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'O' Is Numero Uno

January 2007

MVRemix: You have been quoted as saying, 'O is not music. The listeners make it music.' Can you expand on that statement?

Yann: Of course! One of our first aims was to show that music can stay music, if you broke some rules. This idea was fed by primitive music. If you break these rules, you'll just need more cooperative listeners. Mainstream music abuses the rules. But music is not cooking, isn't it?

MVRemix: Many people automatically think 'Numero O' is an album by drug users for drug users. What is your response to this statement?

Yann: I don't use any drugs. I hate drugs, alcohol, even if I think that drug experiments were really great ways for creation. Just remember Charles Baudelaire, William Burroughs, Henri Michaux, and so many more. We don't need drugs for dying. We don't need drugs to see death. That's probably why this album sounds like that. I think our album needs concentration from the listeners. But, at the same time, it's also a freedom's space.

MVRemix: What else helped you during the making of 'Numero O'?

Yann: Water. Sherman Filter Bank. Irony. What else? Very much water. Oh, I'm the worse liar you've ever meet. Caffeine. Also, Jean-Luc Parant's poetry.

MVRemix: The music of O and the album has been described in various ways, ranging from ambient, noise, and even difficult listening. What do you think of these descriptions?

Yann: First at all, I must say that it's a good description of our influences. We listen to various stuff like experimental, jazz, electronica, glitch, ambient, drone, doom, grind, pop, psychedelic, primitive music, contemporary classical, and no wave. When we started 'O', we did not want to belong to one specific scene. So, we were very glad to read these various descriptions. We've conceived our music like a freedom's space. That means there are a lot of ways to describe it. I think none are false, even Fakejazz. Subjectivity before all!

MVRemix: What is the meaning behind the name O ?

Yann: Everybody seems to be intrigued by our name. 'O' is a polysemic name. I hope that word exists! 'O' is an ugly phoneme, isn't it? 0 is a number out of negative and positive values. The circle is the place where we'd like to stay. We were also looking for a minimalist name, which could be a good representation of our music. So, this name is, at the same time, archaic & complex. Serious, as we reject Manichean conceptions & values. Also, ironic.

MVRemix: What is the correct way to write the name of the band?

Yann: Ah, ah! Feel free to call us as you want! 'O' must stay a monomorphic, polysemic or polyphonic name. It could be said like a number, a letter, or it can be drawn like a circle. But the most important thing, and I'm angry when I see just O, is the quote parts. So, write 'O' or '0', but not O nor 0.

MVRemix: When creating a track, do you have a set process or idea? Walk us through the creative process.

Yann: I think that a track must be, at the beginning, an emotion, or a specific sensation. The best is when words lack. Then, we search for some cripple rhythmic patterns, detuned chords, or ugly open tunings. We look for specific vibrations and approximate melodies.

MVRemix: Although the music sounds improvised, how much of the music is planned?

Yann: Before a track? An emotion. This emotion will reveal a structure and a way of playing. In 'Numero 0', all was planned like song structures, album structure, melodies, mistakes, noises, crippled rhythms, and dynamic between each tracks. It must sound like a cripple improvisation.

MVRemix: Musically, what else have you been working on?

Yann: A lot of bands in various styles like minimalist electronica, cartoon-esque music, experimental grindcore, drum & bass, doom core. But, I don't really want to speak about them here.

MVRemix: What are some of your favorite instruments?

Yann: Guitars, electrical guitars, acoustic guitars, children guitars, Austrian zither, and flutes. But, also various non-musical objects, which are a great source of noises. And of course, analog filters and various software. The best instruments are those you don't know how to play.

MVRemix: Do you think that success and credibility are mutually exclusive?

Yann: Success just depends on money and good marketing. That's why there are some majors. Success is concrete. That just means money plus groupies. Credibility is totally subjective. Hopefully, sometimes, I imagine that credibility is underground success. But credibility doesn't mean anything. I just do the music I need to do. It's enough. Who could imagine success for 'O'? Oh, of course, it could be a great joke, a private joke.

MVRemix: What song are you most proud of?

Yann: 'La Trompette de l'ange Et Si Peu Encore.'. Never done a better song before. Never done a better song after. Perhaps it was our swan song.

MVRemix: Who are some artists you would like to collaborate with in the future?

Yann: We plan to release some splits LPs with MooN, a French ambient drone band, with the Monitors, who are a great art rock math no wave band. I could describe their music as a mix between Ex Models and The Flying Luttenbachers. Another one with DAT, a sludge post-hardcore experimental band from Paris. Also, a split with S/T, a solo project from T of Green Milk from the Planet Orange. I'd like to do something, and not especially splits, with other artists I respect like IHAN. He was a Mille Plateaux artist. Also, The Telescopes, Ultra Milkmaids, Orthodox.

MVRemix: Stephen Lawrie of Telescopes owns Antenna Records, the label that released the 'Numero O' LP. How did you meet Stephen and get the deal with Antenna Records?

Yann: At the beginning, some labels seemed to be interested in our music, but nothing really concrete, except with Burning Emptiness, of course. We thought that it was the best album we've ever done. And it's still my opinion. So, we really wanted to see this album released. A good friend of mine, DDN from MooN, who is also the man behind Burning Emptiness Records, was a great fan of The Telescopes. He was in touch with Stephen. He's sent our album to Stephen. At this time, we didn't know Stephen at all. Stephen liked what he heard, nothing more.

MVRemix: What was it like to work with Stephen?

Yann: Stephen is exactly what French people can imagine about English people. He is polite and kind. I think he's really sincere in his way of doing music. He doesn't care about commercial standards. He doesn't care about trends. More than a decade ago, The Telescopes were a really good band. Now they're unique and they're great! I think that the deal with 'O' is just another proof of the Stephen's integrity. You probably know that he's really interested in underground music.

MVRemix: Will you be playing any live shows? Have you in the past?

Yann: Live was a great problem. And it's still the problem. Now, I'm alone in 'O' and I know that I could play with some machines, or be helped by some musicians. But I'd like that an 'O' show looks more theatrical than musical. I hope that a little tour will be planed for the next year.

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"Success just depends on money and good marketing. That's why there are some majors. Success is concrete. That just means money plus groupies."