Following his recent trip to Colombia, Montréal-based Frenchman Drol joins us to discuss his career as a live artist, the impact of forward-thinking festival Mutek and his role in the gaming industry. Make the introduction below!
WWD: Hi Drol., thanks for joining us! What’s new with you right now?
Hi WWD, thank you for having me here !
I just came back from Bogota, where I played at microMutek.co. It’s the micro version of the well known Mutek Festival in Montreal. I’m now back in south of France, where I started to work on a new version of my liveset, as well as working on new tracks for future releases.
WWD: You’re from Montpellier. How is the health of the local scene there?
I left Montpellier for England in 2000, I’m probably not the best person to speak about it unfortunately. But what I remember from my “old days” there, is that the underground rave scene was quite big. I was more in my car with friends, driving for hours, stopping the car engine in the middle of a field to try to find out where the soundsystem was, rather than going into clubs. I was more into tribe music, and dark d&b at the time.
I would say that tech-house is the most common electronic music genre you’ll be able to hear in Montpellier, otherwise the music scene is quite eclectic. Family Piknik festival and the Break club tends to bring minimal and other edgy, underground techno back to the city, and that’s a very good thing. I will spend most of the winter in Montpellier, I will have plenty of time to discover it.
WWD: Why influenced the decision to move to Montréal?
At the time, I came to Montreal to find work as UI artist in the game industry (UI = User Interface).
Also because I just love this city, I find it very friendly. I came here a while ago, and since that moment, I knew i had to come back at some point. The music industry was also a very good reason for me to go to Montreal. I always had the feeling that something could happen there, I guess it was worth giving it a try.
Montreal became very important for me, as it helped me a lot launching my career as an artist. My only wish would be to come back and continue to develop myself there.
WWD: When you are not making music, where do you like to spend your time?
Well, I do spend most of my time doing music, watching tutorials, working mainly on my live set, as I’m trying to get a bit away from djing, and focusing more on playing my stuff live.
But if it’s sunny, you will see me outside with my friends. If not I will be at home, binging episodes of “It crowd”, “Black books”, “American dad” or “South Park”, even if i’ve already seen them a hundred times!
WWD: Have you remarked a notable differences between the music or wider culture of the two cities?
Hard to reply to this question … There is a huge gap between Montreal and Montpellier, in music and culture. Again, I can only speak about Montpellier in late 90’s, at the time the Rockstore was hosting Freshly cut, where I’ve seen the bests drum & bass artists ever… Also we had big parties like the “Dragonballs”, all the soundsystem from all over France, playing tribe, hardcore, speedcore on a huge wall of sounds ( Metek, Nawak, eco6tm, TNT) and all the huge Technivals we had the chance to have once or twice a year. I was more into free parties, I prefered to spend my time outside, rather than being stucked between walls in clubs.
WWD: Has the summer been more studio or performance focused for you?
I will say 70% studio, and the rest performance. I had the chance to work this year for C2MTL. I also played in different events for my friends from Nebulae and OCTOV at Village au Pied du Courant for some dj sets. It was perfect for me to take my head off the studio, where I spent most of my summer. I really enjoyed playing at this venue : Great people, great view, very good program, and it was free ! I hope it will stay the same next year.
WWD: You played Mutek Montreal earlier this year and at MutekCo, in Bogota this past weekend. What is it about Mutek that makes it a good fit for Drol.?
Mutek helped me launch my career as a live artist. They gave me the opportunity to present my musical project 3 times this year. The festival had an outdoor stage called “Experience”, that gave the public the chance to discover local and international artists. It was my first outdoor stage, I really enjoyed performing there ! I also opened Kenny Larkin’s liveset for the “Mutek’s Nuit Blanche”, and closed Mutekco festival in Bogota, just after Reinhard Voigt ! I can only thanks Mutek for making this happening. Before I was quite scared to perform live, I wasn’t sure how people would react to my music. I’ve learned how to not overthink too much, and trust a bit more in how my productions will sound live.
WWD: What else have you got on the horizon?
I’m finishing multiple EP’s for different labels, as well as single releases, in both downtempo, and minimal-techno. I will play in few cities in France and Germany within the next months. I’m also starting to think about a parallel live, that will be more dub, more relaxed and accessible compared to my live techno. I have done a lot of chilled tracks ( Most of them can be found on Soundcloud in a Free Download playlist called “’Peaceful music for Dreamers and Creative people‘” music for dreamers and creative people, and I would like to propose an alternative version for my musical performances. Something everyone could enjoy, rather than only techno aficionados. For this live I would like to work with musicians. Let real instruments help me tell stories, rather than using synthesized sounds alone on stage. I would like to keep things organic as much as possible. But all this is a work in progress.