiring music... I can think for example at Artefakt, Alan Backdrop, Luigi Tozzy, Shaded Explorer and so on. I’m really into Semantica, and Spazio Disponibile stuff right now.
Can you give us a glimpse about your future projects?
Well, I have some eps that will be out this year. There is an upcoming vinyl release as 3kz on Zippo’s label “FIDES” and another one as 2030 on a new french label and a lot of new stuff that must be released.
Thanks a lot Nico, we hope to see you very soon somewhere, keep the dub spirit alive!
Love and respect